View Full Version : Stihl vs Echo Backpack Blower
I read with great interest the thread on Stihl backpack blowers, http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?threadid=21495, but I'd like to take the discussion a bit further.
I'm currently considering three backpack blowers.
The first is an Echo BP-403 that costs $399 at Home Depot. It has a 44 cc engine and a nozzle speed of 380 CFM at 175 MPH.
I also saw two Stihl models at a Honda dealer, the BR340, 44.9 cc, 435 CFM at 162 MPH for $299 and a BR420, 56.5 cc, 476 CFM at 180 MPH for $399.
Notice that the Echo costs nearly $100 more than the Stihl BR340 and its specifications are slightly inferior (I think).
I need help here because obviously other factors such as comfort and reliability, etc are important here. Unfortunately, the internet doesn't offer much in information to help me out.
Why's the Echo so expensive? Is it the fact it has a 2 year commerical warranty and the others don't?
Is the Echo 403 comparable to one of the Stihl models? Which model actually has the best blowing capability?
What do you recommend?
11-06-2001, 04:09 AM
First, Home Depot may not always be your best bet for equipment purchases. Just because they are starting to stock more "major brands", it is not always in your best interest. Many of times, their prices are lower, but many of times, because they only stock "this particular model" or "that particular model" of certain brand names, their purchasing discount isn't all that great. Take string trimmers for an example. Sure they carry Echo trimmers, but what model of Echo ARE they? Usually not a suitable one for commercial use. This is why many of times, you're better off just to go to a dealer where you can find the particular model that's a bit more suited for your needs. Also, another (and large factor) to consider is service. If you have a problem or a question about your new piece of equipment, or something that perhaps needs some minor adjusting, who is going to take care of this for you? The 18 year old kid who doesn't know anymore about this stuff (or probably less) than you? Oh yeah, I need some parts too. What? You don't CARRY new headspools for this trimmer I purchased here? No gascaps? A dealer is about always your best bet, not just for price, for service, for parts, for initial setup, but also for knowledge on what works best for your investment. Shop around, and hit an Echo dealer. I'm sure you'll find, pound for pound, penny for penny, a dealer will probably be able to match most prices you come up with from any HD. He'll also not only have your parts too, but he MAY just have a model you like more or is better suited for you.;)
11-06-2001, 07:28 AM
I used to work at home cheapo and runner is right about parts and warranty for the brands that they sell, for the most part. heaven help you if you need warranty work. it'll get done but no telling when you'll see the blower again.
you'd be better off paying more money buying from a guy that appreciates your business like a smaller dealer.
as for your choices of blower, just remember this...size matters. that is to say the amount of air and mph. more is better which means you should probably check out som of the even bigger blowers before you plunk down your hard earned money.
I'm happy with my br-400 and I recommend that unit. but I don't know about the 420. good luck.
11-06-2001, 08:10 AM
I second what the other guys said. I have had both Br 400's, and Echo. If you go to a echo dealer, you can get a better line, ie 601-603 series. They are more powerful then the BR 400. I have the caged design to take more abuse. I think it is noticeably stronger then the BR 400's I have had. Echo makes a bigger blower called a 650, which is even supposed to be stronger. I like my protective cage! Go to a dealer, cus if you need it fixed and take it to one, be prepared to wait a long time if you did not by it from that dealer!
I agree with all the comments made that a dealer and his support is very important. That will sure play a major factor in my decision. Besides, Home Depot isn't a bargain on the Echo anyway.
But what about the key questions here. Does anyone have any experience with the Echo 403? I still need to decide whether the Stihl or the Echo is the best choice. Which one can move leaves best?
11-06-2001, 10:56 AM
keep checking around we just got a price on a echo pb603 for 380.00 so i think you can get a better unit than the 403 for the same price..
11-06-2001, 10:58 AM
First of all, blowers are rated by 2 stats: cfm (amount of air being moved, measured in cubic feet/minute) and mph(speed of air being moved.) Both stats taken together is what determines the power a blower has. The PB 403 moves air at 175 mph and the BR 340 at 162 mph. While Stihl has more volume, it is not moving that air as fast as the Echo. Some people will tell you that volume is the only thing to look at when comparing blowers....this is wrong. It is the proper combination of the 2 stats that makes a powerful blower. Imagine water flowing from a garden hose (sans nozzle.) Lots of water, right? Not a very good tool, though. Now put your thumb halfway over the end of the hose. Now you have less water moving at a higher speed, but a better clean-up tool. I know it is confusing, but I believe that manufacturers want it that way....lol. BTW, the 403 is more comparable to the BR420 in operation. The Echo PB 260L is more comparable to the 340....and lighter too. I believe HD sells this model for $299.
11-06-2001, 05:58 PM
all i got to say is
they have all sorts of stuff, i use it mainly to get facts and compare prices.
A dealer near me has the ECHO 6000 back pack blower.
