fchatham Cockeysville, MD (1 review) June 29, 2016
I have had the Commander Pro for 5 years, and love it. Like everything else, you learn how to use it best for your property. I bought the heavy-duty hose, dual wheels, extra hose for the power unloading, etc., so it was expensive, but so was the price I was paying to have a crew come take care of my two acres of heavily treed lawn. I now never use the power unloader or wand vacuum since they are too bulky and heavy and switching hose attachments was a bit too much, especially around a hot engine. However, I have a place to dump leaves out back, so that's all that I do now. I use a blower to get leaves from foundation plantings and from around the base of trees out onto the grass, since the machine is too large to get close to house and trees. Don't get me wrong, there is no way that my yard cleanup isn't work, but if at age 68 I can do what I used to pay thousands of dollars to have done, it's a deal. It paid for itself the first year, even with the extra attachments that I no longer use. I've had compliments from professionals who are amazed that I'm doing it myself.
I have been using my Cyclone Rake XL for about 10 years. I live in Central Pa. and that means life on the Appalachians. Everything is up or down hill. It’s pretty steep here, but with my 4-wheel drive John Deer Tractor and 6 ft deck, I go wherever I want, with the XL in tow. The XL is great to maneuver around with.
If it isn’t bolted down, the XL will suck it up the chute. The engine has NEVER failed to start. I have about 3 acres or so to mow with some trees making leaves. The Bagger is Huge. I would not want to have to do without my XL. Before or after I run the engine, I always check the lock handles and I have never had a problem with the engine coming loose.
When I first bought it, there were some fitting issues with the mower deck attachment. Later I bent the shaft on my dual wheels. The Woodland Customer service bent over backwards, sending me numerous parts, no charge so I would be able to get it going and not have to wait. If I have a problem, I call customer service direct. Do not call the Sales staff. No machine is perfect, all of the time, but good customer service can make it seem that way.
After almost 10 years of use, the sealed bearings in my dual wheels just plain wore out. Customer service sent me all the bearings and axle shafts I needed, no charge. They had previously used a lubricated bearing design, but some customers complained because they didn’t want to have to lube them. Woodland listened and went to the sealed bearings.
The whole system is fantastic for storage. The engine is heavy, but if you have some type of lifting hoist, once it’s off, the whole bagger folds up and will stand in a corner. I’ve done that a few times and other times, just left it together until the next season.
The machine for me is Extremely noisy, even with Noise cancelling Headphones AND earplugs. Not sure if anything can be done about that. If I mow soon enough, I can fit just about all 3 acres in a bag or 2 at the most. I have mulching blades and it will fit tons of shredded leaves in the bag.
Posted on December 18, 2014, updated April 7, 2016
I purchased a Cyclone Rake Commander Pro second hand. The previous owner had a Cub Cadet so the Mower Deck Adapter would not fit my John Deere. The previous owner had several accessories including the Power Vacuum Pickup which worked as advertised. However, when I ordered a MDA for my 54C deck, the MDA arrived already cut for some other deck. I sent Woodland Power side-by-side pictures of my deck opening and the MDA they sent. They tried to hide behind the fact that in the instructions it states that additional cutting may be necessary. Nowhere on the page http://www.cyclonerake.com/adapter.htm does it state that additional cutting may be necessary. You don\'t see that until you pay the $99 and receive the improperly cut MDA and find it in the instructions. They insisted that this MDA was cut for a John Deere 54C deck but there is a one inch gap all around the opening of the MDA which additional cutting will not close. If or when you do order the MDA, insist that they send an uncut MDA and cut the thing yourself. These people don\'t know what they are doing and I have the pictures to prove it. On April 7th, 2016, Ben_Scrued changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
Guess what sports fans! Woodland Power Products contacted me and asked what they could do to make me change my rating. Who does that? Most companies aren't worried about customer satisfaction, just shareholder satisfaction. Now they're sending me a new uncut MDA so that I can cut it the way I want. I've used this second hand Cyclone Rake for two seasons now on my 17 acres. I think I got maybe one Willow Oak, the rest are Sweet Gums, Hickories, Red Oaks, Poplars, White Oaks, Sycamores and Pin Oaks. People, I move tons and I mean TONS of leaf litter with a John Deere LX288 and a used Commander Pro. I have a sinkin feelin that I'll wear that John Deere out before I need a new Cyclone Rake. Don't tell nobody but I think they're sending me a hat too.
For 10 years I have de-leafed my wooded 5 acres using a Scag Tiger Cub zero turn and a Scag bagger system. This Z-10 Cyclone is a God-send. It is over-engineered, with parts that are either powder-painted or chromed, that easily fit. It is easy to set up, and easy to detach, using the jack. It stores compactly. It is durable (I picked up exactly 50 loads this fall), and will mulch leaves to nearly a powder if not wet (all systems struggle with wet leaves). Because if compacts the leaves so tightly, the loads can become quite heavy. Be sure to fill it completely, so there are leaves in the back as well as the front. Then, it is not a chore to unload. I did pick up some damp leaves at times, but never had a clog. It maneuvers easily, so much so that one has to be careful not to swing too quickly and hit a tree (remember one is now a lot longer than before). I do add weights to the front to offset the added weight of the setup. This is the Cadillac. Well worth the cost. ...p.s...I had 2 parts problems (my fault, both), and they sent each within days at no cost to me.
