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View Full Version : What To Do About Walk Behind Vacuums


Tidy Ho
07-11-2007, 03:31 PM
I have been reading numerous posts about different kinds of walk behind commercial vacuums. The problem is that I read mixed reviews. So far in my research I have found billy goat and little wonder to be the best. However that does not exhaust the possibility of other vacs that might be better. I am very interested in purchasing a vacuum that can be used both on pavement and on lawns. In addition I want to use the hose attachment to clean up after pruning. Obviously I want to get the biggest bang for the buck. Please if anyone could assist in figuring out what most effective vac would be for the money I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks...Tim

ed2hess
07-11-2007, 06:56 PM
I bought a big Troy Bilt a few years ago that was 9 hp or more....those units aren't worth much except for a homeowner to play around with....much easier to use backback and mower to pick up stuff.

screensnot
07-11-2007, 08:11 PM
My buddy has 2 Billy Goat vacs. He uses them for fall cleanups. I helped him with several cleanups last year.

First he'd blow (he had 3 eb8510 - awesome blowers), then he'd mow with a Super-Z w/ BacVac, then blow again. At that point, the yard would look great. But then he'd pull out the Goats and suck that lawn spotless.

The lawn would be immaculate! The stripes these things laid down were spectacular to say the least We had some fun getting creative with them. I wish I had pics.

Neighbors were running out to stop us, wanting us to do their house too.

He had a good year for fall cleanups, I think. And I'm sure his two Goats played a big part in that.

screensnot
07-11-2007, 08:26 PM
I don't know the model of my friends Billy Goats, but they were about 5 or 6hp and about 24" wide.

They had zippered bags, and he had lots of trouble with the zippers. I don't remember what he paid for replacement bags and having zippers repaired, but he bitched about it a lot. If you get one with a zippered bag, be prepared with a spare, or know of a dealer with one in stock. If or when you do screw up a zipper, go to a furniture upholsterer to get it fixed, while you use the spare.

DuraCutter
07-12-2007, 02:43 AM
I don't know the model of my friends Billy Goats, but they were about 5 or 6hp and about 24" wide.

They had zippered bags, and he had lots of trouble with the zippers. I don't remember what he paid for replacement bags and having zippers repaired, but he bitched about it a lot. If you get one with a zippered bag, be prepared with a spare, or know of a dealer with one in stock. If or when you do screw up a zipper, go to a furniture upholsterer to get it fixed, while you use the spare.

Zippered are are NOT WORTH the hassle. You'll be screaming or pleading for divine intervention. One thing, don't carry a hammer while fighting the zipper, you're bound to rearrange the machine...lol :laugh: :laugh:

The little wonder seems to be best for raw suction power. We do parking lot sweeping/lawncare/landscape. I just used the little wonder in a yard where we took out a 60' poplar. After all the cutting, the vacuum had little problem cleaning the yard spotless. Today, we did a parking lot, and I use it to get the large stuff like leaves, debris etc... if I'm in a real pinch, it picks up roadchip easily but I'll stay away if I can, too heavy for bag.

There are some weaknesses like the closing mechanism to tighten the bag in place or the height adjustment which seems to have been designed by a 5 year old :laugh: but overall price and suction, you can't beat it.

Did I say there are NO ZIPPERS... :) :)

I almost forgot to mention, there is a shroud over the bag so the dust gets redirected to your feet, great feature.

Now if they could put a filter for dust...hum...

Tidy Ho
07-12-2007, 11:35 AM
Zippered are are NOT WORTH the hassle. You'll be screaming or pleading for divine intervention. One thing, don't carry a hammer while fighting the zipper, you're bound to rearrange the machine...lol :laugh: :laugh:

The little wonder seems to be best for raw suction power. We do parking lot sweeping/lawncare/landscape. I just used the little wonder in a yard where we took out a 60' poplar. After all the cutting, the vacuum had little problem cleaning the yard spotless. Today, we did a parking lot, and I use it to get the large stuff like leaves, debris etc... if I'm in a real pinch, it picks up roadchip easily but I'll stay away if I can, too heavy for bag.

There are some weaknesses like the closing mechanism to tighten the bag in place or the height adjustment which seems to have been designed by a 5 year old :laugh: but overall price and suction, you can't beat it.

Did I say there are NO ZIPPERS... :) :)

I almost forgot to mention, there is a shroud over the bag so the dust gets redirected to your feet, great feature.

Now if they could put a filter for dust...hum...



