Premium blowers are expected to provide the right mix of power, weight and ergonomics, and if the product page is to be believed, the Toro PowerPlex 51690 Brushless 40V MAX 480 CFM 150 MPH Cordless Blower has promised a lot. For instance, we find this unit using brushless motors, a handy turbo button, providing excellent CFM and generally beating the competition heavily on paper. However, it is the combination of all factors that matter and then we have to verify these while monitoring Toro’s tall claims about battery life. As we shall see, Toro can’t achieve the best of everything, but it comes mightily close.
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Main Features: Toro PowerPlex 51690 Brushless 40V MAX 480 CFM 150 MPH Cordless Blower
1. Sheer CFM muscle – While most of the products in this price range offer 120mph speeds, this beast can ramp up the brushless motor to produce 150mph without breaking a sweat. In real clearance terms, this means that the unit can produce a powerful 480CFM. While this may not be the highest a blower has ever achieved, the excellent construction ensures that it is more than enough to clean out a yard.
2. Excellent Battery Juice and Charging Speed – Since most of the units these days come with standard 1.5Ah batteries rated at 40V or nearabouts, it is imperative that Toro’s blower live up to its claim of providing an hour of solid service. Obviously, this longevity cannot be expected at top speeds, but we did get close on the medium and low speeds without having any obvious mechanical problems. Charging time, as much as could be verified, also proved to be highly accurate.
3. Turbo Boost and Speed Lock – While not unique to Toro, turbo boost works especially well with this battery leaf blower because of its very responsive motor. As a result, we found that adjusting the speed even minutely resulted in major changes in response, without there being any obvious signs of lag or unwanted memory. Speed lock on the other hand, allowed us to maintain the required speed without tiring out our hands.
4. Versatile Attachments – Toro believes in creating a unified space for its various power tools. As a result, its attachments, such as the gutter cleaning kit, would work with other Toro blowers as well, while the attachment ring would fit into other models (to a limited extent). Given that users found these attachments to be highly useful and durable, investing in even those attachments that don’t come with the tool itself may be a good bargain in the long run.
5. Ergonomic One-handed design – While the unit is far from being the lightest among blowers, it does manage to provide an excellent form factor. This allows users wishing to manage the blower with one hand the ability to operate virtually all the major features without having to tire out both hands at once.
a. Excellent CFM and speed in this price bracket
b. Highly responsive motor allows for speed management
c. Battery and charging capacities are above average
d. One-handed operation possible without any major adjustments
a. Some popular accessories have to be purchased separately.