After reading my Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered 170 mph handheld leaf blower review, you will understand that it is a decent mid-range gas powered leaf blower that you should definitely keep in mind.
Despite a few drawbacks that mainly have to do with its ease of use, it is fairly small and lightweight, easy to maneuver, requires no power cord, is not too expensive, and still produces a fair amount of power and airflow.
In terms of handheld gas-powered leaf blowers, this particular option is one of the best out there right now for home use, especially considering the decent price it comes in at.
Let’s dive in the review!
Are you short on time and you prefer to go straight to the product page, rather than read my review? No problem, just click on the image or the button below to go to Amazon!
How Is The Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower Powered?
The Hitachi RB24EAP leaf blower is handheld and gas powered. As you understand, owning a gas powered over an electric corded powered unit gives you a big advantage in terms of freedom of movement.
But, on the other hand you have a disadvantage in terms of having to refuel the tank every roughly half an hour and having to put up with more noise and possibly emissions (if you are using a higher concentration of oil in your fuel mix).
Furthermore, the motor of this Hitachi model is a two stroke engine, meaning that the fuel it takes has to be a mix of gas and oil.
According to the manufacturer specifications, the ratio of the gas and oil mix can range from 25:1 to 50:1 (gas to oil).
What they actually recommend quantity wise, is to “use 2.6 oz. of perfect mix 2 cycle oil in every 1 gallon of 89 octane gas that has no more than 10% of ethanol or lower”.
Now, which ratio is ideal to use, is a little bit up to debate as it all depends on the quality of oil you choose (and consequently the price you are willing to pay).
If you go for a high quality synthetic oil, then, based on the feedback from users, it is better to use a 50:1 ratio. If you were to use the same type of oil with a 30:1 ratio (meaning that the oil concentration is higher than 50:1), then probably the blower would smoke and cause a lot of emissions.
So, if you use non-synthetic oil, then you can go with a higher concentration of oil (like a 30:1 ratio).
At the end of the day, what ratio you should use is up to a personal preference in terms of the type of oil you want to use.
There are plenty of options in the market, you can always test and come up what is best for your situation.
If you don’t want to mix the fuel yourself, then you could consider the option of using a ready premixed fuel, like the TruFuel 2-Cycle 50:1 Pre-Blended Fuel.
In terms of the type of gas you will be using, definitely go for high 89 octane (this is what the manufacturer recommends) and non-ethanol. Ethanol in the gas will wear down the spark plugs and in general shorten the life of your machine.
The fuel tank capacity of the Hitachi leaf blower is 17.6 ounces and what’s good about it is that it is translucent, meaning that it is easy for you to observe how much fuel is left, so you can refill in time.
According to what users are saying, the machine can operate for 25-30 minutes before it needs to be refueled, so this give you ample time to clear up an area of roughly up to 1 acre.
The engine displacement is 23.9 cc offering a maximum output of 1.13 HP, which gives you a decent enough power for efficient operation that will fit your needs (more on power performance below).
How Well Does It Perform?
After studying reviews of real users, there is a general consensus that the Hitachi leaf blower matches expectations in terms of power and performance.
According to specs, the machine has a CFM of 441 and MPH of 170.
Judging from what I hear and from user reviews, it seems there is a bit of confusion regarding these two terms:
Let me try to explain what they mean:
CFM stands for Cubic Feet Per Meter and is a way to measure the air volume (in cubic feet) that the leaf blower is capable of moving in a minute. So, in other words, it gives you an idea of the volume of leaves it can move in a certain time frame.
The figure for the Hitachi blower (441 CFM) puts the machine in the high end of handheld leaf blowers, which generally fall in the 200 to 400 CFM range.
This conclusion agrees with the majority of what real users say in the reviews. They say that the unit matches their expectation in terms of getting the job done.
MPH, on the other hand, stands for Miles Per Hour and denotes the speed with which the blower is moving leaves and debris away. To make this figure even higher, the unit comes with a tapered nozzle tip at the air tube end, so the air that comes out is concentrated and thus has more speed.
The combination of high speed and CFM give the Hitachi leaf blower enough power and make it one of the most performance efficient blowers in the category of gas handheld units.