I purchased a used Cyclone Rake Classic with all of the accessories (Hoses) for $400 about a month or so ago and overall really like it. I did not feel the need to pay the $100 for the MDA adapter since my riding mower had a bagging system and I used the lower portion of that deck connector to connect my Cyclone Rake and it works really well. (Save your money if you already have a bagging system.) When this cyclone rake used with a riding mower, this cyclone rake does an AMAZING job vacuuming the lawn. I am just in awe!! Maneuverability is OK and does take somewhat of a learning curve to make sure you do not hit trees or other objects when turning. (Ive gotten stuck now three times where I have had to remove the Rake from the mower and physically drag it away from an area that I found myself stuck in.)
Now here's what I also found... this system on its own DOES NOT MULCH LEAVES. Repeat... This cyclone rake does not mulch the leaves... it simply sucks them in practically untouched and fills up the back hopper very quickly. Nowhere on forums or on the website do I see that point mentioned. So just be prepared for this. (I might have gone with the DR version because of this so I want others to be aware of this, too.)
Lastly, Woodland Products does charge A LOT (TOO MUCH IN FACT!!!!) for shipping out of replacement parts... so group your order together or be prepared for paying through the nose. (Why is the shipping so much on small light weight parts!?!?!!!?!!)
FredInNH Mont Vernon, NH (1 review) October 24, 2015
This is my fourth season with my Cyclone Rake. I liven the woods in NH... lots of pine needles and a long gravel driveway (on which I use the Cyclone Rake). I have a John Deere x300 riding mower.
I love my Cyclone Rake. Really, I do. It assembles each year in about 20 minutes and handles every job I throw at it each fall.
I'm an engineer. I'm VERY critical when it comes to design. But I've got really nothing bad to say about my Cyclone Rake.
The Cyclone Rake is expensive. It is a special-purpose tool that gets limited use (maybe 4 weeks a year). It's clearly a luxury and nothing like a necessity. But the hours and hours it saves me are much appreciated. And the fact that it just does what it's supposed to do always pleases me.
If you have the money to spend on this sort of special purpose tool, I can highly recommend it.
I love the Cyclone rake and many of its features, especially the fact that if folds up when not in use. I dont like how they overcharge for parts and shipping when the warrenty is over, especially when the parts seem to be defective. I do not recommend using in very cold weather as the plastic is brittle and will break. I broke my shute twice, second time not under warrenty so it is duck tapped. Also, they advertise on flat yards, not hilly which puts a strain on the tractor. Called for a part for the hitch on my JD728, the holes which hold the pins have stretched out so much the cyclone rake swings to the left or right creating another problem waiting to happen. Requiring me to replace the hitch for $28 + $20 S&H with tax, over $50. No way, and I referred 3 people all of who bought a Cyclone. After warrenty, RIP OFF....
Showerguy Suwanee, GA (1 review) February 22, 2015
I purchased my Cyclone Rake about 12 years ago. Great product for the most part so, all in all, the experience is good. The product works very well. I learned to pre-mow first to chop up stems and leaves then go back with the cyclone rake to mow/vacuum which packs more debris in the collection trailer and prevent clogging up. What I have an issue with is all the rust that developed only after a few short years. The paint has peeled off the frame body and has been engulfed in rust. All the buckles to fasten the shoots together with the hose ect., has also rusted even though it is chrome plated. Should be stainless steel. Product works well, but for the money, could have better made components. I would purchase again if convinced rusting would not be an issue even years later.
lotsofoaks Westdale, NY (1 review) October 8, 2013
Have used a Commander Pro for 6 years mostly for leaves and occasionally for grass clippings when the lawn got too long due to wet weather. No problems with grass - I always cut first and then vacuum a day or two later when the grass has dried. My tractor is a subcompact 22 hp Kubota. It is heavy enough (and has 4 wheel drive if needed) that the loaded weight of the vacuum is never a problem. I have lots of Northern Red Oak trees that don't drop leaves until late October or well into November and live in a lake effect snow belt East of Lake Ontario so it is always a race to get the leaves up before they are under a foot of snow. The best feature of the machine is the "no jack knife" design. My only disappointment has been the wheels - I should have bought the duals. I have used a DR and another "trailer" type and would never buy that type.
I bought a 3 year-old Commander used off of Craigslist for $900. This is the first year we've used it on our leaf-COVERED property.
Changed the oil (Vanguard 6.5HP), replaced a few missing screws, and started it up. WOW- this is the best yard investment I've ever made. 1 1/2 acres with 40+ LARGE trees, and it was Spotless in 2 hours.
This machine is a beast. We were picking up black walnuts along with the leaves, and even some dog turds (2 golden retrievers and lazy kids). Dumping was easy, even when I let it get overfilled. We have it hitched to an older JD 320, and it steered just fine even loaded.
Agree with the comments above that the material doesn't just pour out of the bag as you drive away. I beat it a little while tipped and the material come out. Note that we have Oregon aggressive mulching blades on the mover, so the leaves were really dense in the bag.
Service is also very good- I ordered a few small parts from Woodland, and they were uber-cheap. Likewise when I noticed a small gas leak from the fuel bowl- I called Woodland to inquire for some advice. They told me that the bowl was eaten by ethanol (a scam on the backs of the American taxpayer) and that the threads leak first. Sure enough, they were exactly right, and I was able to find one at my local Briggs dealer.
I'm really happy with this unit, especially at $900. We have the yellow hoses, and they're fine. The bag is faded, but all the velcro (and there's MILES of it) is good and the buckles are like new.
