With autumn now in full swing, it’s that time of year again where our properties get covered in leaves. Clearing them up is always a rather tiresome job, but a leaf blower can make it that much easier. There are a big variety of different brands and makes for sale on the market, but most folks like to go for something reliable instead of risking their money on the cheapest available option. When it comes to reliable brands, Stihl is certainly near the top of the list. This is mainly because they are American made, and offer a decent warranty to back their products. The Stihl BG55 blower is one of their best selling models, and we are going to have a closer look at it in this article. Is it still a good buy today? Let’s see if we can find out below.
An end of an era?
Initially we wrote this article a few weeks ago, in preparation for the coming Autumn season news cycle. However since writing this article, we found out that Stihl has discontinued production of the BG55. Now since this was done quite recently, you may still find some for sale in retail shops. For this purpose we are going to leave this article up, as it is still relevant. This will also be handy for anyone looking to buy one on the secondhand market. The BG 56 seems to be the official replacement model, but we will be sticking to the BG55 in this article.
The BG 55 was first introduced to the market in 2001 as far as we know, and is an entry level model aimed at your average homeowner. This isn’t a blower that is designed for professional usage, and it is fairly simple and easy to work with. This is a large part of why it has been so popular over the last 15 years, and why it will go down as one of the best products Stihl has put out. 15 years on the market with minimal design tweaks is quite a testament to the original design, which still holds up quite well today. Let’s have a closer look at the machine below.
A closer look
With a retail price of around $149, this model is a little pricier than some of the competitor products. So what do you get for that price? This model features the standard Stihl orange and white color scheme, which always looks good in our opinion. In terms of the layout of the machine, to the left of the handle is the choke switch, and a few centimeters below that is the primer pump button. The starter cable is on the left of the main unit, and the fuel tank is on the rear left. Above the handle is the on/off switch, and close to that is the throttle lock switch for those extended sessions. Almost directly below the trigger is the idle adjustment screw, which is a little awkward to get to. The low and high speed adjustment screws are on the left of the machine, close to the choke. Overall it is a fairly simple layout, so no complaints from us here.
This unit has a 27.2cc engine, which outputs 0.9 bhp. This works out to around 140mph coming out of the nozzle, which can move 420 cubic feet of air every minute. For a home user blower this is quite respectable, and it can tackle most tasks, including heavier wet leaves with this kind of power.
We should also note that the narrower tube from the BG85 fits onto this model, and can be bought for around $10. This narrower tube means more airflow due to the constricted space, so if you feel like your BG55 blower needs a bit more power, then this is a quick and easy way to do that. The included tube is two parts, which easily fit together. The entire tube is removable in a matter of seconds, so you don’t need a big amount of storage space for it once the nozzle is removed.
This is a gasoline powered motor, so no need to worry about hauling out the electric cord extensions whenever you need to do some tidying up. It can hold up to 13.5oz of gas at a time, which is enough to do a decent sized yard without needing a top up. The tank is see through, so it is easy to keep an eye on the fuel level as you are working.
This model weighs in at 4.1kg or 9.0lbs, so it is not too strenuous working with it over longish periods of time. This is a similar weight to competing products entry level blowers.
Are there any useful accessories for it?
There are one or two accessories that enhance the features of this blower. The first is the Stihl gutter kit, which extends the nozzle of the blower. At the end of the nozzle it does a 180 turn, so you simply walk beneath the gutters with the blower tube pointing into the gutter, and the blower will get rid of all the leaves and buildup. So no need to worry about hauling out the ladder and doing it by hand anymore! Another helpful accessory is the Stihl Vacuum kit, which gives you the ability to suck up leaves instead. These are deposited into the included bag, or with a bit of modification you could reroute the tube somewhere else such as a trailer.
Are there any issues with it?
There are one or two things that are worth mentioning. Firstly if you are left handed, then you will need to tuck your shirt in when using this machine, as the right side of the machine is where the air is sucked in. This is not a major issue, and most left handed people are used to having to deal with these kinds of issues unfortunately! Something a bit more important worth mentioning is that this machine can flood quite easily. Generally 1 or 2 pumps of the primer is enough, and after that you should switch on the choke and start it up. Generally this is enough to get it going, and after that you should leave it to idle for a minute to get warmed up. If it doesn’t start after a couple of pulls, switch the choke off and keep trying. Repeatedly trying to use the choke to start it will result in the machine flooding, which takes a while to subside. However it you are using quality fuel, and stick to the guidelines above you should be fine.
We should also mention that it is quite noisy, and you should wear ear plugs when using it. This isn’t really a problem as such, as all gasoline blowers are a bit noisy. However we feel this is worth mentioning, as most people get a bit of a surprise if they are used to an electric blower!
Although the Stihl BG55 leaf blower has been phased out in 2016, it is still a decent purchase if you can find one for sale. It is not jam packed full of features like some of the newer models, but it is reliable, and does the job well. It has one or two minor downsides such as flooding easily, but this is not really an issue once you get the knack of starting it. Aside from that, we think it is still a worthy purchase if you are looking for a blower that will last you many years.
You can grab a copy of the BG55 user manual if you need it.