An additional specification that is relevant with the power performance of the blower is the motor displacement which is measured in cc (cubic centimeters). The bigger the number, the larger the output (and the CFM).
The engine displacement for the particular Hitachi leaf blower model is rated at 23.9 cc, which is considered to be good enough for the power it delivers.
Here’s a nice video review I found for you on youtube that I think, will give you a pretty good picture of what this machine is capable of. You can see up close how it really looks like and enjoy it in action!
What Type Of Work Is The Blower Suitable For?
As already mentioned, in terms of power output and CFM to be more precise, the Hitachi leaf blower falls rather in the higher end in its category of gas powered handheld machines.
Having said this, it seems to be ideal for home use and even commercial grade jobs.
If I were to give you a general rule of thumb, have in mind that if your property is an acre or more, you will probably want a leaf blower with a CFM between 400 to 700.
Well, this Hitachi model with 441 CFM, it falls in the lower end of that.
To help you better grasp the output power of this particular model, I should mention what one user said that once he had to blow away large fir tree branches, that fell in his back yard after a storm. He was pleasantly surprised to see that the machine coped with this demanding job with flying colors!
What another user said, is that it will easily blow pine needles off your patio. Another one said that he tried to blow off pine needles from the metal roof of his house and it worked like a charm.
Also, some reported that it can easily be used to blow light dry snow from your yard.
But of course, when leaves (or pines) are wet, then the job get tougher and it is not so predictable whether the machine will cope well in such a situation.
Now, in its product description, it is mentioned that is intended for both home use as well as commercial use.
However, taking into consideration some of the weaknesses that I mention in mention in more detail in the “Ease Of Use” section down below, I would have to say that I wouldn’t readily suggest it to be used in a professional context.
Which Is Better? Your Good Old Rake Or The Hitachi Blower?
For those of you debating whether to buy a gas powered leaf blower like the Hitachi model we are reviewing here, or stick to your old rake, here’s my take:
- For big dry leaves, the Hitachi is a clear winner. Saves time and cleans yard nearly completely.
- For other dry leaves, the Hitachi is a better choice. Saves time, but Rake cleans yard better. Rake gets almost all leaves.
- For wet leaves, the Rake wins
- For leaves on taller grass, the Rake is a better choice
- The Hitachi is a clear winner when it comes to big dry leaves, but not so good when it comes to other smaller dry leaves, where the rake has a better advantage.
- The rake is a clear winner as far as wet leaves are concerned, as well as leaves on taller grass.
- For driveway, patio, or deck, the Hitachi leaf blower is the clear winner.
Portability – Is It Heavy?
As I already mentioned, the Hitachi leaf blower falls in the handheld category.
While obviously this fact presents a clear advantage over the corded electric category, as it offers you freedom of movement, on the other hand it could be a bit cumbersome to carry around, especially if it’s on the heavy side and bulky in terms of size.
And, it obviously goes without saying that, the more area you have to clean, the more you get tired when carrying this baby around!
Luckily, this particular model weighs only 8.6 pounds (3.9 Kg), which, considering its power rating, is good enough to handle.
On top of that, as users are saying, the unit’s weight is evenly distributed, so that makes it easier to carry and move around.
What’s noted as a drawback, however, is that it doesn’t have a secondary handle grip which would make it easier to control and point it where you want.
What users are doing instead, are holding it by the nozzle which definitely helps.
Furthermore, it would be nice if the unit came with a shoulder strap to make carrying it around even smoother.
Although many users seem to agree that the machine is considered to be lightweight, a shoulder strap would still be a nice addition.
Another thing you should probably want to know, is that its shipping weight is 10.95 pounds.
Ease Of Use-Design Considerations
When it comes to ease of use, the Hitachi leaf blower has raked in some positive reviews by users, however, there are some drawbacks as well, that are worth mentioning.
First, let’s talk about start up. Being a gas powered leaf blower model, this Tanaka unit starts up by pulling the gas pull cord, which is located to the right of the machine, as you look at it from the rear.
Although some of the users mentioned that it can take up to five pulls to get it started, the majority of them said that it is an easy to start machine, requiring not more that 3 pulls maximum, even in low temperatures.
