The RedMax EBZ8500 Backpack Blower Review – King of the Hill
Setting the standard for backpack blowers for decades is no easy task, and this is just what RedMax does. Many try to reach the heights of the EBZ8500, but most fall short. If it just came down to brute and brawn, hands-down, the RedMax wins.
Recently, we had the opportunity to pit 7 different brands of backpack blowers against each other in our Backpack Blower Head-To-Head Shootout. While all 7 models that we took a look at had their own particular strengths, a few of the brands stood out as having some really superior features, or power levels, or performance. The Redmax EBZ8500 backpack blower stood out as a leader in quite a few categories. This, of course, came as no surprise to us; RedMax has been setting the gold standard for backpack blowers for a while now. Many companies have tried to emulate the RedMax design over the years. And, it’s no wonder, because this blower has power in spades.
But, this blower finished in 3rd place in our shootout. Not a bad finish, and the top three places finished so closely that they might as well have been interchangeable. So, what makes the RedMax EBZ8500 such a great investment for your lawn care arsenal? Let’s take a look.
The RedMax EBZ8500 certainly isn’t the lightest blower on the market, but it’s far from the heaviest. RedMax claims their blower weighs in at 24.7 lbs, though our measurement turned out to be a bit heavier. Its dry-tank weight, for us, turned out to be 25.1 lbs.
The difference here is probably negligible, and either way, it falls on the lighter end of the spectrum of the blowers we tested. At the end of the day, a lighter blower often makes for a more comfortable blower, and on longer jobs, the RedMax will probably feel more comfortable than most blowers.
The RedMax backpack blower has a few features that help to make for an overall positive lawn care experience. First off, this blower features active cooling, whereby the fan housing pulls air through intake vents situated between the blower and the operator’s back. The result makes for a more comfortable experience, as the cooler air is pulled across the back. The RedMax active cooling doesn’t perform quite as effectively as Makita’s, but the feature still functions well.
The EBZ8500 also features hip controls with a throttle lock, which acts similarly to a cruise control. This feature comes in really handy on longer jobs where you don’t necessarily want to hold down a trigger for twenty minutes. Positioned under the thumb, ReMax included a convenient kill switch as well.
The padded straps can be adjusted, which doesn’t seem like a particularly special feature as every blower that has ever existed includes adjustable padded straps. However, RedMax’s straps seem more comfortable than most. The back pad feels nice as well.
RedMax EBZ8500 Backpack Blower Power
This is the category where the RedMax EBZ8500 backpack blower really shines. With blowers, we like to measure a few things to determine power, and the first one we generally like to check is the Newton force. As per ANSI standards, it takes one Newton of force to accelerate an object with one kilogram of mass one meter per second. That probably sounds super science-y, and it is, but the important takeaway here is that the RedMax cranked out 38.9 Newtons of force. In our shootout, this blower took the first prize in this category.
CFM and MPH
That being said, it might be surprising that the actual MPH that this blower puts out seems relatively low. While the manufacturer claims that the RedMax blower cranks out 206 MPH of wind speed, we recorded the EBZ8500 spitting out a top wind speed of 181 MPH. Obviously, the RedMax is no slouch in the wind speed department, but we were a little surprised that it wasn’t one of the better performers.
On to the CFM tests…this test measures the Cubic Feet per Minute rating, or just the volume of air the blower produces at Wide Open Throttle (WOT). We plugged the Newton ratings into the ANSI formula for calculating CFM measurements to come up with our CFM totals. While Redmax claimed that the EBZ8500 produced 908 CFM, we actually found that this unit produces more than the manufacturer claims. The 916 CFM rating that we came up with put the EBZ8500 at the top of the pile.
For more information regarding manufacturer power calculations, check out our article on CFM and Airspeed Testing.
But how does all this affect real-world performance? We put the blowers up to the task of blowing through a 6 x 6 patch of wet playground sand on porous asphalt. By eliminating as many time and distance variables as possible, and then measuring the resulting swath length, multiplied by swath width, we were able to calculate a winner for our “Broadest Swath Wet Sand Test.”
The RedMax EBZ8500 shone in this performance test. Finishing with an impressive 840 square inch swath, the EBZ8500 tied for second place with the Husqvarna 580BTS. The Stihl BR700 edged everyone else out, but the difference between 1st and 2nd place was minimal.
However, in the spirit of full disclosure, one category where the RedMax EBZ8500 backpack blower struggled a bit was with fuel efficiency. Our runtime testing proved that, with 6 oz. of fuel in the tank and the blower running full-throttle, the RedMax sputtered out in under 5 minutes. Of course, the tank carries much more fuel than 6 oz, so what can you expect from this blower running with a full tank? We calculated that you’ll be able to run the EBZ8500 for around an hour and 3 minutes at WOT. The runtime tests placed this blower toward the bottom of the units we looked at.
The only real sticking points we see about the RedMax blower come down to fuel efficiency and price. While it might be a stretch to call this blower a “gas hog,” it did tear through fuel more quickly than the others. However, with a full tank, the EBZ8500 will run for over an hour at full-throttle, so this point might not be that big of a deal to you. Also, at $589, this backpack blower was the priciest one we looked at. This might be one of those times in life where you remind yourself, you get what you pay for.
And, what you’re getting for that price tag is a whole lot of power. If power is the name of the game, then you probably can’t do much better than the RedMax. It cranks out the most Newton force, and it moves the most air by volume out of all the blowers we looked at. Of the units we tested, this one finished in either first or second place in almost all of our power tests.
Also, the RedMax EBZ8500 sits really comfortably on the back. The active cooling is a great feature, and at 25.1 lbs, it’s not the heaviest blower you could be strapping to your back. The throttle controls allow the user to “set it and forget it” for longer jobs. Also, the throttle positioning feels out of the way, yet accessible.
With all things considered, we really dig the RedMax EBZ8500 backpack blower. There are good reasons why the brand has remained so popular over the years. We feel like our testing only emphasized those reasons. So, if you’re looking for a professional grade blower that cranks out more power than you’ll probably ever realistically need, and also crams it all into a comfortable package, you won’t be disappointed with the RedMax EBZ8500.