'Get those earplugs.' The Worx TriVac WG500 is one of the loudest electric leaf blowers in a leading test.
From 50 feet away (neighbor distance), testers rate the Worx's noise level "good," although almost all of the other electric leaf blowers in the test work much more quietly -- including the Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51599, predecessor to the top-rated Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51609 (Est. $90).
"It's rather loud," one Worx WG500 owner at Amazon.com agrees, "so if noise is an issue, this unit may not win over any neighbors."
And you'll need hearing protection while you're operating it, experts say: Like most electric leaf blowers (including the Toro), it's fairly noisy at ear level.
"Pretty darn loud," says one owner at Amazon.com, who rates the Worx 4 out of 10 for noise. "Get those earplugs, boys!!!!!"
Some say they'd rather rake. Handling gets mixed reviews: Some find the Worx TriVac WG500 leaf blower perfectly easy to use, while others say it's so clumsy that they'd prefer to just rake.
In one leading test, the Worx WG500 handles very well -- although still not as well as the excellent Toro. Testers call the Worx "easy to handle and control," and plenty of owners agree. They especially like the Worx's one-flip switch to change between blower and vacuum.
But ThisOldHouse.com testers notice a problem. "The large handle is easy to hold, but the unit is a bit out of balance -- it leans toward the motor," they write. The end of tube bends upward -- Worx says it's to help reach under shrubs and the like -- but some owners say it just forces their forearms to strain even harder to keep the blower tilted toward the ground.
At 8.4 pounds, the Worx outweighs the Toro by about a pound. "I am a 5'2" woman and find it to be a bit heavy and straining on the back even with the shoulder strap," says one owner at HomeDepot.com. An Amazon.com owner agrees: "I also would not recommend this product to a woman of petite stature as this product is definitely a bit heavy and not the most comfortable." But another woman finds the Worx's tube too short for her 5-foot-8-inch frame: "My lower back ached for days" from hunching over, and her 6-foot-7-inch husband can't use it at all.
ThisOldHouse.com praises the Worx's vacuum bag -- it "has a heavy-duty zipper and is comfortable to carry on a shoulder," testers says. But several owners say the zipper breaks and the bag rips ("Within a few uses, the zipper literally blew out of the bag ... then, the handle on the bag came off," one Amazon.com owner writes), and it's not covered under warranty. Some find the bag difficult -- even impossible -- to detach from the blower, while others say their bag fell or even flew off while they were vacuuming.
Doesn't live up to the infomercial in tests. Several owners bought the Worx TriVac WG500 after seeing it powerfully blast leaves, grass clippings and sawdust, suck them up and grind them to bits in a TV infomercial.
Plenty of rave reviews have been posted for this blower at retail websites, too. But other owners and experts find problems.
The Worx WG500 lands near the bottom in one top test. It does only a fair job loosening, blowing and vacuuming leaves. Testers judge it "slow, with limited power to suck up leaves ... often requiring multiple passes to make satisfactory piles."
In ThisOldHouse.com's test, the Worx WG500 actually vacuums and mulches leaves very well, despite its plastic impeller blade (better models, like the Toro, have metal blades). But it's judged only "fair" at blowing: It tends to suck up leaves as it blows, and its narrow tube "makes for a very tight air stream, which means you have to move the blower more."
One in five owners at Amazon.com gives the Worx WG500 just 1 or 2 stars -- often saying it lacks power. "It could barely blow the leaves," one writes. "Just not enough force. The vacuum would only pick up if it was all the way against the ground." Others wound up pushing the leaves into the vacuum by hand.
Some say the Worx WG500 broke down quickly, and they had a hard time getting through to customer service by phone. Some say the plastic impeller blade broke and the part was discontinued -- no replacements.
Although the owner's manual says the WG500 carries a two-year warranty, the Worx website says the warranty has been extended to four years as a "limited time offer."
The Worx TriVac WG500 corded electric leaf blower gets glowing owner reviews at a couple of retail websites -- but experts (and some owners) tell a different story. They find the Worx underpowered and awkward, and they don't recommend it. The excellent Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51609 blows, vacuums and mulches leaves much more effectively, and it's quieter and costs less.
Report Credibility: Excellent ConsumerReports.org tests 13 corded electric leaf blowers, including the Worx TriVac WG500. Testers judge each blower's leaf loosening, sweeping and vacuuming ability, as well as handling and noise, before ranking the blowers from best to worst.
Review: Leaf Blowers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of October 2012
2. This Old House
Report Credibility: Very Good The Worx TriVac WG500 is "a very good mulcher," but not much of a blower. It tends to suck up leaves while you're trying to blow them. Sal Vaglica critiques its handling, too. Vaglica tests 10 leaf blowers altogether -- gas, corded and cordless -- and he finds plenty that he likes better than the Worx.
Review: TOH Tested: Leaf Blowers, Sal Vaglica, Not dated
Report Credibility: Good The Worx TriVac WG500 gets plenty of good reviews here -- but also plenty of mediocre and bad ones. Common complaints include poor power, torn vacuum bags and quick breakdowns.
Review: Worx TriVac WG500 12 Amp All-in-One Electric Blower/Mulcher/Vacuum, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012
Report Credibility: Good About 90 owners here give the Worx TriVac WG500 high marks -- an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Some still complain about a lack of power, awkward handling or problems with the vacuum bag.
Review: Worx 210 mph 350 CFM Electric Blower/Mulcher/Vac, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of October 2012
Report Credibility: Good Sears.com attracts less owner feedback than Amazon.com or HomeDepot.com, but the Worx TriVac WG500 has accumulated 16 reviews -- almost all of them 4 or a perfect 5 stars. Two say the Worx lacks power and give it lower marks.
Review: Worx Worx TriVac Blower/Mulcher/Vac Compact, Contributors to Sears.com, As of October 2012
Report Credibility: Fair Bob Crewe, a staffer at this retail website, recommends the Worx TriVac WG500 as one of the best electric leaf blowers. However, he only describes the blower -- he doesn't critique it -- and LeafBlowersDirect.com recommends only brands that it sells.
Review: Worx TriVac All-in-One Electric Blower/Mulcher/Vac, Bob Crewe, As of October 2012