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My Opinion on a Controversial Topic!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ZTRMaster, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. ZTRMaster

    ZTRMaster LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    Alright all you brand loyalist and so on. I'm ready to offer my honest and UNBIASED opinion on something that seems to be very controversial.

    I have been working very steadily trying to keep a handful of my customers' yards clean by their request. It's been hot, cold, and in between. It's been dry as hell, wet as hell (worked in the rain a few days ago).

    As some of you may know, I purchased a brand spankin' new RedMax EBZ8001 blower a few months back and I have been raving about it. It wasn't until now that I was able to truly test its abilities. Blowing grass clippings and the occasional shrub trimmings was like using a bulldozer to crush a coke can: effective but overkill. With the tides changing as of recent with the increased volume of leaves and ESPECIALLY pinestraw, I have been able to put my 8001 through the rigors. But hey guys...guess what? The 8001 is not alone. I went out and purchased another monster: the Stihl BR600.

    Why, you might ask, would I go and do a thing like that? Especially when I already had this new 8001 and a rather formidable Shindaiwa 630? The answer is quite simple. With the conditions I was just talking about, I immediately started to notice the severe imbalance of practical power between the two. It was no longer cost effective to run the 630 when running the EBZ8001. It was actually taking more time for my partner to assist (not really assisting but more like hindering) on a single job than it would for me to run the 8001 and send him elsewhere. Basically, just getting 'in the way', so to speak. We would have purchased another 8001 but...one problem. My partner is not nearly as physically large as I am. He can't handle the weight of the 8001 for any extended (1hr or more) amount of time.

    Having previously tried on and tested out the BR600 (though to no substantial degree), I took my partner to my local Stihl dealer and had him try on the 600 and use it for a few minutes, courtesy of the dealer. According to him it was not only lighter, or so it seemed, it was also more comfortable than the EB630. It was a done deal, we went home with a brand new BR600 that day. Now, that was over a month ago. Both blowers have seen heavy use and will continue to see such conditions.

    Now, down to the real point of posting all this. I have extensively tested both blowers in real, common situations. I'm not talking about blowing bricks on pavement or pushing a little dolly around that's got weights on it. I mean blowing sticks, leaves, pinecones, pineSTRAW, etc.. This is my opinion only, and you may make of it what you will, and continue to think what ever you want after you finish (if you do) reading. But, I am now a firm believer of one thing: the EBZ8001, while being considerably heavier, is more powerful than the BR600. Now, hold on, don't kick me in the nuts yet! It's BARELY noticeable. The BR600 is damn near the same, and, in some areas, actually a little better than the EBZ8001 (blowing pinestraw out of grasses like fescue is one example). On the same hand, though, there have been situations where the BR600 was unable to blow a large amount of something and I've come back with the 8001 and moved it right along.

    For all intents and purposes --> EBZ8001 = BR600 (in terms of power only).

    But...there's a catch. Just like the catch to the 8001 is being ungodly heavy, not all that friendly with gas, and a general pain to deal with when it's not on your back, there are a few catches to the BR600 as well. The 600 does not like to start when it's cold, and yes I've heard the stories claiming it'll start on the 2nd pull every time no matter what the conditions. The first time the blower got cold I think it took me 10 pulls to get it started and it ran rough for the first two or three minutes of operation. Thinking the blower must be defective, I took it back to my dealer and asked them what the 'deal' was with it. I explained to them what was going on and they said that it was "perfectly normal for the 4-Mix motors to be temperamental in cold, humid conditions". I asked if it would improve any once the engine was completely broken in. I got "yes, but this is how they generally run. Do not expect much improvement". The EBZ8001 has never taken more than 3 pulls to start.

    Next issue: fuel economy!

    As I expected, the BR600 needs to be filled up about twice as much as the 8001. I knew it would, it's got a smaller tank. Curious to see just how good, or bad, the fuel economy of each was, I measured out an even amount of gas (16 ounces or so. To the rim of a water bottle) and filled both blowers with the exact same amount. I started with the BR600. On the amount of fuel it was given, the 600 ran for 18.5 (18m 29s) minutes by my Casio. The blower was run at 100% full throttle from start to finish. No idle at all.

