October 28, 2012

Falling down on the job ...

Want to wave goodbye to the leaves littering your lawn, but not to your aching back? These gadgets may help.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Husqvarna's Gas Backpack Leaf Blower ($299)

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The Ames 24-tine leaf rake ($12.97);

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Or you can look for a telescoping rake designed to fit a gutter. One model simply called "The Gutter Rake" sells for about $10.



In Maine, lots of people have yards that take a while to walk across. So an electric blower with an extension cord is not ideal. Bigger yards also often have a lot more leaves, which means you need something powerful that allows you to roam freely.

That's where the gas-powered backpack blower comes in. Again, this is something that a few years ago you mostly saw being used by landscapers and folks working for lawn-care companies. Husqvarna -- known for heavy-duty power equipment -- makes a backpack blower for the consumer market that has a 50.2 cc gas engine and sells for about $299.

One way to tell how powerful your leaf blower is -- whether it's gas or electric -- is to look for two numbers on the box, Giordano says.

One will indicate miles per hour -- mph -- which tells you how fast the air is blowing. The other will indicate cubic feet per minute -- cfm -- which tells you the volume of air that's being moved.

Giordano says you want to look for as high a number on both as you can find. The Husqvarna, for instance, is listed at 251 mph and 710 cfm.



If you buy any electric or gas-powered leaf gadget, it's important to know what maintenance it needs and to take care of it, says Giordano.

Right now, before leaves drop completely, is a good time to take your gadgets to a small engine repair shop or do some yearly maintenance yourself. And always use a fuel stabilizer in any gas-powered gadgets to help ensure long engine life.

Buying leaf gadgets, after all, is all about taking care -- of your yard and yourself.

"Raking is brutal -- on the hands, the back," says Leavitt at Home Depot. "So people are going to want things that make it easier.



Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:



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Leaf Scoops by Gardex ($7.49)

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Toro's Ultra Blower Vac ($69.97)

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The Gutter Blaster ($19.98)

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