Most probably, the reason for some people saying that the unit is hard to start, is that they either didn’t prime the gas bulb enough, or they didn’t make sure that the choke switch was flipped to the close position, before they started.
According to the manufacturer handling instructions, before you start up the machine, you first have to push and release the primer purge bulb (located in the front of the unit) up to 10 times to make sure that the fuel is well in its correct position and also move the choke lever to the close position, in order to make sure that at start up the gas mixture is rich enough.
If you are not sure what the primer purge bulb does, let me say that this is used to remove air from the carburetor when pressed and replace it with a mixture of gasoline and 2-cycle oil to assist with cold starts.
As soon as the machine starts by pulling the cord, you should move the choke lever to the open position.
To control the variable speed of the blower, there is a big, throttle switch conveniently located at the top of the machine, so you can get to control it (push and release) by using even two fingers if you want, for better grip.
Being able to use two fingers to depress and release the throttle, means that you have better precise control over the speed control.
Talking about the throttle switch, what the unit is missing is a cruise control feature.
Another design drawback that might interest you, is the fact that air intake is located on the left, so if you are carrying it with your right hand, the unit might torque into you with the consequence of sucking into your pants and blocking the intake.
As a matter of fact, this design weakness seems to be an important one, as many of the reviewers gave some negative rating on account of only this.
But, I guess, if you are aware of this drawback beforehand, you can always carry the machine around in such a way, as to avoid this unpleasant situation.
Similar to this issue, is something that more than one user mentioned as a drawback: When using the machine for a relatively prolonged time (more than half an hour), the recoil housing tends to get hot and has no protective cover installed.
As a matter of fact, one of the reviewers mentioned, that the first time he used it he wasn’t being very careful with this, so he ended up with a burn mark when the unit got in contact with his leg.
Another design feature that is important to mention, is the on/off switch. This is conveniently located on top of the unit and is covered with plastic cover, so to avoid accidental activation.
Furthermore, talking about the on/off switch, another feature that some users might find handy, is that when the machine is stopped, then the stop switch auto returns to the “on” position for easy starting.
Actually, the on/off switch works like a kill switch. When you want to stop the machine, then you just press it and keep it pressed for some time until the machine stops. Then, as soon as you release it, it comes back to the ON position.
In this way, when you want to re-start the blower you don’t have to remember pressing the switch back ON. It kind of makes the start up process simpler.
However, as a matter of fact, it seems that Hitachi have recently changed the design of the auto return on/off switch to regular on/off.
Meaning that you need to make sure the switch is set to the ON position in order to start. On top, it seems the switch is not clearly marked ON/OFF, so people are puzzled as to which position it actually is.
I tried to investigate the reasoning behind the manufacturer’s design change, but unfortunately I didn’t find any solid evidence.
What you should also know is that the Hitachi model does not feature anti-vibration capabilities, which may not matter if you are doing mostly quick jobs in the backyard.
It’s worth mentioning that you can also buy anti-vibration gloves that are designed to help minimize vibrations while operating power equipment.
Another neat feature is that the machine has feet, so you can place it down while it’s running.
Can it be used if you’re left handed?
Actually, left handed people have an advantage over right handed people, as the blower intake is located in the left side as you are holding it, so if you are right handed that means that it keeps sucking on your pants.
But, if you are left handed then you don’t have that kind of problem, as the air intake will be facing away from your body as you move.
The pull cord is on your right side, but you can still start it with your left hand and then hold the machine with your left.
Fuel cap – where is it? Is it easy to reach?
The fuel cap is conveniently located on the right side of the blower, just before the pull cord, easy to reach, has a stopper so you won’t accidentally lose it.
How Noisy Is It?
According to the specification written in the leaf blower’s manual, the noise emitted by the machine in fifty feet distance (as dictated by the ANSI standard) is rated at 69 db.
In order to get a better grasp of this noise level, let me just give you a few comparative noise examples, as quoted from a reliable online source I stumbled on:
“Passenger car at 65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB); freeway at 50 ft from pavement edge 10 a.m. (76 dB). Living room music (76 dB); radio or TV-audio, vacuum cleaner (70 dB).”
What is also important to note here, is that the noise that the operator of the leaf blower is experiencing is much higher, in the range of 90-100 db. Thus, you should always make sure that you wear proper hearing protection.
