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With GIE+EXPO cancelled, virtual education and product launches are filling up the fall. Check out dates for Caterpillar, Exmark, NALP, and more. Click here to learn more.
I personally like backpack over hand held, unless all you are using it for is clean up (blowing grass off sidewalks or driveways). But if your using it to blow leaves then IMO backpack is the way to go. If you search "Best Back Pack Blower?" theres a good thread that may be helpful to you. They may be out of your price range but a Stihl BR 600 ~ $600, can't be beat.
If you plan on doing leaves and even for light duty stuff if you buy a cheap handheld or an inferior backpack now, you'll only end up having to spend more money later. But for right now, I use the Stihl bg-55, they run around 150-160 and for $10 more get the flat tip bg-65's nozzle, so then for 170 or so you have yourself one of the stronger handhelds out there, because even with this I find myself short on power, but it's decent for grass clippings and light duty stuff.
Once you get into leaves, I'm afraid nothing short of a br-600 really does it right...
You could just get the br-600 now, skip the handheld and be done with it, if the money is a bugger... I'd say just get a really good backpack, save yourself a headache for fall in advance, I didn't have a handheld until my 4th or 5th year, just used a nice backpack year-round myself.
And if your business fails because of my stupid advice, at least you have a great backpack to show for it
Either way, get at least a decent handheld, don't try and save here.
If your in this for the long haul then do yourself a favor and save alot of problem by purchasing a real commercial back-pack blower. Or for really small stuff get a handheld. Stihl, RedMax, Echo, Shindaiwa and many other quality brands make blowers that will last.
I totally agree. The poulan will be less than satisfactory for what you need. Unfortunately for you no big box store sells a "real" backpack blower. Find a dealer near you and buy the biggest handhekd you can afford right now. Down the road if things get rolling you can get a good backpack, maybe even a used one may pop up. This of course is only my opinion.
I used a Echo PB-230LN for most of the residential lawns and the Echo PB-755 for all of my commerical accounts. For me, it really depends on the application. Customers who leave there vehicles in the driveway. The handheld allows me to bend down to blow from under the vehicle.
Mind you, I started out the the handheld and let me tell you something! It is worth the money.
Hope this helps,
PS: My backpack blower was really expensive! Shop around, there are a lot of great deals out there.