Lightweight and powerful, the Stihl BGA 57 is a leaf blower that will easily cope with most medium and large gardens. It cleared tough, wet leaves in our tests. It’s a touch fiddly to adjust the length, but that’s a minor complaint about an otherwise excellent blower.
- Easy to use
- Fairly quiet
- On/off control only
- Fiddly to extend
- Review Price: £239
- Cordless leaf blower
- 910-1090mm length
- Round nozzle, optional flat nozzle
- 46m/s maximum air speed
Neatly straddling the line between power and price, the Stihl BGA 57 is a great choice for most domestic users who need to keep their gardens free of leaves. Simple controls, a lightweight body and powerful performance make it a winner, but it could be a bit simpler to adjust the tube length and it would be nice to see the straight flat nozzle included in the box.
Stihl BGA 57 design and features – Easy to set up and use, it balances power and comfort
- Lightweight and comfortable to use
- Locking position to keep battery secure
- Adjustable length, but it can be fiddly to extend
The leaf blower comes preassembled in the box, so you just have to lift it out, drop in a battery and you’re good to go. This model is compatible with Stihl’s 36v AK series of batteries, which power a wide range of kit, including the RMA 235 and MSA 120C chainsaw.
You can buy the BGA 57 barebones (£119) or in a kit with battery and charger, with the most common option the AK 20 battery and AL101 charger (£239). With this combination, you’ll get around 22 minutes of use. The charger recharges in 150 minutes, with 80% charge coming after 105 minutes. Larger AK 30 batteries (27-minute runtime) are available, as are faster chargers.
A button on the back of the AK batteries shows you a rough charge level by lighting up the LEDs on the back.
As with other Stihl tools, the BGA 57 has a locking position for the battery, which keeps it firmly in place without making contact. It works brilliantly, since it stops the blower from being operated by accident – and keeps the battery secure: no amount of shaking would make the battery drop out.
When you do want to use the BGA 57, you just slide in the battery until it clicks into place. A button on the back of the blower will eject it for recharging.
Safety is a key aspect of all Stihl’s tools, and the BGA 57 is no different. To start it up, you need to slide the switch forward, then press the handgrip, and then squeeze the trigger. It’s a little uncomfortable to hold all three switches down, but once there’s power you can release the locking switch and simply grip the handle. The beauty of this setup is that you can carry the blower around without danger of turning it on by accident.
With this model, you get all-or-nothing power: there’s no degree of engine control of the type seen in the more expensive models in the range. That said, the trigger control makes it easy to turn the blower on and off, and I could use short bursts of power to get leaves where I wanted them.
Although the BGA 57 feels tough, decked out in Stihl’s usual orange and white livery, it’s also exceptionally light at 3.46kg with the AK 20 battery inserted. Weight is well distributed, with the leaf blower pointing downwards naturally. This helps with comfort, as I didn’t have to angle the blower down to clean up my garden.
In the box, you get a single round blower tube, which is extendable between three positions. It’s fiddly to extend or shrink the tube, and it’s hard to get enough grip on it. I had to balance the blower between my legs and pull the tube with both hands to get it to adjust, before locking it into place.
There’s an optional straight flat nozzle, which gives a stronger, more directed burst of air – but this is an optional extra, which is a shame. If you do want one, the £10.45 price is pretty cheap.
There’s an eyelet on the back of the blower, which can take a hook, so you can wall-mount the blower for easy storage.
Stihl BGA 57 performance – It has plenty of power
- Powerful fan tackles the toughest of leaves
- Quick to clean lawns
- Quite for a powerful leaf blower
At close range, the BGA 57 exceeded the maximum air velocity of our anemometer. Stihl quotes the blower at a maximum of 46m/s – which, given the 6.8mm diameter of the round nozzle, means powerful airflow of 601m3/hour.
That’s enough power for you to feel the BGA 57 pushing back against you, although isn’t difficult to control. The performance continues at distance, and measuring from 1m away, I saw an airspeed recording of 17.4m/s – that’s not far off the maximum tested output from Karcher LBL 2.
To test performance, I took the BGA 57 outside onto a patch of lawn around 50m2, with a concrete path running down the side. Here, there was a combination of wet leaves, medium-length grass and some thicker twigs.
On the path, the Stihl dealt with all with ease. Leaves fly out of the way, as do large twigs and other mess. It took under a minute to clear the path. I could even tackle thicker twigs with this model, blowing leaves and twigs up a 5cm kerb.
On to grass, and the trickier task. With damp leaves (and grass), I started by tackling a spot of lawn with mostly loose leaves on top. The wide nozzle and high airspeed of the BGA 57 made short work of this, and it took around 20 seconds to clear a patch, with the blower effective at just over 1m.
I then moved onto a patch of grass, with smaller leaves that had become caught in the grass blades. Here, I had to focus thee BGA 57 more closely, and move around to attack the patch with airflow at different angles.
Even so, the BGA 57 cleared out the majority of the leaves: a couple of stubborn ones appeared to be flapping in the wind, but were stubbornly stuck into the soil underneath the grass. Even so, it didn’t take long to clear each area.
For stubborn leaf mess, the BGA 57 was capable of clearing everything on a single charge. However, if you used it as soon as the leaves dropped (or on dry leaves), you’d get the job done even quicker.
More importantly, I could get the leaves into a neat pile. Although the BGA 57 has an on and off control only, it’s easy to pulse the power on and off for finer movement. Despite its power, the leaf blower is relatively quiet (as far as leaf blowers go), measuring it at 82.3dB. That’s about the same as a vacuum cleaner on maximum power, and quiet enough that you don’t need ear defenders.
Should you buy the Stihl BGA 57?
Considering the power on offer, the Stihl BGA 57 is very well priced, particularly if you have existing tools and don’t need to buy the battery and charger. With its powerful output, this leaf blower can cope with most sized gardens easily enough, helping to keep them tidy. It’s slightly fiddly to extend the blower tube, and there’s no variable power on this model, but these are minor complaints. If you need something more powerful or something smaller, our regularly updated best leaf blower guide has alternatives.