By George, I think sirwalter is onto something - while you're at the yardsales, buy a used mower and trimmer to go along with the blower. You'll have an excuse for your wife - "Honey I can't get the ________ to start again - guess it'll have to wait 'til next week" - and with the money you save by not buying overpriced, high-end equipment - you'll likely have enough to pay for a lawn service. Then you can golf/fish/etc to your heart's content - or just waste some time with us guys online trying to "fix" your "bargains"..... Seriously, there are some clunkers to avoid - but, if taken care of, there are many brands that will do you good. I have a 14 year old Mac that still works great - only had to change an ignition module once.
I'd have to put in a good word for Echo.... A neighbor recently gave me an Echo PB 6000 backpack blower he had pulled from the dumpster at a local cemetery. It was obscenely dirty - the straps, air filter and gas cap were missing - this blower was thoroughly used and abused by the hired help. The compression seemed good and there was spark - I cleaned it up, replaced the straps and gas cap and after about thirty minutes of diddling with the carb adjustments - it's running like a champ. Anything that can take that kind of abuse and still run deserves some credit in my book.... :thumbsup: