Blow me down!
There can be no better garden tool to have at this time of year than a leaf blower – well, maybe a device that directs trees into shedding their leaves over the neighbours garden instead. But until that day, we'll stick with the blower, and we've been testing a mighty powerful one recently. We review the STIHL BGA 56 Cordless Leaf Blower.
STIHL are a pretty unique manufacturer of power tools, in that their power systems are universal. That means that the battery used to power one thing can be swapped out to power another, so you'll always have a power pack charged and ready, no matter what job you need to do. And our job? Blowing the crap out of leaves.
The STIHL BGA 56 Cordless Leaf Blower is a one-handed cordless and compact blower that is far more powerful than we first gave it credit. Because look at it; it's small(ish) and light. The plastic nozzle is also adjustable, allowing shorter or younger people to wield the blower without having it scrape along the ground. The only controls on the whole device is a trigger-like button on the handle, and so once the battery is charged and slid into the back, it's ready to rock. Or rather blow.
We decided to use it to clear the front lawn of the massive amount of leaves that covered it (while the kids tidied up inside). The force of the air is quite remarkable, and even when holding the end of the nozzle a couple of feet from the leaves, they still were carried quite a bit. Holding it mere inches from them however, and boy do they scatter. We managed to clear a decent sized lawn – choked with damp leaves – in under ten minutes. From experience, that would have been about an hour of raking. Score.
The STIHL BGA 56 Cordless Leaf Blower comes either with a battery and charger, or on it's own. If you already have compatible STIHL power packs, you're laughing, as the individual unit is significantly cheaper. Still, if you don't, the charger juiced up the battery in under an hour, and despite us working for a solid chunk of the afternoon, it has yet to deplete.
This is a hugely handy bit of kit, but STIHL's use of removable, universally compatible batteries makes it exceptionally convenient as well. Looks good, too. The neighbours will be jealous!
£199 (£109 for just the blower)