The Hitachi RB24EAP sweeps with the best of them, according to professional tests, but isn't quite as proficient when blasting embedded debris from the lawn and doesn't convert to a vacuum. Still, hundreds of owners praise its 9-pound weight, variable speed trigger and low-emission engine that meets environmental standards in all 50 states. Some durability problems -- mainly with the fuel lines -- and a fairly loud engine keep the RB24EAP from a top billing.
Excels at sweeping. Experts say the RB24EAP has excellent sweeping performance, but it doesn't do as well at loosening embedded leaves as some competing blowers like the Husqvarna 125BVx (Est. $200) , and it doesn't vacuum or mulch leaves. Still, "this little green blower is lightweight and produces an effective airstream," says Roy Berendsohn at Popular Mechanics. "We found it worked well moving soggy leaves and prickly seedpods." He gives it 4 out of 5 stars, partially because the "blower nozzle is too short, reducing the effectiveness of its airstream." The Hitachi's 23.9 cc two-stroke engine is low emission and passes the strict guidelines set by the California Air Resource Board (CARB).
Straightforward start, operation. Reviewers like how easy it is to start the Hitachi RB24EAP and most give it good marks for handling. The "auto-return stop switch resets the blower to the on position for hassle-free starts," says an owner at Lowes.com. Airflow is adjusted using the variable speed trigger, but there's no trigger lock to set a constant speed. A frequent but minor user complaint is that the air intake sucks in clothing when the RB24EAP is held in the right hand. It's louder than the Husqvarna 125BVx at 50 feet away and hearing protection should be worn.
Mixed reviews on reliability. The majority of owners who review the Hitachi RB24EAP at Lowes.com recommend it mainly because of its quality construction. Still, some users have durability issues; one of the most common is an inferior fuel line. While it's somewhat costly to have repaired at a service center, user posts say it's an easy and inexpensive fix for those who are mechanically inclined. Although owners frequently say the brand's customer service is lacking due to warranty issues, Hitachi has the best warranty in our report, covering the RB24EAP with a seven-year consumer warranty, two-year commercial warranty and one-year rental use warranty.
About a dozen handheld gas leaf blowers are reviewed at ConsumerReports.org, including the Hitachi RB24EAP. Editors rate each on its ability to move leaves quickly, loosen leaves stuck in the lawn and vacuum leaves, incorporating handling and noise levels into the final score.
Review: Leaf Blowers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
After testing eight leaf blowers, Berendsohn gives the Hitachi RB24EAP 4 out of 5 stars. Although this blower doesn't place in the top three, he likes Hitachi's gas-powered tools.
Review: Which Leaf Blower Is the Best? We Test 8 to Find Out, Roy Berendsohn, Not dated
One of Amazon.com's most popular leaf blowers, the Hitachi RB24EAP gets an overall rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 after more than 450 reviews. Most owners are pleased with this basic gas leaf blower, saying it has enough power to get the job done, but some experience problems after a few seasons of use.
Review: Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2 Stroke 170 MPH Gas Powered Handheld Blower (CARB Compliant), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2013
Users who post comments at HomeDepot.com don't have as many quality problems with the Hitachi RB24EAP, with almost all saying they'd recommend it. Owners say it has good airflow and is generally easy to handle. It earns a score of 4.6 stars out of 5.
Review: Hitachi 170 mph 441 CFM Hand Held Blower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of September 2013
About 100 owners review the Hitachi RB24EAP here, rating it 4.7 stars out of 5. "[It's] lightweight, easy on gas, starts on first pull, and is a strong blower," says one user.
Review: Hitachi 23.9cc 2-Cycle Medium-Duty Gas Blower, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of September 2013
The Hitachi RB24EAP ranks well in this list of the 10 best leaf blowers, earning a score of 9 out of 10. Editors like its low-emission engine and good performance, saying the blower's "able to handle large quantities of leaves, debris and grass clippings."
Review: Best Leaf Blowers: Top 10 Rated Leaf Blowers 2013, Editors of 10rate.com, Not dated