“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Leaf blower „
My garden backs onto a stand of deciduous trees which every autumn drop their entire supply of leaves into my garden, or at least that's how it seems when I'm raking them up. Last year I decided that enough was enough and it was time to buy a leaf blower. To be honest, I didn't do much research into the best model, as cost was the primary criteria and after finding nothing suitable at Argos, I checked out the Tesco Direct website where their own label leaf blower seemed to have several positive reviews and that was recommendation enough for me.
I paid around £40 for this leaf blower last year and when checking the website to confirm how much it costs this year expecting it to have gone up in price by a few quid, I was a bit miffed to discover that it's been reduced to £29.97. If you're looking for a bargain, I'd say this is definitely it.
Putting it all together
For logistic reasons, the leaf blower comes in several parts which require some very minor assembly (and a screwdriver) but instructions on how to assemble the various parts are included in the accompanying booklet. I didn't find these assembly instructions particularly helpful as the text is minimal and the photographs alongside the text are dark and very difficult to decipher. Despite this, I did manage to put everything together without a problem as it's all pretty self-evident what goes where and how.
The only drawback following assembly is that this is a one-way process. Once the leaf blow is assembled, by which I mean the tube is attached to the main blower machinery, it can't be disassembled because the screws used are one-way screws, a concept I'd never come across before. This results in a piece of garden equipment which no longer fits into its box which is rather annoying!
Don't be fooled by the petite look of this blower in the picture. The fully assembled leaf blower is quite a large and cumbersome piece of equipment due to the longer length of the blower tube which accounts for approximately two thirds of the finished length. The assembled leaf blower weighs in at 4.3 kg.
This is a corded blower with a cable length of 10 meters which should be an adequate length for use in the average garden.
Let's get blowing
The instruction book which comes with the leaf blower is an entertaining read in parts, offering such invaluable advice as 'Walk, never run' and 'Never blow debris in the direction of bystanders'. If I came across any bystanders whilst leaf blowing, I'm more likely to blow my top than send a shower of leaves their way! I suspect that most of the operating instructions are simply there to cover every possible eventuality and prevent Tesco from facing any litigation from disgruntled buyers.
The actual operating of this piece of garden equipment is simplicity itself. There's a basic on/off switch integrated into the handle and a selector dial situated on the side by which to choose the operating mode.
The blower comes with an adjustable shoulder strap and it's recommended that this is attached and used whilst operating the machine. I daresay taller, stronger people could get away with not following this instruction but as the fully assembled blower isn't particularly lightweight, I find it easier to operate using the shoulder strap.
There is a definite technique to using this leaf blower and as this only gets an outing during the autumn I'm not sure it's one I've fully mastered yet. This only has one level of blow and it takes a bit of practice to hold the blower in the right position to blow the leaves effectively. The first rule of blowing is select the general direction in which you want to blow the leaves and make sure you blow forwards. If you change blowing direction you simply end up sending the leaves more or less back where they came from and you could well spend a long time just blowing leaves around the garden. The object of the exercise is to get the leaves blown into a pile and then gather them up for disposal or composting. I do find that the blower works more effectively on hard surfaces such as paths and patios but will work well on lawns if there is a heavy covering of leaves. I don't find it very effective in removing leaves from planted areas and still rake up these ones.
It sucks! (but in a good way)
Not only does this piece of garden kit blow, it also sucks, turning this into a sort of garden vacuum cleaner. I actually find the suction mode easier to use than the blower facility especially on grass. The blower tube has a set of small plastic wheels at the base which allows it to be trundled across the grass to hoover up all those unsightly leaves into the bag which is attached underneath the main body of the blower. As the leaves are suctioned up the tube, they pass through a shredding device which reduces the volume to a ratio of 10:1 allowing a lot of leaves to be gathered before the bag is full.
When the collection bag is full it's simply a case of unclipping it from the blower and disposing of the leaves. The bag has a 35 litre capacity and is fitted with a zipper fastening so it's easy to tip the shredded leaves straight into the compost bin or bag up for disposal. Personally, I tend to empty the bag more frequently rather than waiting for it to be totally full but that's because I find it gets too heavy for me to operate easily, especially when dealing with very soggy leaves.
Summing it all up
On balance this is a very useful piece of garden equipment and saves hours of back breaking leaf raking for those people who live close to trees. I certainly find the pros far outweigh the cons and at the current bargain price, this is exceptional value for money.
Easy to assemble
Simple to operate
Sucks as well as blows and shreds leaves for composting
Wheels on blower tube make it easy to manoeuvre
Doesn't fit into the box once assembled
Quite heavy and cumbersome.