It's OK but.......
Have used this machine for 18 months now after using Shindaiwas, Husky, Kawasaki and an Efco.
It's a light, smaller machine and comfortable to wear. It starts easily and like many Stihls, when you turn it off, the switch automatically goes back to the start/run position so you're never pulling the cord only to realise the switch is still in the off position. It also has a throttle lock.
That's where it stops for me.
This machine doesn't have the same blowing power (but you get used to it) as the Shindaiwas and the Efco that I've used. They are more powerful with the Efco coming out on top (even though on paper the Shindaiwas should be). But they are also heavier machines.
The Stihl has a throttle lock but it's frustrating to use. Many a time when you disengage the throttle lock you inadvertently turn the machine off so you have to take the blower off to re-start it etc. My workmates have the same problem so don't use the throttle lock to avoid the frustration.
Parts of the machine were prone to cracking if not treated gently eg the grab handle at the top.
It does start easily but in the heat of Summer it was a different story and was troublesome to start. Very frustrating.
The machine is OK ...light and easy to use (other than the throttle lock) but it's no powerhouse. For the money I'd buy something else.
Update November 2017
Latest version of this model comes with an extendable tube. It is very handy. The only problem is that it's heavy and when you're blowing for an hour plus it is noticeable. But it's a good feature.
I ended up buying a backpack blower for myself.....a Shindaiwa EB803RT.....couldn't go past its power/blowing advantage for similar price.
Purchased this machine around 6 months ago and has not missed a beat since day one.
Quite simply the most powerful wearable blower on the market and surprisingly fuel efficient running at 50:1 fuel / oil mix.
Autumn leaves, grass clippings, dirt, sand, pebbles, on a rainy day? Not a problem, this will move anything you want moved. I look after a lot of larger properties most with long meandering driveways, some even pebble. Clients love clean pathways and driveways and this does the trick, doing what my older handheld blower did in a 1/4 of the time. But be careful, its strong enough to blow the pebbles around with ease.
Not sure of the weight of the competition, but this adds around 10kg's to you when worn. Straps are very well padded though and you shouldn't feel the added weight too much.
No problems thus far with very regular use. Some might forget that its 50:1 fuel ratio or choose to run 25:1 fuel through it. As painful as it might be to carry yet another fuel container do it. Anything richer and the carburettor will block up and cause problems like it would with any other machine.
Power, Economical, Power, Comfortable, POWER.
It's expensive. But in this case you get what you pay for.
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