-The little wonder sounds pretty good. What model do you have? How much did it cost? Does it have or come with a hose attachment? Thanks...-

Vikings
07-12-2007, 11:52 AM
-The little wonder sounds pretty good. What model do you have? How much did it cost? Does it have or come with a hose attachment? Thanks...-

I bought a little Wonder and returned it. One of the problems was that the only had a non self propelled and we were doing power raking. Dealer told me people like to push it on the grass but that was BS it was deadly hard. Even if it was self propelled, the exhaust goes straight down. This has the effect of blowing everything around and making a mess. That alone would also keep me from buying one. I also heard their strap to hook the bag on stretches and stops and working that must be why a plastic spacer was included in the sale.

Another thing about the lil wonder, was the front scoop. On grass if you wanted good suction it had to be low but then it would catch and come out of it's holding mechanism. Lowering and raising the front scoop was a painful thing as well. You had to spin butter fly nuts and it was only on one side I ended up holding the other side with a rope.

I would never buy a little wonder again.

This spring I will get the Billy Goat because it is similar to the Bear Cat that I have. You just pull a lever to adjust scoop height, tires that are made for lawns, and the dust bag disperses the exhaust in all directions.

Mr. Force™, Billy Goat Industries
07-12-2007, 06:54 PM
If anyone has a Billy Goat KD series and has had trouble with zippers drop me a PM. We are currently looking for feedback from commercial landscapers on a prototype bag we are working on that does not have zippers.

fiveoboy01
07-12-2007, 08:29 PM
I dunno, I think the best thing to do time-wise would be to blow everything to the curb and suck it up with a truck loader.

DuraCutter
07-13-2007, 01:53 AM
-The little wonder sounds pretty good. What model do you have? How much did it cost? Does it have or come with a hose attachment? Thanks...-

It's the non propelled one. Like Viking says though, there are issues with it.

Yes, the height adjustment was probably designed by the part time janitor at the little wonder factory and the strap that holds the bag is a friggin joke, but still, it's way better than the Billy goat I paid $4500 for that doesn't suck AT ALL...lol.

I'll live with the gimpy strap and height adjustment. This fall, when I have a moment to myself I'll fix those two problems... the height adjustment could be easily fixed with wheels on the front housing. That would keep it at a relative distance to the ground. The strap, that should be pretty easy to fix once in the shop. I've been so busy, it's work 7 days a week, and my days off, I CANT STAY in the shop...need some RnR.

I paid $1,200 Canadian. About $1,100 US.

DuraCutter
07-13-2007, 01:56 AM
I bought a little Wonder and returned it. One of the problems was that the only had a non self propelled and we were doing power raking. Dealer told me people like to push it on the grass but that was BS it was deadly hard. Even if it was self propelled, the exhaust goes straight down. This has the effect of blowing everything around and making a mess. That alone would also keep me from buying one. I also heard their strap to hook the bag on stretches and stops and working that must be why a plastic spacer was included in the sale.

Another thing about the lil wonder, was the front scoop. On grass if you wanted good suction it had to be low but then it would catch and come out of it's holding mechanism. Lowering and raising the front scoop was a painful thing as well. You had to spin butter fly nuts and it was only on one side I ended up holding the other side with a rope.

I would never buy a little wonder again.

This spring I will get the Billy Goat because it is similar to the Bear Cat that I have. You just pull a lever to adjust scoop height, tires that are made for lawns, and the dust bag disperses the exhaust in all directions.

Watch out Viking. The Billy Goat has zippers. I'll live with anything but the damn zippers are so bad, none of my guys would use it!!

If the guys don't want to use it, it's a machine just sitting there.

:)

Vikings
07-13-2007, 02:04 AM
I'll live with the gimpy strap and height adjustment. This fall, when I have a moment to myself I'll fix those two problems... the height adjustment could be easily fixed with wheels on the front housing. That would keep it at a relative distance to the ground. The strap, that should be pretty easy to fix once in the shop. I've been so busy, it's work 7 days a week, and my days off, I CANT STAY in the shop...need some RnR.

I paid $1,200 Canadian. About $1,100 US.
Yeah it needs wheels on the front scoop or, this was my idea, if they could just make it so that it curved upward smoothly so it wouldn't catch on grass.
I had a 6'6" guy trying to push it so hard it would tip onto the front wheels, catch on the grass and stop dead in it's track. That machine, I was so happy when I picked it up, went to the job site but after two hours there was just to many problems.

