Stihl SH86 Petrol Leaf Blower Vacuum Shredder

Review Of the Stihl SH86 CE Garden Leaf Blower Vacuum  

The Stihl SH86 CE is one of the latest models of hand held petrol garden leaf blowers / vacuum shredders to be launched by Andreas Stihl.

In addition to being a powerful two stroke petrol engined blower this unit quickly changes to a versatile and efficient leaf vacuum shredder as well.  The SH86 model is their top of the range vacuum shredder and has been designed to offer extremely powerful blowing and suction for tidying up the garden, estate, car parks, drives, and other areas of fallen leaves and garden debris.

All aspects of the SH86 shout quality. From the units outer casings through to the large capacity collection bag you will see this is not a cheap low specification piece of garden machinery.  

As with all of their machines the Stihl SH86 offers relaxed yet satisfying use with many extra comfort features over other brands.

The leaf blowers power is provided by one of their robust and compact 27.2cc two stroke petrol engines that drives a high velocity impellor type fan. Attached to this is a special metal steel  shredder blade that comes into action when the unit is used as a garden vacuum cleaner shredding leaves and garden waste ready for depositing in the large collection bag.

Even the collection bag has had egonomics and operator useage taken into account during its design.  It features a large zip opening for easy emptying on your compost heap or where ever you choose to dispose of its contents.  

The bag fitted to the SH86 also has a built in shoulder strap, this gives great balance not only of the bag but also of the leaf vacuum shredder as well.

The latest variant of this model is the SH86 CE that is packaged and sold with the Stihl reference number of 4241 011 0903.

First Impressions Of The Stihl SH86 Garden Leaf blower Vacuum:

As with all Stihl garden machinery and landscaping equipment, your local dealer should adhere to the manufacturers guidelines on ensuring your new purchase is fully tested and ready for use prior to handover.

For the sake of providing the best information possible (and most thorough) this review will take you through our findings on opening a brand new machine out of the box, assembly, testing, and its operation.

The Stihl SH86 comes pre-packaged in a sturdy cardbox box which inside comprises the unit itself, the blower and vacuum tubes (both a round and flat blower tube is standard), the leaf collection bag with strap, and also the operator instruction manual and safety guide.  

To be able to use this garden blower you will need as extra a suitable petrol container (we recommend a standard 5 litre petrol can with spout), a quantity of two stroke oil, and as we always recommend – suitable safety wear, the minimum which should be a pair of protective safety glasses or goggles.    

You will find when going through the instruction manual that everything is clear, simple, and easy to follow. Although the temptation is always there when you buy a new item of garden machinery, we recommend you do not proceed to use this machine without reading and absorbing its instructions first.

The first step is to decide whether you will be using the SH86 as a leaf blower of leaf vacuum. This will dictate which tubes you fit to the machine. As most users will blow and then vacuum afterwards we chose the blower configuration as a start.

With just a push and a couple of twists the blower tubes were joined together and attached to the units outer casing. In this mode no collection bag is needed so this was left for later fitment as well as the vacuum pipe.

With the blower tubes fitted to the unit we proceeded to get the machine ready for use. Next we tackled the fuelling. The Stihl SH86 has an onboard fuel tank that in normal use gives approximately between 20 to 40 minutes running time. This will vary depending on the speed you choose to run the blower at. 20 to 40 minutes running time however is ideal and is far better than a lot of other brands and models you can buy.     

We proceeded to fill the machines onboard tank with fuel. The Stihl SH86 is a two stroke petrol engined unit so needs a mixture of unleaded petrol that has been pre-mixed with two stroke oil. The instructions clearly recommend Stihl’s own two stroke oil with the information listed that this has been tested for continuous use on their engines and also will give the best acceleration and service longevity.

The two stroke oil we used for this test and review was their “standard” HP 2 stroke oil. This can be bought in various bottle sizes ranging from 100ml “one shot” bottles to large 10 litre containers.

With a standard plastic 5 litre capacity petrol can to hand (filled with fresh unleaded petrol) we poured in the whole of the 100ml “one shot” oil. this was then given a good shake from side to side to mix the petrol and oil together. The fuel tank on the SH86 was then filled completely to give us the maximum run time possible.

How Easy Is It To Start The Engine On The Stihl SH86 Blower?    

With a full tank of fuel we moved the choke control (that is clearly marked and on the left hand outer casing) from open to fully closed. The fuel primer pump received three complete passes to prime the engine with fuel ready for starting. Next the ignition switch was turned to on and with a couple of strong pulls on the  starter grip the engine fired into life. We have always been impressed with how easy Stihls two stroke petrol engines are to start and this one is no different. It just goes to show that their factory and manufacturing plant build them to a very high standard with production line testing taking place. There is nothing more frustrating than reviewing an item of powered garden machinery that will not start!

It was obvious the engine was running “on the choke” due to its slightly increased but constant speed. Within a few seconds we moved the choke control to off and the engine speed dropped down as expected. This leaf blower vacuum shredder has an easy to use trigger throttle control to give precise control to the operator. A simple squeeze is all that is needed to increase the blower outlet speed.

So, with the machine full of fuel and its engine running we moved onto the area in question. We chose to review and test this model in a large car park that was bordered by two lawned areas with a large concentration of trees.

With safety glasses on we first tackled the concrete car park. Due to the overhanging trees this was littered with fallen leaves and small twigs. It took a few minutes to get used to how best to operate this blower and have a methodology to work with. We found it was best to first decide where we wanted to “blow” the rubbish to and then act upon this. Simply pointing the SH86’s blower tube direct at fallen leaves and twigs, and at the same time squeezing the throttle control made really light work. As you squeeze the throttle the engine on this unit accelerates up at a rapid pace as well as the volume of air that is blasted out. The Stihl SH86 is a really powerful garden leaf blower! Care really has to be taken to ensure no children, pets, or bystanders are in your “line of sight” when using this model – it is that powerful!

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