Pros:Above average performance and comes with a 5 year warranty.
Cons:A little cold-blooded, takes about a minute before it will run without the choke.
The Bottom Line: If you need more power and versatility than your electric blower, you won't be disappointed with the Echo PB-265
My leaf blower has cruise control?
Recommend this product?
I feel the PB-265 is a perfect gas powered leaf blower for the average homeowner. If you're looking for something with a little more output and versatility than an electric blower, I think you will be satisfied. The PB-265 will not only tackle tough jobs around the house, it will do so with more versatility and ease. After several hours of use and consuming less than 40 ounces of fuel, I'm quite certain I made the right choice. The blower maintains throttle speed without your hand or thumb on the hip throttle lever. At full speed the PB-265 is rated @ 135 MPH, 355 CFM (cubic feet per minute) and is fine for open areas like patios and stairwells, but not good enough for getting underneath a parked car. Same with wet bulky leaves, I recommend getting a bigger model. There is a curved tube end accessory available but I warn you, due to the force of air flow, using it will tire your arm quickly.
I should mention the output tube is just under 48 inches with the final output diameter @ 2.5 inches. This is comparable to the larger models but explains the lower 135 MPH velocity. I noticed less of an exhaust smell and barely any oil smoke from the 2-cycle mix.
Bang for the buck:
Due to its light weight of less than 14 lbs, plus sufficient air volume output, for it's small size the PB-265 has to be Echo's best performer. The performance combined with a mere 65 decibel sound level rating you won't upset the neighbors either. Some communities have restrictions simply with the usage of gas powered leaf blowers, some have limits on decibel output. The PB-265 should comply with the strictest standards set by your local officials.
What I like most about the PB-265:
The hip throttle is much better than the tube-throttle versions. You get much easier movement of airflow with less arm fatigue. To date this has to be my most efficient quietest blower purchase yet. It's also very easy to start with 2 pulls or less. The easy to see-through 21 ounce fuel tank makes refilling practically spill-proof. Compared to the previous model PB-260 & PB-261, the 265 has been improved with a swiveling elbow pipe. Before there was a fixed non-swiveling one.
The PB-265's competition:
The Husqvarna 125BT is almost identical in performance yet is priced approximately 15% less. The reason I did not choose this model was it lacked durability and overall quality. I felt the Husqvarna 125BT would not survive a hit or if dropped you would need to replace either the air cleaner housing or engine shroud. I've owned several other Husqvarna blowers in the past and this model is no different. If you're just wanting to spend less money the 125BT will do fine but parts and unpredictable "no-starts" or breakdowns aren't worth it to me. What I really dislike about the 125BT is the "tube throttle" The Husqvarna 125BH (H=hip) is currently unavailable to me. Oh, did I mention Husqvarna has only a 1 year warranty?
The RedMax EBZ300-RH is another similar decent performer yet slightly louder @69db. Comes with Standard 2 year warranty. The problem I have with the RedMax is the "tube-throttle" only and the dealer is 12 miles away. He says compared to the Echo line he only stocks certain parts such as spark plugs and air cleaners. Say if lose a gas cap or the little o-ring inside, it's about 3-5 days. The EBZ300-RH is well built, runs fine and it's priced about $20 less than the Echo PB-265.
The Poulan PBP300. I took a good 60 second look at this $150 blower and decided to pass. I honestly think you'll be very disappointed with your purchase in a short period of time. Enough said.
Echo's 5 year residential Warranty: (by exclusively using ECHO Power Blend oil)
A few years back on a PB-260 I needed to repair my blower which was within the warranty period. My carburetor needed a new diaphragm (fuel pump) and was not covered. You have to read the fine print. Emission related parts were limited to only 2 years, today it's now 5 for residential owners and 2 for commercial end users. That's overall better than before and 3 years longer than the competition.
Echo is better overall:
Throughout the years I've noticed Echo blowers have continued to evolved more and more into "user friendly" machines. Increased comfort has been a major consideration with all of my last dozen or so backpack blower purchases and Echo shines here. For those using the PB-265 for longer than usual durations this little 13 pounder won't strain your back. The PB-265 is the smallest of the bunch in Echo's backpack line. With the easily adjustable straps it will fit the XXXL person down to the ambitious 4 foot tall 8 year old. I consider this particular model the most versatile.
In the box:
If you buy these from an authorized Echo dealer you will get one that's been gassed, tested for at least a minute and ready to go. I prefer getting mine in a sealed box. Takes less than 5 minutes to install the hose ends with the 2 worm gear clamps and connect the plastic twist-lock air tubes. Echo use to include a spark-plug screw-driver combo wrench. Not any more, or at least not included in my last 2 Echo blower purchases. You do get a little bottle of Echo 2-cycle oil, enough to make 1 gallon of mix. I also did not get a parts book but did receive an owner's manual.
Some Echo purchasing history:
Through my last 30 years in the commercial property maintenance industry I've purchased at least 60 back-pack leaf blowers, mostly Echo. As a homeowner I've chosen the smaller versions that Echo sells and commercially we rely on the powerful PB-755. The Echo line has been the most reliable and longest lasting than any other make or model. Stihl makes the best chainsaw but their blowers "suck". My last RedMax was OK until an unexplained engine seizure. It was caused by a loose piece of metal from the muffler. Husqvarna is lower priced but when things start to unexpectedly fall apart, usually just after the warranty runs out, you'll wish you went with an Echo.
It's not just how fast the air is rated, it's how much and how fast. Some blowers are rated at 215-230 MPH but don't give the CFM rating. My sneeze is probably rated at 210 MPH but it can't blow leaves off my patio. If provided in the specifications, try adding the 2 (MPH & CFM) together to get a true value and performance of the blower.
Note: Depending where you live, say California, this model will have a "C" at the end. PB-265LC
Website (PB-265): http://www.echo-usa.com/product.asp?Model=PB-265L&Category=POWERBLOWER
Warranty (PDF): http://www.echo-usa.com/5year/pdf/ECHO_Warranty_Chart_2009.pdf
Thanks for reading. I'll be reviewing the PB-500 and the PB-755 shortly.