American company Billy Goat has been around for more than 45 years producing a wide range of debris-collection machinery.
Briggs & Stratton acquired the company back in 2015 to add to its growing number of businesses that produce and supply quality outdoor power equipment around the globe.
The Billy Goat MV650H is a commercial-duty vacuum suited to large areas. It is one of the biggest machines in Billy Goat’s walk behind vacuum range with a 74cm suction width, but despite this it is exceptionally easy to push and manoeuvre. It is not self-propelled, although that option is available in this model (MV650SPH), which is essentially the same machine. I found self-propulsion is not required on level or even slight slopes thanks to the well-weighted design, large wheels and little effort required to push and manoeuvre the unit.
The litter vacuum is powered by an ever reliable, easy starting and powerful Honda GSV190. Different to most walk-behind vacuums I have used, the MV650H fills the collector bag from the top via a heavy-duty plastic chute. This is a terrific design because it greatly reduces the dust generated. Many other vacs blow the debris into the bag from down low resulting in an updraft and the operator covered in dust as it leaches through the bag.
The other advantage of the top-loading system is the collected material is pushed down from above packing an enormous amount of material well into the bag. The force of the vacuum and vibration of the machine constantly pack the material down rather than fluff it up like machines with lower entry points, which results in less downtime from stopping to empty the bag; although emptying the bag from this unit is a much quicker and simpler task than many others. With a huge opening at the top of the bag and the bag sliding in on rails from the rear it is attached securely with just two clip-locks. Once the bag is released and removed it can be tipped out quickly; or, if disposable bag liners are used, it can be tied up and removed for transport. This is the best system I have used – no zippers to get stuck and fight with and no narrow opening to have to remove from a chute down low; simple and fast.
The Billy Goat MV650H not only picks up leaf litter and soft debris, it also picks up cans and bottles, which is great for commercial users cleaning car parks or roadsides because the waste doesn’t need to be segregated.
A handy hose kit is available as an optional extra and sits neatly on the top of the machine. Simply move the lever and the suction power will divert and the hose will activate, which is great for reaching into corners or under obstacles.
The MV650H performed well sucking up all debris I attempted to pick up with the exception of some larger diameter/longer twigs. It is easy to operate and backed by the reputable Briggs & Stratton Company.