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Toro Rake and Vac Review

Toro Rake and Vac ReviewScore 83%Score 83%

Toro Rake and Vac Review

Review At A Glance

For a budget leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher the Toro Rake and Vac does a great job, despite a few minor faults.

  • Design 79% 79%
  • Performance 80% 80%
  • Price 90% 90%
  • Overall 83% 83%

Check The Price

To check the latest price for the Toro Rake and Vac click on the image above.

Specifications

N
Model – 51617
N
Type – Corded Electric
N
Size in inches (H x W x D) – 14 x 9 x 40
N
Weight – 6.5 lbs
N
Power – 10.5 amps
N
Voltage – 120v
N
Speeds – Two
N
Mulching Ratio – 8:1
N
Bag size – 1.5 bushels (14 gallons)
N
Maximum Air Speed – 215 mph
N
Maximum Air Volume – 350 cfm
N
Two Year Warranty
PRICE$$$

About The Toro Rake And Vac

Toro’s series of leaf blowers is particularly popular and this is the second model in that series. If you want to see how it compares to the others keep reading.

To call it just a blower is understating this – it is a blower, mulcher and vacuum in one – conversion between the three is done via a quick release latch, so no tools are required.

Delving in a bit deeper:

It is a two speed model – the top speed is 215 mph and the air volume is 350 cfm. It has a 10.5amp motor and weighs 6.5lbs. The mulch ratio is 8:1 and this comes with a 1.5 bushel bag – the bag holds as much (after compression) as a standard wheelbarrow.

There are also a number of accessories you can buy for this and they include: a gutter cleaning accessory kit, an oscillating tube attachment kit, a shred ring kit, a spring bucket and a leaf collector. You can also buy replacement blower vac bags.

And remember:

This blower uses two electrical prongs, not three.

The Good

With a top air speed of 215 mph this isn’t the fastest leaf blower on the block, but due to some clever design work it works well.

The truth is:

You might have to experiment a little with the attachment and the angle, but on the whole it will blow away wet leaves and fine debris.

This also has two speed modes when being used as either a blower or vacuum and this gives you way more control. The high speed means you can tackle the tougher sturdier jobs whereas the low speed is great in tight spaces, hard surfaces, or when you want to blow leaves from a gravelly area without disturbing the gravel.

Above: The two speed modes give you more versatility when using the Toro Rake and Vac

The no tool conversion is also a major plus with the Rake and Vac – it is so easy to switch from blower to vacuum. Just flick the quick release latch and within a matter of seconds you have changed modes.

And what does that mean?

Less messing about for you and more time to get your work done.

We’ve talked about the blowing speed of this, but as a vacuumer it also works really well. The fan has been designed to reduce clogging and improve the flow rate of the vacuum and it mostly certainly works.

The bottom line is:

It has good suction and even though the impeller is durable plastic rather than metal it does shred dry leaves well.

At 6.5lbs this is one of the lightest blower mulchers out there. This of course means you can use it for longer without feeling too much fatigue in your arm. It is a great choice if you are older or limited in your physical strength.

Above: Switching from blower to mulcher is easy and requires no tools

Add to this the fact that the position of the handle keeps the blower in balance, and you feel very little vibration, which means it is easy to maneuver and comfortable to use. The handle design is good too and the grip nice to use.

On top of all this:

This is a real bargain! It is really at the lower end of the price spectrum and you get a great deal for your money. You probably won’t find a better blower/mulcher/vacuum for a similar price.

The Not So Good

First and foremost:

The cord lock system is a bit of a mess, as it doesn’t work! It comes unplugged all too easily. The cord loops around a hook and then attaches – essentially this is designed to stop it unplugging, but it seems to have the opposite effect – the cord comes out frequently!

The blower tube is too short. If you are 5’6 or under you will be ok, but any taller and it requires you to stay bent over whilst you blow leaves.

And that frankly, is uncomfortable!

The collection bag this comes with is quite large and when it is full it is quite heavy and might cause you some fatigue on your arm and shoulder. The weight of the bag as it fills up also drags on the blower – making it hard to handle (until you empty the collection bag).

Also the quality of the collection bag is fairly low. Where it connects to the vacuum tube it wears quite easily and when it is full of debris the bag is pulled down and frays.

And of course:

As is common with cheaper leaf blowers, this has a plastic impeller to mulch leaves not a metal impeller.

