Measuring Your Leaf Blower’s Power – CFM vs. MPH

2756833707_b81f273afeA savvy shopper always wants to get the most bang for their buck. When it comes to leaf blowers, measuring the bang can be a little tricky. You will often times see two numbers describing the power or air flow of a certain blower, the CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute and MPH or Miles Per Hour. Which one should you be looking at and which one is more important?

Realistically both of the numbers are important, and obviously the higher each of the numbers are the more powerful the blower will be. However, these measurements are not equal. To get a better understanding of how well a certain leaf blower will move leaves and debris lets take a look at what each of these numbers actually mean.

Miles Per Hour is a pretty self-explanatory unity of measurement. It is how many miles the air would travel in one hour if the exit velocity remained constant. A lot of manufacturers will boast the MPH of one of their models as the benchmark for power. It makes sense as we are more familiar with this unit of measurement and it tends to hit home with us. When we hear a leaf blower has an air speed of 200 mph we can relate that to a NASCAR driver flying around the track. But measuring the power in terms of MPH does little to describe how well a leaf blower will perform. Try to imagine blowing a little amount of air through a small tube at 200 mph… You’re not going to get much accomplished.

Cubic feet per minute or CFM is probably the first number you will want to look at. It measures the air volume velocity moved through the blower in one minute independent of its density. The engine of the leaf blower powers an impeller, or set of spinning blades in the housing that draws air in one end and forces it out through the tube. The volume of air that exits the tube of the specific model determines the CFM. The more air that moves through the machine the higher the volume, which translates into more leaves moved. However, the volume of air is meaningless if it is not moving fast enough, which is why MPH is also important.

So while you are shopping for a new leaf blower you are going to want to look at both air speed (MPH) and volume (CFM). The higher each of the numbers are the more work will get done in less amount of time. Now that we know what to look for in terms of power, we should take a look at which leaf blowers are going to be the most productive.

There are three main types of leaf blowers: handheld, backpack, and walk-behind. The handheld leaf blower is probably the most common of the three as they are the cheapest and generally least powerful. They come with gas or electric fuel sources with electric coming in corded or cordless versions. You can find handheld blowers with anywhere between under 200 cfm to just under 400 cfm with gas being the more powerful of the two. They work great for small jobs that are under an acre of area. They are also considerably quieter so they are nice if you are working in populated areas.

Backpack blowers are a step up from handheld in terms of power. Most, if not all are powered by gasoline. They typically run from 400 to just over 700 cfm while pushing air speeds of 200 mph. If you have an acre of land or more you will probably want to invest in one of these. You can strap them onto your back, making those longer work sessions a lot more comfortable and efficient.

If you need to get some serious work done you’re going to want to go with a walk-behind leaf blower. These bad boys can push close to 3,000 cfm with air speeds upwards of 250 mph. You can get the biggest, toughest jobs done in no time with a push blower. You can use them for large amounts of leaves (wet or dry), debris, and even clearing small rocks and trash off of parking lots. With the massive amounts of air volume being shot out at high speeds, these are the most powerful types of blowers you can buy.

So next time you’re out shopping for a new leaf blower make sure you get the highest air speed and volume that fit into your budget and needs!

What’s the Difference Between a Weed Wacker and a Brush Cutter?

dsc01621_1Weed wacker is another name used for string trimmer. A weed wacker, or string trimmer, is a tool used for trimming away weeds, tall grasses, and other such unwanted growth around walkways, decks, siding, trees, and flower beds.

Weed wackers are typically hand-held, but walk-behind string trimmers are also available at specialty stores like String Trimmers Direct. Walk-behind weed wackers make larger trimming jobs much easier.

A brush cutter is very similar in style to a weed wacker, but brush cutters have very thick trimmer wire or blades that are capable of cutting through thicker growth like stalks, reeds, sticks, and even some small sapling trees.

Brush cutters usually have bigger engines with more horsepower, so their stronger cutting blades and wires can slice through thick brush like butter. You can get brush cutters in handheld or walk-behind at the same kinds of online trimmer stores such as String Trimmers Direct.

Leaf Blower Noise – The New Frontier

product_8758_500A growing trend has cities and townships looking to ban leaf blowers to cut back noise pollution, but a simple look at newer models of gas leaf blowers will show that measures have already been taken by manufacturers to dampen the sound produced by as much as 90% when compared to some old models.