They are discontinued but new in the box.
He has seven of them for 335.00 ea
Think I might get one, seems like a goog deal?
11-06-2001, 11:54 PM
I bought one of these last Fall, though they had come out with 603 and 605 models. I happen to like the separate throtle control. rather than built into the tube handle. I'm pleased with it. 195 mph and 440 cfm (end of tube) are adequite for my purposes. I mostly mulch leaves into a good collection system. Also use a Little Wonder 8 hp push blower. So, max. output in a backpack was not a major consideration. If it was, I would take a close look at the new Echo PB650.
One thing I can say about my PB600 and all Echo products: Start always on first or second pull, and run smoothly at all rpm's
11-07-2001, 12:00 AM
I bought the pb-603 and am very pleased with it has lots of power and very smooth.
I have also put hours on the pb-650 and I must say it is very impressive, it is nice when it rains before you get done and have to blow grass off the sidewalks that is stuck to it.
11-07-2001, 12:14 AM
:blob3: throw thwm both in the can and go with the redmax eb-7000, for a few more dollars, go to ALamia.com, you'll get a desent price on the redmax.T
11-07-2001, 02:15 AM
the first piece of equipment I ever bought was a echo back pack blower 13 years ago and I still have it and it still starts by the third pull. The stihl br400 I bought two years ago has been in the shop 6 times and it still won't run. Bought a redmax eb-7000 this year and it has out performed all my other blowers.
11-07-2001, 02:36 AM
Hello: I just got me an Echo Pb-600 WOW. That babe works great in Huge Parking Lots. I have a handheld stihl blower. It takes weeks for repair. I Go for Echo. Its made In the US and You can get parts and service anytime. Good Luck. GO Echo. Keep the good work,Cuz I like You. Lawnranger
11-07-2001, 01:25 PM
I guess I will step up for Stihl. I run the BR400. I do many leaf jobs with it. In my area we have many 40+ year old oak trees. Its not usual for me to have HUGE piles of leaves moving with the BR400. I bought a small co. out last spring. The owners son worked for me all last year. They had been using only echo for 10 years. He fell in love with the Stihl blower and trimmers.
I'm not going to get into a "mines bigger than yours" contest. I'll just tell you my experiences. My Stihl blowers handle leaves very good. I've never had 1 single problem with the blowers. Never.
11-07-2001, 02:37 PM
the br420 has a 2year homeowner 1year commerical. You are going to use it some at home right. badabing 2year warranty.
11-07-2001, 03:44 PM
They are both excellent machines as far as reliability and blowing capacity go. But I prefer the design and feel of the Echos by far. So that's all we use.
Also, you are paying WAY too much for Echos. I buy them on eBay all the time NEW IN BOX for $250 or less.
11-07-2001, 05:53 PM
First of all, get out of lowes and home-depot. Go to a full service
dealer that carries both brands...ask them to let you try out both
and then form your on opinion. The echo 650 is the best out this year but it cost 100.00 more than the second best stihl 420. I will tell you from my personal experience that the "new" 650 I have out does my "old" 420 by about one-hundred dollars worth or more!!!!! the best is the 650 and then you decide from there...
11-07-2001, 09:15 PM
I run both STIHL/ECHO never had a problem.
Jarred's Lawn Care
11-07-2001, 11:16 PM
I'm going to have to say the stihl. it seems more comfortable and less of a pain than the echo's dual controlers. I am very satisfied with my new BR420 for the price and the power go for the stihl
I bought a Echo PB 603 for $400.00. It is grate with plenty of power. I have no regrets!
As the originator of this thread I thought I'd update you on my decision. I decided to buy none of the models I had asked about. I'm still going to buy an Echo but will get the 603 instead of a 403.
Thank-you all for your advice here and in some of the private emails I got.
11-08-2001, 08:46 PM
Echo just sent me a CD with some pretty cool videos demonstrating a bunch of their products. They do the air tests against Stihl and Redmax in these videos, too.
11-08-2001, 09:09 PM
This is for todd addison. Todd I live in huntsville ala home depot is all we have as far as echo goes.
11-08-2001, 09:13 PM
The echo 650 sucks. It is very very uncomfortable and the controls are very stiff. I tried it today and hated it.
11-08-2001, 09:39 PM
Keifer, Echo's web site lists 5 dealers within 50 miles of you....
DOBB'S EQUIPMENT CO., INC
PO BOX 301
DECATUR, AL 35601
24.02 miles from the center
P O BOX 44
FAYETTEVILLE, TN 37334
28.05 miles from the center
800 HUNTSVILLE HWY
FAYETTEVILLE, TN 37334
28.72 miles from the center
1415 GUNTER AVE.
GUNTERSVILLE, AL 35976
31.04 miles from the center
TEDDY'S LAWNMOWER SERVICE
407 SOUTH COLLEGE STREET
WINCHESTER, TN 37398
41.40 miles from the center
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