~$200 backpack blowers... Are they really that bad?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by leejp, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    ~$200 backpack blowers... Are they really that bad?

    I only have 1/2 acre and leaf cleanup isn't all that difficult (just blow everything to the curve and the town picks it up). This is a little embarassing but here's what I'm presently using:

    [​IMG]

    It actually does a pretty good job but has trouble blowing debris across my pool loop-loc cover. So I'm in the market for a lightweight backpack and am considering the following...

    Kawasaki KRB300A
    husqvarna 125BT
    Troy Bilt TB25BP (not sure if I'm serious about this one though)

    All of these are ~$200 or under. Everything I've read here seems to indicate that these smaller blowers aren;t worth the trouble. But consider where I'm coming from. Are these really that bad?
     
  2. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,750

     
  3. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,750

    I know I made my decision by the wind speed. The Troy bilt was something like 160 or 180 mph. It had alot more wind speed over all the other back packs in the $200.00 and $240.00 price range that I looked at. Like I said good machine for the money, and it is lightweight..
     
  4. heybruck34

    heybruck34 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 300

    It's a simple valuation but tougher decision- today's money and more power or tomorrow's money and patience? A more expensive unit (low-end commercial) will be a) more powerful and b) last longer with regular maintenance. A homeowner grade version will not last as long and has less power. A cheaper unit will need to be replaced sooner than a commercial grade blower. Depends what's important to you.

    My opinion is no one ever said their blower/weedeater/edger was 'too powerful'. But plenty of my friends have complained about not being able to move a small pile of wet leaves with their cheap blowers.

    It all comes down to your money, your decision on value. I'd rather cry once when I buy than cry everytime I used it.
     
  5. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    One does have to consider the usage though... I have a 1/2 acre lawn, that I cut ~25x/year. The blower is probably going to be run ~20hrs/year max total including leaf cleanup. ~15 minutes each time I cut and ~10hrs for leaf cleanup (I blow to the curve every 2~3 days in the Fall). Are these really that bad that they can't hold up to 20hrs/year operation over several years with regular maintenance?

    So I jump to the $300 price point... Now I can get the Stihl BR340 but for the same $$$ I can get a more powerful Kawasaki/Husqvarna (which would also mean that they run less time). So the decision is not so simple.

    Additionally, I thought that Kawasaki was the engine brand of choice around here (Kohler over Briggs any day and Kawasaki over Kohler any day)... They make good motors but can't make good blowers?

    Also... Are the Home Depot Echo backpacks the real McCoy or sell-out versions (like John Deere and Honda)?
     
  6. robbo521

    robbo521 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 601

    i got one from sears and paid 169.00 and it is 7 yrs old.i use it for some wet leafs and small sticks and its great.the Husqvarna one lowes has in the backpack is also great my dad has had it for his 2 acres and he has tons of leafs.
     
  7. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,265

    When I buy equipment for my guys I always get high end commercial products. I need equipment that can handle the wear and tear of a 13 hour day.
     
  8. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    That's why I understand the pros need the absolute best they can afford. I've watched the lawn service guys around here. The best guys have machine like precision and crisp teamwork. Trailer pulls up and unloads in seconds, one guy on a ZTR, another on a trim mower and sometimes a third on the trimmer blower. The only time a piece of equipment is idle is when they're traveling from job to job and during lunch breaks.

    I'll bet your blowers are operating ~8 of those 13hrs. In 2 days your blowers run the same # of hrs that mine will in a year.
     
  9. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,265

    I can't even stop to do an estimate right now. I have to do them on weekends. I'm not bragging at all. Scheduling is tight. I had to stress the importance of properly loading and unloading our equipment to one of my employees today. Lets just say he learned quickly from all that repetition.
     
  10. lucforce

    lucforce LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

    First, air speed is in no way a method to compare blower performance. Volumetric flow is what must be compared. You need to know the AMOUNT of air being moved. Try and find out that data for a elcheapo McBlower. One point of data that such companies do supply is life expectancy. Many are rated at only 40-60 hours of life. Of course this assumes that it is subjected to only normal use and does not suffer some catastrophic failure-AND that it is perfectly maintained.
    The fact remains that a well made piece of lawn equipment is only a small percentage more costly, initially. This cost difference is quickly negated once life expectancy, cost of repairs and parts, etc are considered.
     

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