Gardening Articles: Care :: Tools & Equipment

Chipper Vacs Make Fall Cleanup a Snap (page 4 of 4)

by Bill Crosby

Blowers Rehabilitated

The manufacturers who arm the mow-blow-and-go gardeners have made a breakthrough. They finally realized that if their popular cleanup machines can blow, they can also suck-by reversing the end of the motor that the pipe fits on. The Mantis leaf blower vacuum is typical of new hand-held leaf blowers that companies such Echo, Poulan, Ryobi, and Toro are also promoting heavily. I confess to a strong hatred of leaf blowers and applaud those communities that have banned them, but I have to admit that the vacuum wrinkle does give the category a redeeming quality.

The Mantis BSV that I tested is as loud as a leaf blower, but it picks up the debris instead of kicking up a dust storm and blowing it into my neighbor's yard. Though I wouldn't buy one to do my whole yard, it worked well to get into planting beds, odd patio corners, gutters, and other places heretofore unreachable. It isn't all that comfortable to carry for a long stint, and it doesn't really do all that much shredding, but it's at least as powerful as a shop vac and completely portable.

Now, if the manufacturers could come up with a backpack-mounted professional version of the vacuum for the home gardener, perhaps more communities would consider banning blowers. You'd still have noise pollution, but your allergies might clear up, and you wouldn't have to wash your windows as often. Hold the good thought.

Blowers Rehabilitated

The manufacturers who arm the mow-blow-and-go gardeners have made a breakthrough. They finally realized that if their popular cleanup machines can blow, they can also suck-by reversing the end of the motor that the pipe fits on. The Mantis leaf blower vacuum is typical of new hand-held leaf blowers that companies such Echo, Poulan, Ryobi, and Toro are also promoting heavily. I confess to a strong hatred of leaf blowers and applaud those communities that have banned them, but I have to admit that the vacuum wrinkle does give the category a redeeming quality.

The Mantis BSV that I tested is as loud as a leaf blower, but it picks up the debris instead of kicking up a dust storm and blowing it into my neighbor's yard. Though I wouldn't buy one to do my whole yard, it worked well to get into planting beds, odd patio corners, gutters, and other places heretofore unreachable. It isn't all that comfortable to carry for a long stint, and it doesn't really do all that much shredding, but it's at least as powerful as a shop vac and completely portable.

Now, if the manufacturers could come up with a backpack-mounted professional version of the vacuum for the home gardener, perhaps more communities would consider banning blowers. You'd still have noise pollution, but your allergies might clear up, and you wouldn't have to wash your windows as often. Hold the good thought.

Viewing page 4 of 4
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