Homelite UT09526 Review

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Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com
Think Twice

For a gas-powered leaf blower, this unit is about as cheap as they come. However, user reviews suggest that dubious reliability is part of the bargain.

Pros: Many reviews on HomeDepot.com say the Homelite UT09526 (starting at $80; available on Amazon) does what it's supposed to do, which is clear flowerbeds or medium-size yards of leaves and other debris. Many also praise this leaf blower for its relatively light weight. Most satisfied owners say they consider it a great value for the price, which is quite low for a gas-powered unit.

Cons: One of the main issues with the Homelite UT09536 is that it takes more than a little bit of skill and perhaps luck to get it going. A big complaint here is that the 26 cc motor is very tricky to start. Although it's billed as having a "quick fire starting system," several users report attempting to crank it over and over again with little success. Also, while nearly all leaf blowers suffer from some durability complaints, they seem a bit more pervasive with the Homelite UT09526. Many reviewers say the engine simply quit working after a short period of use, and several users who tried to get a repair under warranty discovered they needed a new carburetor, which wasn't covered. Using ethanol-free fuel may reduce the chance of trouble, but some reviewers insist they encountered problems in spite of doing that.

Features: The Homelite UT09526 weighs 9.6 pounds, about average for a handheld gas-powered leaf blower. It has a 150 mph maximum air speed and a maximum velocity of 400 cubic feet per minute. Features include an adjustable-speed throttle, anti-vibration design, and a transparent fuel tank for easier filling. It does not have a vacuum or mulching mode. Noise is measured at 75.4 decibels, relatively quiet compared with similar models. It's backed by a two-year warranty.

Takeaway: While the Homelite UT09526 appears to do its job once it's running, there seems to be too great a chance that buyers will be stuck with a loud, cranky, hard-to-start engine -- or worse, a dead one. Consumers are better off paying a bit more for a more reliable gas-powered leaf blower.