Simplicity and power are the hallmarks of the Echo PB-500H backpack blower, according to professional and user reviews. Experts say this backpack blower handles easily, starts quickly, and is outstanding at both sweeping and loosening embedded debris. Owners report excellent performance with wet and dry leaves as well as pine needles and twigs. The model evenly distributes its weight for comfortable carrying, reviewers say. It has a relatively long, five-year warranty for homeowner use.
Blasts wet and embedded debris with ease. The Echo PB-500H's 50.8cc engine is larger than most, and pushes an average airflow of 450 cfm. In expert testing, it matches the strongest backpack blowers for sweeping and loosening power, and owners admire its top-notch performance on even soaking wet leaves. As one user puts it, the blower blasts though debris "like a hot knife through butter." We found almost no complaints about this model's performance, although it may be too powerful for delicate tasks. It also does not comply with California's strict air-pollution requirements, so cannot be sold in that state.
Simple to start and maneuver. Handling the Echo PB-500H is straightforward, even for first-time backpack blower users. "Anyone can start it, sling it on his back and start blasting leaves in seconds," says Roy Berendsohn at Popular Mechanics. He adds that the flexible control wand, which has the throttle mounted on it, is "so smart, you wonder why other manufacturers haven't copied the design." The PB-500H has a variable speed trigger, and the trigger lock lets you set a constant speed. While some find it heavy, others say the weight is well distributed on your shoulders. Its noise level is loud enough that you should wear hearing protection.
Extra-long warranty. At HomeDepot.com, some 96 percent of reviewers say they would recommend the Echo PB-500H. In fact, it's rare to find a gas-powered lawn tool with so few owner complaints of breakdowns. Several owners find the model durable; as one puts it, the PB-500H "started on first pull and has been running strong ever since." Like all gas-powered tools, the PB-500H requires maintenance, which includes checking, cleaning and/or replacing the cooling system, spark plug, fuel system, air filter and other parts according to the manufacturer's schedule. Echo's five-year consumer warranty exceeds the standard two-year coverage offered by most leaf-blower manufacturers.
The Echo PB-500H is among more than 50 models evaluated in this comprehensive leaf-blower test. Editors rate each model's performance at sweeping leaves, removing embedded leaf particles from the lawn, and vacuuming and mulching leaves. Handling and noise levels are also taken into account. Recommendations go to 23 models.
Review: Leaf Blowers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
The Echo PB-500H earns a rating of 4.5 out of 5 in this comparison test of five backpack-style leaf blowers. Roy Berendsohn admires its power, simplicity and easy start, and he says its flexible left control wand is "so smart, you wonder why other manufacturers haven't copied the design."
Review: Backpack Leaf Blower Comparison Test, Roy Berendsohn, Not Dated
The Echo PB-500H leaf blower earns an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from more than 120 owners posting to HomeDepot.com. The vast majority recommends it, raving that it starts quickly with little effort, is comfortable to use and powers through jobs with no problems.
Review: ECHO 195 mph 465 CFM Gas Backpack Blower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of May 2014