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How Much Leaf Loader Do You Need? (A Guide)
11 and 14 hp models will vac leaves, but don't have enough power to do grass clippings, and especially wet leaves. The benefits of a small loader are weight and ease of removal. You can usually mount these smaller leaf loaders to tailgates, receiver hitch tubes and trailer decks. In my opinion, these are entry level machines that most guys outgrow the first year they use them. These machines can vac leaves, but not when they're wet. This size will not suck up grass, especially when it's wet.
A 16 hp leaf vac is the minimum I would use. I put a 16 hp Giant Vac model on the front of each landscape/utility trailer so we can mow grass and vac up leaves in one stop at a customer. For most situations, it does a great job. The 16 will vac dry to moist leaves just about as fast as you can feed them. However, when things get really wet, the 16 hp just doesn't have enough power to push rain soaked leaves and grass through very quickly. We only really deal with that type of situation when we get caught in the rain. More recently, Giant Vac began offering the same basic 16 hp model in an 18 hp version. I would most likely step up to the 18 hp model. It vacuums wet leaves and grass much better than the 16 hp model. Some benefits of this size range: You can mount them to a trailer deck or a swing-away set-up on a receiver tube hitch. They don't weigh a ton, so you can move them with a 2 wheel dolly.
25 horsepower and up models are usually mounted to their own trailer. However, you may find some in the 25 hp range skid mounted to the front of a landscape trailer. You just have to make sure you don't overload the tongue of the trailer. Most companies use a dedicated leaf truck to pull these larger trailer mounted leaf loaders. There are some interesting things about larger leaf loaders. Because the inlet tube is much larger than say, a 16 hp unit, some companies offer remote control of the inlet tube. This allows the operator to move the vacuum tube without much effort. These options tend to be on municipal sized units. You can't beat the power and speed of these larger leaf loaders.
One more option for leaf loaders if the self contained trailer vac. This is a combination of a leaf loader mounted to a custom box style dump trailer made just for collecting leaves. Companies like Giant-Vac, Extreme Vac and ODB make varying size trailer and engine combinations to fit your needs. Some people like this option: Just hook and go. Because there isn't much to go wrong with a trailer, it's a little more reliable versus an old dump truck with a leaf collection box on it that you use in the Fall. If the truck breaks down, you're done collecting leaves.
Extreme Vac Leaf Vacuums
Extreme Vac makes a number of dedicated leaf collection trailers and leaf loaders on trailers. These are serious leaf vacs with 27 HP up to 99 HP Diesel monster loaders.
- Extreme Vac Leaf Loaders
- Extreme Vac Self Contained Leaf Loaders - XV8027 - 10 cubic yard 27 HP gas
- Extreme Vac Self Contained Leaf Loaders - XV8031D - 10 cubic yard 31 HP diesel
- Extreme Vac Leaf Loaders - SCL65TM - 14,20,25 or 30 cu. yd. - 65 HP diesel
- Extreme Vac Tow Behind Leaf Loaders - XV6527 - 27 HP gas
- Extreme Vac Tow Behind Leaf Loaders - LCT65 - 65 HP diesel
- Extreme Vac Tow Behind Leaf Loaders - XV6000 - 99 HP diesel
- Extreme Vac Leaf Box Container - XV500
Giant Vac Leaf Loaders
Giant Vac Leaf loaders are very popular because they are high quality units with good power and options. They simply do the job they're made for. Their innovation with their hitch mounted loader has been a best seller since its inception. This hitch style swings out of the way to dump the truck at the end of the day.
- Giant Vac Leaf Loader Models
- Tailgate Mounted 13 HP Giant Vac Leaf Loader
- Skid Mounted 18 HP Giant Vac Leaf Loader
- Hitch Mounted 18 HP Giant Vac Leaf Loader
- Industrial Tow Behind 19 HP Giant Vac Leaf Loader (also available as a skid mount unit)
- Industrial Tow Behind 35 HP Giant Vac Leaf Loader with chipper
- Heavy Duty Industrial Tow Behind 35 HP Vanguard Big Block - Giant Vac Leaf Loader
- Heavy Duty Industrial Tow Behind 49 HP John Deere - Giant Vac Leaf Loader
- Self Contained Gravity Dump Trailer - 29 HP - Giant Vac Leaf Loader
- Self Contained Giant Vac Leaf Loader Trailer - 29 HP
- Self Contained Giant Vac Leaf Loader Trailer - 35 HP
Little Wonder Leaf Loaders
Little Wonder makes very good landscaping equipment. The quality is up there with good welds and heavy construction. Little Wonder leaf loaders utilizes their Talon Shredding System that reduces the size of leaf pieces. That allows you to fit more leaves in your collection box. Less trips to the dump means less fuel and wasted time! Larger models are best mounted on the Little Wonder trailer, but may be skid mounted on the front of a landscape trailer.
- Little Wonder Leaf Loader Models
- 8141 - 14 HP Little Wonder Leaf Loader - 8 inch intake hose
- 8160 - 16 HP Little Wonder Leaf Loader - 10 inch intake hose
- 8180 - 18 HP Little Wonder Leaf Loader - 10 inch intake hose
- 8221 - 22 HP Little Wonder Leaf Loader - 12 inch intake hose
- 8271 - 27 HP Little Wonder Leaf Loader - 14 inch intake hose
Billy Goat Leaf Loaders
Billy Goat leaf loaders work well. They have their proprietary Piranha Blade that helps to shred leaves better to fit more in your leaf collection box. Quality is good, but slightly lighter duty than some others. Billy Goat trailers are optional. These units may be skid mounted to your trailer or truck deck.
- Billy Goat Leaf Leaf Loader Models
- Model DL1201L - 12 HP Billy Goat Leaf Loaders
- Model DL1301H - 13 HP Billy Goat Leaf Loaders
- Model 1801V - 18 HP Billy Goat Leaf Loaders
- Model 1801VE (w/Electric Start) - 18 HP Billy Goat Leaf Loaders
- Model DL 2500S - 25 HP Billy Goat Leaf Loaders