Billy Goat v Little Wonder Leaf Vac's

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by PHS, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 724

    I've been thinking about buying a leaf vac this year to help with leaf clean-ups and other clean-up jobs throughout the year. To give you the background, we don't get one huge drop in a short period where you have to deal with a massive amount of leaves at one time. Leaves steadily drop from one tree or another for 4 months or more.

    Anyway, I rented a Billy Goat leaf vac to see how it worked. I could see the potential of the machine but the problem was that on an empty bag it would it vacuum great till the bag was about a 1/4 full then it went downhill from there. With the bag filling from the bottom that's not surprising. The second problem was dumping, trying to zip and unzip the bag was a pain and it was hard to get the leaves out.

    If the machine vac'd strong from an empty bag till full and was easy to dump I think I'd buy one. I looked at the Little Wonder vac and it fills from the top and the bag has an open top for dumping. For those who have used the Little Wonder, does it vac strong till the bag is full? If it does I may go with one of those instead.
     
  2. Kilroy

    Kilroy LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Posts: 63

    I've been using a Billy Goat lawn vac for several years now. Has the Honda engine. It works very well for me. Fills the bag completely. In fact, with a full bag, it will keep on sucking. Have to occasionally poke the bag to see where the level is. I carry a broom stick in my belt to clear the intake when necessary: a few sticks across the intake under the deck will quickly allow leaves to clog it. You can tell that it's clogged by the sound of the engine. You might want to check this on the one you rented. Also, dust and dirt can make the zipper hard to open. I spray the zipper with silcone spray before I unzip the bag. Works great, and makes the zipper last way longer. I have no experience with the Little Wonder vac. HTH
     
  3. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 724

    Yeah actually I used the machine for another day after I posted this and really it wasn't as bad as I thought. I was in a hurry to finish this job and just wanted it to go faster. candle wax or silicone would've made the zipping a lot easier. When it's your own machine everything works so much better. My fingers were sore by the end of the day. The Briggs engine had a lot of miles on it and I'm sure it wasn't running as good as it could and not even close to a Honda. Do they have an impeller of some sort that cuts up the debris or does the material just get bashed and broken to make it smaller on the way through? If it's a cutting edge I'm sure a rental machine is as dull as it can get.
     
  4. Kilroy

    Kilroy LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Posts: 63

    Yes, it shreds/tears the leaves, and they pack in there very tightly. The bag gets heavy enough to wheelie the unit backward which is one way I know it's time to empty the bag. I should've added in my original post to be sure the vent is open/clear on the bag. When you start the unit with the bag empty, the bag should blow up like a big marshmellow with air rushing out of the bag vent, and the engine should be roaring. The only times it won't hold a lot of leaves is if the leaves are wet & heavy or just heavy like gingko leaves. If you buy new, I'd recommend the Honda engine. Good luck with it. HTH
     
  5. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 724

    Would the vent be a short little zipper on the top corner? Actually I did open it a little the second time to let some air out now that you mention it. That's probably what helped. Are you supposed to run with that 4" (approx) zipper open? If that's the case then admittedly I wasn't operating it properly and the guy at the shop didn't say anything about it. That probably would have let some of the dust out too. Everytime I dumped the bag it was so dusty, it was just a mess.
     
  6. Kilroy

    Kilroy LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Posts: 63

    Yes, that's the vent. It should be open. When you start out with an empty bag, place your hand over the vent to feel how much air is coming out. Should be a lot. When the bag is full, you'll feel very little, if any air. Then it's time to empty the bag. And yes, it's a dusty business. That's why I use the silicone spray. Candle wax would probably attract dirt, and clog the zipper.
     
  7. KeystoneLawn&Landscaping

    KeystoneLawn&Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 774

    I have a Billy Goat and love it. Works great on the tight spots during clean-ups, like window wells. Also, great after power raking a lawn to suck up the mess.
     

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