In some places, gas leaf blowers are being replaced by electric leaf blowers with the assumption that cutting out the gas engine will dramatically reduce sound. However, the electric models have a higher-pitched fan sound produced that’s not usually dampened at all, making them louder and more distracting than newer gas models.

Today’s top leaf blower manufacturers are creating powerful gas leaf blowers with special plastics to cut back vibration from the engine. They’re also adding sound-dampening materials to eliminate the whiny sound, implementing a new muffler concept that reduces exhaust sounds, and using other innovative techniques that help reduce sound from the air intake and the impeller/fan.

All of these innovative sound dampening techniques being used can make some gas leaf blowers quieter than the electric versions without reducing power or output. For this reason, it’s much more time efficient and much easier on the eardrums to equip city workers and landscapers with newer gas models rather than electric leaf blowers.

 

What Do People Love About Mantis Tillers/Cultivators

7225-15-02_6750_600
You’ve likely heard more buzz about Mantis tillers than any other, but it’s not because they’re the bi
ggest, baddest, more powerful tiller on the market.

People tend to love the Mantis tiller because of its ergonomic, ease of use and its versatility in tight, garden-bed type areas.

We’ve found that the most popular model of Mantis tiller is the 9″ 21.2cc 2-cycle gas cultivator/mini tiller that comes with a bonus kickstand and border edger. While it’s not designed for breaking solid ground, it’s very effective as a garden tiller for stirring soil and mixing amendments. It’ll effectively loosen garden soil to make planting easier, which is nice when you consider the alternative – digging on your hands and knees with a little hand-shovel.7225-1_500

It’s 9″ wide and digs at a maximum depth of 10″. It’s great if you’re planting your flowers, but it’s even better if you have a vegetable garden that needs managing. They’re light-weight, only 20 pounds, and it’s very easy to switch from tiller to edger.

If you have trouble working heavy equipment, these tillers make it a lot easier to get the job done. They’re excellent for getting rid of weeds. For bigger jobs like turning a section of your lawn into a tilled garden bed, you’ll want to upgrade to a hard/clay soil tiller with rear tines, but for smaller jobs and maintaining an already existing garden bed, these Mantis tillers are a very easy and reliable way to get the job done for less.

 

Top 5 Trimmers

String trimming can almost be considered an art form, the way it frames off a yard and smooths out edges.

Whether you just do the basics or you’re a seasoned veteran of the weed wacking realm, you know the potential versatility of a string trimmer.

Coming into season, I thought it might be a good idea to share with you what I’ve found to be the top 5 string trimmers of 2014.

Best 4-Cycle Gas Handheld: Honda HHT35SLTAT (17″) 35cc 4-Cycle Straight Shaftbest 4-cycle

The Honda HHT35SLTAT has all of the attributes you will ever need in a 4-cycle trimmer.

The superior Honda 35cc GX35 Mini 4-Cycle Engine offering excellent torque and the heavy duty gear box both add to this tools durability.

The Honda HHT35SLTAT is an ergonomically designed well balanced trimmer made with commercial quality with the residential home user in mind.

Best 2-Cycle Gas Handheld: Husqvarna 128LD 2-Cycle Straight Shaft Trimmerbest 2-cycle

The Husqvarna 128LD gas trimmer is a versatile trimmer built especially for homeowners who know how to manicure a yard. The Husqvarna 128LD features a straight shaft design, providing long reach. The shaft is also detachable allowing ease of transport as well as storage.

The Husqvarna 128LD’s reliable 2-Cycle engine is equipped with a “smart start recoil system” so this trimmer starts quickly with minimum effort. The air purge button removes air from carburetor and fuel system to make that much easier.

The Husqvarna 128LD comes with reliable, easy to load T25 bump trimmer head, but with a simple adjustment of the onboard tool-less coupler, you can turn your trimmer into a blower, edger, cultivator & more.

Best Walk-Behind: Swisher STP67522BS (22″) 190cc Self-Propelled Walk Behindbest walkbehind

The Swisher STP67522BS walk behind string trimmer is an ideal alternative to heavy hand-held gas trimmers. If you have a large area to clear of weeds and other unruly vegetation, this is just the ticket.

The Swisher STP67522BS is powered by a Briggs and Stratton 190cc engine, so you’ll have plenty of power to tame thick weeds and brush. This trimmer also features a self-propelled drive system – one of the most asked for features when it comes to walk behind string trimmers.

The reliable chain drive propels the right wheel and helps you move the unit through thick grass and weeds. The Swisher STP67522BS features 13-3/4-inch wheels for plenty of clearance and smooth rolling over rough terrain. The durable .155” diameter cutting line provides ample cutting strength for weeds and thick overgrowth. You’ll also appreciate how the off-set trimmer head makes it easy to trim in hard to reach places.