Purchased in May 2011 - wish I had known about it years ago. So far, I'm extremely impressed. The area being mowed is about 2 acres, with a lot of leaves in the fall. Even though the area is large, bought the smaller Commander model - I find that once I have about 25 bushels in the Commander, tractor steering starts to suffer because of the weight of grass clippings - and at that point I empty the unit. If I had to do it again, I would buy the same model. To use a larger model, I think I would need a tractor that weighed a lot more. Bought the jackstand - well worth the money, but wished that it didn't need to be taken off when the Cyclone rake is used. Also bought the 17 foot vacuum pickup - and upgraded all hoses to the heavy urethane option. With all the weight from the grass clippings, bought the dual-pro wheels.
Green grass does NOT just dump out when the cart is tilted back - the blades of grass all interlock into one large mass. Need to use a rake (very carefully) to PULL the clippings out. Quite a job - especially when I first used the Rake and found that cutting my 2 acres generated roughly 200 bushels (8 loads) of grass clippings.
That's not the fault of the Cyclone rake --- it's the nature of the grass clippings.
Bought the blue diamond liner --- I don't think I'd need it, but cosidering what I was spending for the Rake and accessories, I was willing to spend a few bucks more for insurance.
I did not buy the power lifter - and considering that grass clippings DO NOT fall out when the Rake is tilted, I was glad I didn't buy it. I also did not buy the power unloader --- for grass clippings, which are extremely dense, it would probably take forever,
Using the cyclone rake, I see absolutely no sign of any clippings on the lawn --- it seems to be as close to 100% effective as it could be.
Using the 17 foot vacuum pickup for leaf removal under grossly-overgrown shrubbery turned a 4-hour challenging job into a 45-minute fairly easy task.
The engineering on the unit is exceptionally good.
Despite what the extreme tree huggers and the hillbilly say, it's a great product. The deck adapter was fairly straight forward. Yes it's made to fit several different mowers so you have to cut the plastic to fit yours. If you can't handle this or drilling a couple of holes in your mower, maybe you should just move into an apartment building, or just buy some goats!
I got the biggest one (Z-10) since I'm upgrading from a Troy Bilt push around type, I didn't want to "wish for more" again. The big Jet Path just will not get clogged. It sucks up everything.
I've even learned how to turn the mower blades off and clean leaves off the gravel driveway. The velcro and snaps to close the bag seem trouble free, if you have an old zipper it would likely make a good upgrade for you in the future.
It takes a little getting use to the ten foot machine hanging off the back of my zero turn mower, but I'm sure anyone (except the hillbilly) can handle it.
Gotta go, I just saw another leaf fall.
bulltruck Carlisle, KY (1 review) November 8, 2010
I bought my CR in 2000. It has the 5 hp Tecumseh and I have used it every year since I have had it. It has really been a great and dependable piece of equipment. I have had to change the hitch and mower deck collector a couple of times to fit different mowers. After 10 yrs. of use the back flap zipper went bad. I emailed them asking about the cost of a new bag and within 15 minutes the CR folks called me with the info. She said they had changed the zipper to a new system that worked better. It was only 128.00 and that included shipping. Now ,I call that service and didn't have to talk to an overseas call center. I would recommend this piece of equipment highly. Hills here in KY. are steep where I use it and have had no problems.
I use my cyclone rake so much my wife thinks there is “ another women” in my life. Between my mother-in-law’s and our property there is about 12 acres. CR (we call it) is a back saver in the fall when it comes down to cleaning up after 18 mature maple trees, pine trees, and a tall field grass on a vacant lot. The house and estate belonged to my wife’s grandparents. What use to take my wife’s grandfather weeks to do, takes me a weekend and maybe one evening during the week. The poor guy use to rake, push, plow and blow leaves all day long. Then drag large heavy tarps across the lawn to the woods line to dump. I attempted that method one year and that was it. We have owned the CR Commercial since 2002 and it was bought with our wedding gift money. Yeah, most newlywed couples would spend it on some cruise or fly away to some island, but we wanted a machine to take care of the yard.
One feature I wish the company had was a swivel coupling between the hose and the plastic nozzle. The hose gets twisted at times and I end up doing a little dance to untangle it. The product does everything it says it does. Even after 8 years I am are still very happy with the CR.
KG Somers, CT
I purchased my Cyclone Rake in 2003,works Great.After the years of use one major problem I'm having is with the vacuum unit.Its a sandy area where I mow and also loads of acorns.The acorns ate right through the vacuum unit.How do I repair the hole?
Taking my rake to a local tractor dealer Woodland Power Products will not ship parts to this dealer,so how do I fix my problem?
All right, let me try and be brief here (and as this has no spell check, please forgive my spelling).
First off, it works as advertised. In fact, I would have to say it does a great job. I have about 4 acres of grass and I bought it primarily to pick up leaves, but the grass looks so nice when I pick up the clippings that I use it now when I mow, BUT I only use it on the good part of the lawn, which I would guess is about 1 1/2 to 2 acres. (And don;t kid yourself, Mulchers. Mulching is NOT good for the lawn! Use this thing ONE time and you'll agree. Use chemicals and pick up your grass!)
I have the largest model and have the double wheels. As I said, it works great and is built very well.
Here are the downsides:
1) I have a large John Deere zero turn. I would not recommend this for everytime cutting use (though that's what I am doing) with a zero turn, because (big surprise) the zero turn feature effectively goes away. Basically, put the Cyclone Rake on the back and you've just strapped on the Queen Mary. It's huge! And until you really figure out how to steer it (and that takes a while), you WILL hit things with your new found back end.
