Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Muskegon, Michigan
Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?
Sweepers are indeed economical. However, if you need to make a lot of trips to the leaf dump if you have a large yard, you'll hate yourself. True, it helps to mulch them first, while at the same time windrowing them, but it could still be a lot of trips. That hopper fills up pretty fast. You could pull it with an ATV with smoother ride and faster ground speed and maybe quieter than a tractor, though.
On a trac vac or cyclone rake or powerflow, you may be limited to how fast/efficient your tractor is. If there's light leaf cover and you want all of them gone, blower might be quite a bit faster.
I may be just grasping at straws, but a trac vac or power flow system will really drink the fuel. When I run my either my belt drive deck driven power flow or when I had the 3pt PTO powerflow for my diesel SCUT, fuel consumption would double. Maybe that isn't a concern for you, I dunno.
I used to use trac vac style collection system, and it worked incredibly well except for the noise. It picked up pretty much every last leaf, but the little pieces of leaves seemed to bet tracked into the house easier than full sized leaves somehow. If there's lots of sticks, I had trouble with it clogging more often. Mine was home built and had a large hopper on it, so it would go a LONG time before needing emptied. Sure got heavy, though. A light duty hydrostatic machine wouldn't have pulled it up the hills I dealt with for very long before burning up the trans. I used it for a lot of years. If I had to bring it somewhere to do a small lawn on a small city or suburban lot, it fit on my 16' trailer even when hooked to the tractor. The hopper was large enough I could do pretty much the whole yard, then load the rig back on the trailer and dump the hopper when I got home. Those are the only yards I've found where the blower is not an advantage. You need to have somewhere to blow the leaves to, like a tree line. Otherwise you need some type of collection system.
I've also used blowers an large lawns (like at our church) to boow leaves into piles, blow or rake the piles onto a large (like 20x30) heavy duty tarp, then use an ATV to drag them to the leaf dump. That actually was pretty fast and efficient.