“This is just how I like it,” says our tester. “No drive means you can go at your own pace — the pace required to do a good job and pick up everything. This is a lovely piece of kit.”
The SV50HR proves easy to push. The machine comes with 30cm ball-bearing wheels for use on uneven terrain but a spanner is all it takes to fit the castor kit for manoeuvrability on hard surfaces. Height adjustment of the 68cm-wide nozzle is a breeze — simply turn the knob to raise or lower the front nozzle.
Our tester is running the machine at less than one-quarter revs, so it is very quiet, but still does a first-class job of clearing the lawn of debris. “It would be good for noise-sensitive areas,” he suggests.
The collector is like the grass catcher on a rotary mower. It holds around 200 litres and simply hooks on to the machine, so it is quick and easy to remove for dumping. The top of the bag is made of non-porous material, so the operator is spared dust in the face. An on-board hose kit helps with cleaning up around the shrub beds.
With an extra 15cm of nozzle at the front, and being self-propelled, the VQ802SPH is suited to wide areas. Powered by an eight-horsepower Honda GX engine, this Billy Goat has a five-speed transmission (plus reverse) with a gear to match every situation. Top gear gives eight kilometres an hour but don’t worry; there is an optional chariot to ride behind the machine.
As its name suggests, the VQ is very quiet and has bags of suction. A few un-shredded branches cause a problem — only to be expected — but the shreddings are quickly snaffled into the collector. The zipped bag on the VQ802SPH holds more than 360 litres.
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