We Tried the Stihl BR 600 Backpack Blower, and It’s a Must-Have for Fall Cleanup
The Stihl BR 600 backpack blower is fuel efficient and durable, and it produces low exhaust emissions and packs professional-grade strength. Here’s our full review.
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It’s that time of year when falling leaves seem to completely consume your yard, especially if you have more than one tree. And if you have a medium or large lawn, using a rake isn’t the most efficient way to corral thousands of fallen leaves. With the help of a leaf blower, tidying up leaves (or your lawn after mowing) doesn’t have to be a difficult, time-consuming task. From rounding up leaves to removing grass clippings to cleaning gutters, a blower is the versatile tool you need not only for autumn-time tasks, but year-round yard work.
Not every blower is built the same, however, so it’s important to know the specs and features of a unit before you buy. One of our favorite, easy-to-use blowers is the Stihl BR 600 backpack blower. Here’s everything you need to know about this model.
What is the Stihl BR 600 backpack blower?
The Stihl BR 600 backpack blower is a gas-powered, professional-grade backpack leaf blower. It has a powerful, fuel-efficient engine that produces almost the highest velocity and air volume—677 cubic feet per minute (CFM)—of all Stihl’s blowers. When it comes to speed, this thing can shoot air out at 238 miles per hour (MPH).
But why do we love it so much? Well, of course its performance-ranking is huge, but the Stihl BR 600 is also lightweight (less than 22 pounds), easy to use and not overwhelmingly noisy. So while it can handle heavy-duty jobs, it’s also practical for daily yard work at home. Keep reading for a full breakdown of the Stihl BR 600’s features.
We Tried It
Stihl BR 600 Backpack Blower
A powerful, professional-grade blower in a small, ergonomic backpack
Stihl BR 600 Backpack Blower Features
Mary Henn/Family Handyman
Reduced-Emission Engine Technology
While the Stihl BR 600 is a gas-powered leaf blower, it’s one of the brand’s powered products that’s environmentally conscious, which means it produces low exhaust emissions that are cleaner than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) exhaust emission standards.
Shipping and Handling
I had the Stihl BR 600 delivered to me fully assembled and with an expert who guided me through the initial use. When you order from your local hardware store, like Ace Hardware, you can request free expert assembly and a safety demo so that you feel confident you can use the power equipment safely and effectively. I would recommend this to anyone who’s a novice gardener or less experienced when it comes to handling lawn equipment.
Storage and Size
Because the BR 600 is a backpack blower, it’s rather compact in size. It’s the size of a large backpack and weighs 21.6 pounds, so storing is easy in your garage or shed, as the blower takes up little space and is lightweight enough to hang.
Engine Power and Blowing Force
As mentioned, this model has the highest velocity and air volume of all almost all the Stihl backpack blowers, so it’s surprisingly powerful for its size. When it comes to engine power, the BR 600 has 3.8 brake horsepower (BHP), which represents the strength at which the blower motor can tune the blower fan. In other words, the BR 600 can circulate air faster than low-horsepower blowers, which means it has more blowing force.
Blowing force is often measured in Newtons (N), and the BR 600 has a blowing force of 32 N. Most cordless blowers produce somewhere from 8 to 17 N, where professional backpack models typically produce 28 to 41 N. Of Stihl’s backpack blowers, the BR 600 has the highest measured blowing force second to the BR 800 blowers.
All Stihl products show in the current Stihl Sales Catalogue are covered for a period of two years from the date of purchase when purchased for domestic use. When used for professional or semi-professional users, all Stihl products shown in the current Stihl Sales Catalogue are covered for a period of one year from the date of purchase.
If you’re using a Stihl blower or a different product for hire and rental, then it’s covered for three months from the date of purchase to the original purchaser. Read more about Stihl’s warranty policy here.
How We Tested It
Mary Henn/Family Handyman
As I described, I had the Stihl BR 600 backpack blower delivered to my driveway, and I was given a demo on how to safely handle the blower. To be honest, using the BR 600 is pretty intuitive if you’ve had prior experience with gas-powered lawn equipment. However, I was happy to have the in-person safety tutorial—and you can opt for one, too, if you order your backpack blower from Ace Hardware.
Ease of Use
The BR 600 is easy to use for a few specific reasons. It has multi-function handle control, so you have easy access to all the controls in one spot on the handle. So when you’re using the blower, your hand doesn’t have to stray from the handle.
