The Stihl BR-200 is a great choice for users who require a light backpack that still gets the job done. Weighing about 12 pounds, it's the lightest such blower in our report by far, but experts say it has enough power to handle most blowing tasks. The BR-200 is also very comfortable, boasting padded shoulder straps, anti-vibration technology and a quieter engine.
Lots of power in a small package. The Stihl BR-200's 27.2 cc two-cycle engine is low-vibration, using four springs to reduce engine movement. It's quieter than many backpack blowers, making it a good choice for owners with municipality limits on noise, but experts still recommend using hearing protection. Users say the BR-200 clears leaves quickly and moves even wet leaves and branches, but add that the tool is best for medium-duty leaf blowing. "Packing the same engine size and performance as mid-range handheld blowers, the BR-200 is a small backpack that can be used for hours without the discomfort you'd experience in a handheld blower," reports Sal Vaglica at ThisOldHouse.com.
Uncomplicated and lightweight. This blower earns good marks from experts and owners alike for handling, thanks in part to its easy start and light weight of just more than 12 pounds. Owners say starting the BR-200 is straightforward, with a footrest to hold the machine steady and an intuitive choke connected to the throttle. Vaglica calls it "light and very comfortable."
Limited feedback. Stihl's two-year warranty is standard for leaf blowers. Because its power tools are available only at authorized and mostly local dealers, fewer owner reviews are available, making it difficult to judge issues such as reliability and lifespan. However, about 15 users give the BR-200 high marks for quality and dependability at Stihl's website.
As part of an extensive report on gas and electric leaf blowers, ConsumerReports.org tests 14 backpack models including the BR-200. Editors test each blower's ability to efficiently sweep leaves and loosen embedded vegetation, plus analyze ease of starting and maneuvering.
Review: Leaf Blowers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
2. This Old House
Vaglica includes the Stihl BR-200 in his comprehensive review of 10 leaf blowers, giving it an excellent rating for power and handling.
Review: TOH Tested: Leaf Blowers, Sal Vaglica, Not dated
More than a dozen owners comment on the BR-200 at the manufacturer's website, giving it a score of 4.6 out of 5 stars. This leaf blower gets the most praise for being well built and dependable. Most are pleased with the airflow and handling, although a few say the tool is undersized for heavy-duty sweeping.
Review: BR 200, Contributors to StihlUSA.com, As of September 2013