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487 of 495 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great buy made even better
I compared a few Blower/Vac combo units before choosing this Toro 51609. Ultimately, I'm very happy with this machine.

I researched the following competing models (mainly by reading their Amazon reviews - I do NOT have hands-on experience with these other units):

Black & Decker LH5000 12 amp Variable Speed Electric Leaf Hog Blower/Vacuum - seems...
Published on May 15, 2012 by ValueSeeker

versus
56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay to a Degree
This is my third Toro blower/vac unit purchase over a period of twelve years. I like all its features in general, and the price is attractive, but I'm not totally thrilled with the unit. Unfortunately, there are several parts of the unit that become obsolete after about three years of use; the electrical switch assembly, the nozzle connector (the size changes with each...
Published 20 months ago by Backlash


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487 of 495 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great buy made even better, May 15, 2012
By 
ValueSeeker (Houston, TX 77079) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller (Lawn & Patio)
I compared a few Blower/Vac combo units before choosing this Toro 51609. Ultimately, I'm very happy with this machine.

I researched the following competing models (mainly by reading their Amazon reviews - I do NOT have hands-on experience with these other units):

Black & Decker LH5000 12 amp Variable Speed Electric Leaf Hog Blower/Vacuum - seems like a good unit, but more complaints re: motor longevity and quality of leaf bag.

WORX TriVac WG500 12 amp All-in-One Electric Blower/Mulcher/Vacuum - looks cool, but expensive, poor quality, terrible reviews.

Toro 51599 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed Electric Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller - well-established, highly-rated unit with >1200 Amazon reviews, 4.5 star average. Was about to buy it, noticed that Toro had just released a newer model...

Which led me to the 51609. The only detectable difference seems to be the inclusion of some new blower nozzle attachments (cord wrap, power insert, and concentrator insert). These are all quite handy and work as intended. The cord wrap is perfect for a 50ft extension cord, anything longer exceeds the capacity of the hook and makes the unit really heavy to carry around. The power insert does help with blowing leaves more easily into rows and the concentrator insert is good for clearing stuck on debris.

Switching between blower and vac is really easy. One thing I notice is that looser shorts can get sucked up against the intake cover in blower mode, but the opening isn't big enough for anything to get stuck or tangled.

The blower speed is adjustable, but for some reason I was expecting more of a range between slow and fast - I think most people will notice that it's more or less two speeds, and the "infinite" adjustability isn't really a major feature.

Works very well to mulch leaves, not super fine, but certainly good enough to simplify bagging or accelerate composting. Metal impeller was a big feature for me, should last a very long time.

Overall, the differences between the 51609 and 51599 are minimal, but the addition of the two nozzle inserts and cord wrap are nice iterative improvements to an already great yard appliance.
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272 of 281 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, December 1, 2008
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We recently acquired an property with a lot of leafy trees and this is my first blower. When the shipment arrived, I thought that Amazon shipped the wrong item because it came in a tiny box. Snap the tube on, connect the cord and it's ready to use.

The power switch is somewhat touchy. When trying to select low speed, it is easy to accidentally bump it into high speed. I accidentally blasted away a bunch of bark and made a crater. Oops. During low speed use, it's also easy to accidentally bump the power switch to off.

The power receptacle is mounted on a short cable tail on the back end. I have several other lawn tools that have the receptacle integrated into the shell with a hook to retain the cord and I prefer that arrangement. When you reach the end of the extension cord, it disconnects easily and cuts power. There's also no strain relief so I think that eventually I will be repairing this short section of cord.

Although it looks and feels like a toy, it seems to work well on flat surfaces and bark, but struggles a little with leaves in wet grass. It just takes longer but still gets it done. I also used it to clear the gutters of leaves and it worked well. I removed the tube making it even smaller and lighter. There were a few times when the thrust nearly knocked me off the ladder.

Noise level is excellent, especially on low. Think giant hairdryer. It is much lighter, quieter and not smelly compared to the big gas blowers.

I was originally considering the Toro Ultra, but I was unsure how much vacuuming and mulching I would do and wanted something lighter, less expensive, and less cumbersome.
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145 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! Same blower as 51599 !, April 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller (Lawn & Patio)
Love this thing! I had a 51599 that I lent out last year and never received back. Came on a couple weeks ago to order the same model when I noticed this- this is the same blower as the 51599 but cheaper, and with newer accessories. The attachments are easier to store now, and the blue piece you see is a cord caddy that slips on the blower nozzle. Quite convenient! I now keep my extension cord wrapped around the caddy.