I'll say this, on cement it pushed very easy, on a plush lawn ferget about it.:laugh:

I don't find the zippers horrible. My bearcat with honda engine has two bags, I bought it used. They came with rope tied onto the zippers so you got better grip. Sure was dusty dumping it out though, next year.. air filter. The thing about those zippered bags is that you pretty much have to dump it onto the ground because trying to dump directly into a bag was very dusty and dirty. We would just go around the yard following the power rake and always dump the thatch onto the same spot so there was a large pile at the end of the job. Then it was easy to bag using an empty plastic garbage can, fill it full, then place a plastic bag over it and turn it upside down.

themowerman
07-13-2007, 03:04 PM
Check this one out....Billy Goat. No zippers and this thing does a great job!
http://www.billygoat.com/site/intro.aspx?pid=48

Vikings
07-13-2007, 03:50 PM
Check this one out....Billy Goat. No zippers and this thing does a great job!
http://www.billygoat.com/site/intro.aspx?pid=48

Wow, they are copying Little Wonder with that top down fill design. Nice looking machine but that bag looks a little small to me. 30 gallons and I'm not sure I will like the height adjustment, but the way the bag came off the machine looked great.

How much are these?

themowerman
07-13-2007, 04:40 PM
Not sure....you would need to contact a dealer.

hess
07-13-2007, 11:38 PM
I use the Little wounder self propelled last year for the frist time. It work great picking up gumballs, Leaves, small twigs. The hose dose not with it you have to buy it separate it work great getting in small places. One thing that work great was getting the leaves out of the rock just slow it down and it didn't suck up the rock's mulch etc. Made an extra 6,000 last year with fall clean up I think mine was 1,800 well worth the money

DuraCutter
07-14-2007, 01:08 AM
Check this one out....Billy Goat. No zippers and this thing does a great job!
http://www.billygoat.com/site/intro.aspx?pid=48

I've seen this one when I researched buying one and I went for the VQ, the wide area vacuum, when you use the VQ, you get dust all over you and you eat the damn stuff... it's useless unless you're a coal miner and don't mind dust head to toe.

I'm just scared it won't have the pickup of the little wonder. I know the snout is a problem with the little wonder, but it picks up at idle because it seems to have a friggin giant impeller compared to the VQ.

I think the little wonder has twice the suction power of the Billy goat. Myself, once burnt, twice shy, i'll wait for little wonder to make a revised version of their machine with improvements and then I'll buy another one next year. For now, the little wonder does great with landscape when we make a mess taking a tree down or work on a condo and get large debris on the road, then it shines. Or if you edge the sidewalk, one can use the little wonder to pick up the soil and grass from edging. Lots of uses, but it mostly complements other equipment. We've got 6 tennant sweepers of various sizes and this little wonder fits in there. :)

hess
07-14-2007, 08:05 AM
Whats the problem with the snout of the little wounder? That the same thing as the DR vaccum i have the pull behind and the walk behind. the walk behind vaccum is low not good for starting out but good for finial clean up. It dosn't have the pick up as the Little wounder.I've seen this one when I researched buying one and I went for the VQ, the wide area vacuum, when you use the VQ, you get dust all over you and you eat the damn stuff... it's useless unless you're a coal miner and don't mind dust head to toe.

I'm just scared it won't have the pickup of the little wonder. I know the snout is a problem with the little wonder, but it picks up at idle because it seems to have a friggin giant impeller compared to the VQ.

I think the little wonder has twice the suction power of the Billy goat. Myself, once burnt, twice shy, i'll wait for little wonder to make a revised version of their machine with improvements and then I'll buy another one next year. For now, the little wonder does great with landscape when we make a mess taking a tree down or work on a condo and get large debris on the road, then it shines. Or if you edge the sidewalk, one can use the little wonder to pick up the soil and grass from edging. Lots of uses, but it mostly complements other equipment. We've got 6 tennant sweepers of various sizes and this little wonder fits in there. :)

DuraCutter
07-15-2007, 12:54 AM
Whats the problem with the snout of the little wounder? That the same thing as the DR vaccum i have the pull behind and the walk behind. the walk behind vaccum is low not good for starting out but good for finial clean up. It dosn't have the pick up as the Little wounder.

What viking and I were saying is the snout on the little wonder is free floating. It's built with flex hose and it's supposed to float with the ground instead of having a positive adjustment like the other manufacturers. It has a wire with a nut adjustment but that does not work well, so when you use it in the grass the "snout" gets caught and it's very hard to push.

I can attest to that, so we've avoided using it on the grass, and if we have to, we go backwards only. It's ok for a small job but it's not good to pick up leaves on grass all day long.

