Ryobi R18TB v Stihl BG86S & BR700 – Leaf Blower Comparison

Here we take a look at 3 different leaf blowers that are used in residential and commercial situations. There is a tool for every job and leaf blowers are no exception. Often a gardeners job is to keep the gardens clean. Leaves can be a tripping hazard, as well as hiding unknown obstacles that we may trip over. Clearing the footpaths of cut grass and leaves. When these are wet it can be slippery. And clearing loose soil from driveways, footpaths, patios or similar stops a build up and getting muddy when it rains.

What Blower suits me?

All three are good products but let’s be honest your choices should come down to what is the most practical blower for my needs? These blowers operate well in a small workshop to large industrial sized sites.

Yes we are looking at 3 very different – but similar – blowers. All do the same thing blowing air, but what is the actual difference.


MODELWeightAir Flow Speed
Ryobi R18TB1.6 kg115 – 200km/hr
Stihl Handheld BG86S4.4 kg (dry)274 – 320 km/hr
Stihl Backpack BR70010.7 kg (dry)265 – 315 km/hr
Weight and Air Flow Speed Comparison


There is a slight difference in the Ryobi R18TB to the Stihl Handheld. However they are significantly different in size. And the the Stihl backpack is much heavier however the load is spread across your shoulders making it feel lighter. Not mentioned in the statistics is the actual weight of the handle. After a long periods of time this can be very tiresome on your arm. Also the Ryobi Blower gives the weight WITHOUT the battery. It is handy to know as you would be using this WITH a battery. The Stihl Handheld is great as you can easily swap hands.


Significantly different in power. With 200 km/hr different in the blowers. When looking at purchasing a blower this can be a very significant factor. Where and what you are using the blower for will make a difference as to which

Residential and/or Commercial Use

The smaller Ryobi is intended for household cleanups. It is not as powerful. And the run time can be limited. It can still be used in a commercial sense. However it is suited to smaller, lighter blowing.All 3 are suited to commercial use. With obvious differences in the Ryobi compared to the 2 Stihl Blowers. The size of the areas would determine when which blower is appropriate. 

Situations where a blower is used

  • Blowing leaves and/or grass cuttings
  • Clearing a driveway 
  • Cleaning a path
  • Large areas where a broom is not practical
  • Cleaning the garage floor
  • Cleaning a mower – handheld or larger ride on 
  • Cleaning the workshop after sanding and/or cutting wood
Ryobi R18TB vs Stihl Handheld BG86S vs Stihl Backpack BR700

Let’s take a deeper dive into all 3

Ryobi R18TB

Is part of a range of Ryobi ONE+ range tools. It works well but only for short periods of time. It is easy to use and light to hold. This is the smallest of the blowers. However every blower has it’s place.

Extremely great for lightweight household cleaning like paths, patios, steps and car cleaning. And can be added to a range of compatible products suited to the battery (and charger). Great for blowing around the dust from a workshop. And is quicker than setting up an Air Compressor. 

For a small unit Ryobi still recommends to wear safety gear – ear and eye protection. And in some situations a mask. Especially when blowing in dusty or confined areas.

A light blower like this can be great for using in short bursts. And to keep the area clean. It also gives an opportunity for you to think of your next step as you are cleaning up. Because of its size (takes up very little storage room) this ryobi blower is perfect to take away camping. It’s great for clearing an area before setting up. And starting and maintaining a fire. 


It comes with 3 settings which is very handy depending on the situation you are using it for. It can blow leaves outside. I used this in the fastest setting and I found that I can only use it for very short periods – 15 minutes maximum. Less power is great when inside and not wanting to blow dust everywhere. 


  • Battery voltage: 18v
  • Air Flow Speed 1: 115 km/h
  • Air Flow Speed 2: 150 km/h
  • Air Flow Speed 3: 200 km/h
  • Air Volume 3: 2.9 km/h
  • Weight (excluding battery): 1.15kg


  • Lightweight
  • Great for small areas
  • No pull start No fuel=no emissions
  • Easy storage 3 Speed Control
  • Low speed optimised for workshop applications
  • No trouble starting
  • High quality rubber hose allows for removal of wet debris from surfaces
  • Compact and powerful with air speed up to 200 km/h
  • Ideal for cleaning up work shop dust and dirt including sawdust, wood and metal chippings


  • Not suited to extended periods of use
  • Battery requires charging
  • Only suitable for lightweight materials
  • Not ideal in large areas.
  • Battery can go flat quickly
  • Can forget to recharge the battery
  • The specifications weight does NOT include the battery

Stihl Handheld BG86S

This is a great little blower that operates using gas. It is lightweight and extremely comfortable to use. The handle provides support for your arm and hand. And it is also has Anti-Vibration. For those that are using for long periods of time this can be extremely beneficial.
It is mainly used for blowing leaves and grass. However it can be used for small stones and piles of dry dirt. It can struggle blowing some leaves especially in longer grass. And when the leaves are wet. It is also great for cleaning the inside and outside of the “work” vehicle. It can also be used to clean the lawn mower deck. Especially handy if you don’t want to wash the mower.