When compared with other gas powered models and even the electric ones which are generally quieter, this Hitachi model is considered be in the quiet range.
Although some users say it’s loud, the majority agree that this is one of the quieter models.
Being a gas powered machine, the Hitachi blower requires more maintenance than its electric powered counterparts.
As specified in the Hitachi leaf blower handling instructions, in order to keep your machine in good working condition, you should follow a maintenance schedule on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.
One thing that pops up as a common thread among a large number of user reviews, is what it is said about having to deal with broken or cracked fuel lines (into the fuel tank and into the carburetor).
Indeed, many users complained that the fuel lines cracked and even were leaking after using the tool for even a short time (a few months).
Some of them have replaced them with silicone tubes that are more resistant to ethanol gas, cheap alternatives.
Overall, it seems that the reason for this failure is using ethanol gas rather than the non ethanol version recommended by the manufacturer. One blamed it on the TrueFuel premix fuel that he used, says that never faced a problem again after he started using own prepared gas oil mix.
So, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions and use the appropriate type of gas and oil mix. But, in the event that these lines do fail, based on evidence they are easy to replace with minimum cost.
How Good Is Hitachi After Sales Support?
The official website of the Hitachi manufacturer is here.
As you probably know, Hitachi is originally a Japanese company manufacturing all sorts of consumer and commercial products.
In order to market the power tools line in the USA, the Hitachi mother company founded the Hitachi Power Tools USA Ltd back in 1980.
The company was renamed to Hitachi Koki USA Ltd in 1994.
In terms of support, browsing through their website, you can see that there is a network of service centers/retailers in place throughout USA, you can simply enter your zip code and you can find the nearest center near your location.
They have a satisfactory number of support centers spread out throughout the country which is a very useful piece of information to know when you need to take your machine to one of their shops.
Now, talking about the quality of after sales support, reviews are mixed.
There are customers who say that their support is outstanding, while others say it is poor, especially regarding the time it takes to repair and return a faulty machine, whether they are under warranty or not.
Of course, as is the case with all other equipment and other brands, the level of support is dependent on a range of factors, such as the efficiency of the particular local service center/retailer that you are dealing with, the nature of the technical problem you are facing, etc.
However, overall, reviews tend to be positive and so it is safe to say that support is average to good.
Is The Warranty Any Good?
As far as warranty is concerned, you will be pleased to know that Hitachi offers two-year commercial use warranty, seven-year consumer use warranty and one-year rental use warranty.
As their warranty says, “Consumer use applications” are defined as all applications for household use”, while Commercial applications are defined as “all applications other than rental which are not considered household use”.
Finally, products used in rental applications are warranted for one year.
Now, about the manufacturer origin, some users said they were a little disappointed to see the unit is made in China not Japan, but nevertheless, they were also pleased to see that it has a quality appearance and operates well.
Hitachi Or Tanaka?
While I was doing my research on this Hitachi RB24EAP model, I stumbled on another leaf blower model that looked very similar, the Hitachi Tanaka TRB24EAP model.
After doing some further research, I found out that they are completely identical in terms of specifications.
The only difference is their color and the fact that the Tanaka model is also available in a vacuum enabled version.
Also, what is different, in Amazon at least, is their difference in price.
Here’s the listing in Amazon, so you can see for yourself:
What I also discovered on the Hitachi website, is that in 2007, Hitachi purchased Tanaka Power Equipment as a brand within the Hitachi Power Tools group.
Furthermore, in the website you can also see that Tanaka have their own network of service centers/retailers, which I assume serves owners of the Tanaka model version.
Eco-friendliness – Emission Levels
Being aware of the fact that nowadays a lot of power tool users are sensitive about the gas powered tools’ eco-friendliness features and their gas emissions in particular, I made a little bit of research to investigate whether this particular Hitachi leaf blower model conforms to relevant standards.
Well, I am pleased to report that the unit indeed conforms to gas emissions international standards.
The engine of the machine is made according to the new purefire technology as it is called.
To give you a little background, it is a fact that two stroke engines, when compared with their four stroke counterparts, are inferior as far as emissions are concerned.
