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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
The first "Inspire" model has arrived, the THB-260PF blower! We are in the process of sending out the units for field-to-forum testing.

This thread will be dedicated to the "Inspire" products only. Stay tuned for more opportunities to test our new trimmers and chain saws.

-MW

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Earlier this summer I responded to a thread on Lawnsite questioning users of the Stihl BG85 handheld blower about likes and dislikes of the BG85. This lead to the chance to field-test the new Tanaka THB-260PF, their product designed to compete with the BG85. At the time, I had envisioned myself doing some quantifiable testing of each of the blowers in head-to-head competition like Consumer Reports would do. Well, life and work kept me from doing anything that in-depth but I have had a chance to work with the new Tanaka blower quite a bit and will share my thoughts.

The Tanaka started easier the very first time I started it than my Stihl has ever started. I pushed the purge bulb 3 times until I could see the fuel line had no air in it, moved the choke to full and pulled the starter cord and it fired up and stayed running. This is a huge factor for me as the need to push the bulb on the Stihl six to eight times before every start is a real drawback. After the first yard of the day, I just go ½ to ¾ on the choke lever of the Tanaka with no priming and it fires right up. My experience with the Stihl is that if it has been more than ten or fifteen minutes I have to use the prime bulb and that anything less than the six to eight pushes and it won’t start.

The primer bulb/air purge on the Tanaka is mounted facing downward. At first this seemed strange, but it works better and the location quickly became second nature using this blower so I can’t fault this. After the first few yards I was indexing the bulb by feel and not even needing to look for it. The ease of starting the Tanaka is probably the single feature I like the most about it.

After I fired up the Tanaka I thought this thing was quiet. I looked at the Tanaka website and they list the THB260PF at 68db while the Stihl is listed at 70db. This does not seem like much of a difference on paper, but the difference in person is pronounced. The Tanaka has a lower tone to the exhaust that may make it sound quieter than it actually is. I asked my wife to listen to both blowers and she said to her the Tanaka does not sound as loud in that annoying way. Whatever that means. I use foam earplugs during the hot weather and this blower is the quietest thing I run except maybe the Honda 5.5hp engine on my Snapper. Certainly quieter than the Stihl with hearing protection in place.

Once I got the Tanaka out on some yards, I was not sure if I liked it or not. It seemed to rev up a little slower than the Stihl and it was clearing off flat surfaces differently. What I decided is that this blower is as fast as my Stihl, but in a different way. I credit this to the fact the Tanaka moves more material in a slower but more controlled manner. I found I was using the Tanaka to actually sweep with versus just outright blowing with the Stihl.

A second area where I felt the Tanaka worked better than the Stihl was in blowing grass clipping out of the street back onto a yard where there is a steep concrete curb. In that situation the flat tip helped in controlling sending the clippings back onto the yard. I also noticed at the end of a yard I didn’t have as much grass on me after blowing from the blow back of the Stihl. The high-volume fan nozzle on the Tanaka is my second favorite thing about this unit.

Now for the down side. The Tanaka seems to twist more in my hand at full throttle more than the Stihl. The flat nozzle makes the unit long overall and this took some getting used to. The tubes don’t feel as heavy duty as the ones on the Stihl and don’t snap together as tightly. The Tanaka weighs about 1 ½ pounds more but it holds seven more ounces of fuel. I could quote all the stats for both blowers, but what it comes down to is how a piece of equipment works for you.

For me the Tanaka edges out the Stihl but it doesn’t blow it away-pun intended. I have some likes and dislikes about both, but for the past several weeks the Stihl has been in the garage so I guess that says a lot. I’m going to keep mine as long as they let me and then see what they will sell it to me for. I will add to this and try to post some working pictures as I get the chance.

John Groh, or as I am known on Lawnsite, Groh’s Mows.
 
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