The Leaf Hog: It blows, it sucks, but all in a good way.

Oct 17, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Really moves the leaves along and picks them up.

Cons:Hard to use in corners, the impeller and bag wear out over time.

The Bottom Line: Older model.  Good buy for the money.  If used, make sure impeller is in good shape.  I'm happy with it, and would purhase a more recent model.

The Background  
Living here in the north east, one gets to enjoy the splendor of fall, when the leaves turn from lushes green, to brilliant gold, crimson, orange, and fire red, and eventually crunchy brown.  People flock from all over the country and even the world to see our fall foliage.  The highlight is on "fall", because all of those leaves do fall eventually, and need to be cleaned up afterwards.

Raking works, but it's tough to get into some of those tight areas under trees and bushes. And it's a bit of a hassle to get those leaves shoveled into a can or yard waste bag.  And, it's usually windy during this time of the year anyway, which complicates the process.

So, over the years, I've tried a few different methods.  I had a DR Wood Chipper with a vacuum attachment that worked pretty well, but it was too large for what we needed. I've stayed away from gas powered leaf blowers due to cost, and usually the inability to vacuum.  I've tried a Toro Electric leaf blower that I wasn't too happy with. Finally, I found the Black and Decker Leaf Hog.  I'm on my second one by now, and will probably buy another one when this one wears out (more on that later).

Details About The Product  
The Black and Decker BV2500 is an older model.  It is a 120V AC electric leaf blower/vacuum, so you'll need a cord and an outlet near by.  It has the ability to switch from blowing to vacuuming fairly easy, but you do need to swap the housing that surrounds the impeller.  That is accomplished by way of a push button latch, which also turns off the motor as a safety feature.  Caution: The impeller takes about 30 seconds to 1 minute to stop spinning.  If you attempt to remove and replace the housing while it is still turning you could damage the impeller or risk injury to yourself or others nearby.  

The on-off switch is located on the handle, and takes a bit of a push to operate.  I have found that it is easy to pinch your thumb in the opening of the on-off switch, so be careful there too.  Hopefully that's something that has been fixed on later models.  The impeller is a hard plastic material with blades intended to chop up leaves and small twigs.  It does a good job in this regard, but does tend to wear down over time when subjected to harder, larger objects such as acorns and small rocks that can get sucked up into the machine.

The leaf blower attachment has a tube that is about 3" in diameter and comes in 2 sections that snap together.  There is an orange sliding air by-pass selector at the housing outlet that allows the user to reduce the air velocity.  This is useful for use around delicate plants and probably mulch that is a little heavier than leaves.

The vacuum attachment has a much larger tube than the blower attachment.  It also has an outlet port with a ¼ turn style attachment flange used to attach the bag or the leaf collection system (BV-006) which will be the subject of another review.  The leaf bag has a zipper in the back and is pretty easy to dump into a trash can or lawn waste bag, but does have its draw backs (more on that later).  The leaf bad also has a shoulder strap to support the weight as it fills up with leaves and twigs.

How Well Does It Work?  
I've been very happy with the Black and Decker Leaf Hog, as attested to by my purchase of a second one.   Over the course of the fall, we usually have about 30 to 40 bags of leaves and yard waste that we dispose of.  This helps to reduce the over all volume by making the pieces smaller and easier to compact.  Keep in mind that when either blowing or vacuuming, this works best when the leaves are fairly dry.  I try to wait until at least mid morning or afternoon to allow the moisture to dry off a bit. I usually use fall as an opportunity to get my generator out and use that to power the electric leaf blower just to make sure it's ready to go for winter.  So that works pretty well, I just drag that electrical outlet to whatever corner of the yard I'm working in.

The blower works very well to loosen leaves out of the grass, and move them to a central pile. However, it takes a bit of finesse to get under the leaves in a pile and move them along.  My main problem with blowing is that it's impossible to blow leaves out of a corner with this product because the exit is parallel to the tube.  Other brands have a curve at the bottom of the blower tube.  The air bypass works well to reduce the velocity of the air, which you will find especially helpful around delicate plants.  As the impeller begins to wear over time, the air velocity does drop off, hence my need to buy a replacement.  I think the first one lasted about 3 or 4 years, and I have about 2 or 3 on the current one.

The vacuum works very well too.  The bag acts as a filter of sorts.  Allowing the air to escape, while retaining the leaf and twig debris.  But when you vacuum over very dry or dusty soil, you will feel like Pig Pen, of Charlie Brown fame, walking around in a cloud of dust, because that is not filtered out.  I did have a problem with the zipper on the bag, and had to replace it.  And you will also notice the bag begins to fray were the debris impinges directly on it for the exhaust port.  In steps the leaf collection system, which consists of an 8 foot hose and an apron with a draw string that attaches to your trash can.  That allows you to deposit all of the debris right into a trashcan.  I will be reviewing that accessory shortly.  Suffice it to say, if you take nothing else from the review, you owe it to yourself to look into the BV-600.

My Recommendation
I have been happy with this Black and Decker Leaf Hog leaf blower.  It does most of what I need.  It does have its drawbacks.  But for the cost and convenience, I think it's a good value for the money.  I would recommend this to my friends and epinion visitors.  But cleaning up around the yard takes its toll on owners and equipment.  Just realize that this may only last you for about 3-5 years before you need a replacement. 

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