You're right, the little wonder has tremendous suction due to the enormous size of it's impeller blades. Ours picks up while idling...:laugh: :laugh:

:)

hess
07-15-2007, 09:31 AM
I understand what your saying but i never had a problem with the snout on mine i just keep it off the ground a little bit and it works that it should. I knew they would be hard to push thats why i went with the self propelled one because of the amount it can hold.

DuraCutter
07-16-2007, 12:03 AM
I understand what your saying but i never had a problem with the snout on mine i just keep it off the ground a little bit and it works that it should. I knew they would be hard to push thats why i went with the self propelled one because of the amount it can hold.

I think the self propelled is a good choice. Next one I'll probably chose that option. Hope they improve the latch holding the bag for next spring.

:)

Vikings
07-16-2007, 12:27 AM
Soon as the snout catches on grass it comes out of the holding mechanism then it is unlevel. I ended up trying to hold up the low side with a rope while the height adjustment wire held up the other side. It was a REAL pita, we literally only used it for two hours and we were fixing and adjusting the snout for half that time.

I really did want to try and use it more but it was just too tough to push on thick grass.

With my bearcat, it's self propelled and the snout can also catch but it's solid. You adjust the height with the axle, so when the snout catches, it just bounces and keeps going.

hess
07-16-2007, 09:25 AM
Soon as the snout catches on grass it comes out of the holding mechanism then it is unlevel. I ended up trying to hold up the low side with a rope while the height adjustment wire held up the other side. It was a REAL pita, we literally only used it for two hours and we were fixing and adjusting the snout for half that time.

I really did want to try and use it more but it was just too tough to push on thick grass.

With my bearcat, it's self propelled and the snout can also catch but it's solid. You adjust the height with the axle, so when the snout catches, it just bounces and keeps going. You might have to much slack on the wire or the metal piece where it hook on to might be bent I remember know i had a problem with this and thats what i did no problem yet!

hess
07-16-2007, 09:26 AM
I think the self propelled is a good choice. Next one I'll probably chose that option. Hope they improve the latch holding the bag for next spring.

:) Thats there big down fall could be alot better!!!

dhardin53
07-16-2007, 11:33 AM
I had family buy a lawn vac (Lazy Boy) that he payed almost $400 and used it once and gave it to me. It works I guess but there a lot of money for limited use. Commercial wise, a vac unit on a tractor or Z is the way to go. I use my hand lower and blow everything out into the yard and drive over it and pick it up much faster. Any wake behind is to slow. Nice to have in the stable not not my money maker.

hess
07-16-2007, 04:02 PM
I had family buy a lawn vac (Lazy Boy) that he payed almost $400 and used it once and gave it to me. It works I guess but there a lot of money for limited use. Commercial wise, a vac unit on a tractor or Z is the way to go. I use my hand lower and blow everything out into the yard and drive over it and pick it up much faster. Any wake behind is to slow. Nice to have in the stable not not my money maker. well i guss you don't do your home work the little wounder is a good one work for me with no problems and is a good money maker 6,000 last year for the frist time ipayed 1800 for mine pickes up any thing you want and don't want. need to learn how the tool works befor it's in the stable!!:rolleyes:

Vikings
07-16-2007, 06:56 PM
Yeah they're great for clean ups. Even my old Vacuum, (self propelled) basically saved me a whole guy. Last year there would be two of us raking but this spring I only had one guy and he was just walking behind the Vac. Saved like $80 a day is salary plus made it much easier. BUT i got to get a modern one I think mine is too slow.

dhardin53
07-17-2007, 10:12 AM
Slow is the problem i have. Walk behinds cant keep up with my vac and box unit that holds 400 lbs of chopped leaves or grass before i have to empty it. I do very little raking, it just blow it out in the yard and drive over it. I can hold about 4 or 5 residential yard of grass.

I'm not putting down walk behind vacs, I have looked at little wonder but prefer to ride with more capacity.

DuraCutter
07-18-2007, 01:13 AM
Slow is the problem i have. Walk behinds cant keep up with my vac and box unit that holds 400 lbs of chopped leaves or grass before i have to empty it. I do very little raking, it just blow it out in the yard and drive over it. I can hold about 4 or 5 residential yard of grass.

I'm not putting down walk behind vacs, I have looked at little wonder but prefer to ride with more capacity.

You're forgetting one important point....

You can't ride a mower to pick things up on CEMENT or PARKING LOTS...:laugh: :laugh:

I believe that's the point for the vacuums. Sure they can pick up on lawns, and they'll do a fantastic job, but they shine in applications where you need them in other areas.

Don't forget, not everyone just mows, some of us do many more tasks that involve pickup in weird spots that the mower has no hope of ever doing.

:)