The BR 600 also has a purge pump primer feature that allows the operator to prime the carburetor with fuel. What does that mean? It means easier starting. In other words, the user can’t flood the machine by priming the carburetor too many times. When starting the engine cold, you’ll want to make sure the choke knob is turned to the full choke position (furthest to the right), then slowly press the fuel pump bulb below the choke knob a few times. After that, you’ll pull the starter grip slowly until you feel it engage. (Don’t let the starter grip snap back.) Once you’ve started the blower, you can use the trigger on the handle to control the blower.
Noise and Vibrations
With a sound pressure rating of 75 decibels (dB) , the BR 600 isn’t overly loud when it comes to blowers. Note: It is recommended that you wear ear and eye protection while operating the blower, along with gloves. However, I *accidentally* did not wear ear protection when first starting the blower, and I was not startled, nor did I experience any discomfort. But to be clear, this is not recommended, and you should wear ear protection.
When it comes to vibration, the BR 600 has an anti-vibration system that provides a more comfortable wear and helps reduce operator fatigue. While this is largely a matter of personal preference and perspective, I found the backpack blower to be relatively comfortable to wear. However, if you’re performing longer jobs or have back problems, you may want to give yourself a break while operating the blower.
While we advise wearing gloves, safety glasses and ear protection while operating the blower, there are a few added features on the BR 600 that improve its safety and usability. Its adjustable support harness distributes weight evenly across the back and shoulders, so you shouldn’t experience much strain while using the blower.
There’s also a throttle trigger lock with a built-in stop switch that allows you to turn off the engine with the press of a button, conveniently located right on the grip of the handle. When you’re ready to get back to blowing, simply press the trigger button again, and the blower starts up—no need to go through the full process of restarting the engine!
- Weighs just 21.6 pounds
- Ergonomic and comfortable
- Plenty of power
- Easy to use
- Reduced-emission engine technology
- Anti-vibration system
- Throttle trigger lock for easy start and stop during a job
Is the Stihl BR 600 a good blower?
We think so! The BR 600 is a fuel-efficient and durable choice. Plus, it packs professional quality in a small, lightweight backpack form. It features a low exhaust emission engine, so it’s a versatile blower option suitable for just about any job, anywhere.
Is a Stihl BR 600 backpack blower a two-stroke or four-stroke?
When it comes to engine type, the BR 600 features a two-stroke engine.
Does the Stihl BR 600 take mixed gas?
All Stihl gas-powered lawn equipment uses a 50:1 gasoline and oil mixture. Here’s a mix chart if you’re unsure about how much gas and oil to add.
What Other Reviewers Had to Say
The Stihl BR 600 has an impressive 4.8-star rating out of more than 1,100 reviews on Ace Hardware. Here’s what people are saying about the backpack blower:
Steve from Idaho says, “It doesn’t happen very often, but I love it when a product is better than I expected. I replaced an older handheld Stihl blower with this backpack model and absolutely love it. It starts easily, is comfortable to wear, has boatloads of air volume and speed and makes cleanup quick and easy. I highly recommend the Stihl BR 600.”
“I purchased this about a month ago. Wish I had done so years ago,” shares Mel from Indiana. “It’s light and so easy to use. No more fatigue on your arms. The power is amazing and has so many uses. I would definitely recommend a BR 600 to anyone.”
When it comes to Stihl backpack blowers that are lightweight, easy to use and suitable for consumer- and professional-grade jobs, the BR 600 can’t be beat. There are only two other backpack blowers in the Stihl lineup that pack a little more power, and those are the BR 800 X and the BR 800 C-E. However, those blowers will cost you more in dollars, weight and size.
After using this blower for several weeks around my leafy yard, I would highly recommend it. It’s comfortable, easy to use, efficient and packs plenty of power to get the job done. While I can’t speak to its durability over years of use, plenty of other users have expressed that Stihl blowers, including the BR 600, have lasted them years. While the BR 600 is certainly an investment, it’s a worthwhile one if you do your own yard work and landscaping and like to keep things as tidy and pristine as possible.
Where to Buy the Stihl BR 600 Backpack Blower
We Tried It
Stihl BR 600 Backpack Blower
A lightweight backpack blower with a powerful, fuel-efficient engine
The Stihl BR 600 retails for $550. You can shop at Ace Hardware and schedule the blower to be delivered fully assembled—free of charge. You can also request a free safety demo, which I recommend if you’re not used to operating lawn equipment. (Better safe than sorry, right?) Happy fall (aka blowing season)!