Stihl backpack blower?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by jscozz, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. jscozz

    jscozz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Trying to decide between the Stihl 350, 430, 500, 550, 600. This is only for home use and maintaining rental property... not heavy commercial use. I want something that will move thick wet leaves, which my current handheld fails at miserably.

    The 200 backpack seems like nothing more than a hand held blower mounted on your back, so I did not even include that in the list. I am leaning towards the 430... but am trying to figure out if it is worth only a few more bucks for the 550 (which seems to be cheaper than the 500 for some reason?) I don't think it is worth it to go to the 600... overkill for my uses.

    I would appreciate anyone's feedback who has experience with these units.

  2. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,763

    The 500 is the extra quiet machine. It has a little less power than the 550, but is much less loud. That's why it is more money. I have a 500, and I love it, but it isn't for everyone, and while the power is still way better than any handheld, it doesn't hold a candle to most backpacks.

    The general consensus I've read here, says to steer away from the 550, and get the 600 magnum.
  3. jscozz

    jscozz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    So, for home and VERY light commercial use... is it worth the extra $60 to go from the 430 to the 600? Is the 600 4-stroke with separate oil tank, or does it use same oil/fuel mixture as lower end Stihl backpacks?
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Due to EPA restrictions and the ONLY company left that is able to meet EPArestrictions with a high speed high volume 2-cycle lightweight engine,,, I chose Echo... Stihl is sub-standard in almost avery category,,, IMO...
  5. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,763

    You feel that way. Many thousands of Stihl customers do not. Tomato, tomatoe.

    Yes, the BR500, BR550, and BR600 are 4-mix machines. They are 4-cycle engines with valves, that run on gas-oil mix. No oil sump. No oil changes. They MUST be fed the expensive full-synthetic oil. That's a cost to consider.

    The BR600 is a very well regarded machine. It is a third more powerful than the 430, and uses less gas. Being a 4-mix machine, you will not smell like gasoline after using it for a few hours. That's a big enough plus for me to be worth the difference, but not to everyone.

    The BR430 is pretty close in performance to my BR500. I'm very happy with mine, and it easily blows away anything hand held, but most people on this site who are used to more powerful machines would be quite dissatisfied with it.

    Why don't you ask the dealer to test them out and compare. Stihl dealers generally let you play with the equipment, and the machines on the wall should all be ready to start up.

    THIESSENS TLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 892

    I bought a BR600 Magnum for leaves last year, and its awesome! Very powerful and good on gas/oil. But yes you do need the stihl oil to mix with the gas...I use it anyways. But its a very good BP blower. You'll love it and it will last you forever for what you will be using it for. Blows wet piles of leaves no problem too.:)
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  7. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    Sounds like a 500 would be a good fit for you. I have one and 90% of the work I do it is fine. Fall cleanup is a little slower but no big deal.
  8. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,758

    So, since these Stihl 4-Mix run on mixed gas and the oil is being burned...why would someone smell different after using it as compared to a 2-stroke? Seems that only a 4-cycle engine that has an oil sump and runs on straight gas wouldn't smell.
  9. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,752

    No such thing as overkill!! If you can swing for the BR600, get it!! I love mine. If I had to do it over, I would buy it again.

    THIESSENS TLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 892

    Ya, forgot to mention that and totally agree with you. Its the same as any other 2 still smells! And smokes! It has 4 stroke technology in the engine. Its not a true 4 stroke. There are valves that need adjusting every 100hrs or so....whenever it starts getting hard to start basically.
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