Many landscapers will be familiar with the quality Solo brand engineered by German company AL-KO
New to the Australian market and distributed by another well-known company, Masport, is a range of Solo outdoor power equipment. I was recently lucky enough to test the Solo 750 P Walk-Behind Leaf Vacuum, which was only just released to the Australian market.
Powering the vacuum is a 140cc Briggs & Stratton 500E four-stroke engine. The 500E series of engines are light weight and compact with reduced vibration levels and are quieter than previous models, which mean they are well suited to this application. The engine sits unobstructed on top of the steel fan housing providing excellent room around the entire engine for routine maintenance Solo by AL-KO 750 P Leaf Vacuum
A 750mm vacuum width is wide enough to cope with medium-sized areas, but small enough to enable the operator to manoeuvre the machine in tight situations. An optional 3m long suction hose can be fitted for tricky situations if required. Adjusting the height to suit the type of debris to be collected is via two levers, one on each front wheel with four positions available.
Starting and operating the machine is simple with a fuel primer pumped a few times for cold starts (there is no on/off switch or throttle to worry about). The operator can simply grip the lever on the handlebar, which automatically starts the ignition and sets the throttle level, then pull the starting cord achieving instant set operational mode. With the lever on the handlebar released the engine instantly shuts down, which is very simple and safe.
A large 200-litre collection bag ensures big areas can be cleaned of debris before the operator needs to stop and empty. A zipped inspection point on the top right-hand side of the collection bag allows quick assessment of collected debris levels. To empty the bag after use, simply open the zip at the rear and empty the debris.
The whole unit is very light and therefore extremely easy to operate. I was pushing the 750 P up a steep hill and it was easier than I expected. The light weight also enables the operator to manoeuvre in and around obstacles at ease and at speed, again with little exertion. The 750 P can be used on all hard surfaces but again its light weight and manoeuvrability make it ideal for picking up leaves from turf areas as well.
The Solo by AL-KO 750 P Leaf Vacuum is an operator friendly and efficient machine. It sucked up all light to medium debris well and fast with little operator effort. Solo offers a four-year warranty for domestic users.