looking for advice on a backpack blower
I'm just a homeowner with a decent sized yard, not tiny but not huge. It's about 12,000 sq/ft, but I have a lot of trees and a lot of leaves. I also cut two of my neighbors yards, one of which gets a ton of leaves. Also, my father recently lost his leg, and I will be taking care of his leaves this year. My parents live on about a half ace, but have 7 or so LARGE oak trees, with tons of leaves and acorns.
I have an Echo handheld blower, and frankly I hate it. I've had it for 7 years, and it seems to need a major tune up each season and even after getting tuned up it never runs right. It takes forever to warm up, and sometimes it never does. I have to constantly fiddle with the choke to keep it from dying. Also, my dad has a newer Stihl handheld and it sucks just as bad if not worse. It's hard to start, and almost never runs at full speed. I finally got it to work right yesterday for like 10 minutes, and then it died and I couldn't get it to start again.
So, I'm looking at getting a backpack blower to minimize my raking time this fall. I was originally looking at the Husky 150BT or 350BT, that fits my budget fairly well. I've been searching a lot on here about backpack blowers, and almost everyone says buy the biggest you can afford. I'd love to pick up an SB600 Magnum, but it's just not in the cards for me. The Echo PB-500 is $299 (same price at the Husky, unless I can find the Husky on sale), but the reviews I've read on the PB-500 aren't the greatest. I read a lot of good things about the Husky 150BT. Would that be a good blower for my needs?
I mean, if I go any higher, to like the Echo PB-755 or the Stihl 550, I might as well spend the extra $$ and get the 600 Magnum.. I just hate the idea of that much, even though I'm sure I'd love it.
Thanks in advance, and sorry for the long post.