Do not be fooled by this blower's description of being for the home/landowner. With its gutsy 27.6cc engine, this air-cooled two-stroke blower is up there with the big boys' tools. It has got power yet it is remarkably comfortable - and just look at that price.
Many blowers put up a battle, twisting your arm outwards and quickly tiring your biceps and wrist. Not this one. It is a dream to use. Thanks to a cleverly designed kink in the blower tube, gyro forces are almost non-existent even when generating a gale up to 72m/sec - an amazing 160mph. But the comfort factors do not end there.
For a high-performing petrol blower, this is a light weight. It has a soft-touch handle and while it may be, as you would expect, a little bit on the noisy side, vibrations are recorded at just 2m/s2 - not bad for such a powerful unit and one technically designed for and targeted at the homeowner market.
The 280BVX is also remarkably easy to use. Sitting very squarely on the bench or ground, fuelling up is a doddle. A decent toggle on the start cord gives a nice grip and it is easy to fire up. Cruise control allows speed to be set and takes the strain out of working the machine. It also has an auto choke and when the blower is switched off it automatically returns to "start", ready for the next pull.
As a blower the unit comes with round and flat nozzles. But it also comes with a collecting bag. Yes, in its other life this unit is a vacuum. Switching between blowing and vacuuming modes is surprisingly quick. While sucking up debris, the shredding function reduces the volume 12:1.
But what we like is the attention to detail that has gone into the 50-litre collecting bag with shoulder strap. Look closely and you find that one side - the side that goes next to your leg - is made of thicker material, so protecting the wearer from dirt and dust. The other side is made of a thinner material to allow the machine to breathe.
Only testing machines for a day or two means we cannot report on reliability in the long term. Neither can we fully comment on the ability to cope with day-after-day use, or abuse, in a commercial or contracting environment. But this Mitox is well built and gives us no reason to think it would disappoint.
Engine Mitox 27.6cc two-stroke
Air speed 72m/s
Fuel tank capacity 400ml
Noise pressure LPA 93.9dB (A)
Weight 4.7kg as blower or 5.8kg as vacuum
List price RRP £199 including VAT
Tel Rochford Garden Machinery - 01963 828000
Tested This Issue
- Mitox 280BVX
- EGO 56V lithium-ion
- Lawnflite MTD SC4
- Makita DUB362Z twin 18V
Mike Baldwin Director of learning, Broomfield Campus, Derby College
Mark Ekin Course lecturer, Broomfield Campus, Derby College
Leaf blowers are indispensable tools in the autumn, able to clear fallen leaves and debris quickly and with little effort from the operator. But they can have other uses too.
After mowing with a rotary, a leaf blower is perfect for cleaning the pathway and blasting the clippings back onto the lawn. Similarly, following hedge-cutting duties the blower can round up the fallen material for collection and then send any remnants flying into the bottom of the hedge.
Leaf blowers are also great for dispersing water. They are marvellous tools to grab if you need to quickly dry off a park bench or a picnic table. The machines can also be used to dispel dew from lawns, enabling an early start to grass cutting.
In this test we looked at just four models. All are handheld. But we are keen to see whether today's cordless models can match the power of petrol, so we put two petrol units, the Mitox and the MTD, up against the Makita and EGO, both of which take their energy from lithium-ion batteries.
The test was conducted at Derby College's Broomfield Campus and weather conditions were wet. We will return later in the year to test the latest backpack blowers.