Comfortable and Powerful
May 22, 2002 (Updated Mar 28, 2011)
Review by Michael Stielau
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Well-balanced, comfortable to use, low vibration, relatively light-weight, powerful blower
Cons:Small gas tank, unusual air filter design
The Bottom Line: This is a nice product. Easy to use, comfortable and easy to handle, powerful, and has low vibration. The price is on par with other hand-held blowers.
I purchased this blower as an alternative to the Homelite VacAttack blower I had purchased a week or so before (which I've since returned). I was drawn to this model because it was the most powerful hand-held model I could find, claiming a 205 MPH airspeed and a 16:1 mulching ratio.
Recommend this product?
My primary use for this blower is to clean up the sidewalks and driveway after cutting the lawn. I will also probably use it to vacuum leaves out of the flower beds in the fall and mulch them. (For the vast majority of leaves in my lawn, I just grind them up with my mulching lawn mower - sooo much easier!!)
I've found this blower to be very comfortable to use. Compared to the Homelite VacAttack I first purchased, this blower is well-balanced, has very little vibration in the handle, and is easy to maneuver. It has plenty of blowing power - much more than the electric Craftsman blower I've been using for years.
The only drawbacks I can find are that the gas tank capacity is kind of small - providing only about 20 minutes of operation at full throttle - and the tank opening is situated such that if your aim with the nozzle isn't perfect, you'll get gas all over the blower. (Maybe I should use a funnel.) Also, the air filter design is kind of hokey, but I guess it works OK.
I've found this exact same design of blower available from several different manufacturers including Sears, Poulan-Pro, and WeadEater - all for about the same price. For the most part, the only difference that I can see is the color. However, the 79734 model from Sears has the addition of a couple of metal blades on the plastic impeller, which could make it more durable if it picks up a stick or something hard. I have not seen these extra blades on the models from the other manufacturers.
Probably highest compliment I can give to this product is that it just works. It does exactly what you expect it to do, it does it well, and it does it without the little annoyances that taint the usefulness of many pretty-good products.
Update May 2005
It's been three years since I wrote this review, and I'm please to report that my opinion of this blower has not changed. It works as well today as the first day I took it out of the box. Even after being stored all winter, it still starts in the same number of pulls as when it gets frequent use. I sheepishly admit that I've never cleaned or replaced the spark plug or air filter, nor drained the gas over the winter (I do use a gas stabilizer), but the blower doesn't seem to hold it against me. ;-)
Update November 2007
It's been another two and a half years since my last update, and a total of 5 and a half years that I've owned this blower, and I am happy to report that nothing has changed in the performance of the blower or in my opinion of it. It still starts readily and runs reliably, despite the fact that I am just as lazy about maintenance.
Update March 2011
OK - it has been about 9 years since I purchased this blower, and it is still going strong (after a couple of repairs). Mechanically, the blower still runs as good as new. However, I have found that the weakest component in this blower (as well as my 2-cycle string trimmer, by another manufacturer) is the fuel line. A couple of years ago, the blower stopped running, and I was not able to get it going again. I took it apart and found that the fuel line that sits in the fuel tank had rotted out and broken. But this isn't what caused it to stop running, at least at first. The fuel filter is attached to the end of the fuel line in the tank, and the fuel line broke at the point where the fuel filter attaches to it, but it was still drawing gas OK. But since the fuel was no longer being filtered, junk from the tank was getting sucked into the carb, which clogged its internal filter screen, and THAT is why the blower stopped running. I took apart the carb and cleaned the filter screen (a fairly easy job if you are comfortable working on things) and replaced the fuel line. After that, the blower ran like new again. I expect that the fuel line will rot out again in a few years, but at least now I know how to fix it. The rest of the blower is still in good shape. I think I still have the original spark plug in there.
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