Toro UltraPlus Leaf Vacuum Review: Does it Work?

We tested Toro’s compact, lightweight leaf blower/vacuum and found it to be a top-notch tool for keeping a small property tidy.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Oct 27, 2021 10:05 AM

Toro Leaf Vacuum

Photo: Mark Wolfe

Most of the year it’s not difficult to maintain a neat yard, but fall leaf season presents a challenge. Even those who go for a more natural appearance find it necessary to clean up some of the leaves some of the time. And those who are into a manicured look have a much tougher task. Possibly the most helpful tool for the job is a leaf vacuum.

As a devoted home gardener who often writes about the topic, I was eager to field test the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum recently. Toro has been a trusted brand in lawn equipment for more than a century, so my expectations were pretty high. Electric three-in-one leaf blower/ vacuum/mulch machines have been around for years, so I assumed that Toro’s take would perform well above the waterline.

The tool arrived in early October, just in time for the onslaught of early autumn leaves. To really give the tool a thorough workout, however, I created a gauntlet consisting of recently fallen leaves and built-up leaves from last fall that had collected beneath shrubs at the edge of a wooded area. The Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum easily gobbled up the dry stuff and, with some minor sluggishness, polished off the old matted material as well. Though the device has a few innate issues, I can recommend it as a solid choice for anyone with a small to midsize yard with moderate to heavy leaf cover. Read on for more detailed findings.

Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum: At a Glance

Toro Leaf Vacuum

Photo: Mark Wolfe

Rating: [8.6/10]

PROS

  • Lightweight for comfortable extended use
  • Powerful air-moving ability
  • Quiet operation

CONS

  • Operator movement limited by power cord
  • Less powerful than gas models
  • Not designed for huge quantities of leaves

Get the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum at:

What Is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum?

The Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum is a corded electric leaf blower that converts into a mulching leaf vacuum. It is powered by an adjustable-speed 12-amp electric motor and attaches to an extension cord via a short pigtail plug at the lower rear of the handle. Power and speed are controlled by a dial located on the housing beneath the handle. The kit includes the tool body, blower tube, removable intake cover, three blower tube nozzles, vacuum tube, and debris collection bag with shoulder strap.

Conversion from leaf blower to vacuum/mulcher mode is toolless. Simply remove the blower tube and intake cover with the push of a button, and replace them with the collection bag and vacuum tube. In vacuum mode, an impeller built into the air intake grinds the leaves, reducing the material to 1/16th of its original volume with particles smaller than 1.5 inches in diameter.

Toro Leaf Vacuum

Photo: Mark Wolfe

Is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum Easy to Use?

Thanks to its relatively light weight and sound design, the UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum proved easy to use around my property. At 8.9 pounds, the Toro is lighter than most comparably sized competitive models. It has a fairly compact, maneuverable design, which is nice given that it must be tethered to an extension cord. The device functioned smoothly in both blower and vacuum mode without constant readjustments.

That said, I noticed a few minor issues. For one, the dial controller could be improved for one-handed use. As seems to be the case industry-wide with this blower/vac style, operating the switch—positioned as it is on the motor housing—requires using one’s free hand. A thumb dial or finger trigger on the handle would be more user-friendly.

The blower-to-vacuum conversion also mirrors the industry standard. It requires removing the blower tube and intake guard in order to install the vacuum tube and collection bag. Yes, this is toolless and quick, but at least one competitor offers a blower/vac that switches between modes without reconfiguring tubes. To wit, the WORX WG509 TRIVAC employs two separate tubes with a lever to change from blower to vacuum within seconds. This system, however, is heavier and may not be as comfortable to use as the Toro.

Toro Leaf Vacuum

Photo: Mark Wolfe

How Powerful Is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum?

The Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum’s 12-amp motor moves 410 cubic feet of air per minute at speeds up to 250 miles per hour. Those stats are better than average, and my real-life results bore that out. The 16:1 mulching ratio is fairly common among the competition.

In a timed test, working from a large pile of mostly fresh tulip poplar and black gum leaves, this vacuum filled its collection bag in 5 minutes. So in about the time it takes to brew a cup of coffee I was able to reduce 16 bags’ worth of leaves to a single bag. The vacuum tube did not clog during that time, even with a few sticks and twigs mixed in the pile. Later, I was able to intentionally clog the tube by sucking up large quantities of coarse, stiff debris, like southern magnolia leaves and pine cones, and by pushing the suction tube deep into the leaf pile.

Is the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum Worth the Price?

At around $100, the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum is priced about right. The price is in the middle of the range for this type of tool, with cheaper products available for around $60 and the most expensive ones going for closer to $200. The Toro’s combination of lightweight construction, maneuverability, and power make it suitable for a fairly wide range of uses with small to midsize urban or suburban yards. In my estimation it’s a fair price.

Toro Leaf Vacuum

Photo: Mark Wolfe

Should You Buy the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum?

My favorite aspects of the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum were its quiet motor, lightweight build, maneuverability, and surprisingly powerful suction. These attributes definitely set this unit apart from and above most of the competition. While I had minor issues with the somewhat awkward placement of the control switch and clumsy nature of reconfiguring the switch from blower mode to vacuum mode, these complaints would hold for most of this tool’s competitors as well—it’s just too bad that Toro hasn’t moved the needle here. Overall, I would place this model among the top in its class.

This plug-in electric blower/vacuum/mulcher is not built to process huge quantities of leaves on acreage but would make a really good choice for small to midsize jobs. It is a space saver, offering three useful tools in one package. It is lightweight and compact enough for comfortable use by those with less strength or range of motion, and it’s powerful enough to do the job without causing frustration, regardless of the user’s ability. If this sounds like the kind of tool you’re looking for, then it probably is. The price is right, too.

Where to Buy the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum

Get the Toro 51621 UltraPlus Leaf Blower Vacuum at: