Update 8 years later (2023): We are still happy owners of the XL Cyclone Rake you see in this post. While stored flat against the wall of our garage most of the year, we get it out both in the fall and for the first pass in the spring to clean up leaves, small branches, and loose debris. We even use it periodically during the spring to collect settled pollen in hopes that it alleviates allergies. If you’re on the fence about getting one of these toys for your own yard, don’t hesitate. It’s great. All our neighbors have them too. Super efficient, powerful, and well-made.
(2015) For the first year ever, I’ve been persuading the leaves to fall from the trees. Come on, thick blanket of ground cover, heavy, wet piles of leaves. Gimme all of the leaves… please!
There’s really only one reason for this absurd request… we have a Cyclone Rake!
With no obligation to review, the company shipped the Cyclone Rake XL right to us, and what a treat it has been. This is a leaf and lawn vacuum with serious oomph. It claimed to stand up to the size of our yard and the leaf density produced, and – can confirm – it does a great job helping us with seasonal cleanup.
We’re not running any commercial business or clearing a rolling estate, but we do have lots of trees that produce lots of leaffall every autumn. Three of our neighbors have Cyclone Rakes, and we’ve been hearing good things about them for years. I couldn’t even tell you any of their competitors, this is the only brand name to which I’ve been heavily exposed.
We’ve used the Cyclone Rake regularly so we don’t have to clear fallen leaves in their typical, obnoxiously heavy form. Unlike every year in the history of chores, I haven’t been putting this one off. I really like the product so far, and if you have a riding lawnmower and more trees with falling leaves than you can keep up with, I think you’ll really appreciate it too.
What is a Cyclone Rake?
- As I’ve described it to other friends and family, the Cyclone Rake is most simply a vacuum attachment for your riding mower. It’s great for leaves but perfect for collecting all kinds of lawn debris.
- As you drive the mower, you’re running over leaves and chopping them up a bit. The Cyclone Rake has its own impeller which sucks up everything that cycles beneath the mower. Leaves, small sticks, acorns, everything is pulled into the Jet Path Vacuum System, chopped further, and deposited into the tow-behind high-capacity bag.
- We have plenty of obstacles in our yard besides trees – long downspouts, fences, fire pits, Halloween tombstones, the usual stuff. To clear leaves around these obstacles, it’s really helpful to use a leaf blower to push the leaves away and into a path accessible by the mower and Cyclone Rake.
- Leaf pickup is pretty easy after you have them cleared away from obstacles. It’s quite literally as simple as mowing the lawn until every last leaf is collected. On our acre, it takes about an hour and a half, all in, and we empty the Cyclone Rake every 15 minutes or so.
- I have noticed that on hauls when I collect as much as obsessively possible between dumping the container, the weight of the Cyclone Rake makes the mower start to wheelie. All that really means is that turning the mower becomes a little more unpredictable, so you have to slow down and make wider turns… this effect also might be due to our specific mower make/model (it’s a Husqvarna YTH22V46).
How to Empty the Cyclone Rake
Speaking of totally overloading the capacity of your Cyclone Rake bag, you’ll be thrilled to know that it’s still super easy to unload, even when at maximum capacity. We have plenty of vacant property on which to dump chopped leaves (it turns into GREAT garden mulch), but I know others use the leaves as perennial ground cover. Still others may deposit the collected leaves into a pile and bag them for town collection.
So, any way you spill them, emptying the Cyclone Rake when it’s full is a simple process of disconnecting the clips and velcro from the back of the bag. All of the overlapping panels pull out of the way and connect to the sides of the bag. Then, unhook the chute from the top, and raise the bag up to dump out the debris. You celebrate a little, because you collected all of those leaves in like, 20 minutes! Do you know how much I can rake in 20 minutes? Like, nothing.
From there, you can leave the bag tipped upright, pull forward a bit to make sure the bag has cleared completely, and then close it right back up and continue collecting leaves.
If anyone’s in the market to buy a Cyclone Rake or a Cyclone Rake XL and has any questions, feel free to ask more about our experience with the product.
The product has great warranties, and there seem to always be good discounts available for purchase (and no, it’s not too late in the season because Cyclone Rake can ship it to you in just a few days). Happy Fall!