Great blower, great price.
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150 of 159 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Yard Tool, January 26, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Don't waste your money on 12 amp versions or so called 200+ mph electric blowers for home use. The 7 Amp Toro Model 5185 Power Sweep 2 Speed is perfect for most yard clean up jobs. Light with a shorter flow tube, the 51585 makes it easy to get around planting areas with excellent air control flow.
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137 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A blast of fresh air!, August 30, 2008
By 
JFP "jpax10" (Norwalk, California USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This works better than advertised -- I use it to clear my backyard, patio, driveway, it even knocks spiderwebs off the house and garage walls!
Thank goodness it has two speeds -- the higher setting is too strong for some tasks! I actually look for excuses to use this tool.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very handy, November 19, 2008
Love the blower! I'm 66 years old, and found it very easy to handle, and it did a great job.
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get out there and clean those leaves! Excellent economical way to get cleaned up, October 26, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Those who know my reviews know I love my electric yard tools. With a smaller yard and limited storage, I don't want to have gas cans and oil sitting around. I mow my lawn with a GreenWorks 25022 12 Amp 20-in 3-in-1 Electric Lawn Mower, so walking around the yard with an extension cord is really not a problem for me. For most of my regular yard detail work (edging and string trimming), I have some battery operated Black and Decker tools, but the 18V blower just never cut it. You need power in a blower, and this Toro blower is one of the best I've used.

For starters, you are getting a really powerful 2 speed blower here. Plugging it in is very easy because there is a pig-tail for the plug, not just a plug on the unit. Pig-tail configurations are much better in this sort of device. There is also a cleat to strain-relieve the cord so it does not pull out. Assembly is a snap - just pop the plastic protector on the bottom, affix the blower tube, and you are good to go! Take care that there is a small nozzle that was inside the tube - you can remove the nozzle for a wider air path or add it for more concentrated power. I was "blown away" by the >230MPH wind speed setting. I was easily able to clean up leaves even though they were wet and on long grass. I had to drop the speed in one spot because they were shooting too far and missing my pile - fortunately there are 2 speed settings.

Cleanup is also a breeze - pop off the bottom protector and add a 2-piece tube plug a bag and you can mulch leaves. The bag has a strap to hold it on your shoulder, and a convenient full-length zip to clean it out. My only complain here is that it was a bit larger an opening than the leaf bag - it might have been nicer if the narrower bottom opened instead. But having the longer edge open does make it easier to get out all of the leaves.

This is a quality tool with a lot of power. Trust me - the battery operated blowers just don't have enough power (and don't last long enough - I used to need 3-4 batteries to make it through my lawn). This thing is about as good as you can get without going gas. Get yourself a long extension cord and you will be good to go. Highly recommended and a great price!
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119 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Far So Good, April 28, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller (Lawn & Patio)
Convenient
I'm loving this more than shoving leaves in a garbage bag. I vacuumed a small pile of leaves and grass today with ease. You still have to empty the bag after you're finished, but I don't mind that at all.

Handling
Your hands could start to feel tired if you've been vacuuming for about 10-15 minutes because of the unit vibrating. It didn't bother me, but I noticed that I had to shake out my hands after long use, and I was good to go.

Blowing
After cutting the grass, I tried the blower function, and it worked just fine.

Vacuuming Trash
We get various forms of trash and debris in our yard after a windy night. I would not use this to vacuum up regular trash. Recently, I had a bunch of quarter-size pieces of Styrofoam in the yard, and I didn't want to rake them, so I decided to try it. It handled the Styrofoam without any problems because it is a soft material, but I don't recommend buying this for trash. Use this at your own risk for trash other than leaves and grass. I accidentally vacuumed a plastic sandwich bag today, and the metal impeller made a quick disturbing noise that startled me, but it didn't disrupt the performance of the vacuum. The noise was just from the speed of the impeller going against plastic.

Vacuuming Leaves
We have a town home with a small yard, so I don't know how convenient the bag attachment will be for someone with a large yard. I'm looking forward to using this during the fall season. I think I'm going to rake the leaves and then vacuum them versus going across the whole yard with the vacuum. I've procrastinated on the yard a handful of times, so I have leaves and other tree/yard debris that is kind of mashed into the ground from rainy days, and the vacuum will not suck up those leaves in one pass. You have to work at it, so I suggest raking your yard if you've procrastinated on keeping it clean.
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85 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Does the job both blowing and shredding leaves!, October 23, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller (Lawn & Patio)
One of my better Amazon buys! I am 'very' pleased with this electric [AC] operated model blower/vacuum and today alone it was really put through its paces with leaves a la mode and came through with flying colors! As other reviewers have said, this model very fortunately has a ==METAL== impeller [versus plastic] and this is, IMO anyway, an absolute must when the unit is used [with the attachable leaf-bag with a very convenient carrying strap] to literally suck-up leaves [and the usual multiple small twigs that wind up in the leaf pile] and it makes confetti out of the leaves and small twigs. When used as a blower, and with that 2 plastic piece 'concentrator' gizmo, it's a real whirlwind.