2) With a zero turn it is a real struggle, particularly once there's any amount of grass in it, to steer in general. If you have a zero turn you know they are good, but steeriing is touchy and takes some deft skills. A few hundred pounds and 6 feet on the back makes it feel like you've had 6 beers and you're mowing the lawn.
3) It doesn't like wet AT ALL! To be fair, they warned me about this, but it's a bummer anyway. When the grass is wet (and heavy) it causes the zero turn to spin the tire that is getting power uselessly (when you turn hard), putting a brown dirt streak in your lawn, after you accumulate even a moderate load of grass.
4) DON'T expect your 12 year old (or your smaller wife, for that matter) to be able to use this thing. It takes some muscle and, though once you get used to the steps, takes some time to learn. (But again, once you get the routine down, it's not bad.)
All that being said, the lawn looks FABULOUS! This thing is a monster and picks up everything! It can also hold an impressive amount. In fact what limits how much I can get in there is NOT the size of the container, but how much weight I can carry before the steering gets unruly. So to cover about 2 acres I have to dump 4 times, which isn't TOO bad. But if you haven't picked up grass BE PREPARED for how much two acres of clippings is! IT'S A LOT! I own a total of 9 acres, so I have plenty of space to roll this thing in, and dump it. But If you are cutting say 1 acre, and have little extra room to dump it, be ready.
In the end, they give you six months to try it out and return it if you don't like it. I kept it, so there you go.
titianmom Hedgesville, WV (1 review) April 10, 2010
Multiple problems and we just bought it. Took forever to "build", had to drill holes in our tractor to attach and for the money, don't think we should have had to drill anything...but, we figured we could live with that little issue.
Then we attached the deck adapter and it didn't fit well, left over an inch gap and so we called, they said to loosen the bolts to adjust. Didn't work, called back and they said the suction would take care of it and not to worry.
Well, stuff was shooting out through the gap and hitting my husband's leg, so we duct taped it. Well, he keeps going for a SHORT while (I mean in a matter of a few mins) and he sees gas shooting out of the engine! (??) so he stops and cleans up the mess and figures he may have overfilled it. (No, he didn't, but hey, something has to be wrong with something we did so we rationalized.) Started it back up and went about 40 ft and it's doing it again! Stops, and finds that the clamps holding the engine had FLOWN OFF! Yes, we tightened them correctly if you're wondering. They were completely stripped. No wonder gas was coming out, the thing was jarring itself to death and busy shredding the clamps.
It's going back ASAP and we're getting every dime back. Piece of really bad engineering IMHO.
MowHoward Downingtown, PA (1 review) November 25, 2009
I have read all the reviews so thought I would put my two cents in. I purchased a commander model to pick up leaves in my yard which is about 1.6 acres. I have lots of oak, maple and hickory trees.
The machine- It has the B&S Vanguard engine which I understand is made in Japan. Not to start a debate here, but that is a good thing. I picked the machine up in person and threw everything in my pickup. Lots of boxes and I bought virtually every option they had. Price goes up fast with options. This is a kit really and takes a few hours to put together. Lots of parts and comes with directions. Once together you have to hook up to the lawn tractor which is another story. I bought two hitch setups. 1 for my old john deere stx 38 and 1 for my Scag Freedom Z. More on that later.
Performance - Let's get one thing straight. This thing is not a shredder, mulcher or anything else that grinds up leaves. It is a leaf vacuum. The mulching is done by the mower blades. It works well when hooked up to either of my mowers and sucks up the leaves as advertised. To give you an idea how much it holds, you can cram one load into 4 of the tall lawn bags. It fills up quick, but easy to empty by tipping. If you have a place to dump them and don't mind the pile you are in luck. I pick the leaves up by dumping and shoveling into bags for the city to pickup. Still less work than raking. I bought the hose kit to blow them out, but only puts them about 10 feet away and piles them. I sent it back as basically useless. Better just to dump them. I didn't buy the bagger accessory as it only fills them half way so not much help there. The bag fills up really quick in heavy leaves which I have. Maybe in 10 minutes or so, but picks up a bunch.
Accessories - bought the double wheels which I like. I live on a hill so really need to be careful with this thing. It gets heavy fast and I imagine would have no problem tipping the mover over if not careful. The STX has trouble turning when bag is over half full as front wheels lose traction. Pop a bunch of wheelies on the Scag and virtually uncontrollable when close to full. I have to slide the seat forward and lean to stay on four wheels. That is when I know to empty. Got the estate kit and is great to suck up leaves in beds and hillsides. Again, no shredding action here just picks up leaves. I called the company about the shredding and they confirm the mower does the mulching. Seems to be something they avoid discussing or putting on website. I have the green hoses on the estate vacuum accessory and they are heavy as heck. I bought the yellow ones for the mowers and the 3ft on the STX is not that heavy, but the 6ft on the Scag is pretty heavy. I can't imagine how heavy the yellow hoses would be with the estate kit. The roof rack is handy, but hard to get the 17ft hose up there as the flop around. Use the bungy cords a lot. If you have a bad back this will be a problem.
