Gas leaf blower vacuums cost more, weigh more and pollute more than their electric counterparts but may be indispensable for big yards or if you have so many trees that maneuvering a cord around them all would be next to impossible. Those who decide in favor of gas-powered models can at least take solace in the lower emissions put out by this Craftsman's 4-cycle engine (as opposed to 2-cycle types).
But the advantages over 2-cycle gas models go beyond the environmental, beginning with the fact that their 2-year warranty indicates their engines should be more durable.
That is the overview of this review; now let's dig deeper:
Advantages and Disadvantages of Craftsman's 4-Cycle Leaf Blower
As with any product, the Craftsman product reviewed here has its pros and cons. In the process of presenting those advantages and disadvantages, let's also include pros and cons that pertain more broadly to gas-powered models (as opposed to electric):
Here are the pros:
- Assembly not as difficult as manual implies.
- Incredi-PULL™ starting system for easier start-up.
- Built to vibrate less and make less noise, with no need to mix gas and oil.
- Variable speed to protect your plants and mulch.
- 2-year warranty indicates engine durability.
Now we will balance those good points out with some cons:
- Being gas-powered, you have to clean this equipment frequently.
- Need to insert flat-head screwdriver under vacuum door's locking clip to switch to vacuum mode.
- Said locking clip is also hard to see (it should be painted a brighter color).
- Less powerful (200 mph vs. 230) than "Leaf Hog" models put out by Black & Decker. But Amazon sells a model that is 210 mph.
Product Description of the Craftsman Leaf Blower
- The Craftsman (it is Sears item# 07179498000) is not as noisy as some gas leaf blowers.
- The assembly of the "Leaf Hog" is more intuitive than that for Craftsman's gas leaf blower vacuums.
- Mulching ratio of these gas leaf blower vacuums is advertised as 10:1, but ....
- You will be unimpressed with their mulching ability. However, in the test performed for this review, oak leaves were being vacuumed, and they are tougher than maple leaves, for example.
- Speaking of ratios: There is no gas/oil mix to worry about -- these gas leaf blower vacuums take pure gas.
- Craftsman's gas leaf blower vacuums boast ergonomically-designed handles.
- Read this article on how to use leaf blower/vacs to learn how to get the most out of your equipment.
The Great Debate: Gas Leaf Blower Vacuums vs. Electric
Those who prefer electric will inevitably compare any gas product to its electric counterpart. Electric's greatest advantage over gas is, arguably, easy start-up. Well, with their 4-cycle gas leaf blower vacuums, Craftsman at least puts gas back in the game -- not "ahead," mind you, just "back in the game."
A prominent feature of these gas leaf blower vacuums is their Incredi-PULL™ starting system, which at least addresses the issue of difficult start-up for gas devices. And one has to give Craftsman their just dues: In testing their gas leaf blower vacuums, this reviewer did not find himself tugging away at the pull-cord endlessly to get the machine to start.
So far, so good.
Compared to electric, of course, the "easy" start-up still comes at a price: no "plug in and go." The start-up procedure given in the manual raises a red flag of complexity (although the procedure might become automatic for you, after a while, as you get used to the machine):
- Prime 10 times.
- Set throttle control to Fast.
- Set choke to position 1.
- Pull cord.
- Set choke to position 2.
- Pull cord.
- Set choke to position 3.
More Comparisons: Gas Leaf Blower Vacuums vs. Leaf Hogs
- On the Leaf Hog, the blower tube and the vacuum tube insert in the same place; not so for the Craftsman.
- You need to insert a flat-head screwdriver under the vacuum door's locking clip to switch to vacuum mode, which is inconvenient.
- It is hard to see this locking clip, too.
Switching modes on the fly is more difficult on the Craftsman model: you will most likely have to set it down. On the Leaf Hog, one can switch while it is still strapped to your shoulder, using one hand.
Lastly, you may even prefer the Leaf Hog's vac bag, both in terms of:
- How it clips on.
- Shaking the leaves out: The leaves seem to get stuck more in the Craftsman.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.