First off, this is NOT a sponsored review and I am not getting compensated.
In the past we have had several leaf blowers. We have an electric handheld blower by Black and Decker called the Leaf Hog. Works great but our yard is very large and not only are you limited by the length of your extension cord but also the ability to hold the blower and move it back and forth without your arm and shoulder screaming to stop after 15 minutes. Works great but we needed more mobility and both of us have shoulder injuries that need surgery that we both refuse to have done.
We also have a handheld gas blower. It's an old Craftsman that performed well, but like I said, it is old, heavy, and really it's on it's last go around.
So we started talking backpack blower for several reasons. First off, we wanted to relieve the stress on our shoulders and we wanted a blower that was heavy duty to help with our fall and spring clean up. We realized this past spring that our more intensive than normal fall clean up really helped to shorten our spring clean up. We know that we will never eliminate a spring clean up all together but if we can speed it up.....yippee....we are all for that.
So I started our search online and we narrowed it down to two blowers, one of which was the Ryobi 185mph 510cc backpack blower. Home Depot had them in stock so we went and checked them out in person.
We chose the Ryobi because....
*it's fairly lightweight at a little over 18 pounds.
*had very good reviews.
*was reasonably priced.
So rather than buy it at the store, I ordered it online. More about that later.
How has it performed????
We are more than pleased. Assembly and start up were easy and straight forward. Since this is a two stroke engine, you need to add oil to the gasoline. Included in the box, was a small bottle of two stroke oil which is enough for 1 gallon of fuel. We chose not to use it and instead used the two stoke oil that we use in our Stihl chainsaw, since it is rated for up to 10,000 rpm and most bearings etc have a shear rating of around 3500 rpm before wear begins. Better safe than sorry. Friction is the enemy of internal combustion engines. Never go cheap when it comes to lubricants.
In the reviews, it was mentioned that the blower worked fine and then it was difficult to start. Remember that today's gasoline has a higher amount of ethanol than in the past. Great for fuel cost but for lawn equipment it is a no no. Always use premium gasoline.
R mixed the premium fuel with the Stihl two stroke oil and then filled the gas tank. The blower started on the second pull. Since then it has always started on the first pull when properly primed (R forgot to prime once).
Controls are easy to use and their location can be slightly adjusted for comfort.
The unit is not as loud as some of the blowers but all blowers are loud enough that you should use ear protection AND always use eye protection.
The backpack has several straps that you can adjust for comfort and fit. Do this before you actually start the unit. We have adjusted it twice before we actually found the best adjustment of the straps for R's needs.
The actual performance of the blower is more than we expected. R was able to blow the dirt along our curb into a pile in about 5 minutes. This is normally a chore that takes us an hour or more to sweep and shovel the dirt and debris into a cart. We have to do this twice a year and it is really a chore in the spring after the snow melts.
One piece of debris was a metal nut (1 inch in diameter 1/2 inch thick) that R said he was able to easily blow along the curb along with a couple chunks of asphalt.
We have a very long circle driveway. Sweeping the driveway can take hours. We used the blower to blow leaves, seed pods, twigs, and small walnuts into piles. Then we picked up the piles of driveway debris and was done in less than an hour.
Next, we used the blower to blow out leaves caught in and among the large lilac bushes and the fence. No problem getting the leaves out of the center of the bushes. Our lilacs have never looked as tidy as they do now.
Does the unit get hot on your back? It is a little warm after you use it for awhile but since it makes fast work of most jobs, that time is minimal. The only time you will be using it for long periods is in the fall when the weather is cooler and you will have a jacket on.
Have we both used it? Yes, but generally R uses it and I sweep or rake up. This is because I have asthma. Gasoline engine exhaust is a trigger for me. But it's no big deal because R enjoys using the leafblower.......LOL
Price? $199.00 at Home Depot
So why did you order online? Home Depot is one of the online stores offered on Ebates and I received a rebate of 1%. We used store pick up, so there was no shipping charge. We picked it up the next day.
You can sign up for Ebates using this link and I get credit and you get gift card for $10 once you have purchased $25 worth of merchandise from qualified stores. There are currently over 1800 online stores available for rebates on Ebates. Etsy just joined Ebates last month and currently eBay is 3% and but I have seen it as high as 6%.
Sometimes Home Depot has a coupon for 10% off so you can use that at checkout to get additional $$$ off the price.
The straps need to be wider for more comfort. The location of the straps fall right across the bust area on me (female 5'2"). We tried and tried to adjust it to fall differently but when we loosened the straps it felt like it was falling off my back. This location isn't as important for my husband but I would prefer a wider strap located lower across the upper abdomen rather than the narrower straps that were located higher. Possibly an additional strap closer to the waist might be a good idea, too.
Other than that we are both pleased with this purchase.
We hope to configure an attachment to blow out our eave troughs. I'll let you know what we come up with and how it works.
BTW I have read that some people use their leaf blowers to blow light dustings of snow. I know it's a little too early to talk snow but we are going to give it a try. I'll let you know how it performs in the snow department. Actually, I hope it doesn't snow but that is wishful thinking.
Speaking of snow.....I read that Boston still has piles of snow that haven't melted yet. EGADS!!!!