I have a big yard with various big trees on the property in a very rural area and while doing the grass in this large area is no particular biggie essentially because I can sit on my fanny and let a 24HP 46" cut rider-mower do about 85% of the grass cutting work and a 'back-up' self-propelled power mower for those places the big rider can't go in the more steep areas of lawn here and there, getting rid of Fall season falling leaves from all those trees [now I know why I like my other pine trees so much!] is another story entirely. If I get lazy and mow over them rationalizing that those twin big rider-mower mulch blades will do the trick and chop them up, then I hear it from my wife [! -- sound familiar?] because the lawn no longer looks green but rather a mish-mosh of color from rider-mower shredded up muti-colored leaves until the snow finally arrives and covers the big lawn soooooo it's one particular job on my big sprawling lawn that I loathe -- rake time for the leaves [a REAL drag and a half] 'and' hauling the endless leaves away bag by bag. But with this blower/leaf shredder, you can blow the leaves into a sort of long [and separated] but narrow furrow configuration with just minimum raking and then switch over to the 'vaccum' [which it essentially becomes with the leaf-bag attachment] and suck up those leaves row by row and the metal impeller chops them up quite nicely and you just empty the attached to the model leaf-bag [with its handy zipper] when it's full and then simply repeat the process. I also like the "variable speed" feature because sometimes you want to regulate [read: lower] the speed as, for example, if you have leaves that have fallen within areas where you may have that multi-colored mulch stuff and if you use too high a speed on the blower, the mulch decorative stuff will be blown away with the leaves! On an open lawn tho' , full throttle is the way to go either for blowing or sucking up leaves. It really does the job with its various attachments. Caveat: read the instructions tho' so as to 'correctly' mount the plastic attachments.

I do recommend three things: A "back-up" leaf-bag [** Amazon sells it specifically for this model Toro [** Model #51609 Ultra 12 amp variable-speed electric blower/vacuum with metal impeller" for I believe $19 or so and it's a 'Prime' shipping item just like the electric blower/vacuum itself is] and when you're preparing the leaf piles to be sucked up, use your rake to quickly churn through it and remove any really thick twigs that inevitably get raked up with the leaves. It's easier on the impeller which can easily chop up smaller twigs and avoid sucking-up thick sticks and the like [Of note: Be careful with any pebbles you might have in certain areas of your lawn where leaves have fallen! Move the leaves away from any area that has pebbles or these small stones will decidedly shorten the life of the impeller!]. Avoiding such things and overly thick twigs or sticks will keep the impeller blade sharp. No need to push it. Ohhh, and the big one, the old plug falling out thing on the main unit =or= long extension cords, do a simple knot loop around each AC cord extension connection and at the unit source itself to 'hold' the plug 'firm' and it won't slip out on you umpteen times. That probably sounds familiar too, yes? Yes. Finally, when you really get into it if you have a large lawn area with leaves all over the place, give the electric motor a periodic break [and yourself too!] after sustained blowing and/or leaf-shredding and it should keep purring for years to come.

A great deal, a real work-horse machine, a name brand, light, a carrying strap for the leaf-bag, additional attachments, a reasonable price [especially on sale from the usual MSRP!] and, to top it off, free shipping. Works for me! In more ways than one!

Doc Tony
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay to a Degree, November 23, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Toro 51609 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed (up to 235) Electric Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller (Lawn & Patio)
This is my third Toro blower/vac unit purchase over a period of twelve years. I like all its features in general, and the price is attractive, but I'm not totally thrilled with the unit. Unfortunately, there are several parts of the unit that become obsolete after about three years of use; the electrical switch assembly, the nozzle connector (the size changes with each new model year), and the leaf bag zipper which has been grossly undersized and prone to failure since the whole line of blower vacs first came to market. Toro Customer Support admits this one item is high on the list of customer complaints, yet no attempt has ever been made to upgrade it. They will replace bags with failed zippers for free as long as your unit is still under warranty; after that, you will have to buy a replacement bag (because that would be cheaper than having someone install a new zipper). I am not a fan of companies that use "planned obsoleteness" to stimulate sales. Our landfills are full of such practices.
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