The air filter is easily accessible. And maintenance is easy. The tube can wear easy especially when holding closer tot he ground. We found our blower to either easy to start or a little difficult. Our blower is older and has had many hours of use. The tubes are replaceable. It is simple to teach others how to start.

The gas tank is small and running on high for an extended period of time the gas will run out quicker. It lasts approximately 45 minutes.


  • Max Air Speed (km/h)   –   274 km/h (w/ round nozzle) 320 km/h (w/ flat nozzle)”
  • Max Air Volume (CFM)   –  477 CFM
  • Most Suitable For  –   Residential & Commercial Use
  • Noise Rating (dB)  –   90 dBA
  • Power Type  –  Petrol
  • Start Type  –  Recoil (Easy2Start)
  • Vacuum Kit –  Optional
  • Weight (kg)   – 4.4 kg dry


  • Easy to start
  • Small but not too small
  • Sits well on the ground
  • Anti Vibration handle
  • Has a throttle lock 
  • Easy stop switch
  • Easy storage


  • Can be hard to start (at least ours is)
  • Small fuel tank 
  • It can wear the tube ends 
  • Can feel heavy after prolonged use if on moderate to large site
  • Air intake can be annoying if changing from hand to hand

Stihl BR 700 Backpack Leaf Blower

Great when doing large areas. More suited to extremely large properties with lots of trees with falling leaves. And commercial use for blowing leaves in Autumn and blowing away grass from paths. 

 It is lightweight on your back and has a waist strap also. The straps are replaceable also. Which is far cheaper than buying a new unit. The plastic blower can be lengthened or shortened. Again this can depend on the situation. Also can when packing away. The blower gets wound up and can be more compact. Often a long blower can get in the way and be a hassle when storing. 

The trigger is in a get position. Nice and comfortable and easy to operate. It does not feel like Working in small areas can be problematic. Basically the leaves have nowhere to go or they go everywhere. 

USES:Blowing leaf litter, garden clippings and general garden waste of lawns, roads, paths. Can use to blow debris off a stone path


This is one powerful unit. For a contractor working on larger areas it is fantastic. Dry leaves are blown away in no time. And wet leaves are no problem at all. As fast as you can walk the blower will move the leaves with little effort. I was surprised at how powerful the unit is. It has so much power it pushes the backpack away from your body. Even with the arm straps and a strap around the waist it still pushes the unit away. And the power has the ability to move soil, small rocks or pebbles and gumnuts.

In some situations it has too much power. It can be hard to get the leaves into a pile. Often a rake is needed to make a neat pile. Or when people are nearby it can be difficult to send the debris away. 


  • Engine Displacement: 64.8cc
  • Blowing Force: 35 Newtons
  • Power(kW): 2.8
  • Most Suitable For  –   Residential & Commercial Use
  • Noise Rating (dB)  –   101 dBA
  • Power Type  –  Petrol
  • Start Type  – Pull start
  • Weight (kg)   -10.7 kg dry


  • Can do large areas 
  • The weight is distributed more evenly with the straps
  • Far more powerful than the others
  • Females can easily use also
  • Ergonomic handle for less stress
  • Fixed throttle
  • Parts can be replaced
  • The tube can be extended and retracted to suit you job site
  • Great power on wet leaves also heavy soil, stones or garden debris
  • Ability to buy parts


  • It can get heavy even with the straps
  • Refuelling can happen when you are a long way away from fuel
  • Can be difficult to put on and off your back 
  • Often walking with your head down
  • Can be easily spooked as not as aware of others around you 
  • It can get heavy holding the tube with one arm
  • Expensive
  • The tube tends to get damaged when people ‘drag’ it along hard surfaces like concrete
  • Bulky to store


Personal Protection Equipment is recommended when using all of these blowers

  • Ear muffs
  • Protective footwear
  • Gloves – optional
  • Safety glasses

Whenever we are using machinery it is vital to wear some form of ear protection. Either ear muffs or ear buds. The Stihl Backpack is the loudest however it is also the most powerfull and closet to your ears. Wearing eye protection is very important. It can be easy for dirt or dust to hit a wall and bounce back into your eyes.


One of the biggest pros with all of these Leaf Blowers is the non existence of an extension cord. Blowers with an extension cord make it extremely difficult to get around the garden. Getting stuck was a common occurrence. And blowing in rain/wet weather is almost impossible. And often required extension leads. And due to how they are made the motors often burnt out.

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