Summary - Picking up leaves is a pain and the machine helps. It is useless for the leaves on the driveway. If you pick up with the hose attachment you can dump somewhere but they look the same when you dump them and not mulched at all. Might as well just rake and pick up. The cyclone works best on flat grass where you can maneuver. The vacuum is good for hillsides and beds. Quality wise it sort of reminds me of go carts and minibikes made in the 60's. Very basic engineering, no NASA stuff on it. Most parts are very heavy and steel. The bolts seem to be stainless so you need to lube them prior to using or they will gaull. I am a bit worried about the bag as plastic inside and probably will crack after a few seasons. They forgot to give instructions with the Scag hitch. I thought they could have done a better job other than ubolts that scratch the paint on the engine guard. Seems to be made to pull wheelies as the angle of the plate isn't flat when mounted. I thought this was an error until I used it and realized why it is angled. I rated neutral because of the mulching feature. If they could put a mulching feature in the estate kit would be awesome. Just remember, this is a vacuum-nothing more.
What's wrong with the machine - not with engine powered machines - is the issue here... This machine is great; others are too, but you are not!
What's wrong with people talking about gas powered machines, but still driving their SUV, Minibus, Van or even Hybrid Car? It's not the yard tools polluting the world, its you people!! And cows... We all are at fault, maybe even god (nature) itself...!
The only way to clean up earth is to get rid of people. So, go ahead and join your local terrorist group and blow it all up - or, go and join the Army, Navy, Marines...
You people think you're green?
Great Product that actually makes collecting leaves fun!!! Like many others I thought about purchasing one of these for at least a year, due to the cost. Additionally during that year I attempted to find any up to date reviews or evaluations of the machine with very little luck. The lack of current info out there just added to my apprehension about purchasing. Well, after seeing the leaves starting to fall, I felt that I had to jump in with both feet and go with blind faith. I purchased the XL model with the 9 HP engine along with upgraded wheels and Diamond liner for the engine. Additionally I opted for the 17 ft extension hose since I have a lot of trees\hedges\landscape area to keep clean.
I used the unit for the first time this weekend, and I am EXTREMLY happy with the purchase. The machine works great and with a little over 2 acres to keep clean, my first day of leaf collecting resulted in 11 trips to the leaf pile to unload everything that used to be on the lawn. It took about 3 hours to clean everything up that I could ride to, but some of that time was used to get used to turning and identifying how quickly I could move along while still having effective results.
The unit is very well made, assembly was easy and the instruction manual detailed every step very clearly. I did have to invent my own way to mount the MDA onto my Bobcat predator pro mower deck since the unit would not bolt up as documented. But in the end, the way I did connect it, required less holes to drill, no additional parts to install (actually had hardware left over).. and worked flawlessly. I do have pictures of what I did of anyone want to see them.
The XL requires some getting used to from a steering perspective, the overall length when hooked to my Mower is 13 feet 7 inches... and when the collector is fully loaded you get a bit of... tail wagging the dog feeling, but nothing that is unmanageable. When the unit is empty to half full, it tows great behind my zero turn mower and you really don’t even know it is back there. (Till you hit the occasional tree due to the fun you are having zipping around the yard). I did hit a tree but it was minor and no damage to the unit … work of advice, go very easy till you get used to it.
The wand and extension hose (17 foot)... works great but is a tad short for taller folks, I am 6’3” and would prefer that the pickup end of the hose be adjustable in length to accommodate taller folks. Additionally for my property I should have opted for the longer estate vacuum attachment (32 feet)... as it would allow better placement of the mower and collector without having to park it so close to things, I chose the smaller hose thinking that it would not really work that well, boy was I wrong!!!! You could probably hook 50 feet of hose to the motor and it would work great. I will be ordering the longer hose this week and prob the roof rack to make it easier to carry it around.
A nice touch that came with the Cyclone Rake XL was an additional set of hooks (mounts)... that you can put on a piece of plywood that can be mounted on the frame in place of the collector assy, so that you have in essence a trailer to haul things around your yard. Very nice touch indeed.
In closing, I would recommend this unit to anyone who has the space to use it. I have no buyer’s remorse after having spent the money I did as it lives up to every expectation I had for it.
kier569 Coraopolis, PA (1 review) September 29, 2009
I purchased a Commander Pro a year ago and really like the machine. The engine and frame of the machine are great; using it is easy, and it works as advertised.
BUT - I developed some kind of mystery tear or hole in the front of the bagger (not where you would expect to have a lot of stress on the fabric.) I've picked up no stones, sticks, or other foreign objects that would cause this problem. Nor have I ever had a collision with anything, let alone a sharp object that would have caused the defect. The canvas was defective - plain and simple.
After sending 6 pix to Cyclone Rake showing the hole and providing a description of the machine's use, they declined to replace the bagger and left me a curt response that they would send me a piece of fabric to repair it.
This machine is only one year old and it is damaged. Beware that Woodland Power Products does not stand behind their products.
I have used my cyclone rake for six years and still find it a very useful piece of equipment. I have had the same problems as stated in the other comments but have found solutions to most of them. I have the old style bag with zippers and they did stick after awhile. I now spray the zippers with WD40 a couple of times a year and they still work fine. We use our rake a lot on our TN mountain farm. I have made some modifications to it to help it survive our rough terrain.
I have had my Cyclone Rake for several years. It has always started very easily. I have the older 5 HP Tecumseh engine. I see they are using B&S now. I have 1.5 acres of my own with several oaks, and my neighbors have some gum trees as well. It picks up all the leaves plus gumballs & acorns so I can dump them at the end of my property into the marsh where they quickly deteriorate and make great compost. My older neighbors love me and some of them provide nice cakes and treats after I suck up their leaves. After all, they would probably end up in my yard anyway.
I use it year-round, not every time I mow, but especially when the seeds are on the weeds. Suck 'em up and haul 'em away.
