Leaf Blowers

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Will be purchasing one. Live in New England. Question is the type. I have come to the conclusion that hedge trimmers etc. powered by rechargeable batteries just never seem to have enough oooomph for the job, even when fully charged. Does anyone take exception to that?
I'm torn between an electric blower, run by AC current via a long extension cord (I hate the thought of dragging this around) or a gasoline powered blower ( not one with the motor transported on my back but with the motor in the unit itself). Wife won't use a gasoline powered one (can't start it, period) and wants the electric cord powered one. I want power and convenience. I guess I'm OK with getting gas/oil ratios, changing plugs, etc., etc. if that is what is requiered to have a powerful unit and not drag cords all around, what's one more small engine to fool around with....ugh..
Question is: Can I get an AC powered unit that has enough power to do the job (half acre lawn, lot of pine needles and oak leaves) and put up with the inconvenience of dragging the cord or should I go to gasoline powered machine? First of all, I want something that works, secondly which is more convenient if either type of machine works.
After answering above question, how much wind speed, air flow in cfm, ? get one that works as vacuum machine or not, etc., do you recommend. Brand, model recommendations/warnings appreciated.
Thanks. I've had enough of lawn care for this year but I've got to do it and want to get it overwith :)
Chet\\
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CGB wrote:

I had an electric one for several years. The air speed rating was higher than any of the gasoline options. I liked it just fine until I started doing other people's yards. Dragging a cord around damaged their flowers and such, and I couldn't be sure there was an available outlet.
When it died, I replaced it with an attachment for my Troy-Bilt trimmer--one of the interchangeable kind. It's not as easy to hold, but I have only one motor to worry about.
For half an acre, you'll do fine with an electric model. Just don't drag the cord through the petunias.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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SteveBell wrote:

Mostly agree- for a small lot, electric is fine. The vacuum attachment on mine is useless for picking up more than one leaf at a time. The blower function is great- use it for leaves, gutter cleaning, dry snow less than 2 inches, etc. Toro black 60-buck Borg model, 3 years of heavy abuse, and works fine. When it craps out, I'll buy another just like it. Yes, the cords are a pain, but I'd rather hassle with that then the care and feeding of another small engine.
-- aem sends...
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Electric advantage not mentioned in thread is that you can clean out garage or even car without stinking gas fumes. Also, you do not need to change stinky clothes after using.
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Brings back memories of Bill Murray in Caddy Shack.
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I wonder if he's still alive. That boy was FUNNY!
--
Christopher A. Young
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I've had a Toro electric ($70 or so) for five years now. Great machine. We chop the leaves with it and dump the bag in oversize trash can liners from Sams'. They go to a friend who is a composting demon. Our yard looks fabulous and his garden is spectacular. Synergism at work. When the Toro dies it will be replaced by another one. Everything just works.
Joe
Joe.
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I've got the Toro as well. There are a few models that are very similar near the top of the line. The one you want is the variable speed model with the METAL impeller. It may be called Ultimate or something like that. You don't really need variable speed, but that comes with the best machine. One other advantage I've found is that the Toro is much better balanced and you won't get a backache after an hour. Just hold it in the position where it naturally falls with your arm hanging down while standing up straight.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote in wrote:

Must be the same one I have. Definitely metal impeller if it's a vac. The variable speed is more a dial than a selector. About 10 speeds. That low speed does get used in like corners of places where I don't want all the crap blowing back in my face.
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wrote:

I mentioned the metal impeller, because that's one of the features that makes it easy to select the "good" model. The one with the metal impeller is overall better than the very similar model with the plastic impeller. The price is close enough, and the packaging is close enough that's it's easy to go home with the inferior model. I think one is called "super" and one is called "Ultimate". When I bought mine, I had researched it online. At the store, there were a lot of the plastic impeller model on the display, and since it was about the right price, I was almost fooled. In looking for a carton with less damage, I found ONE of the metal impeller models behind all the plastic ones, for $8 more.
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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote in wrote:

Here it is Salty. It's called Toro Ultra Blower Vac Model 51598. Shows at O_Borg but not B-Borg.
# Infinitely variable air control # Metal impeller for mulching
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId051&langId=-1&catalogId053&productId0091571
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Mow and bag seems to me to provide superior results and be the lesser of all them associated evils. -----
- gpsman
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Toro 51591 @ loe's for $49 or so. Blows 230 MPH and handles blowing anything. Plus vacuums and shreds too.

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Leaf blowers aren't very expensive. Get a gasser for yourself, an electric for the missus. Consumer Reports rated them a while back and as you said, the electrics are kind of underpowered.
I have an Echo hand-held gasser that's pretty good and been very reliable.
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We have one and all our neighbors have them.... We all have 1/4 acre of trees of oak and pine.. They are electric with long extensions on them.
shirleyann
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Please consider my Dad's solution. Mow the leaves in place, and leave them to rot. No sense taking all the minerals and nitrogen out of your soil every year. And sending all those minerals to the landfill.
--
Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

My sentiments, too. Plant some azaleas and rhododendrons and use leaves/needles for mulch. Free plant food, gorgeous plants.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Some people have way too many leaves for that.
--
Claude Hopper :)

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wrote:

I don't understand that. My 6.5 hp mower will occasionally have trouble mulching tall soggy grass, but ONLY IF I let grass muck build up under the deck. I never have trouble either mulching or bagging any amount of leaves. Bagging is really easy for the mower, and is probably a good idea for acidic oak leaves.
Plus, mowers are quieter and less annoying than a cheap, smokey, whiny 2-stroke blower. The lesson: take the money you would spend on a blower, and save it for a quality, powerful, bagging/mulching mower.
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That works great with a reasonable amount of leaves. But if you have a heavily wooded area, mulching up all the leaves will result in so much mulch that it smoothers the grass and kills it. I mulch when I can, but still need to use a blower.
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