The purefire technology implemented for two stroke engines is designed to combat this disadavantage, resulting in a more efficient combustion process (mixture of gas oil mix with air) for the production of lower emissions and more power output.
The model also meets the U.S.(EPA PHASE3) and European(STAGE2) emission standards.
Furthermore, in it’s Amazon description you can read that is CARB Tier III compliant.
For those of you who don’t know, CARB is an acronym for California Air Resource Board, a regulatory agency for setting the standards for air sanitation and motor vehicle pollution.
California is currently the only state that is allowed to have such a regulatory agency but other states can still follow the CARB standards.
So, when a tool is CARB compliant, it means that is allowed to be operated in California (and of course all other states) and is obviously more eco-friendly than a non compliant tool.
There is something else I would like to give you some background, based on my research:
On the Amazon listing it says “300 Hour EDR – Certified to the EPA’s highest useful life rating”.
What does this mean?
This is what I came up with:
First, what the acronyms stand for:
EPA= Environmental Protection Agency
EDR=Engine Durability Rating
In order to provide an estimate of the useful life of power tools, like leaf blowers, in terms of how long they can operate before they degrade in terms of the emission levels that are specified by the manufacturer of the machine, EPA came up with the least quaranteed number of hours that they can operate, before they start to degrade.
I am quoting from a discussion forum: “A 50hr tool is rated to last at least 50hrs. A 150hr is rated to at least 150hrs. A 300hr is rated to last at least 300hr. That is the highest rating there is. So regardless if a tool is good for 300hrs or 3000 hrs it would still be rated as a 300hr tool.”
So, in conclusion, this Hitachi leaf blower is rated by EPA as the best in terms of emissions!
As I already mentioned, how much smoke your machine will produce is relevant to the oil to gas ratio that you use and the quality of the oil itself.
If the manufacturer directions about the gas to oil mix ratio are not strictly adhered to, then improper mixing can lead to your machine producing excessive smoke.
Furthermore, excessive smoking might be due to poor maintenance like not cleaning the muffler or the machine filters regularly enough.
What Are The Dimensions?
According to the specifications laid out in the Amazon listing, the dimensions of the machine (L x W x H) are 17.3 x 10.5 x 15 in inches.
If you convert this to the metric system, these dimensions correspond to 439 X 267 X 381 mm.
However, when I looked up the dimension specifications in the model’s manufacturer sheet, it said 354 x 205 x 335 mm, which obviously does not agree with what is written in Amazon listing above!
So, making the logical assumption that the manufacturer listing is a more reliable source than the corresponding in Amazon (or any other retailer for that matter), I arrived at the conclusion that the actual dimensions of the unit are indeed 354 x 205 x 335mm, or 14 X 8 X 13 inches.
When comparing this figure with the dimensions of other leaf blowers in its category, then one can say that it’s compact enough, which agrees with the conclusion that is also lightweight, a view shared by a good number of users.
Do You Get Any Accessories?
You do get a round tapered nozzle with the Tanaka TRB24EAP Handheld Leaf Blower, but other than that, you do not get any other accessories, but this is also due to the low price which it comes in at.
Having said the above, in its Amazon listing, Hitachi presents a range of optional accessories. These are various recommended premix fuel containers as well as a shoulder strap.
The total length of the tube plus the nozzle comes to about 20 inches (13 inches for the tube plus about 6 to 7 inches for the nozzle).
The diameter of the tube is 3 inches, while the nozzle’s is 2 inches.
A few people were concerned about the tube plus the nozzle length being too short, and whether that would make them bend a lot to be more efficient with blowing the leaves, as they are taller than average.
However, people who addressed this issue, reassured them that the blower is powerful enough, so you won’t need to bend a lot to get the job done.
Another accessory that many users noted its absence, is a gutter attachment.
However, judging from feedback and seeing the tool in action, one can safely deduce that the blower is so powerful, that it doesn’t need an attachment after all.
One person reported that “gutter cleaning went from a two hour job to a 10 minute job”.
What Do Consumers Say About The Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower?
Going through the user reviews on major retailers, one can say that consumers rate the machine very favorably, in general it receives more than 4 stars out of a scale of 1 to 5.