    I checked to make sure no fuel was left in the tank and, of course, there wasn't. There may have been a very minute amount left in a crevice somewhere but it would have been a negligible amount. Next, I ran the 8001 with the same treatment. On the same amount of fuel, the EBZ8001 ran for 22 minutes, stopping at 22:03 (22m 3s), so I didn't count that extra 2 or 3 seconds. I took it off and checked to make sure there was no fuel left in the tank and the story was the same as the 600. No fuel left in the tank.

    Well, there you have it folks. And for those of you interested, I did the same thing to my one year old Shindaiwa EB630. The 630 ran for a rather meager 11 minutes. I know that's not really relevant...but it's an interesting thing to know. I had a feeling that the Shindaiwa was getting pretty bad economy, I noticed it when I first bought it. One, two liter tank, barely lasting an hour is a bit excessive in the fuel burning department.

    I have done my best to offer you the most equal and unbiased (I am not a brand loyalist at all. I buy from whoever has the best equipment, I don't care if it's Husqvarna, Echo, Redmax, or Stihl) opinion. The bottom line is that the RedMax is a little more powerful and gets slightly better fuel economy versus the BR600. Does that mean that the 8001 is "better" than the 600? Certainly not. Both are excellent, well made, professional blowers. The only real thing anyone should consider if trying to decide between one or the other is: do you mind having only a trigger and no hip throttle available to you? and can you handle the weight of the 8001? That's it. That's my opinion.

    Cheers y'all
  2. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    I agree with your 630 fuel assesment. When i first bought mine i ran out of fuel quickly. It realy drinks fuel. I have never operated anything more powerful than the 630. The 630 has a ton of power. The 8001 is really that much stronger?
  3. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    You have basically done the same thing as I have but you did it in more detail.
    I started with the big boys when I bought a 630. Nice at the time and still a decent machine. (parts availability and price suks 4 me)
    I went to the ebz8001. Exactly like you state. I still own it but it is only on the trailer in the spring for heavy clean ups and the fall for leaves. I love the machine and I am no small boy so I can handle the weight and torque it creates. I like the 2 piece tube as it lets me get into small spaces when needed.
    I also own a 600 and absolutely love it. Going on 2.5 years now. I run Amsoil at about 80:1 in all 2 cycles (since 1998) and have found tremendous power in the 600 along with the nice weight distribution. My wife works with me at times and she actually uses the 600. We put the 600 and 8001 together and things really move.
    I know many have brand loyalty and I guess I have multiple brand loyalty. For the money these 2 blowers are worth their weight in gold and then some.

    Get to work.:walking:
  4. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,157

    I l;ike the 600 cause iam only 170. I feel these are the two top Backpack blowers for raw power.
  5. Frontier-Lawn

    Frontier-Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,949

    and for us that have not priced them.

    whats the cost of each blower?
  6. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    The sstihl is about $429-479, and I THINK the redmax is alot more than that, like $550.
  7. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,719

    I have a Echo651, Redmax7001 and Stihl600. The one that gets grabbed off of the trailer first is the 600, for just the reason you mentioned /power to weight/. The only thing about the 600 is that I keep having the coil go bad witch the dealer said is a problem for these. I still want to try the big Dolmar/Robin blowers though.
  8. K/B

    K/B LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 480

    Good review. The EB630 is a very old design, has a Redmax engine.

    Just wait until you try a Shindaiwa EB802. Reviews say more power the the BR-600, and more comfortable.
  9. Lazer_Z

    Lazer_Z LawnSite Silver Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 2,579

    Slight correction. Lately the BR600's have been running $479.95 to $499.95. I paid $469.95+tax for my BR600.
  10. ZTRMaster

    ZTRMaster LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    The 630 is like a toy compared to the 8001. And, considering the motor on the 8001 is 10cc's bigger and burns LESS gas...that's saying something. When blowing grass and normal 'summer time debris', the Redmax and the 630 are equal. That's because the wind speed is about the same and on small objects wind speed is what matters. The 630 can't even play on the same field as the 8001 when it comes to blowing large things like pieces of brush, limbs, and piles of leaves.

    As for price...well...

    The EBZ8001 is pretty pricey. You can expect to pay anywhere from 500 to 600 dollars. I paid only 479 for mine but that was a promotional deal.

    I paid 420 + 6% sales tax for the Stihl. I suppose you could look at paying anywhere from 420 to 500. The stihls are a little cheaper...but they use more plastic than the Redmax.

    Also, as an interesting fact, the 600 is the lightest of all Stihl's blowers...even lighter (as much as 5lbs) than their lower models that have a motor that is 50% smaller. What's up with that?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008

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