“””

As a landscaper for over 15 years, I’ve spent most of my summers mowing, trimming and clipping. Clearing grass clippings from sidewalks and debris from parking lots with my hand-held or backpack blower is how I finish up the jobs. It worked, but having a hot engine strapped to my back on a hot summer day gets old fast; the noise and vibration aren’t enjoyable either. In the fall, leaf removal is a great way to extend my season, but it means wearing a backpack blower for long stretches. I thought all of this was a normal part of the landscape business. All that changed last month, when I got to test the newly introduced Billy Goat Force II.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF BILLY GOAT.
Clearing parking lots or driveways with a Force II Self-Propelled blower cuts your time in half.
 
The new frame design is more durable and lighter than before.
 
Forget the fatigue associated with pushing blowers.
 
The soft rubber design is easy to install and comes standard on Force II blowers.

The unit I tested was powered by a 9 hp Subaru engine and had the self-propelled option. I was unfamiliar with Subaru engines, but was impressed by its power, smoothness and low noise level. The engine is backed by a three-year manufacturer’s warranty. I was actually surprised how light and easy to push the unit seemed, even without the self-propelled engaged.

A unique feature on all Force blowers is the patented Aim N Shoot. I thought this was marketing hype until I used it. This feature allows me to direct the airflow when and where it’s needed just by using a lever mounted on the handles. The nozzle can also be locked into one of three positions on the handle. A new, easy-to-install rubber forward discharge comes standard and is great for pushing debris from under shrubs, along walls, curbs and other tight spaces. This unit saved me half the time I normally spent cleaning an account I have at a church with a large parking lot.

The new fan coupled with the smooth, rounded housing makes this an incredibly powerful machine. I was concerned about the durability of a plastic housing, but it felt bully stout and has a five-year warranty. Crank up the cast aluminum throttle and you’ll get jet engine-like winds; I learned quickly to avoid aiming downward with the Aim N Shoot when near mulched gardens. I loved the large diameter foam-covered handles, which are just right for a comfortable grip. The handles are shaped like an inverted V, which allowed me to find that “sweet spot” for hand placement.

This blower is easy to maneuver and roll, even when not using the self-propelled feature, such as on hard surfaces. Parking lots and driveways can be cleared in no time. Hilly terrain is where I really liked having the self-propelled option. It’s much less tiring than slogging up a hill and makes maneuvering easier. It’s also great for uneven terrain.

On big accounts, the Force II will really pay off as it cuts my blowing time in half. That means I can do more jobs in a day, with less fatigue.

Overall, this is an impressive machine. It’s easier than carrying a backpack and more powerful than I expected. It’s surprisingly quiet and can clear large areas of debris faster than I thought possible. Whether you’re an occasional user or a professional, the Force II will give you years of reliable service.

Think you’ve got what it takes to put some new gear through its paces? Can you write a complete sentence and craft a piece like this? Contact Editor Amy Hill at ahill@MooseRiverMedia.com to get your name on our list of . magazine Field Test experts!