Husqvarna 125b handheld blower is a GREAT blower to start with ($150)
Nobody is going to start with a $500 blower. Start with a handheld, backpacks are great for leaf clean up and jobs like that.
For cleaning off sidewalks / driveways the Husqvarna 125b is hard to beat. Super powerful, uses very little fuel, and very lightweight. AND that is coming from someone who owns all Stihl!!!