best lawn aerator

4 Best Lawn Aerators

2022 Review for the UK Market

Written by:

DIY Garden is reader-supported. If you click through using links on this page, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best lawn aerators for the UK market.
I’ve compared performance, design, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

What Are The UK's Best Lawn Aerators?

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
  • Easy to use sandal design
  • Create good aerations holes
  • Quality materials
  • Long spikes create deep holes
  • Easy to assemble
  • Width saving time
  • Removes soil rather than just pushing it
  • Inexpensive option
  • Good quality
  • Foot bar is comfortable to use
  • Removes soil from the ground
  • Creates large holes

Read Our Lawn Aerator Reviews

Pro Spike Lawn Aerator

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Easy to use sandal design
  • Create good aerations holes
  • Quality materials
OUR RATING
97
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon →

Pro Spike Lawn Aerator Review

A quick and easy way to aerate the lawn, this Pro Spike Lawn Aerator comes in the shape of two wearable ‘shoes’. Sure, they might not quite make it into the next Paris Fashion Week, but they do take a lot of effort out of prepping the lawn (plus you can get your steps up at the same time…).

They’re good value, coming in quite a lot cheaper than some traditional aerating tools, and are easy and simple to use. With each shoe measuring 29 cm in length from heel to toe, they fit roughly up to a UK size 11. Gardeners with smaller feet will likely need to wear big boots whilst aerating so that the front strap can be secured.

There are 13 nylon spikes on each shoe which are 40 mm long. In terms of effectiveness, they work best in moist ground that isn’t too wet or dry; when the soil is too compacted or hard, the spikes don’t penetrate as easily.

Whilst walking with these shoes attached doesn’t feel the most natural, it is still good exercise and an activity that can be done at the same time as doing other jobs in the garden – such as mowing the lawn.

As a result, they’re one of the best aerator options if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to approach the lawn. Plus, they’re efficient, as you can multitask with them on.

Over time, the sharp plastic tips can start to wear down, especially if they have come into a lot of contact with stones in the ground. Also, they absolutely shouldn’t be worn on hard ground like concrete – the spikes are liable to bend and break and it’s easy to get hurt.

Pros

  • Allows aerating to be done at the same time as other jobs like mowing the lawn
  • 40 mm spikes penetrate the ground well in damp soil
  • Versatile sizing - can be used with a UK size 5 - 11
  • Overall good quality and the spikes are not prone to breaking

Cons

  • If the ground is too hard or compacted, the spikes won't enter into the soil
  • The straps can come loose from the force of pulling the shoe out of the ground
  • Those with smaller feet may struggle to push the 'toes' of the aerator into the ground
  • Can bend/blunt if there are too many stones in the soil

Greenkey Garden and Home Ltd. Rolling Lawn Aerator

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Long spikes create deep holes
  • Easy to assemble
  • Width saving time
OUR RATING
91
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon →

Greenkey Garden and Home Ltd. Rolling Lawn Aerator Review

For an easier way to aerate the lawn than using a standard garden fork, this Rolling Lawn Aerator gets the job to be done with a simple push motion.

It hosts 30 metal spikes in total, which are each 45 mm long, and works well to aerate moist ground. Alongside this, the aerator is 30 cm wide, so it’s possible to cover a reasonable area in each pass. As a result, this is one of the best lawn aerators for medium-size gardens thanks to its coverage and ease of use.

In terms of effectiveness, this aerator needs to be used on damp/moist ground in order to give a good result. This is because it’s relatively light, at 2.8 kg, so the spikes don’t easily penetrate hard ground. It’s either necessary to wait until after rainfall, or water the ground first, before aerating.

The metal spikes are tough and strong, so produce good results, but assembling them on the aerator can take a while. Assembly is probably the biggest downside to this unit, as the supplied spanner is very low quality and several additional tools will be required.

There are instructions included, but they’re not overly clear, and a lot of patience is needed to screw all of the pieces together. Some customers have cited a total construction time of between 40 minutes and two hours.

Assembly aside, this aerator has the potential to be effective and improve the appearance of the lawn. The most important thing to bear in mind is the hardness of the soil whilst using it. It can be used on denser, clay-based soil as well, but again – this needs to be sufficiently damp first.

Pros

  • Wide 30 cm size means it's suitable for medium-size gardens without the job taking too long
  • Large metal spikes are high quality and durable - strong enough to take the pressure of being pushed into the ground
  • Handle can be removed to make storage easier
  • Long handle helps avoid having to stoop whilst using

Cons

  • Supplied tools are low quality and additional items will be needed for assembly
  • Assembly can take a long time, up to two hours, and require a lot of patience
  • Quite lightweight so doesn't push down easily into the ground, especially if it's too firm

Oypla Hollow Tine 5 Spike Lawn Aerator

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Removes soil rather than just pushing it
  • Inexpensive option
  • Good quality
OUR RATING
89
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon →

Oypla Hollow Tine 5 Spike Lawn Aerator Review

A good budget option, the Oypla Hollow Tine 5 Spike Lawn Aerator has a wide handle, making it comfortable to hold, and is fitted with hollow tines that remove plugs of soil.

