Yes I know this has been beat to death but this is my first year I've had a handheld blower, I ran my first 4 years strictly with backpacks. All equipment used is stihl, but it doesn't matter here. I bought the handheld mainly to help get leaves out of the nooks and crannies where the backpack's bulk always made it such a pita. In that respect, the handheld is very nice and fits in those tight spaces like a dream (like inside fenced-in outdoor a/c units). As for day-to-day grass-cutting: Start-up procedure: - the backpack always starts on the first pull, I can pull and in the same motion start walking and slinging it over my shoulder as it sputters up to a running rpm. So, it isn't faster to use the handheld. - the handheld sometimes starts on the first pull but the smaller the engine, the trickier this is. Still, the only time I tend to pull it more than once is first thing in the morning, the machine is new and only time will tell but so far not much complaints. Comfort: The weight factor is the biggest thing, the handheld is so much lighter and easier to deal with. If I have to cut it off or it shuts off I do not have to unstrap myself to start it again, and it's light weight and smaller size makes it an easier tool to deal with on the truck as well. Over time such as that which involves continuous blow, the backpack wins. Power: The handheld is surprisingly powerful but I'm still a bit leery to leave the backpack at home due to the occasional PILE of leaves that would just take forever with the handheld. So I find myself carrying both and this is where I question the whole decision, thou I suppose once the spring cleanups are mostly over, the backpack can go under the house until October. Fuel usage: phhht, hard to say for sure but the handheld appears to be WOT or Idle only where the backpack can be controlled more like a car. I dare say the backpack uses no more fuel than the handheld, if it uses as much. The handheld's tank is smaller, I will say the backpack is the only device where I have forgotten to close the fuel cap after refueling (and more than once), perhaps another good point for the handheld. Usability: I find the handheld lacks the power to make up for the backpack's in versatility, it makes up for this somewhat in being more maneuverable and less bulky, but overall the backpack can still handle a larger range / types of debris. Overall I like the handheld but if I had to do it all over again and was faced with the problem of having to buy one or the other (but not both) I'd still buy the backpack first. I still feel a little bit like you don't need a handheld but it is a very nice tool to have because it does have some real advantages.