DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum Makes Fall More Friendly
Fall – a wonderful time of year when the weather turns cooler, the air smells of baking, and the leaves change color…just before they cover your lawn. Whether this sounds like your story or you, like us, struggle with oak leaves year-round, cleanup is a pain. We got the DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum to see if we could enjoy our outdoor living space more easily.
DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum Performance
The DR uses a 173cc overhead valve engine producing 4.3 HP and 6.6 ft-lbs of torque for the powerplant. This model includes an electric starter and a recoil pull starter as backup.
The start switch is on the left side of the engine. The choke is right next to it. For manual start, push the switch to the middle position, then pull the cord. For electric start, push it to the right and release when you hear the engine start.
Charging Note: When you need to charge the battery, do not exceed 2 amps. You'll get longer life because the smaller battery doesn't handle fast charging well.
You can start the self drive with a single lever on the right. The speed varies from 0 to 2 MPH depending on how hard you pull it. It would be nice to have more high-end speeds to and from your collection area. However, the top speed of 2 MPH is more than enough to ensure you collect leaves efficiently.
Steel impellers create airflow and cover fallen leaves at a ratio of 10:1. DR is so confident in the quality of their impellers that they offer a lifetime warranty.
The main function of leaf vacuuming depends largely on the height of the nose. You want it near the top of the leaves you collected. For thick leaves, the maximum height is 4 inches. If you collect smaller oak leaves like we do, you can drop them all the way down to 1 inch.
Sometimes you need to start high on the first pass, then drop down for a second to recover everything. Just make sure your snout isn't so low that you're pushing leaves instead of collecting them.
To adjust the height, there is a single-point adjustment on the right front wheel. Unlike a lawn mower, it only adjusts the front of the machine. It's not a big deal, as it's about the height of the collecting snout in the front and not the evenness of the mower blade.
For the oak leaves we collected, the vacuum worked best on the new leaves that hadn't gotten too deep into the grass. On our Bahai and St. Augustine, the cut is typically 3 – 3 1/2 inches, and the oak leaves work in places that are more difficult to pick up with vacuum force alone. Dwarf grass seeds will make it easier, and it's great for gathering on bare ground.
Of course, broadleaves tend to stay on top of the grass until they decompose, making them easier along the way. However, try to collect them when they are dry for best results.
The DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum also has additional chipping capabilities. The chute on the right is supported by a chipping knife and can handle chips up to 1.5 inches in diameter. It's a handy addition when you're vacuuming your lawn, so you can easily dispose of twigs you come across instead of going back to pick them up after you're done with the leaves. Conveniently, there's no status bar on the mower, so when your hands are off the machine and you're using the chipper, the engine keeps running.
Like leaves, the detritus goes into the collection bag.
DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum Cleaner Design Notes
EZ bagged leaf collection system
The DR's bagging system is very important because changing them is so easy. Using a standard 3 cubic foot collection bag, lift the EZ Bagger lid, pull the top of the bag around the frame, roll it in, and close the lid. It takes less than a minute.
For a full bag, simply unroll the top of the bag from the frame, roll the top up, and place it on the compost pile or by the road for pickup.
The machine comes with a preloaded bag box that can hold up to 10 bags. You can also install a second on the opposite side for a total of 20 bags to keep your workflow going for longer.
Many mowers have two or three handle positions, but the DR's design gives you even more. With a working height of 32 to 42 inches, all you have to do is loosen the knobs on either side, find your preferred height, and tighten the knobs down.
You can also rotate the handle down to move it out of the way when changing bags, or upright for more convenient storage.
Vacuum where you can't drive
Even though we didn't get a chance to use it, there's an optional 7-foot hose kit that you can buy to reach foliage in flower beds and other areas where you don't want to suck the vac up. It is installed in the center of the collecting nose. Just remove the rubber cover, install the hose, and you're ready to go.
This leaf vacuum cleaner is available in two versions. The Pilot XTSP we're reviewing has a list price of $1499.99 and is on sale for $1299.99 as we write this.
If you don't need to drive yourself and can forego the electric start and chipper features, you can get the Push Edition for $1099.99 ($999.99 at the time of this writing).
Either way, the machine and engine come with a 2-year residential warranty.
Accessories and Consumables
- Hose Kit: $219.99
- Extra Leaf Caddy: $21.99
- Pack of 5: $7.99
- Reusable collection bag: $84.99
the bottom line
The DR Power Pilot XTSP Leaf and Lawn Vacuum is more affordable than the higher horsepower models in the DR lineup. Its leaf collection is very efficient, especially the broad leaves. Even smaller leaves are on the menu when you're vacuuming shorter grass, bare ground, and hard surfaces. While certain attributes may benefit from DR's more robust model, the value, performance and functionality of the Pilot XTSP and its push-driven counterparts are attractive options for making your leaf collection more convenient.
- Model: DR Power Pilot XTSP
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Starting: Electric (12V, 2.3Ah battery)
- Oil: SAE 30W HD
- Engine: 173cc DR OHV
- Capacity: 3 cubic feet (approximately 50 lbs)
- Chipper Capacity: 1.5 inches
- Intake Height: 1 – 4 inches
- Wheels: 10 x 2 inches rear, 8 x 2 inches front
- Dry Weight: 120 lbs