All that to say my zipper finally gave up the ghost. I took off the bag and took it to a bike shop to the upholsterer, but he wasn't willing to get debris in his sewing machine, and I have to respect him for that. I guess it'll be a new bag soon. I understand they've changed the closure system - we'll see how well it works.On February 16th, 2009, hamburgerdude added the following:
I ordered the new bag for my Cyclone rake on a Monday, and it arrived in three days! I also ordered the 17' hose - I have a ditch to keep cleaned out.
It is like having a new unit, having the new bag. It is larger than the original bag by almost 50%, and easy to install - you have to put a couple of new brackets on, and the hardware is all supplied. The new emptying method is so much easier than the zipper that was on the original bag - cleanout is done with velcro & latches. I dump over a bank into a marsh, where the leaves and clippings are returned to nature.
I wish I had ordered the extension hose when I originally ordered my unit several years ago - sucking leaves out of the ditch is so much easier and cleaner than raking them out then running over them with the mower.
I purchased my Cyclone Rake about a month ago and have been waiting for the leaves to fall. Now that the trees are pretty much done I have to say how much I like my Cyclone Rake. I now have neighbors who call me to come take care of their leaves and I gladly do it because its so easy and fast. I have about 2 acres and my next door neighbor has about the same. And the Cyclone Rake has both of our yards looking like golf courses. I cleaned my parents yard this year and for the first time we were done before lunch. What used to take us 5 hours only took us two hours with better results than we used to get. I have a Cyclone Rake XL and I purchased the dual wheels and the 17' hose to get the stuff in close areas where the "rake" cannot go. I use the unit with a 54" decked 27hp Cub Cadet and there is nothing that does not end up in the bin. The only thing I have had go wrong is that one of the plastic clips that holds the flaps shut broke. One call to the Cyclone Rake people and I had one in the mail the next day. This is a wonderful investment and does everything that it says and more.
This is a great tool that I cannot do without. Anyone with 1+ acres and a fair amount of hardwoods can benefit from it. I have three acres and dozens of 100+ year old oaks. Leaves come down for about 6 weeks in the fall. It runs very well for all six weeks. I think the rake would do a little better with a smaller tractor and only 2 blades. I have a 54" deck and three blades. If the leaves are too heavy it has a tendency to leave a small trail of debis. However, this is never an issue and one more pass over the same spot cleans up the grass very nicely.
I would steer away from the optional vaccum hose. Anyone using one of these rakes should have a blower to use, too. You'll need it to blow off your roof, flower beds and the corners of the yard the Cyclone Rake cannot get to.
As far as an earlier post about no one needing to vacuum their yard, well, obviously this person does not have the acreage nor the trees I do. I suspect many are in the same position I am.
Don't let your leaves get more than 6" deep. The rake will suck them up but it does not do a great job of mulching them when it's any deeper. The end result is a bag that fills up very quickly.
Conversely, use a blower to get the light amount of leaves into one are so you're not having to "mow" your entire lawn. Condense your work. The blower is a faster tool when leaves are not as heavy.
The zippers and fasteners on this unit have yet to fail. The unit and motor assemblies have held up under pretty extreme conditions.
The Cyclone Rake does everything that is advertised. I use it to vac up my fall leaves from several giant sugar maples. With the rake I have made several cubic yards of compost and mulch for my raised beds. The machine is so powerful that it sucked up a full sized brick from my brick walk, and I didn't realize this until I heard it clunk in the impeller. I checked the unit over carefully but there was no damage. I wouldn't permit this to happen again, but it is a testimony to a well made product. I have been to their factory and the sales force are knowledgeable and very helpful. I am hoping that they will expand their product line to more machines that are as useful and well made.
dirmedia Huntsville, AL (1 review) December 23, 2006
Everything has worked as intended. However the tube that fits to my John Deer 135- 48" deck is sadly lacking in fit. It is in desperate need of modification.
I have called the manufacturer on this, but have received no responce nor have I been advised of any new design.
This is a definate black mark on the product with no attempt to
correct the faulty design. Other than that, it is a very well designed
product and works very well. I would buy it again, but I would insist on some minor modifications. Also A full plexiglass floor plate would save the current floor from being ripped up during clean out.
Also the current price increases in my estimation is unwarrented.
When buying, insist on the reconditioned product price. It will save you more than $200.00.
Other than the above, the product is an excellent buy for the money.
daren_r Fishersville, VA (1 review) December 18, 2006
I purchased my cyclone rake November 2005. I have a commercial lawn service and leaves have always been a real pain to deal with. Prior to buying my cyclone rake I was raking, blowing, tarping etc. I also had used the bagging system from John Deere and Gravely on my mowers. While they worked, I had problems with having to take the systems off. Belts, pulleys, etc always time consuming and always a royal pain.
After a year of using my Gravely system and realizing the time it took to assemble and disassemble, I decided something else was needed. That is when I looked into the cyclone rake.
I called them up and ordered the commercial pro model and have not been disappointed in how it performs. Even the assembly was not that difficult, a friend and I put it together in a matter of a couple of hours.
Ordering the upgrade hose for the mower deck to the blower was suggested when I ordered so I did that and am glad I did. I also ordered the vac and power unloader piece.
This was the first year of using the power unloader piece. I used it to load my truck for jobs where I could not leave the debris on site. While it is not as fast as a dedicated truck loader, I have to say that is much better than trying to manhandle leaves into the back of a truck.
The only negatives about this set up are the overall length when attached to a commercial zero turn mower, the frame strength and the zippers on the top of the bag.
