Pros: The best most reliable backpack blower in it's class.
Cons: A bit on the heavy side. Throttle switch susceptible to moisture.
The PB-755 is one serious machine!
If you're looking for the biggest and baddest backpack blower on the market then read on. I chose the Echo PB-755H because I haven't found a better machine yet that will hold up to everyday commercial use. I typically buy 2 at a time to replace my older units before I start having problems. I've tried all the makes and models listed below (except the Shindaiwa) and I'm quite pleased with the Echo. The PB-755 has been around about 5 years or so and is currently Echo's largest backpack blower available.
I'll usually keep them a year to 18 months then sell them while they're still in good running condition. I personally prefer the PB-755H or "H" version (hip) over the "T" or (tube) throttle because I find it much more productive. I like to "whip" the air tube about as this gives me more control over the debris I'm moving. The tube or PB-755"T" can get a bit tiring. Both however have the "cruise control" feature which is very handy.
Both of my PB-755's are used commercially for approximately 15-18 hours each per week. They run mostly at 3/4 throttle with fuel consumption on each unit being no more than 5 gallons of 2-cycle mix per week. I'm probably voiding my warranty by not using Echo's Power Blend® synthetic, but I've had no problems using a premium 50:1 oil from Husqvarna .
My experiences with this model have been the most trouble free of all. The only parts I've ordered in the last 4-5 years have been a back-rest pad and a set of straps. The parts were not replaced because of wear, they were replaced because of accidental damage. Other than gas and oil the PB-755H has been the most dependable unit I've ever owned. Because the carburetor has a fuel priming feature the PB-755 can start on the first pull.
Access to the air filter element is simple and takes just seconds. One of the PB-755's best features and which helps give the engine its longevity is the automotive-like air filter. As does a car or light truck the fiter consists of paper media and a rubberized housing. It's not only very large, it is extremely low maintenance as well. I can go an entire 18 months without replacing it. The spark plug is something I've only had to remove once every 6 months to clean and replace. Even after 18 months the appearance remains normal and not in need of replacement. The fuel filter is in the tank and can be a little tricky to remove but can and has lasted 12-18 months without replacing. You can always tell when the filter needs replacing as you notice the engine not achieving full throttle or when the RPM's drop.
The only problems:
If you leave your toy out in the rain it will more than likely get water into the throttle handles on/off switch and not start. If this happens you have to remove the plastic cover and dry off the metal contacts with compressed air. If you'll notice below the weight of the PB-755 is on the high end and I have no complaints until after an hour of use. As long as the straps are adjusted properly, it's really not that bad.
I really don't mind the noise as the decibels are quite tolerable. Due to the design of the PB-755, vibration is not a big issue. With a 63cc motor burning 2-cycle oil the smell can be more noticed with the wind at your back and at the same time the blower is at full throttle.
For residential use:
The first word that comes to mind for a blower of this caliber is "overkill". For the homeowner that wants nothing but the best equipment, wants the job done right and as quickly as possible I say without hesitation the "PB-755H". This isn't the lightest of the 6 nor is the PB-755 the most powerful. It is and has been the most durable and reliable. That's why they slap a 5 year warranty on it. I say take a trip to your nearest Echo dealer and have them fire one up. After it warms up take it to full throttle. If you're used to the smaller gas powered or electric blowers, I guarantee you'll be impressed.
Hands down the most popular with landscape and parking lot maintenance contractors everywhere, the PB-755H will be the best investment. If you have anyone in your employ with back problems the weight of the PB-755 may be a concern. Plus if you factor in the weight of fuel this adds another 3-4 lbs.
Echo PB-755H: 63.3cc, 625 cfm @ 205 mph, 26.2 lbs, 74dB
Tanaka TBL-7800: 65cc, 655 cfm @ 205 mph, 20.6 lbs, 73dB
Stihl BR-600: 64.8cc, 712 cfm @ 201 mph, 21.6 lbs, 75dB
RedMax EBZ8100: 71.9cc, 685 cfm @ 201 mph, 25.4 lbs, 77dB
Shindaiwa EB8510: 79.7cc, 762 cfm @ 224 mph, 24.5 lbs, 75dB (very new and untested)
Husqvarna 370BTS: 64.9cc, 565 cfm @ 198 mph, 26.5 lbs, 76dB
All priced around $500 except the Shindaiwa is a bit more. All with a 2 year commercial warranty (Echo 5yr residential), cfm measured at the pipe. (cfm=cubic feet minute) (dB=decibel). All are 2-cycle and CARB compliant (California Air Resources Board)
In the box:
I recommend making your purchase from an authorized Echo dealer. You'll get one that's been assembled then 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.
Buying tip: volume + velocity=
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. 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-755HC
Warranty (PDF): http://www.echo-usa.com/5year/pdf/ECHO_Warranty_Chart_2009.pdf
Website and warranty details: http://www.echo-usa.com
Need something smaller? ECHO PB-265L