Reviews say the electric 12-amp Toro Ultra Blower Vac is the best leaf blower for average-size yards. It has more power than most handheld, gas-powered leaf blowers, but it's lighter (7.3 pounds), quieter and more convenient, and it creates less pollution in the environment. You can go as far as 150 feet from an outlet with a 14-gauge extension cord. When it's used to vacuum leaves, this blower's serrated metal blades chop them more finely than most blower vacs do, and the cast magnesium impeller is more durable than plastic ones. If you only want to blow leaves off hard surfaces like decks and driveways, reviews recommend the less expensive Toro Power Sweep 51585 (Est. $40) . Both models carry a two-year warranty.
We found the best review of the Toro Ultra Blower Vac at ConsumerReports.org, where the product is ranked and rated along with many other leaf blowers, based on objective tests. Two articles in Popular Mechanics recommend the Ultra Blower Vac, though reviewers conduct no testing. Bestcovery.com and About.com also recommend it without documenting any testing procedures. We found the greatest number of owner-written reviews of the Toro Ultra Blower Vac at Amazon.com. Owner reviews at HomeDepot.com and Sears.com are also useful.
ConsumerReports.org tests electric- and gas-powered leaf blowers. Blowers are rated objectively on their ability to sweep, loosen and vacuum debris (if applicable), along with their noise level and ease of use. The Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51599 is one of the electric models in the ConsumerReports.org test program. A ratings chart ranks the electric blowers according to their performance.
Review: Leaf Blowers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
More than 940 owners review the Toro Ultra Blower here, giving it a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. A few note quality control or durability problems, but most are highly satisfied with their Toro Ultra Blowers.
Review: Toro 51599 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed Electric Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Toro Ultra Blower Vac is reviewed by more than 170 owners here, and they give it an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5. Recent reviewers like the power, light weight and ease of use and the fact that the blower has a metal impeller rather than a plastic one.
Review: Toro Electric Ultra Blower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
The Toro Ultra Blower Vac is the only leaf blower included in this article about must-haves for the fall. A short review praises it as lightweight and quiet for a leaf blower. However, testing, if any, is not documented.
Review: 4 Tools You Need to Know this October, Popular Mechanics Staff, Oct. 1, 2009
The DIY Guy at PopularMechanics.com blogs about eight leaf-removal tools, including the Toro Ultra Blower Vac. He likes the fact that the Ultra Blower Vac can blow, vacuum and shred leaves, which makes it "one of the most versatile leaf collecting tools on the market today."
Review: 8 Lawn Rakes Turn Over a New Leaf with Unique Designs, Joseph Truini, Oct. 1, 2009
The Toro Ultra Blower Vac gets more than 30 reviews and good ratings at Sears.com. It's the only non-Craftsman model with a significant number of reviews. The overall rating based on owner reviews is 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars.
Review: Toro 235 mph Electric Ultra Blower/Vac/Shredder, Contributors to Sears.com
Bestcovery.com picks the Toro Ultra Blower Vac as the best electric leaf blower overall. Reviewer Paul S. likes the light weight, ease of use and power to handle most clean up jobs. "It will quickly become one of your favorite outdoor tools," he writes.
Review: Toro 51599 Ultra 12 Amp Variable Speed Electric Blower/Vacuum, "Paul S."
Marie Iannotti, the About.com guide to gardening, names her choices for the best leaf-removal tools. They include the Toro Ultra Blower Vac. She notes that "it's not just quieter, it's lighter (7.5 pounds) and cleaner than a gas model." (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Top 6 Leaf Blowers, Vacuums, Shredders -- Even Rakes, Marie Iannotti