Best Cordless: Core CGT400 Gasless Power String Trimmer product_8709_500

The Core Power CGT400 gasless string trimmer is the next big thing when it comes to grass trimmers. This trimmer features innovative technology that make it a clearly better choice than traditional gas powered trimmers.

The Core Power CGT400 uses Core’s revolutionary new motor technology which is capable of producing power output that rivals currently available gas powered 2-cycle commercial and consumer grade string trimmers.

Power is created by a state of the art, high energy power cell that can be quickly recharged and is interchangeable across all Core Power hand held tools. This power cell offers a run time of up to 70 minutes.

The Core Power CGT400 doesn’t just offer remarkable power though. It’s also easy to use and comfortable for the operator. Weighing in at just over 11 pounds with the power cell installed, this string trimmer is lightweight and very well balanced so your trimming chores can be completed with a lot less operator fatigue.

The best feature of the Core Power CGT400 has to be how quiet it is, even at full power. The Core Power CGT400 gasless string trimmer may have a steep price compared to other electric and battery powered string trimmers but it’s a great value when compared to commercial grade gas powered trimmers with similar performance. To top it off, the Core Power CGT400 string trimmer is 100% designed, engineered, and made in the USA.

Best Electric: Greenworks 21142 (18″) 10-Amp Electric Top-Mount Trimmer best electric

The Greenworks 21142 takes the top electric spot with an unprecedented 18” cutting diameter and a whopping 10 amps of pure power to back it up. The only corded trimmer powerful enough to be considered attachment capable.

The Greenworks 21142 has user friendly features like super soft molded grips and handle and quick connecting couplers for tool-less attachment changes. Your options are only limited to your imagination when clearing with the Greenworks 21142.

Getting Multiple Uses Out of Your String Trimmer

ImageSpring and early summer are times when you find yourself using multiple tools to complete multiple tasks all over your property. Between lawn mowing, string trimming, edging, cultivating flower beds, clearing brush, trimming tree branches, trimming hedges, and blowing clippings off your walkways, you find yourself juggling a half-dozen or more tools.

A great way to make this easier is to only have a few attachments. It saves space, saves money, and most importantly saves you time. There are string trimmers available that enable you to switch from string trimming to hedge trimming, to brush cutting, to grass blowing, edging, cultivating, and even trimming trees.

You’re likely familiar with the cluttered look of a garage or shed as space is filled with piles of tools and lawn equipment over the years. Nobody likes digging through tools to find what they need, and I’m sure it’s safe to assume your spouse hates it even more. This makes saving space easier. You can hang your attachments from hooks on the wall and mount your handheld unit beside them. This way, there’s no piles, no mess, and it’ll take you almost no time at all to find what you need.

How to Repair Dead Grass Killed By Dog Urine

dead-spots-on-lawn-manny-reyesIf you have a dog, you’ve likely found a dead spot or two in your lawn from time to time.

I know a guy who has three large dogs, and every year he ends up with a large dead patch of grass on the side of his house. Come springtime, he always had trouble getting the grass to grow back. So this year he tried something a little bit different.

He figured out that the reason nothing would grow was because the pH level in the soil is thrown off from the dogs’ urine. The higher level of nitrogen in the urine raises the nitrogen level in the soil, preventing grass from growing.

Besides visiting a veterinarian to find a preventative measure, he found a way to grow new grass in the effected area.

First, it would be necessary to stir up the soil, and the best way to do so was with a tiller. Using a powerful front-tine tiller, he tore up the dead grass and stirred it directly into the dirt. Once the entire effected area was loose and well mixed, he  poured fresh top soil and compost down.

He then tilled the fresh top soil and compost into the ground. Doing so helped to lower the nitrogen level and give the lawn a fighting chance. Afterwards, he poured some top quality grass seed down and made sure to give it adequate water each day.

Before he knew it, he had fresh green grass where nothing would grow before. Simply tearing the old grass out won’t be enough to allow for successful growth of new grass seeds. Tilling the soil is important to break up those concentrated areas of nitrogen. Tilling in top soil and compost is equally important because it decreases the percentage of nitrogen.

By using either a front-tine or rear-tine tiller that’s powerful enough to break hard ground and stir in compost, you can fix your dead spots as well.

