Pros: Suction power, time saver, large bag capacity, looks cool.
Cons: Difficult to lift bag, loose engine hold-down bolts, power lifter has battery discharge issues.
We are now halfway through our second autumn with the 10HP Z-10. We have paired the Z-10 with a 16HP John Deere LT160 lawn tractor. We have 2 hilly acres to maintain, with a variety of trees. The first leaves to fall are the tulip poplars and white birches in early October. But the lion's share of the leaves fall in November, from our many old growth white oaks. Our lawn is literally knee deep in spots from all the oak leaves. There were several lessons learned while vacuuming the lawn. We cannot get too close to tree trunks with the Z-10 or we risk smashing the bag into trees, bending the aluminum frame or tearing the bag. We cannot make many consecutive uphill passes with the Z-10, since the bag gets heavy and causes the lawn tractor to lose traction, forcing us to gingerly back up so we can turn around and empty the bag. When working with the Z-10, we have learned to vacuum at the left edge of leaves, since vacuuming from the right side sends out stray leaves to areas that have already been vacuumed. We have learned to use a leaf blower to blow leaves out of garden areas onto the lawn for a pass with the Z-10. Similarly, we use the leaf blower to move leaves away from the base of tree trunks, to make them accessible to the Z-10. The power of the Z-10 is phenomenal. Its 10 HP engine is capable of sucking up leaves that have been embedded into the soil from previous years' neglect. It is truly remarkable, and when used properly, leaves nary a leaf on the grass. Our biggest problem with the Z-10 has been emptying the bag, which can weigh several hundred pounds when full. The first year, we used a rake to scoop out most of the shreddings before lifting the bag to empty the remainder. Then we purchased the battery-powered Cyclone Rake power lifter, which has been a blessing. However, our power lifter loses its battery charge after a couple of loads, so we continue to resort to the raking approach when the battery dies. A secondary problem is the volume of dust generated by the shredded leaves. The screen mesh opening on the top of the Z-10 bag emits dust and grit like a 19th century steam locomotive belching soot. It is mandatory to wear a dust mask, safety goggles, hearing protectors, and either a hat or a hood to prevent grit from getting into your hair or down your neck. With a couple exceptions, we have been impressed with the build quality of the Z-10. After approximately 50 loads, the velcro on the canvas doors remains sticky (but dirty), and the bag is intact. Our main problem, which was serious, occurred when the bolts holding the engine to its chassis apparently vibrated loose. When we discovered the problem, there was only bolt still holding the engine down, out of the required four. These bolts were installed at the factory and not by us, since the engine comes already mounted on its own chassis when it arrives at your house or business. We also have an issue with the optional battery-operated power lifter. There is a u-shaped clip on the side of the lifter that holds the lift cable away from the engine. We found the u-shaped clip was bouncing into the Z-10 metal gas tank and denting the tank at that spot. We solved the problem by gluing a rubber bumper onto the gas tank. The Woodland Products customer support is superb. They have called, unbidden, at least three times in two years to do a wellness check with us. When we needed new engine hold-down bolts or a battery for the power lifter, the company sent them out immediately. Top-notch customer service, and highly recommended.