The wide, metal frame is sturdy, measuring 30 cm across, and the tines measure approximately 1 x 13 cm, although only about 10 cm of that goes into the ground.

With the correct soil consistency, they can work effectively to remove plugs of soil and aerate the ground. However, the soil needs to be damp, and the aerator can only be used after a couple of days of rainfall or ground watering. If the ground is not wet enough, the tines are liable to clogging.

It delivers good results in loamy soil, which doesn’t stick to the tines too much, but can still be effective in denser ground like clay.

Whilst the plugs of soil are sometimes automatically pushed out of the tops of the tines, often it is necessary to clear the tubes manually. This can make the job take longer, and it’s a good idea to have a tool on hand that can push the mud out. Otherwise, it can get compacted in the tines.

As a result, this isn’t one of the fastest aerating methods, but as mentioned – it’s still one of the best lawn aerators if you’re on a budget. The construction is good quality, and it does have the potential to work well.

One final thing to note: be aware that aerating with this tool is quite slow going, so it’s going to be best used on smaller lawns – it will take a lot of time and energy to use in bigger spaces.

Pros

  • Removes decent size plugs that are sufficient for aerating
  • Sturdy, good quality construction offers value for the price
  • No assembly required and product can be used straight away
  • Works well in loamy soil as soil sticks less to tines

Cons

  • Soil can get stuck in the tines and require being removed manually
  • Quite a slow method of aerating and best for smaller lawns rather than bigger spaces
  • Handle may be a little low for some people, making it difficult to fit leg under and push with foot on footrest

Garland Heavy Duty Hollow Tine Lawn Aerator

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Foot bar is comfortable to use
  • Removes soil from the ground
  • Creates large holes
OUR RATING
86
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon →

Garland Heavy Duty Hollow Tine Lawn Aerator Review

Aerating the garden can be hard work, so it’s good to have a tool that can stand up to a bit of tough labour. Enter: the Garland Heavy Duty Hollow Tine Lawn Aerator. It’s made from heavy-duty steel, and the tines are securely welded on, resulting in a tool that feels strong and sturdy.

Its four hollow tines are designed for removing plugs of soil from the ground, in order to improve aeration, and the firmness of its construction helps with extracting the soil.

As with most hollow-tine aerators, the soil needs to sufficiently saturated in order for the process to work well; this can be the biggest challenge when using this tool. If the soil is too hard, it will either be difficult to get the tines in the ground at all, or they will get clogged with compacted earth.

It has wide T-bar handles, and a foot bar, to help with pushing the tines into the ground. Whilst the handles may be a little short for some people, they still provide a good area to grip the aerator from and help drive it into the ground.

With its design and construction, this is one of the best lawn aerators if you’re after value for money. It’s well built, meaning it can cope with the tough task of pulling soil plugs from the ground, and works well as long as the soil is the right consistency.

Nevertheless, you will likely still need to spend time emptying the hollow tines whilst working, and it’s tough going to use across a large area.

Pros

  • Tines are welded on both sides which creates a strong overall construction
  • Foot bar allows you to apply body weight to push tines into soil
  • Helps with water drainage in areas of the garden that are prone to light flooding
  • Sufficiently tough to work on denser clay soil (as long as it's damp enough)

Cons

  • Plastic coating may start to peel off after a couple of uses
  • Ground needs to be sufficiently saturated in order for plugs to be removed
  • Soil may block tines and require removing with a stick or similar tool
  • No adjustable height for handle so it may be a little low for some people

How to Choose The Best Lawn Aerator

Lawn aerators improve the appearance of grass over time by penetrating the ground and allowing air and water deeper into the soil. As a result, the roots have better access to nutrients and fertilisers.

There are different types of aerator available, which can produce different results. Below, you will find information about how and when to use an aerator, as well as how to choose the best lawn aerator for your garden.

Benefits of Aerating the Lawn

Aerating the lawn can be beneficial in several ways. The effects can also vary depending on what type of aerator you are using.

If you’re planting new grass seed, aerating before sowing the seeds can give them the best possible start. This is just as true when overseeding as when planting grass seed for the first time.

Loosening the soil, improving the supply of oxygen, and creating good drainage creates a good environment for new grass seed, whilst benefitting any existing lawn.

Using spiked aerators that pierce the ground will allow air to reach grass roots as well as water. Grass roots will become stronger which will lead to a healthier lawn that’s better able to withstand heat and drought. 

Creating pockets that air, water and fertiliser can get into can help improve your lawn’s uptake of nutrients.

If the aerator removes plugs of soil, it will make the soil less compact. This can help grass roots to establish, if they have become overcrowded, improving the health of the grass.

Removing plugs of soil can also help with drainage in compacted ground. If the ground is too compact, water can end up sitting on top of the soil, unable to drain. Not only can this make the garden unpleasant to walk in, but it can damage the grass and soil. Removing plugs of soil will help water drain better.