 

Springtime Trimming

box_hedge_pruningYou’re probably not thinking about yard work yet with the winter still demanding attention in its’ final couple of weeks. Nevertheless, it seriously is about to end!

In springtime, your hedges are likely to begin sprouting out and growing wild. This is the ideal time to trim them and shape them to your liking. Very little trimming is necessary throughout the summer once they’ve been properly trimmed in spring.

Do not trim them in too far, otherwise you’ll risk creating a bare spot that will never look right again. Trim just a little at a time to even them out.

To make this task easier and more precise, consider using a gas or electric hedge trimmer instead of manual scissor-shaped shears. Power hedge trimmers allow you to focus more on cutting a straight edge while they take care of the actual clipping process.

Choosing a hedge trimmer depends on your landscaping needs. String Trimmers Direct has a great buyer’s guide to help you find the perfect hedge trimmer for your yard.

Gas hedge trimmers are great for larger yards and professional landscapers as they offer the most power and cutting capabilities without the use of a cord. However, all gas models are 2-stage, which means mixing gas and oil according to the correct ratio.

Cordless hedge trimmers offer the same cord-free capability to roam around a larger property, but less power and cutting strength than the gas powered models. They are available with two different battery types (NiCad or Lithium Ion). Lithium ion batteries are lighter weight, making the trimmer easier to carry around.

Electric hedge trimmers (also called corded or corded electric) offer significantly more power than the cordless models, but are restricted by a power cord. While you can get further reach with a long extension cord, you’re still restricted compared to cordless and gas models. A major benefit of electric models is how quiet they are. They weigh the least, which reduces fatigue, and they’re easy to start as well.

HOW TO CUT HEDGES

Always trim at a 45-degree angle to allow for maximum growth and prevent drying. Spring and fall are the best times to trim the hedges, although you may need to touch them up a few times throughout the summer if they grow rapidly.

More intricate shapes and designs may need more maintenance to keep their style looking right as they grow. Don’t cut through the hedge to the point where all you see is bare branches. Always leave some leaves on the outside! Otherwise it may die and not grow back properly.

Starting a Garden Tiller in the Spring

BSGENM_500Often times, people find themselves struggling to start their tiller in the spring.

There are a few reasons why you may be facing this challenge. Below I’ll explain some ways to possibly identify and and correct this problem.

First, make sure that your throttle is in the “Start” position. If it is in the “Start” position, and still wont start, try replacing your paper filter and cleaning and oiling your foam filter. Your foam filter can be cleaned with soap and water, dried, then squeezed with fresh oil and reinserted.

If you’re still having troubles, inspect the spark plug for corrosion. If you suspect your spark plug may not be functioning properly, replace it with a new one. To do so, remove the wire and loosen the spark plug with a socket wrench. Look for oxidization and discoloring. It’s okay if there’s a light tan coloring, but any darker colors or discoloring in the gap area of the plug are indications that the spark plug needs to be replaced.

If you’re replacing your garden tiller‘s spark plug, be sure to replace it with a plug that’s recommended by the manufacturer. Be sure to also set the gap according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

If all else fails, try using a fuel treatment and stabilizer or emptying and replacing the gasoline in your tiller. Old gasoline can create gum and varnish, making starting and operation more difficult.

How to Lubricate Your Weed Wacker Drive Shaft

Lubricating the Shaft

Lubricating the Shaft

We’ve all been there. You’re out back along the fence weed wacking away, and it feels like you’ll never finish. It’s clearly not performing at its best, but what can you do?

You’ve checked the engine, and it’s revving up just fine. You’ve inspected the head, and it’s working fine also. What could be holding you back?

Drive shaft lubrication is the key when you find yourself stuck in this kind of situation. Without proper lubricant, the friction on the shaft is just too much to allow for proper motion.

To lubricate your shaft, you must start by placing it on a work bench and removing the spark plug. Then you need to locate the gearbox at the end of the shaft and unscrew it with a screwdriver.

Remove the gearbox and trimmer head. Pull the drive shaft out from inside the shaft housing and wipe it down with a rag.

The drive shaft will be filthy, so be sure to wear gloves for protection. Try to clean all of the built up grease and dirt from the shaft before lubricating it.

Once it’s clean, apply a thin layer of shaft lubricant along the full length of the shaft. Wearing a glove, smooth the lubricant along the length of the drive shaft from the base to the head.

Once the shaft is fully and evenly lubricated, you can insert the shaft into the shaft housing and secure the gearbox and trimmer head back into place.

Now, with the proper lubrication, your weed wacker should run much more smoothly.

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