Have wanted one for awhile. Not like the one my grandfather had but his was made over 30 years ago. Yes, it is made of plastic what isn't these days. That being said you have to take some time to read the instructions, if it is not set up correctly it will not work properly. It works great when the brush height is set correctly, take a little bit of time to learn the best speed to push because it does change with whatever you sweeping. Also if it is hard to push the brushes are probably set to low and you will damage the sweeper. I use it mostly to pick up chestnut hulls, which are heavy, covered with spikes and about tennis ball sized. The sweeper picks them up with no problems. I do have to adjust the height often depending on how tall or thick the grass in the area is. Again the instructions cover how to use it and if you use some common sense, that may not be so common anymore, it works as designed. There are many improvements that could be made to the overall design but then it would cost more than $130. Over all, I do not regret the purchase and it definitely saves my back with the chestnuts.
When I was a young child my Dad had one of these. I seem to remember that it was sturdy and easy to operate. I bought this thinking the same and I am extremely disappointed with it's performance. The frame is not sturdy, the red material is a heavy plastic instead of the old canvas that it used to be and the catcher itself seems to hold very little.
I have a smallish yard, but a lot of trees. This does not get everything but it does get most leaves, acorns and smaller twigs (also pet toys).
This will not clean everything in the yard or as much as a powered lawn-vac but it will do enough that I can use it every few days and then go back for an easy to manage full clean up.
You do need to make sure you adjust the height properly and if your yard has dips make sure to run perpendicular to them.
It just works flawlessly, like a lawn vacuum, but manual.
Bought this a few years ago and was pretty disappointed. Found a blower to be much more effective. This doesn't really work if it's at all windy when you're using this. I'd skip it and buy a blower.