This means it doesn’t mulch quite as well as a metal impeller and also it is less durable and more prone to breaking and you having to pay out to have it replaced.

Above: The cord lock on the Rake and Vac could be much better

At A Glance

Pros

L
Good amount of blower power
L
Dual speed gives good control
L
Easy to change from blower to mulcher
L
Vacuum function works well
L
Very light
L
Comfortable
L
Easy to handle
L
Fantastic price

Cons

K

Cord comes unplugged too easily

K

Blower tube is short

K

Full collection bag drags on blower

K

Collection bag is poor quality

K

Plastic impeller

FAQs

Does a power cord come with it?
No, you need to buy an extension cord to use it fully. I would recommend at least a 14 gauge 100 foot cord.
What are the blower speeds?
The ‘high’ setting is 215 mph and the ‘low’ setting 100mph.

Can this be used to clean gutters?
Yes and there is a gutter cleaning accessory kit.
Can you use the vacuum function without mulching?
No, the mulcher will always run when the vacuum is being used.

What are the differences between this and the other Toro leaf blower models?
If you look at my comparison table below, the differences are outlined.

Comparing Models

The Rake and Vac is one of a number of Toro leaf blower models. The differences between them are outlined below:

Power Sweep

Rake and Vac

Super Blower Vac

Ultra Blower Vac

UltraPlus Blower Vac

Maximum Air Speed

160mph

215mph

225mph

250mph

250mph

Speed Control

2 Speeds

2 Speeds

2 Speeds

Variable

Variable

Air Volume

N/A

350 cfm

390 cfm

410 cfm

410 cfm

Motor

7 amps

10.5 amps

12 amps

12 amps

12 amps

Impeller

Plastic

Plastic

Plastic

Metal

Metal

Leaf Reduction Rate

N/A

76%

81%

88%

97%

You Might Also Like…

Check out my Best Leaf Blowers and Best Leaf Mulchers Buyers Guides for my pick of the best pieces of kit of the year. There are some fantastic options. The WORX Trivac, for instance, is a good option.

You can also view my Site Index, which shows everything on my site on one page or look at my recommended links below:

Recommended Links

Conclusion

My Verdict

83%

Summary There are a few things that could be improved about the Toro Rake and Vac, but one thing that can’t be is the value for money you get.

It is a real budget price blower/vacuum and as long as when you buy this you don’t have unrealistic expectations you cannot failed to be happy.

It has sufficient blowing power for most homes, vacuums and mulches well, has dual speed control, is light and easy to handle and so affordable!

If you expect heavy duty leaf cleaning each year then this is not for you. If you have a small yard and want a reliable leaf blower that won’t break the bank you can do much worse than this.

If you decide you want to get the Toro Rake and Vac Amazon have a great deal on at the moment.

Design
79%
Performance
80%
Price
90%

About The Author

Steve Mann

Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive. This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural! Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment. Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at steve@suaveyards.com.

4 Comments

  1. Chris

    Hi Steve,

    thank you so much for this elaborate and well-balanced review of the Toro Rake and Vac. I currently have a somewhat cheap leaf blower that I have borrowed from my dad which I am not that happy with; hence this review comes very handy.

    I have a somewhat “special” situation in my backyard, and I don’t know really what to do with it. Maybe you have an idea: We have an area in your garden that is covered by gravel. Next to it, there is a bamboo growing and its leaves happen to fall into the gravel area all the time. And it’s a real mess, because I haven’t really found a way to sweep them together, blow them away or “vacuum” them other than picking them up by hand. What happens when I try to use the leaf blower is that the gravel flies away, too… That’s where my plan when designing the garden failed, I guess.

    Any thoughts? 🙂

    Cheers,
    chris

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Thanks Chris. This Toro Rake and Vac is pretty good, if you use it on the low speed setting you should be able to move the leaves from the gravel without disturbing the gravel itself.

      If that is what you are looking for then this is a great option. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  2. Claudia H. Blanton

    I currently do not have a yard, but my Mother-In-Law does, and we do all of her lawn care. Hubby likes the tools, and I was thinking about replacing the old blower. He never had one that would also be used as a vacuum – I know, it is time.

    Well, thank you for pointing this Toro Rake and Vac out, because he is going to be so happy with me when he gets this, lol

    Blessings!

    Claudia

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      No worries Claudia, I hope he loves it – it is fantastic value for money! Let me know how you get on with it.

      Reply

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