Electric leaf blowers can be as powerful and effective as gas blowers, yet they are quieter, easier to maintain, cheaper to run and more eco-friendly. Many can also vacuum and mulch leaves.
For years, the Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51599 reigned this category -- and now its replacement, the Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51609 (*Est. $70) earns equally glowing reviews from both experts and owners.
Very little has changed. The Toro still blows leaves nearly as well as the top gas handheld blower, the Stihl BG 55 (*Est. $150), in a leading test. It's quieter and lighter than the Stihl, and -- unlike the Stihl -- the Toro can vacuum. It sucks up leaves powerfully in a top test, and its metal impeller blade (most use plastic) grinds them to a fine mulch.
The 51609 adds only a couple of new features: a cord-storage hook and two tube inserts. The Power Insert is designed to sweep leaves into rows or piles, and the Concentrator helps dig stubborn debris out of cracks and edging.
No other electric leaf blower manages to impress both expert testers and real-life owners. You'll find rave reviews for the infomercial-advertised Worx TriVac WG500 (*Est. $90) at HomeDepot.com and Sears.com, but a number of owners posting feedback at Amazon.com report that the Worx either lacks enough power to get the job done, or it breaks quickly. Expert testers find the Worx louder, clumsier and weaker than the Toro, and they don't recommend it.