We have trees completely covering our property and last fall/winter (our first in this home) was absolutely awful for us because we simply were not prepared for it. It's our first home with any sort of tree coverage. There are 3 large water oak trees in the front yard which dump millions of the small leaves all over our yard and pretty much cover everyone else's yard in the culdesac if we don't pick them up at least once a week (no one else has trees in their front yard except us so we feel bad when the whole circle of homes has leaves from our yard) And we also have 4 massive sweet gum trees in the back yard dumping not only their leaves but the sweet gum ball seeds. Neighboring property adjacent to our back yard is virtually all trees as well so we get leaves from all of that on our property. Last season we were out there every weekend endlessly bagging with rakes and each weekend, we would have well over a dozen or more bags. It was exhausting work and the lawnmower was totally useless. It dawned on the wife and I that a high quality leaf vac/mulcher is far more valuable on our property than a lawn mower (I've only had to cut my grass 3 times this summer due to the shade) but last fall, even after a couple of days after we cleaned up the leaves, so many had already fallen again, it was as if we hadn't picked ANY up. So I'm basically here asking for suggestions on a high quality lawn/leaf vac that is durable enough to get used at least a dozen times per year and strong enough to pick up all the sweet gum balls. I don't mind spending between $1k~$1300 if I can get something that isn't going to break easily or have bad customer support. My wife and I are expecting our first child at the end of october so the last thing she is going to be able to do is rake leaves for a few hours every weekend and the thought of doing all that raking by myself is enough to make me cave in and spend the cash to get a good vac. A local power equipment place sells the billygoat products but the reviews on those seem mixed?? which is surprising considering what they cost. There's a guy a couple hours north selling a craftsman brand vac, self propelled for $450 with only a couple hours of use on it but I question whether or not it will be powerful enough for what I need?? I know that patriot has a similar offering as well as troy-bilt, cub kadet, Ariens, etc. Little wonder is a bit out of my price range though and the pull behind a riding lawn mower versions are also not an option. I don't mind the unit not being self propelled as my property is mostly flat. Thanks for any help/suggestions!