*** UPDATE 4/27/10 ***
Now that I’ve had more time with my leaf blower I can say that I’m very happy with the purchase. It definitely has less power to move leaves embedded in grass than any gas powered blower I’ve used though. That is a little sad, but it definitely is very helpful when raking the yard and it works excellent in bushes, flower beds, clearing off mulch, on the driveway, etc.
I tried the insert that shrinks the exit nozzle’s size (and thus ups the wind speed) and that seemed to make things worse for moving leaves in grass.
I still recommend this product, but I bet in about 4-5 years they will have the ultimate replacement that is electric and moves as much air as a gas blower.
The oak yak has been coming down like snow every day this week. It’s just that time of year for EVERY stationary outdoor object to be covered with the furry little stuff – and bright tennis ball green pollen, of course. I expect it will continue for another week but I’m hopeful that it will be done by next weekend. This is when I hope to have a big yard clean up.
Last year I borrowed a friend’s hand-held gas-powered blower because a rake simply will not get all of the tiny little live oak leaves that dump in my yard. It was amazing the difference. I don’t think it saved me any time overall but I had to have gotten four times as many leaves out of the grass with less effort.
Having only used the big backpack blowers before this, I was delighted at how well the little hand-held blower worked for my purpose. This got me thinking that there might be an electric version that would work for me. I have a tiny yard so the hassles of a cord are easily tsunami-ed by the hassles of owning and operating a small gas engine. I just wondered if I could find one with enough power.
A quick search online lead me to the Toro 51599 Ultra Leaf Blower. The reviews put it at the top of the heap. $70 is not too expensive. It’s about $20 more than most other inferior models. It seemed like it was worth a try.
I’ve only given it a two-minute test blowing off part of my driveway, yard, flower bed and mulched plant area. To my extreme delight, it seems just as powerful as the gas unit I used last year and did a great job and I didn’t even use the attachment to boost the power (smaller nozzle). I didn’t think I’d used the variable speed option, but now I’m certain I will. I can blow the gunk out of the more delicate areas of my yard without sending potting soil or mulch flying too.
It is not very heavy and fairly comfortable to hold. I’d like to have seen some sort of shoulder strap on it (like what is provided on the leaf bag) because I can imagine it will wear you out after an extended period. It is probably quieter than any of the gas-powered blowers I’ve used but it is still loud enough that you wouldn’t use it early on a weekend and you’d be well served to wear hearing protection (think shop-vac).
I’ve read that it doesn’t work as a vacuum very well but I don’t really see why this is too important. If I was going to use it as a yard vacuum I’d want something with a larger bag. I think I’ll give it a try once I get everything in piles just to see what happens, but it seems like it will be more of a hassle than a feature.
If it turns out that I like the vacuum feature, I’m glad that this model has metal blades. I can’t imagine plastic holding up for very long.
My biggest concern is the longevity of the motor. I’ve read that this one can burn through brushes quickly because of all the power it draws and the dusty conditions it is used in. Some folks report no problems and others have them right away. I imagine if it is going to fail during my typical usage, it will happen right away or probably never. We’ll see…
8 thoughts on “Toro 51599 Ultra Leaf Blower”
I have a Toro turbo leaf blower/vacuum similar to this (probably 2003 or so model). I use the vacuum in the flower beds to avoid blowing mulch everywhere. It works ok, but would never vacuum an entire lawn (did once – never again). I use the backpack blower for any blowing needs and use the Toro exclusively for vacuuming. The blower works well, but not as portable as the backpack.
I’ve always wanted a backpack blower but I would be happy with this electric one. Probably would make Jason happier too (not using gas and all). I HATE THE CORD ON OUR BLOWER. IT IS ONE OF MY MOST UNFAVORITE THINGS ABOUT YARD WORK.
I just had a bit of a go at a neighbour, he’d been running this bloody thing outside my window for 15 minutes, when I looked to see what he was doing I watched him for two minutes trying to blow a few twigs that obviously could have easily been brushed/picked up. arrrrrggggghhhhh!!
Death to all leaf blowers!!!
Oh come on Will. Then he would have had to bend over and soil his hands. This way he could just push them over into your yard and leave them for you to deal with. 🙂
I have a blower very similiar to this. I find the angle of blowage makes a big difference. If I can get a mini ‘wave of wind’ going, it seems to carry things better away from me. So about 3 feet in front of me, things get plastered to the grass. If I blow out way ahead of me in a shushing motion, (I almost typed “moshun” ugh) things 6-7 feet in front of me magically lift and run away. I blow at my feet and push the nozzle forward, and that seems to get the air under the things I’m trying to blow. Try to vary your technique and let me know if it makes a difference…
I was doing this but didn’t mention it. It does make a difference AND it becomes a game of how long can I keep this little pile airborne?
My first Toro blower lasted 3 years. The second, two. This one, this exact model, burned up in less than 6 months. Junk.
Thanks for the word of warning. I’ll be putting mine to hard use again here in a few weeks and will update if mine blows up on me. What are you using as a replacement now?