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Backpack or Walk behind?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by serviced, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. serviced

    serviced LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Its time for me to upgrade from my craftsman handheld to something ALOT more powerful. I have 2 acres with lots of trees. I have plenty of room to dump or blow into the woods outside the 2 acres. Im wondering what would be better for me to use. Im assuming a backpack in the $400 range vs a walk behind ($$$$$). Is it worth the difference for a homeowner? Thanks
  2. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,540

    You might be better off with a little wonder or at least the big back back like a Pb 755 or equivelant if you are just blowing them into the woods.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    You could always rent yourself a wheeled 8-10hp blower for around 50-60 dollars a day or so...
    I think if it takes you a whole day with it, you couldn't buy one of these in 10 years at the cost.

    I do recommend at least 8hp, 10 is better.

    For a backpack, I'd get a Stihl br600 but I do want to advise the wheeled blower gets it done around 3-4 times faster.

    The Stihl br-600 is the 2nd-most powerful unit out there, it puts out 700 cfm's at 200 mph.
    The most powerful blower is the Kawasaki KRB750A, that unit puts out 800 cfm's (@200 mph, with tubes).

    They run between 450-500 or so, those are the most powerful units on the market.
    With a br600 I haven't a clue how long it would take for a big lot with tons of leaves, I don't dare try.
    But a 1/4 acre that's too small for the wheeled unit, a few hours... 1 or 2, sometimes 3 but 4 at the absolute most.

    Enter the pushblower...
    My Billygoat 10hp blower is a mid-size frame unit, they get bigger (and heavier and $$$$), but this relatively inexpensive $900 Briggs and Stratton powered blower puts out 2,400 cfm's (200 mph).
    There is no comparison, the push blower moves leaves like nobody's business.
    2400 cfm's is enough power to push a 3-foot deep pile of leaves clear across a driveway in seconds flat.
    I have never in 6 years had a yard that took more than 4 hours, thou some did require two visits (so I guess you could say 8).

    But for a home owner, at least the first time I'd recommend renting one.

    I've done leaves almost a foot deep with the goat, in about an hour...
    Leaves like THIS:





  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I found another good example of push blower power :laugh:

    Comparing a push blower to a backpack is like comparing a volkswagen to a bmw...
    It is, the backpack is nice but the push blower is raw POWER, nothing stands in the way.

    The pile in the below picture is about waist deep (3 feet high, that is) and at least 10 but probably closer to 12-14 feet wide.
    Not sure how long it is (or was), probably 30 or 40 feet...

    Notice the cut-off section...
    That's what the push blower just MOVED, it's about 6-8 feet out that it cleared in 1-2 seconds... That's how I work, I MOVE the entire pile with the push blower, every 8-10 feet takes 1-2 minutes, it's a big pile.
    So, it moves a pile 3 feet deep and 30 long by 10-12 wide a distance of 8-10 feet in 1-2 minutes, no kidding.
    I had this particular pile in the woods within 30 minutes, of course it cleared the lawn in between as well.
    That was 1/2 -to- an acre lot, 1/2 is lawn but there's wooded areas that need clearing in front, this took two hours because it wasn't all flat, had to use the backpack in more than one area.

    But the push blower just cuts right through the nastiest leaves, it doesn't care how many or how heavy.

  5. DavidR

    DavidR LawnSite Member
    Messages: 180

    There is no doubt that a push blower would be a great way to go. If your like me, it is hard to justify the price. I purchased a backpack blower a few years ago. I have found it very useful for only a portion of the cost of a nice WB unit.

    Bottom line, if you want to invest the money, get a walk behind unit. If not, get the largest backpack blower you want to buy. The BR600 is a great unit, I plan to upgrade to one at some point next season.
  6. executive property maintenance

    executive property maintenance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    that thing blows ....out of my price range
  7. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    I have to agree with topsite....I would rent a walkbehind and see if its for you. And even at the cost of it.....maybe buy a nice backpack and rent the walk behind each year.....more than likely you will need both.... I purchased a used walk behind and its nice...but its not as easy to use/push as one would think. Rent before you buy !!!!

  8. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,179

    Do you have a riding mower of some kind? If the answer is yes, you might give some thought to a Cyclone rake. Two acres is a big lot for someone to do by himself, even with a powerful walk behind. My lot is smaller than yours and I have both a 5HP Little Wonder W/B and a high-quality back pack (RedMax EB 7001). They both do a good job, but when the leaves are very deep in November like what is shown in some of the above photos by topsites, that's when I assemble my Cyclone Rake. My neighbor has a professional crew of 6 do his lot, and I clear mine (same size) by myself with the CR in the same time his team clears his with 5 back-pack blowers and a ZTR with a leaf plow. And by the way, I've had the Little Wonder for years, but I rarely fire it up any more now that I bought the backpack. That's because I have hills, and pushing or pulling the walk-behind on hills isn't much fun. In fact, it's pretty miserable work.
  9. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    I agree Larry....I found that out too....the walkbehind on wheels is no fun....BTW I have a cyclone rake too....I think its the best money I ever spent for a tool (other than a mower)

  10. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    If you can dump in the woods, Cyclone Rake is not a bad way to go. Backpack to move the leaves out of the crannies and away from the trees where you can reach them with the CR.

    One thing about CR, the engine oil becomes dirty quick and about 15 hours between oil changes is about as long as you want to wait.

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