Reviewers say the Toro 51496 cordless hedge trimmer measures up well to homeowner gas models, cutting up to 1/2-inch branches with no problem at all. They also like its rotating handle and battery system, which is interchangeable with other 24-volt Toro tools and provides about 90 minutes of working time after just a two-hour charge. The only real downside is the lack of an on-lock for the trigger.
Powerful for a cordless. The Toro 51496 isn't up to the level of a commercial gas cutter, but owners say its 24-inch hardened-steel blade and overall power compare well to those of homeowner gas models. "Cut[s] with ease, even fairly large branches," writes one HomeDepot.com reviewer. Most feel it can handle up to 1/2-inch branches with no problem at all, although its advertised 11/16-inch maximum capacity might be a little too optimistic. The regular battery charges in just two hours and provides up to 90 minutes of continuous use; an extended-life battery is available.
Saves your back. The Toro 51496 cordless trimmer draws lots of praise for how well its rotating handle and relatively long (24 inches) blade protect your back, eliminating much of the stooping and reaching that can be part of any trim job. It's lighter (6.8 pounds), easier to start than most gas models and fairly quiet to boot. The only real downside is the hit to your pocketbook when you buy spare batteries. The default 88506 battery costs about $80; the 88504 extended-life battery costs about $100 -- but they both provide good run time. You also need to oil the blade regularly to keep it from rusting.
Rotating handle is a huge plus. The Toro 51496's rotating handle is a favorite with users; it swings 90 degrees in either direction, making it equally friendly to right- and left-handed users, which makes it easier to get the trimmer into awkward positions. Owners also like that you can press a button on the battery to see how much charge is left, although they wish for a way to lock the trigger in the on position.
The Toro 51496 is part of Toro's "Bare Tool" program; batteries can be shared between any of the 24-volt tools in this program.
More than 65 Amazon.com users give the Toro 51496 a 4.6-star score out of 5 stars possible. They're thrilled with its rotating handle and long blade length, and say the battery lasts a long time too.
Review: Toro 51496 Cordless 24-Inch 24-Volt Lithium-Ion Hedge Trimmer, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
About 40 HomeDepot.com reviewers give the Toro 51496 an average score of 4.8 stars out of 5 possible. They love its rotating handle and fast battery charge, and a couple say it does as well as gas trimmers they previously owned.
Review: Toro 24 in. 24-Volt Max Lithium-ion Cordless Hedge Trimmer, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of April 2014