I measured with it attached to my mower I am at over 14 feet. That makes it kind of tough to get around in smaller areas but it forces you to pay careful attention to your surroundings.
The frame that holds the bag is a bit thin in my opinion. My guess for that is so that it can be stored easily. Makes sense but I would like to see the frame beefed up a bit. I managed to back into a tree (going back to the length issue :) ) and the frame dented very easily. I know you should not back into trees but I did. Being my fault, I fixed that area with another piece of tubing that was a bit thicker and it has held up for over a year.
Just recently I started to have a problem with the zipper that holds the bag to the frame. It broke loose at the bottom where the two ends meet up. I took the bag off the frame and worked with it in an attempt to fix. I could not fix it and it got to the point where it would not zip at all.
I called Cyclone rake about it this morning. I was prepared to have to prove my case. I had pictures ready to send and everything. Within about 5 minutes the problem was resolved. They are sending me a new bag for my unit. That is what I call great service. It seems that what I have read is true, they take care of their customers and the issues with their product.
Drewstar Boylston, MA (1 review) November 17, 2006
I can't say enough good things about this product. It works as described and is really put togethor well.
I live in Central MA, and have 3 acres full of Oak and Maples. I could NEVER get the yard completly cleaned up. (walls, garden, flower beds, leaves, etc). At best, after 2 months of weekends, raking by hand or trying to have thelawn tractor to try and suck up the leaves, I would be happy to get 1/3 of it completed.
With the cyclone rake, It takes 2 weekends to do the complete yard 100% and it looks fantastic. It is the BEST yard tool I have ever bought. I am into my 3rd season with it, and absolutely love it.
I did upgrade the wheels, and the hoses, and have the handheld vacuum accesory.
The impellor house cracked this season and within days the customers support team sent me out a new one (complete with all the tools to install it)
Made in the USA. Quality. Engineered with common sense. Works as described. Great cusotmer support. Instructions written in ENGLISH. I wish Woodland products would make cars, and appliances!
I purchased my machine in June 2004. My two sons (we live in separate homes) and I have used it to great advantage for our lawns and gardens and other individual plants that require mulching. Collectively, we have about 10 acres of lawn and garden areas and we plan each cutting or leaf gathering operation.
Early cuttings generally go to the compost pile, as do those cuttings that contain "flowering" weeds. This resulted in a remarkable (almost 100%) reduction of weeds and dandelions by 2006. Occasionally, rain interfered with cutting, so the grass got taller than "normal" and we collected these cuttings because using only the lawnmower, "trails" were not only unsightly, but could kill the roots of the underlying grass. However, during "normal" grass cutting, the "trails" were small and thin and were left to "return to the soil".
Fall leaves are gathered for mulch -- not only for certain bushes, but are spread over the garden plots, adding immensely to the earthworm population in those areas. This is tilled deeply into the gardens in February or March -- well before the first planting.
I'll grant that there are emissions, as anyone would expect from a gasoline engine, but I certainly can't hear the machine much more than 400 feet or so away -- about the same distance I can hear the farm tractor when using it to bushhog the other 36 acres.
I will soon be 73 and don't garden as much as I once did, but my small garden neighbors welcome the use of the composted material which I give them for the asking -- and of course, I also get "benefits" from their gardens and kitchens. AND, I still use the machine myself although my sons do help me occasionally with fallen tree limbs.
Clearly, this is not a machine for all homes, but neither is a farm tractor, garden tractor, riding mower or push mower. However, where it IS needed, I know of nothing to beat it and I would whole-heartedly recommend it in such cases.
I have 2 acres in CT with a very short season between the time the leaves fall and the snow starts. I happened to see a Cyclone Rake last fall in the next town over and looked them up. Since they are in Orange, CT I drove down and was totally impressed. I picked my PRO up on Thanksgiving weekend on Saturday morning and in 2 hours had completely cleaned my yard. I did have to fabricate a bracket to attach it to my Deere LX172 and also had to chop up my leaf bagger attachment to join it to the CR input hose, but everything finally got working. CR came over this summer and photographed my fabrications so I don't know if they will be coming out with an adapter kit for the LX172 with the plow, turf tires, wheel weights and leaf bagger kits soon. I am very pleased. Steve.
I've had a Cyclone rake for about 8 years. I am truly happy with it and everything it does, and it does everything it says it can in the ads. I have only about 1/2 acre in a wooded suburban environment. I use the rake in both the spring and the fall. It does a great job picking up leaves as I mow and the vaccum attachment is super. I use it to get around the foundation planting areas where all the leaves seem to lay. I haven't had any problems getting it started each season, never had a problem with the zippers, the wheels or any of the pieces parts. I emtpy approximately 40 to 50 bags a year. There is only one thing that I wish they did differently, and that is the vaccum wand handle is too short and I find myself leaning over quite a bit. I end up with a sore back. Other than that, I an mighty pleased with this equipment.
The Cyclone Rake works Great. Except. Has many bag problems. Zippers should have never been used on this unit. Zippers split open at side supports material is to taunt. Top vent screen which can be changed seasonally has a zipper, and after being opened and closed splits open after use. Oh yes delivery problems in rural areas if a secondary carrier has to be used-----lost items in shippment. Lots of lost time with these problems. Good thing service associates are well versed in helping people because you might need them. I was told Pro Cyclone Rake has a more taunt bag and the reason for problems. Maybe older design was better. But does pickup leaves well even wet ones. That is if the zippers are working. All problems are fixable but all the down time. They do take care of all the problems, and have a 6 MONTH RETURN POLICY.
