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Gas blowers are bigger and faster, but also louder

Gas leaf blowers are fast and powerful, making them a top choice for homeowners who need to handle wet leaves and heavy debris or to clean up large properties. Maintaining a gas engine takes more work than an electric motor: They require regular servicing and winterization in the offseason, and most run only with a precise mixture of gas and oil. However, users who need heavy-duty performance say the extra work is worth it.

When choosing a gas model, it's important to find one with good handling and reliability. Although there are no battery run times and power-cord lengths to deal with, "handhelds get uncomfortable after 45 minutes" because of their weight, says Sal Vaglica at This Old House.

Our Best Reviewed gas model, the Hitachi 23.9cc Handheld Blower (Est. $130) , stands out for its high-quality parts, excellent sweeping ability and ease of use. The model, which has a top airspeed of 170 mph, features a commercial-grade engine that meets California's tough air-quality standards. It also has a variable-speed trigger and large, two-finger throttle lever for easy operation, although it doesn't vacuum or mulch. It is relatively light at 8.6 pounds and has the longest warranty -- seven years -- of any blower model we found.

The 23.9cc Handheld Blower is among the models tested in ConsumerReport.org's comparative test of more than 50 models, and it earns a recommendation from Roy Berendsohn of Popular Mechanics, who says it has an effective airstream and can even move soggy debris and prickly seedpods. Similarly, the editors of 10rate.com name this model among their Top 10 leaf-blower picks, praising its low-emission engine and commending its ability to "handle large quantities of leaves, debris and grass clippings."

Among owners, the 23.9cc Handheld Blower earns a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars from nearly 625 reviewers on Amazon.com, as well as an average 4.7 out of 5 stars from nearly 170 reviewers on HomeDepot.com. Nearly 190 Lowes.com reviewers give it an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Users say it starts up easily, has good airflow and handles well, although some say the location of the inlet valve makes it prone to pull on clothing.

For those who want a gas-powered blower that also vacuums and mulches, the Husqvarna 125BVx (Est. $190) also gets top recommendations. It has a top airspeed of 170 mph and comes with an adjustable-length tube as well as flat and round tube tips so you can match the equipment to your task. The blower tube is lined up with the handle, which the company says puts less stress on the wrist and arm, and the variable-speed trigger locks, so you don't need to keep pulling on the trigger. It has a two-year warranty.

The Husqvarna 125BVx is included in the comparative test of more than 50 blowers conducted by ConsumerReports.org. It also earns praise from Sal Vaglica of This Old House, who says it's "excellent" at sweeping and "very good" at vacuuming. He also commends the unit's user-friendly design, but finds the impeller small. The model earns a Best Value designation from the editors at 10rate.com.

Among users, the Husqvarna 125BVx gets an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars from more than 270 reviewers posting to Lowes.com. Most say the unit sweeps and vacuums very effectively, and they like the comfortable handle. Some report breakdowns or clogs, and some complain that fuel lines can break after one or two seasons, but this is considered an easy fix for the mechanically inclined.

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Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2 Stroke 170 MPH Gas Powered Handheld Blower (CARB Compliant)
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from Amazon.com
New: $149.95 $139.00   
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Average Customer Review:  
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Husqvarna 125BVx 28cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered 170 MPH Blower/Vac With Smart Start
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from Amazon.com
New: $199.95   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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