There's always a lot of talk here about big BP's, and a few threads recently in particular got me rather curious just what the big dogs can do side by side, so today I went to a local dealer with a friend and we looked at several. This place carries the four major brands regarding handhelds. For whatever reason they don't carry the Shindy BP's though. I bought some parts I needed and while I was with the salesman, I asked if I could demo the blowers to compare them side by side. No prob! Cool. He grabbed 3 brand new BP's, one BR600M, one PB770H, one 8500H, put fuel in them and we went outside. They have several smaller trees that are shedding really heavy right now. Their leaves look like miniature maple seeds without the seed at the one end. There were a ton of them and they were piled up in various areas, and it's been raining for the last 18 or so hours, so everything was nice and wet, and the leaves were stuck down to the grass and pavement. He also had some large, wet grass clumps that had dropped off of a mower when it was driven into the service bay, that several vehicles had driven over and packed down to the pavement. All three were brand spanking new machines that had never had any fuel in them since arriving at the dealership (maybe had some run through them at the factory, I can't say for sure). I started them all and ran them for a few minutes before starting in on the blowing tests, with each one started shortly before actually being used so as to make it as fair as possible regarding warm up's etc. I ran all approximately the same amount of time before beginning their solo runs. All were ran at WOT for the test. I realize that this is by no means a definitive test, but it was as fair as I can make it. It was done under the current conditions we have here, and was better than just reading specs on a website then trying to decide. First up was the 770. This is one nice blower. I loved it except for the hip control, but it was a demo, so not a factor really since I can also get it with the tube controls. It did a first rate job anywhere I ran it. It blew leaves grass, dirt, rocks with relative ease, stuck down or not. Next came the 8500. Nice blower as well, but a little more clumsy feeling to wear. I know it's heavier than either of the other two, but the weight didn't really show as much as the bulky/clumsy feeling from its sheer size. I ran it right next to where I had gone with the Echo. To be honest, I was disappointed to say the least. I had heard/read such great things about what this thing can do, but I sure couldn't see it today. The Echo not only was lighter, more comfortable, and compact, but it blew everything discernibly better. I was really surprised to see that since the 8500 is by far the biggest dog in the pack spec wise. Next came the BR600M. In the interest of full disclosure, I own one of these so I know how they work, but still, I have never got to run it side by side with any other big BP. It did just about exactly the same as the Echo 770. There was a giant snowplow blade sitting there and the leaves were really piled up in the front of it in between the two end wings, and they were soaked. I gave that a good blasting at one end, then grabbed the 770 back up and tried the other end. Nope, still couldn't see any difference. Next I ran them out across the lot quite a ways pushing the wet grass and leaves along. Still, it's hard to tell running one and then the other, so I asked the salesman to strap on the 600 while I ran the Echo. I told him to run it up to full throttle and walk side by side with me, but far enough over so as not to interrupt each others path, which we did. Side by side, full throttle. We stopped and looked at each other and said at the same time "I can't tell any difference", smiled, then went back to it and sped up the pace a little. Next we came to several large clumps of that wet grass that had dropped of the mower deck that I mentioned above, and beyond that, several spots where leaves had collected in low spots on the pavement, and then become matted down from the rain. We cleared them out equally well. Still couldn't see any real world difference. Next we went over to where several (maybe 10-12) rocks about 2-3" in diameter had fallen out of one of the parking lot's islands. Both machines blew the rocks around with ease, and at what appeared an identical speed, and both better than what I had been able to do with the 8500 only minutes before. We went back up under the awning and shut them off and talked about it. Several others were watching us as well including my friend, and all agreed that it was a virtual draw between the Stihl and Echo, and both did better for whatever reason than the 8500. Don't ask me to explain that one because I can't. It is what we observed though, and by several other sets of eyes that had no dog in the hunt other than curiosity. It appeared that the Echo may have had a very slight edge in CFM's, but the Stihl definitely showed a slight edge in air speed, so it cancelled out any advantage one had over the other, making them as identical in performance as two different brands of competing machines can be. The Stihl tube nozzle that comes attached to the main tube has an outlet that is approximately 1/2" smaller in diameter than the Echo', which also could explain why the 770 seemed to have slightly more CFM's, while the Stihl had slightly more air speed. I mentioned to the salesman the fact that Echo has changed their specs on the 770 on their website (as was mentioned in another recent thread here) compared to what was on the tag, and the he commented that the factories rate the specs at so many different places on the machine (tube nozzle, at the elbow outlet, at the end of the straight section of tube in front of the nozzle etc) that at best, the stuff we the buyer can read about on the tags or the company websites, is just a general comparison, and after reading all the specs on each machine both there, and on each companies website, I'd have to agree. Bottom line, all are darn nice machines and will do the job with efficiency. Each has something different to offer in design, but all do the same thing in the end, so it comes down to one of two things- 1)Either you'll buy one or the other because you are brand loyal (from either having great luck with past products, or because that's what you learned on) 2)Because you read the specs and want the biggest, baddest machine on the block. I would suggest that anyone who is considering buying any of the big BP's, go and demo them side by side, or better yet, like I got to do today, side by side at the same exact time on real debris. IMO, the specs don't really show/indicate exactly what any given machine will or won't do in the real world, on real debris. The specs are just numbers on paper, printed by people wanting to sell their product, and are a general guidelines at best. I am always interested in new tools to try, and since I have the BR600M already, I am seriously thinking about the Echo 770T being my next blower just because I liked it so much, and I like to try different machines for extended periods as long as I like their performance to begin with.