Need A Quality Blower/Vac Unit

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  #1  
Old 05-17-07, 08:31 PM
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Need A Quality Blower/Vac Unit

Hi, I live on a .6 acre lot with 7 large trees and last fall was a real pain constantly raking. My wife and I both agreed that we needed a power solution to the issue. I know the lot is small, but I must have raked it 10x last fall.

We want something that can get in between the landscaping, so the mower-style units are out for us. We also can't store something with a footprint.

We're looking at handheld units, but the backpack units would be okay as well, especially if they have more power.

Budget is largely open, but we'd like to save $$ if it doesn't come at the expense of performance.

We do have 2 large sweetgum trees that leave those little spiked balls all over the lawn. Whatever unit we buy would need to not jam when sucking these up/mulching.

The ideal would be a strong blower that easily converts to vac/mulch mode.

Suggestions?
 
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  #2  
Old 05-17-07, 11:18 PM
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I generally reccomend Stihl, Echo, and the higher end Husquvarnas to folks who are looking for the best quality and performance. There are other good products out there but parts and service is spotty (Like robin, shindaiwa, and others). I think Echo and Stihl usually get the nod when the landscaper companies are buying blowers.

I know about those little sweetgum balls you're talking about. I really don't know if the vacuum would handle those well or not. The only times I've used a vacuum were just when I was trying to get up leaves. It's not the best for that because the bag fills pretty quickly. Someone else here might be able to tell you how it will handle the sweetgum balls.
 
  #3  
Old 05-17-07, 11:35 PM
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Yeah, those sweetgum balls are the real wildcard.

The Echo units (ES-230, ES-210) seem to get good reviews, but they have lower torque and I'm betting thats a bad thing for chopping up hard things.

The Poulan $100 unit (BVM200LE) also has good reviews and I'm starting to lean toward it just b/c I'm thinking its the first vac I'll own and my intended use may be considered abuse. If I kill it I might not be as upset, and it's got good specs.

Stihl seems to be the ticket for max power and durability, but at $260 the SH 85D may be more something to buy AFTER I'm sure I need a more powerful unit.

Any more advice? I certainly have little experience with this stuff.
 
  #4  
Old 05-18-07, 02:50 AM
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Since your budget seems not to be limited, do yourself a favor and make your first purchase your last. Buy quality! For me, I like and own Echo but what you buy should be affected by the fact that you have a local, independent servicing dealer in your area. If you buy a Stihl but there is no dealer closer than an hours drive then you should go with the Echo, and vice/versa.
 
  #5  
Old 05-18-07, 06:09 AM
Azis
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I agree with Puey that if you are going to invest at all, do so once. Especially important with smaller equipment like blowers will be service and warranty and Storage and Preventative maint. on your part as well. I would also recommend Echo or Stihl, and that you purchase locally. Give it all your gonna give it the first year while the warranty is good. Another reason I recommend buying it locally from a dealer who services the same, is this type of equipment can be hard to find someone to work on it. Most shops hourly rates are 1/2 to 3/4 what you would pay new for that Poulan.
 
  #6  
Old 05-18-07, 04:30 PM
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Unfortunately I don't think any of the handheld vacuums will work on the sweetgum balls, you need a highlift blade on your lawnmower for those things or rake them, they are such a pain. I had my tree remove because of them and it was a beautiful tree 32" diameter 70ft tall. I tried a handheld vac and the feature of the vac that that was suppose to shred leaves just chews the spines off the sweetgum balls and jams. Have a good one. Geo
 
  #7  
Old 05-19-07, 04:20 AM
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Phew, I Googled Sweetgum trees and I'll say that I'm glad they're not in my neck of the woods. They sound like an absolutely beautiful tree but I wouldn't want the mess that goes with them!!!!
 
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