Pros:Cuts 6-8 day job to one day and looks better then if raked by hand.
Cons:Cannot pick up acorns! Screen can burst open or get clogged if not careful.
The Bottom Line: All in all, well worth the investment. Not quite the dream machine that I had hoped for, but overall does a good job and saves tons of time.
I recently purchased a Cyclone Rake Commander Pro. I was looking at the Commercial Pro, but felt that the larger capacity might be a bit much for my 42" Craftsman mower with 17hp Kohler engine. It was a wise choice. When the 285 gallon Commander Pro is full, I can just start feeling the stearability of the mower start to fade. Plus it's about the same width as the mower deck, so anywhere the mower can go, the cyclone rake can go as well.
Recommend this product?
Overall, I'm very pleased. The cyclone rake absolutely cannot be beat when it comes to sucking up leaves and small twigs. As others have said, it has cut the 6 to 8 day job of raking my roughly 1.5acres down to a 1 day job. I'm now raking more property in less time, and the end result is much cleaner then if I had raked them by hand.
My biggest complaint with the cyclone rake is that it can NOT pick up acorns. I was told by the sales rep when I placed my order that I would have no problem picking up acorns with the Commander Pro and my mower. However, this is certainly NOT the case (even with hi suction mower blades and the deck set very low). I have a very large number of oak trees on my property. In some years we literally have a blanket of acorns covering the ground. I had high hopes that I wouldn't have to rake these anymore. Unfortunately, the Commander Pro picks up maybe 5% of the acorns at best. In my opinion, anyone that claims a Commander Pro can pick up acorns is simply attributing the vertical suction produced by their mower to the Cyclone Rake. In my case, my mower simply cannot produce the vertical suction necessary to lift the acorns off of the ground so that the Cyclone Rake can then suck them into the discharge shoot. I guess raking acorns is better than raking all the leaves AND the acorns...
On the plus side... the fact that the Cyclone Rake cannot pick up acorns is a benefit when it comes to picking up all the leaves on my gravel driveway. The sales rep told me that I would have to rake or blow leaves onto my grass and then suck them up, because the Commander Pro would suck up the gravel. Well, there's absolutely NO chance of that happening, thus I can drive the Cyclone Rake right over my driveway to pick up the leaves and there's no need to rake or blow them to a different location first.
Other notes... some folks complain about the dust and noise. Neither are really a problem IMO. Wear ear plugs and plan your route so that you don't drive through the dust. No problems. If you drive the Cyclone Rake past a parked car, however, you'll probably need to get it washed afterwards.
The build of the Cyclone Rake seems pretty nice. It's not all that heavy duty, but it is good quality and decent for seasonal use. I did have a couple minor problems with the top screen. If you're raking leaves and have the leaf screen installed, but then need to rake an area with somewhat long grass, the screen can get clogged fairly easily. I simply stow the screen brush in one of the bag seams so that I have it handy whenever this occurs. I clean the screen and I'm back on my way. I also noticed that if forget to attach the Velcro flap that holds down the center of the screen at the rear end of the bag, the whole screen flap can potentially burst open if the bag gets over full. This is NOT a pretty site as you're then shooting leaves EVERYWHERE!
All in all, the Cyclone Rake was worth the investment. I'm a bit disappointed that it's not the dream machine that I had hoped it would be, but overall it does a good job. It's defitely enough a time saver that I'll certainly be keeping it!