LEHR 4-Stroke Propane Powered 25cc Eco Blower/Vac - Review
We're sure you're sitting there thinking, "why the eff are these morons reviewing a leaf blower in spring?" There's an answer to that. First off, LEHR sent us this blower to review back in October (we think). At the time, we tested it out quite a bit, but it started snowing before we could get our review posted up, so we packed up the LEHR and there it sat, in the corner of the garage, for the past number of months. That is until last weekend when we decided to burn some brush.
The brush pile we were dealing with was freshly cut and very green so the flame need some 'encouragement.' We were starting to get frustrated with it, but then we remembered the LEHR Eco Blower and off we went to the garage. If you've never directed a leaf blower on a struggling flame, it's a sight to see. Within about 20 seconds, we went from something you wouldn't even toast marshmallows over to a flame that could probably be seen from outer space. Now, this isn't a manufacturer-recommended use for the blower, but it's one that comes in handy from time to time.
And in our case, the LEHR was the only one of our blowers that could have handled the task. Because it's propane-powered, there was no painful and time-consuming gassing up process and because it's cordless, we didn't have to run 500 feet of extension cord. We just grabbed the blower, screwed in the fuel tank, gave it two pulls and got right into the pyrotechnics. Basically, if it wasn't for the LEHR, we would still be standing out there, watching the little flame smolder on.
With this long-forgotten tool in our hands, we dug through the computer and found the review we had written way back when during leafier times. It is as follows:
Like the Propane-Powered String Trimmer, the LEHR Eco Blower is equipped with a 4-cycle engine, which naturally makes it heavier than a 2-cycle. But because the Eco Blower is well-balanced and spent most if its time at the end of a hanging arm, the weight didn't matter so much to us. It's not like we were doing bench presses with it. At one point, it crossed our mind that the LEHR could use some kind of shoulder strap, but it would be too impractical with all the back and forth and switching of hands that we did. One interesting thing though, the air intake fan is situated on the side of the blower, so it would constantly suck our pants against the tool, causing the engine to strain a bit.
After using the LEHR for a while, we switched over to our Toro electric blower and at that point, we could feel a significant weight difference. But it's all what you're used to. Did the Lehr weight hinder us? No. So is it a problem? Not for us, but if arm strength is an issue or if you have a big lawn and you're getting a little gray around the gills, you'll want to at least consider the weight.
After blowing leaves into a number of large piles, we tested out the vacuum function of the tool. To make the switch, just remove the leaf blowing snout and click in a larger one to the side of the intake fan. It's about as complicated as switching functions on a ShopVac. Now, the leaves get sucked into the tool, the fan shreds them and they get exported out the blower port. To contain this leaf mist, the Lehr comes with a bag (complete with shoulder strap) that attaches to the blower port and collects the mulched leaves.
The Vac half of the Blower/Vac is the least successful of the two. From time to time, our leaves would clog up the vac, but the main problem we had was with the bag. The bag is black and because, when the fan is running, it's completely inflated, there's no way to know how full it is. We just got in the habit of guessing when it was filled up and after a bit we got good at it. But at about the fourth bag change we had a blowout on the bag, rendering it, and the vac function, pretty useless.
So our final verdict is that we're taking the blower half, but leaving the vac half. We've never seen much use for these little leaf vacs anyway (and we've never heard of anyone else using them). Just blow everything into a pile, rake it on a tarp and drag it into the woods. That's the easier way to do it. But the blower half is great. Lots of power, a real quick start up with no gas or mess, and easy long-term storage. Like we said earlier, it is a bit on the heavy side, but other than that, it's another great product from LEHR.
The LEHR goes for around $200, so there's a premium on the technology. Our Toro electric blower was about 1/3rd of that ($70) and high-quality gas blowers are around the $150 range.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 7, 2010 5:00 AM