Review At A Glance
Shame this has a flawed auto-feed system as the Toro Corded String Trimmer is really well built and amazingly powerful.
MY RATING: 88%
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- Power – Electric
- Model – 51480
- Size (w x h x d in inches) – 6 x 40 x 10
- Cutting Width – 14 inches
- Weight – 6.3lbs
- Line Type – Dual Auto Feed
- Line Diameter – 0.065 inches
- Amps – 5
- Voltage – 120
- Two Year Warranty
PRICE – $$$
About The Toro Corded String Trimmer 51480
Powered by a 5 amp,120 V motor this Toro Corded String Trimmer is the 51480 model, and has a 14 inch cutting width and a dual auto-feed line.
So let’s dive in:
The line diameter is 0.065 inches and when you pull the trigger, the line is automatically adjusted to the perfect cutting length by the trimmer.
The shaft is made of aluminum and telescopic – it can be adjusted to suit your height and the handle can also be adjusted for comfort and balance.
It has a push button operation to switch from trimmer to edger and a guide wheel to help ensure you get a straight line when edging.
It weighs 6.3lbs and comes with a full two year warranty. Note you need to buy an extension cord separately.
The Toro 51480 is more expensive, but for the extra price you do definitely get a superior build quality.
Why do I say that?
Well as soon as you get it out of the box you can tell it is sturdy – for instance the handle, shaft and power switch are very well constructed and it feels above average for what is a consumer tool. It definitely seems built to last.
Most electric string trimmers use 4-Amp motors, whereas as this Toro uses a 5-Amp motor.
And that has a serious effect:
It means it gives it more power to cut through things a 4-Amp motor would struggle with – for instance it got through thicker branches on English boxwood and Forsythia without a problem.
The motor didn’t bog down whether I was using it as a trimmer or an edger. The extra amp is worth considering if you will be encountering heavier grass/weeds.
Above: The build quality of this Toro is really good
The motor therefore really pushes the performance of the 51480 above a lot of other corded string trimmers. It isn’t on a par with a gas unit, but it isn’t that far off. Heavy grass and plants can be very satisfyingly wiped out in a split second!
And that I think you will love.
The edging functionality is also a strong point. It edges very well and the addition of the built in guide wheel is a nice touch.
It helps you get a straight, professional looking edge and stops you accidentally scalping your lawn! It is incredibly easy to edge and very fast too.
And even better:
Changing from a trimmer to an edger is super easy too. It has a rotating head, simply hold down a button and rotate the trimming head and you are ready to go.
Above: Switching from trimming to edging couldn’t be simpler
There are several nice features. The telescopic shaft works well. The handle can be easily extended or collapsed by up to 9 inches to suit your height. Adjusting it is quick and easy and can make it a much more comfortable trimming experience for you.
You get the idea.
The trigger switch is satisfyingly large and easy to operate from practically any position and the safety lock button is also easy to get at.
It has a cord retainer hook on the handle that actually works really well – it really secures the power cord onto the handle and stops it from unplugging. There are lots of little extras that add to the quality feel of this unit.
On top of all of this:
It feels nice and smooth when you use it – no excessive vibration and its design is well balanced. Even though it is a little heavier than say the Greenworks 21212 or Black & Decker GH900 it doesn’t feel so.
The Not So Good
One of the downsides of this is, ironically, the motor which I spoke about glowingly above.
Hear me out here.
It is great in the fact that it has a lot of power and has the capacity to deal with a lot of trimming most corded motors can’t. However it is single speed, so there is no option to shift it down to a lower speed.
The power is good in a lot of cases, but when you are trimming around your prize plants it actually is an issue as the motor is moving so frantically it is very easy to cause damage to something you don’t want to touch, whether that be your plants or even the machine itself. It is definitely in need of a variable speed option.
And another thing:
I am not a great lover of the auto-feed line either. Basically it feeds in the line every time the unit is stopped.
So say for instance you are trimming around a high wear area or edging, you constantly have to stop the trimmer and hold the trigger for two seconds to advance the line.
