Echo PB-251

This entry-level blower has has all the hallmarks of Echo's continued commitment to user comfort without compromise on power and performance

oming from a company at the forefront of vibration and noise reduction technology, we would expect the PB-251 to be comfortable to use. And it is.

This entry-level blower has been developed with a new 25.4cc emission-reduced lightweight engine, and it has all the hallmarks of Echo's continued commitment to user comfort without compromise on power and performance.

Like the Husky 125Bx, an emphasis on this machine is the elimination of giro forces during use. This has been achieved by a new rotational control design - it basically means the fan is offset - to reduce the stress on the hand, wrist and forearm by providing a more neutral balance. There's no tendency for this one to twist or roll in your hand and the grouped controls are easy to use - unless you have small hands.

"My hands are small," says Hasell. "And I have trouble getting a gloved hand over the off switch to pull it back." Echo products often have switches that require pulling backwards to operate. We reckon it is easier to push a switch forwards to turn a machine off - but it's a small point. On the plus side, the cruise control is a nice feature and makes operation easier - you can stick it on full revs and forget about it. The large, easy-to-grip handle can be held in three positions for different blowing angles.

The position of the exhaust towards the front of the PB-251 ensures heat is dissipated away from the user. All in all, for a handheld blower, this one is pleasant to use though, as with most handheld blowers, the weight and working positions mean you will need to swap the unit from hand to hand if you are using it for more than a few minutes. The power-to-weight ratio, however, is good. This machine produces a good air speed, but is not overly noisy.

"It's a good machine and is powerful enough to blast away leaves and clippings. Vibration levels seem okay," reports Gardner. We are impressed with the price of £209 ex VAT. This could be a handy unit to keep in the back of the van for those quick tidy-up jobs.

The review panel

Andre Gardner, grounds manager, Cannington Campus, Bridgwater College
Steve Hasell, machinery lecturer, Cannington Campus, Bridgwater College
Hugh Murray, head greenkeeper, Cannington Golf Club
Ashley Hale, apprentice groundsman, Cannington Campus, Bridgwater
Mark Ekin, horticulture area manager, College of West Anglia, Wisbech
John Tangye, instructor and NPTC assessor, Littlefield Manor Training
Centre, Guildford

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