The Cyclone Rake company is great, and their product performs well under adverse conditions. My father bought a cyclone rake and used it for 5 years. He died, I'm selling it. The problem I have with it is that it is completley unecessary to use a tool like this. It removes nutrients from the soil by vaccuuming up all the plant matter, and the loose top soil. Worst of all you can hear it a mile (yes, 5,280 feet, or 1760 yards) away. If you just leave the leaves there, they rot, fertilize the trees, and keep the weeds down, so there's less mowing. On the other hand, live and let live. People can vaccuum the daylights out of their yard, humiliate themselves in weird leather outfits, whatever. Just not near me. On March 31st, 2006, JackHastings changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
I have decided not to sell this machine. It contributes green house gasses to cause global warming. No one needs to vaccum their lawn. I have disassembled the machine. The blower part can be hooked up to an electric motor as a dust collector for my shop. The gas motor and frame I was able to disassmble, and put it in the metal recycling dumpster at the dump.
The polar bears are drowning, that ought to be evidence enough that each one of us has to take responsibility for stopping global climate change. If we don't, we will lower our standard of living, like in the dust bowl of the 1930's.
beemer606 Severna Park, MD (1 review) November 20, 2004
I had the old style bag on my Cyclone rake and sure enough the zipper jammed up after a couple of seasons. I replaced the bag with their new design and it does have some improvements as well as some drawbacks. The zipper has been replaced with a series of plastic latches and velcro strips. So far no problems with either. They have also reinforced the bag opening with gussetts that strengthen the bag, but make it more difficult for the contents to dump without some help.
I also had to replace a wheel after not much use (covered by warranty) and it looks like I'm going to need another one soon. Looking at their literature and web site, it looks like they've improved the wheels also. I may opt to replace my wheels with an optional dual-wheel set they offer for heavy duty use, although I don't consider my use of this product as heavy duty.
Overall I think it is a great product and would probably buy it again if I ever need to replace it. It really does suck up the leaves, sticks, acorns, golf balls and anything else that's not nailed down!
w4crypto Chestertown MD, United States (1 review) September 17, 2004
They recently (2003) made major changes to the design of the Cyclone Rake's bag, eliminating the problem with the weight on the rear opening of the bag. Even so, since the zipper is plastic, I give it a tiny shot of WD-40 and zip it a bit to keep it easy to use. This redesign has resulted in several other shortcomings. I gather they take your feedback and incorporate it into the design improvement process.
I mow (and vacuum) 5 acres of lawn on my little "farmette". My location has been designated an "approved alien landing field", and the aliens are very fussy about where they land. The trail I have through my 3-1/2 acres of woodlands is covered with leaf mulch and wood chips. The aliens seem to enjoy walking on the trail during their stopovers.
The Cyclone Rake is a God send to me in the grooming of the place. Especially so when my 40,000 (exaggerated) trees start defoliating. I get great mulch (as advertised). And during the mid-Winter, or at the start of each Spring, I use it to pick up the leaves which blew up along the house and into the cellar vents. As long as those leaves are not "frozen to the ground", it picks them up handily using the vacuum tube attachment. I recently started using the vacuum tube and Cyclone Rake directing it to the output of my DR Chipper, collecting the wood chips handily and then later discharging them on the trail in the woods.
I have to say that I have been very, very tough on my Cyclone Rake. I have not folded it up and put it away the way the manufacturer recommends. I keep promising myself that I will do better, but I don't. Thus, I can make the assertion that I am an excellent recommender.
Here are some additional positives from my experience with Woodland Power Products:
1. The sales staff have all spent time on the manufacturing line, so they are intimately knowledgeable about every aspect and feature of the product;
2. The Cyclone Rake has exceeded my every expectation for performance; this product is rugged and hardy;
3. It properly disposes of those small branches 1/4" or 1/2" with some leaves attached, and they go straight through the system -- exactly as advertised;
3. The service/sales staff have always responded promptly and have always exceeded my expectations for their responses; they have sent small parts to me and have not even charged me sihpping, let alone the two or three dollars for these small parts;
5. There are possibly four or five companies I deal with that I would classify as a "positive experience", the kind of experience that when you pick up the phone to call them, you don't get a feeling of dread.
There isn't a doubt in my mind that if the crew or passengers one of my frequent alien spacecraft visitors decides to "abduct" the Cyclone Rake -- I'd buy another without hesitation.
I've certainly received an excellent return on my investment.
Walter "Jay" Gould
upper Eastern Shore of Maryland
I have one of the Cyclone Rakes and it does everything that it is supposed to do. The one weakness I have experienced is that the zipper that closes the back flap/door of the unit is undersized for what it is asked to do. It began to be difficult to get zipped last season and this year it will not zip at all.
When the unit is fully loaded there is tremendous strain on the zipper when trying to unzip it to empty the load. The company does not have an email contact on their website other than for promotional materials. I would like to contact them to see what can be done about this problem. Overall, this is a high quality product that, except for this one problem, does what it is supposed to do. Surely there is a fix for this issue.
ChrisAnne Newtown, PA (9 reviews) November 13, 2003
We have used the Cyclone Rake (commercial size) for two seasons on our 5+ acre, about half-wooded lot. We use it to pick up grass when mowing, and for picking/shredding leaves in fall. It does very well at both, clogs infrequently unless material is wet and compacted. It saves an immense amount of time (and blisters) in the fall, vs. raking and blowing. It does shred the material reasonably well, so that it composts fairly quickly.