Digging a lit bit deeper to cross check whether the negative reviews are well founded, there are a number of conclusions to be reached:
- There is a large number of users complaining that the fuel lines leading in to the fuel tank and into the carburetor tend to fail, thus needing replacement. After cross checking with what other reviewers are saying about this issue, it seems that the reason for the failure is the erroneous use of ethanol gas, instead of non ethanol (or with maxiumum 10% concentration of ethanol) that the manufacturer recommends.
- The level of noise that the machine produces is also a controversial issue. Roughly 50% of the users say that the unit is quiet, while the other 50% say that is louder than other leaf blowers they have experience with. What I think is that, being a variable speed model, thus producing a range of noise intensity, it is difficult to say with certainty that the unit is loud or not. So, opinion depends on personal use of the machine, which varies.
However, having said this, judging from its specs mentioned in the relevant section above, the unit is not louder and even quieter than its other counterparts.
- There is a general consensus that the unit has a design weakness, regarding the position of the air intake. It is positioned in the left side, so if you are right handed and you are not careful enough, it might interfere with your clothing.
- Low ratings due to not easy start – Seems most complain because they don’t follow the start procedure as specified, especially flipping the choke to closed position before attempting to start and then switching it back to open once it starts.
- Low ratings due to various mechanical problems – It seems people are not really aware that this is a two stroke engine, so it needs fuel mix rather than straight gas! Also, it seems that people tend to use ethanol rather than non ethanol gas as mentioned above, this resulting in various mechanical failures.
What’s important to note is that overall, people tend to agree that the Hitachi RB24EAP leaf blower is a powerful, lightweight and affordable leaf machine. Therefore, despite its few design flaws, I would say that the overall rating truly reflects the quality of the unit.
Most Important Product Specs and Features
For your easy reference, here’s a list of specifications and features which I think are the most important to bear in mind:
- Handheld, gas powered
- 2 stroke engine, 23.9cc, 1.13 HP, 25:1 to 50:1 gas to oil fuel mix
- Purefire, low emissions 2 stroke engine technology
- MPH 170, CFM 441
- 17.6 ounces fuel tank capacity
- Weight 8.6 pounds (3.9 Kg)
- Noise output 69 db (50 ft distance)
- 7 year consumer warranty
- Dimensions 14X8X13 in (LXWXH)
- Fairly powerful
- Good air velocity
- Decent fuel efficiency
- Not too expensive for its category
- Fairly durable
- Lightweight and compact
- Eco Friendly
- No need for power cord, freedom of movement
- Starts easily
- Good distribution of weight and well balanced when you use it
- Taper tip of nozzle makes it more precise
- Easy access to parts for maintenance purposes (sparks, primer bulb, choke level, air filters)
- Translucent tank
- 7 year consumer warranty and 2 year commercial warranty
- Not too loud
- Big throttle switch, you can use two fingers to control it
- On-off switch on the top, having a protective cover so you don’t accidentally shut it off while it’s working
- Fairly good after sales support
- Air intake is on the left side, may suck your pants when you use it with your right hand
- No cruise control on throttle switch
- Might vibrate excessively
- Not as powerful as some bigger models
- Not ideal for heavy commercial use
- Might get hot if you use it continuously for a prolonged period (more than half an hour)
- No additional handle for extra stability
- Being gas powered, when compared to electric ones, it needs to be filled with the right fuel mix, causes emissions and is more maintenance intensive.
- Does not vacuum/mulch leaves
What is the Price Of The Hitachi Leaf Blower Like?
The price of the Hitachi RB24EAP Handheld Leaf Blower is quite decent considering how powerful, durable, and easy to use it is.
It will cost you around $130-$150, which is pretty average for this kind of product.
To be honest, I would expect something like this to actually cost a bit more, so in the grand scheme of things, I can say I am quite happy with the price here.
Our Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower Review: The Verdict
All in all, I really like the Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2-Cycle Gas Powered 170 MPH Handheld Leaf Blower.
While it is not the biggest nor most powerful gas operated blower on the market, it is more than ideal for most at-home jobs, but not so ideal for commercial use.
It’s not too pricey, it’s lightweight and easy to operate, quite durable, and just an all-around solid leaf blower to have in your arsenal.