Some people choose to fill the plugged holes with sand in order to alter the composition of the soil and improve drainage and aeration throughout the area. The sand will eventually spread throughout the soil, carried by worms and ground movement, resulting in a better mix.

Whether this will be beneficial for your soil or not can depend on what type of soil you have. Adding sand to clay soil can cause it to lump together more, not less.

Choosing the Right Type of Aerator

There are 3 main types of aerator on the market – spike aerators, tine aerators and spiked aerator shoes.

Spike aerators are the most popular type of aerators. Many are simply pushed across the lawn. As the roller rotates, the spikes are pushed into the ground. Spike aerators are either manual or electric.

Spike aerators don’t remove any earth, so they don’t make the ground less compact in the same way as plug aerators. However, they still make holes that allow air, water and nutrients to get closer to the lawn roots. Manual spike aerators can be quite light, which makes it more difficult to keep the spikes in the ground.

Some people choose to add weights to the handles of these aerators in order to push them down. Electric aerators tend to be slightly heavier, because they have a motor.

Plug aerators have hollow tines and are usually pushed into the ground using your feet. They remove plugs of earth as opposed to just penetrating the soil. These are more effort to use, although they have the benefit of actively removing the soil, as opposed to just pushing it to the side.

Removing plugs of soil makes the ground less compact and also means that the holes can be filled with sand or a different soil, if you are trying to alter the composition of the ground. If parts of your garden frequently flood, you may benefit from removing plugs of soil, in order to make the ground less compacted.

Finally, there are spiked aerator shoes. These are definitely the best option for those who are looking to up their step count! They’re worn on your feet and will aerate your lawn as you walk around. They can also be worn whilst doing other jobs, like mowing the lawn, in order to multitask.

Whilst not the most comfortable of shoes, they can be slipped on over gardening boots without much difficulty. They usually have adjustable straps so will fit almost any shoe size.

Ease of Use

Electric or petrol-powered aerators are the least physically demanding aerators. The motor will do the brunt of the work. However, they are generally more expensive, and require more maintenance, so they’re only worthwhile if you intend to aerate frequently over larger areas.

Plug aerators can be more tiring to use than rotary spiked aerators. Pushing a plug aerator into the ground can require quite a lot of force, as can pulling it out again. A certain amount of upper body force is required, and this method can be too physically demanding for some people.

Using a rotary spiked aerator is less physically demanding than a plug aerator, as long as the ground is sufficiently soft. They can still be relatively hard work to push, especially as they need to be driven into the ground. As mentioned above, putting weights on a spiked aerator can help, but of course this will make it more taxing to push.

Spiked aerator shoes require a bit of getting used to, and some leg muscle as well, to pull the spikes out of the ground. But they can be a good way to cover small areas. You just need to be careful not to wear the shoes on any hard surfaces, as the spikes can bend and break. These shoe aerators won’t create as deep a hole as other types.

Lawn Aerator FAQs

When is the best time to aerate my lawn? 

Most lawns will benefit from being aerated on an annual basis, although those that are used heavily may require an additional aeration. New lawns will need to be aerated more often. 

There are two ideal times in the year for aerating the lawn: the first is in the spring and the second is in autumn. 

During the spring and autumn months, the soil is moist which makes it easier to aerate. Spring coincides with the growing season of the grass, so aerating your lawn in the spring tends to produce better results. 

It’s worth keeping an eye on the weather when deciding to aerate. If it’s too wet, the holes will seal quickly so aerating has very little benefit. However, most of the time the problem is that the ground is too dry – it can be necessary to water the soil before aerating.

Should I pick up plugs after aerating? 

It’s best to leave the plugs on your lawn if you’ve used a plug aerator. They are full of nutrients and will be broken down on their own after a couple of weeks. If you’re concerned about your lawn looking messy, watering the plugs can help them break them down a little faster. 

Which is better: a spike or plug aerator? 

Spike aerators have sharp tines that penetrate the ground, while plug aerators remove a plug of grass from the soil.

In terms of which is better, this depends on the size of your garden and the soil. Spike aerators provide short term soil decompaction. They are suitable for small gardens and they don’t create any mess on your lawn. 

Plug aerators remove small plugs of soil. This means they do a better job aerating, and they provide a more long term decompaction as air spaces are created around your lawn. Plug aerators are suitable for larger lawns with a lot of soil compaction, although they do create more mess than spike aerators – as the plugs are left scattered around the lawn. 

Can I mow my lawn after aerating? 

It’s important not to mow your lawn immediately following aeration. Instead, you should seed and fertilise to make the most of the holes you have created in the lawn. I recommend not mowing your lawn for at least 2 weeks following aerating and overseeding. 

If your lawn desperately needs a mow, you’re better off mowing before you aerate.

How big should the holes be when aerating?

The holes in your lawn should be between 1.5 – 3 cm deep, although some electric aerators have adjustable depths. Ideally the holes should be around 1 cm in diameter.

It’s also important the holes are correctly spaced. For best results, aim for each hole to be under 4.5 cm apart.

Related Articles
Scroll to Top