You get into a cycle of stopping and starting to feed more line. It is annoying and time consuming and a bit of a design flaw.
The line itself is quite light and breaks easily. Given the extra power of the motor I would think Toro could have engineered things to allow use of the next line size up to make things easier all round.
Above: You might have to stoop using this if you are tall
Not a major issue, but an annoyance is:
The black handle on the telescopic shaft is essentially held on by friction – friction and a bolt! However slowly over time and use the bolt comes loose which means the handle moves around and you have to constantly re-tighten the bolt.
Even when the telescopic shaft is fully extended this still might be too short if you are 6’2 plus, it might be uncomfortable to use if that is the case.
This is one of the pricier corded string trimmers, so it is worth bearing this in mind if you are on a budget.
At A Glance
- Good build quality
- Powerful motor
- Performs well
- Good edger
- Switching from trimmer to edger is easy
- Telescopic shaft
- Good trigger switch, safety button & cord retainer
- Needs a variable speed option
- Auto feed line doesn’t work well
- Line breaks easily
- Handle moves around
- Shaft short even at longest
Design - 92%
Performance - 88%
Price - 84%
Well built and powerful
The Toro 51480 is your choice if you want a well built and powerful corded string trimmer. If you have heavy grass or weeds to trim and want something that offers almost gas powered performance levels but is corded then you should definitely consider this.
The motor is strong! It is resilient and reliable, it excels as an edger and has lots of extra features that give it an advantage over its competitors.
The main flaw is the auto line feed system which doesn’t work particularly well and is time consuming. If you have a large area you will regularly need to trim and/or edge then the Toro might be best avoided as it might be time consuming. You might want to consider something like the Black & Decker GH900.
But in terms of general build quality and power this is up there with the best of them.
How long is the shaft?
It starts at 31 inches and can extend up to 40 inches.
Does it come with a spool loaded?
Yes it does.
What gauge extension cord does it need?
If the cord is 100 feet a 16 gauge cord works well, if it is over 100 feet than a 14 gauge cord is required.
Is a cord included?
No extension cord is included, it has a short cord from the handle but you need to buy your own extension cord.
You Might Also Like…
There are a whole host of top-class weed eaters out there (including this one!)
My favourite is the Ego Power String Trimmer – it is battery powered, but it is great! In terms of electric powered weed trimmers, you might want to check out the Black & Decker GH900. To the right are a list of general resources that maybe be of use.
You can also view my Site Index, which shows everything on my site on one page.
6 thoughts on “Toro Corded String Trimmer 51480 14 Inch Review: Does the Auto-Feed Line Let This Down?”
My husband has this very trimmer. His only complaint is that string feed problem you mentioned. In fact, I came here hoping to find something for him that did not have the string feed issue.
Is there a string trimmer that always feeds the string evenly?
BTW, my husband said that he paid about $20 more than your lowest price link. He has used it for a couple of years, so I don’t think he should complain about the price at this late date.
Hi Sheila, there are some really good string trimmer options. Probably your best place to check should be my list of the Best Weed Eaters of 2018, as there will definitely be something there your husband likes. My personal favourite is the EGO Power+ ST1500.
This Toro Corded String Trimmer sounds great. I agree with you that it sounds powerful and durable. I like your assessment that this Toro appears to be one of the best built and most powerful on the market. It is reassuring to know that the handle, shaft and power switch are all build really well.
I have a Trimmer, but I hardly use it. This has reminded me to get out into the garden more. I was just wondering how do you go trimming around edges that are very soft and delicate?
Thanks Glenys – this is a really good electric string trimmer, but the Black & Decker GH900 is probably my favourite.
Basically when you are trimming around delicate areas you just have to be very careful! Look for a weed eater with a guard which will help prevent any accidents or one that has variable power so you can slow it down. My Best Weed Eaters guide should give you some pointers.
Auto feed NEVER works. I can’t stand it. Can’t find a way to replace it with a Speed Feed
Thanks for your comment Robert, I agree it does have its issues.