Stihl vs Echo Backpack Blower

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by w2kr, Nov 6, 2001.

  1. w2kr

    w2kr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I read with great interest the thread on Stihl backpack blowers,, but I'd like to take the discussion a bit further.

    I'm currently considering three backpack blowers.

    The first is an Echo BP-403 that costs $399 at Home Depot. It has a 44 cc engine and a nozzle speed of 380 CFM at 175 MPH.

    I also saw two Stihl models at a Honda dealer, the BR340, 44.9 cc, 435 CFM at 162 MPH for $299 and a BR420, 56.5 cc, 476 CFM at 180 MPH for $399.

    Notice that the Echo costs nearly $100 more than the Stihl BR340 and its specifications are slightly inferior (I think).

    I need help here because obviously other factors such as comfort and reliability, etc are important here. Unfortunately, the internet doesn't offer much in information to help me out.

    Why's the Echo so expensive? Is it the fact it has a 2 year commerical warranty and the others don't?

    Is the Echo 403 comparable to one of the Stihl models? Which model actually has the best blowing capability?

    What do you recommend?

  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    First, Home Depot may not always be your best bet for equipment purchases. Just because they are starting to stock more "major brands", it is not always in your best interest. Many of times, their prices are lower, but many of times, because they only stock "this particular model" or "that particular model" of certain brand names, their purchasing discount isn't all that great. Take string trimmers for an example. Sure they carry Echo trimmers, but what model of Echo ARE they? Usually not a suitable one for commercial use. This is why many of times, you're better off just to go to a dealer where you can find the particular model that's a bit more suited for your needs. Also, another (and large factor) to consider is service. If you have a problem or a question about your new piece of equipment, or something that perhaps needs some minor adjusting, who is going to take care of this for you? The 18 year old kid who doesn't know anymore about this stuff (or probably less) than you? Oh yeah, I need some parts too. What? You don't CARRY new headspools for this trimmer I purchased here? No gascaps? A dealer is about always your best bet, not just for price, for service, for parts, for initial setup, but also for knowledge on what works best for your investment. Shop around, and hit an Echo dealer. I'm sure you'll find, pound for pound, penny for penny, a dealer will probably be able to match most prices you come up with from any HD. He'll also not only have your parts too, but he MAY just have a model you like more or is better suited for you.;)
  3. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    I used to work at home cheapo and runner is right about parts and warranty for the brands that they sell, for the most part. heaven help you if you need warranty work. it'll get done but no telling when you'll see the blower again.

    you'd be better off paying more money buying from a guy that appreciates your business like a smaller dealer.

    as for your choices of blower, just remember this...size matters. that is to say the amount of air and mph. more is better which means you should probably check out som of the even bigger blowers before you plunk down your hard earned money.

    I'm happy with my br-400 and I recommend that unit. but I don't know about the 420. good luck.

  4. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    I second what the other guys said. I have had both Br 400's, and Echo. If you go to a echo dealer, you can get a better line, ie 601-603 series. They are more powerful then the BR 400. I have the caged design to take more abuse. I think it is noticeably stronger then the BR 400's I have had. Echo makes a bigger blower called a 650, which is even supposed to be stronger. I like my protective cage! Go to a dealer, cus if you need it fixed and take it to one, be prepared to wait a long time if you did not by it from that dealer!

  5. w2kr

    w2kr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I agree with all the comments made that a dealer and his support is very important. That will sure play a major factor in my decision. Besides, Home Depot isn't a bargain on the Echo anyway.

    But what about the key questions here. Does anyone have any experience with the Echo 403? I still need to decide whether the Stihl or the Echo is the best choice. Which one can move leaves best?
  6. strickdad

    strickdad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 544

    keep checking around we just got a price on a echo pb603 for 380.00 so i think you can get a better unit than the 403 for the same price..
  7. Martino

    Martino LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,788

    First of all, blowers are rated by 2 stats: cfm (amount of air being moved, measured in cubic feet/minute) and mph(speed of air being moved.) Both stats taken together is what determines the power a blower has. The PB 403 moves air at 175 mph and the BR 340 at 162 mph. While Stihl has more volume, it is not moving that air as fast as the Echo. Some people will tell you that volume is the only thing to look at when comparing blowers....this is wrong. It is the proper combination of the 2 stats that makes a powerful blower. Imagine water flowing from a garden hose (sans nozzle.) Lots of water, right? Not a very good tool, though. Now put your thumb halfway over the end of the hose. Now you have less water moving at a higher speed, but a better clean-up tool. I know it is confusing, but I believe that manufacturers want it that BTW, the 403 is more comparable to the BR420 in operation. The Echo PB 260L is more comparable to the 340....and lighter too. I believe HD sells this model for $299.
  8. littlepopelp

    littlepopelp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

  9. KDJ

    KDJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    A dealer near me has the ECHO 6000 back pack blower.
    They are discontinued but new in the box.
    He has seven of them for 335.00 ea
    Think I might get one, seems like a goog deal?
  10. Wayne Offiler

    Wayne Offiler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 113

    I bought one of these last Fall, though they had come out with 603 and 605 models. I happen to like the separate throtle control. rather than built into the tube handle. I'm pleased with it. 195 mph and 440 cfm (end of tube) are adequite for my purposes. I mostly mulch leaves into a good collection system. Also use a Little Wonder 8 hp push blower. So, max. output in a backpack was not a major consideration. If it was, I would take a close look at the new Echo PB650.
    One thing I can say about my PB600 and all Echo products: Start always on first or second pull, and run smoothly at all rpm's

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