What Is The Best Lawn Scarifier?
More Detailed Lawn Scarifier Reviews
This is one of my more powerful recommendations. It’s an electric scarifier but has some oomph behind it with a ‘Powerdrive’ 1100 watt motor that increases torque when it needs to get to grips with a particularly tangled bit of thatch.
This scarifier pulls out and picks up all the dead vegetation with a ‘Jet-Collect System’ which is a grand way of saying it has an air inflow that uproots dead moss and blasts it into the collection box so it doesn’t get jammed.
It has four height settings ranging from -10mm to +5 and that’s important because this model is a drum system scarifier or aerator depending on its height.
There are 14 steel blades on the 32cm width working capacity which means it’s tough and you’ll have fewer trips up and down the garden. The capacity box takes a whopping 50 litres of thatch which is more than others, so there’s less emptying too. If you’re on the impatient side like me these are great features.
It weighs 9.9 kilos – just the job when you’re moving it around and fighting the bumps and jumps from your not-so-flat lawn.
Storage is a cinch as the ergonomic handle folds down to 40cms high, and the collection box is stackable.
This is an excellent well-made machine that does a good on medium-sized lawns needing some TLC.
So let’s start with that powerful electric motor that packs of 1500 watts, the strongest on my list!
The motor suits very mossy, thatched lawns and grass that hasn’t been touched for a long time. This is one of the strongest electric scarifiers you’ll find – if you want more power you’ll have to go for a petrol version.
It has interchangeable aerating and scarifying rollers that fit on a single dual-purpose drum, but it’s easy to switch between the two. Tip up the grey cover and swap rollers using the supplied allen key – being careful to remove the power source first of course.
The Von Haus scarifier has four working depths so you can lightly scarify or carry out an in-depth purify that scalps the moss and leaves you free to re-seed. In case you were wondering, the aerating roller is also the roller that does the raking work.
There’s a height adjustable handle to save your back, although it’s only 8.5kgs so hardly a heavyweight and easy to move around.
It has a 40-litre box capacity and a 10-metre cable so you won’t need to worry too much about dragging an extension lead around with you or frequently emptying the box.
This scarifier looks the business too, like a racing car. I know that shouldn’t matter but it’s certainly aesthetically pleasing – just saying!
The Black & Decker GD300 is a 7kg electric lawn-raker with a 600-watt motor which is plenty powerful enough for small to medium sized gardens. If you struggle with heavy tools this is the scarifier for you because that small motor means it’s light and easy to manoeuvre.
It’s small but still has a 30cm raking width and three rows of tines that sit at three variable working heights. The lowest setting removes thatch and debris embedded in the lawn, the second suits a general maintenance raking, and the highest setting collects leaves and grass clippings.
The collection bag is detachable which is great because it’s fairly small. Some people recommend removing the bag, raking out the old thatch and then collecting it on the highest setting when they’ve finished.
It has lots of safety features such as an automatic switch off when you let go of the handle, and a cable management set-up to prevent accidentally chopping the 10-metre lead.
This is a lightweight lawn-raker for small gardens and year-round maintenance. A great little buy.
Flymo is a recognisable name in the garden and this electric lawn rake doesn’t let them down.
It has a 750-watt motor and a powerful cylinder rake to pull out all the dead grass and moss that’s smothering your lawn.
The cutting width isn’t too shabby either at 34cm to cut working time and it has a nifty collection box that compacts moss so you’re not emptying it every five minutes. It’ll hold 34 litres of thatch and has a window so you can see how you’re doing.
This model has the most working heights out of my recommendations. There are six ranging from -5mm up to +8mm.
If you like precision work and want to choose your own depths this machine will keep you happy. The levels are selected with a single lever so it’s not a painful and tedious experience.
Weighing in at 12.6kgs it’s heavier than the rest, but it’s still pretty compact for storage, measuring just 46cm when folded down.
If you want a name to rely on this is a good bet. Flymo is more than capable of removing dead thatch and aerating the lawn.
This AL-KO scarifier is a powerful 2 in 1 machine with enough guts to clear a medium to large lawn.
The 1300 watt motor is plenty powerful enough to dig out thatch and it’s got the largest working width of my recommendations at 38cms.
It weighs in at 17.1kgs so it’s heftier than others but that power needs to come from somewhere, so you can’t complain.
AL-KO has thought about this machine because it has a light fabric collection bin that’ll hold 55 litres, a 12-metre cable, plus enlarged air vents to prevent overheating. That makes a difference if you’re tacking a large area.
The scarifying roller has 14 steel blades to remove moss, weeds and thatch and there are five working depths easily switched with a simple lever.
There’s a separate raking roller with steel spring tines to aerate the lawn, but the tool-less cassette means it’s a doddle to switch over.
The ergonomics are sound on this model which is important as it’s a heavier machine. There’s a shaped handlebar for easy grip and it is height adjustable. The whole machine folds down for simple storage too.
Lawn Scarifier Buying Guide
So you’re looking for a lawn scarifier? Good idea.
It might seem like a faff, but scarifying your lawn means it’ll last longer and look smart this year.
There are plenty of scarifiers on the market. Some are top notch, whereas others are rickety and make barely a scuff in the soil.
To help you choose wisely here are my top scarifier recommendations. I’ve compared them by power, capability and function.
The right scarifier will depend on what state your lawn is in.
Those of you that have looked after the lawn can get away with a cheaper machine that doesn’t dig so deeply, but if you’ve got a very thatched lawn then a more powerful machine with a deep working depth is in order.
Here are some tips for buying the right scarifier.
Teeth, claws or blades
Blades are important because it’s these that do the hard work.
The more teeth the better! Bear in mind that lots of long teeth will make a mess of your current lawn – but this is temporary. The grass will grow back quickly and it’ll look so much better for the rain and oxygen.
Look for good quality metal teeth. Stainless steel or tempered steel will last longer than plastic for example.
You can buy replacement teeth for some machines and if you’re splashing out on a pricey model its worth checking before you commit.
A selection of working depths is important. Scarifying (removing the dead moss and thatch) isn’t a deep action – it only needs to be deep enough to yank out the thatch.
Deeper teeth aerate the lawn by pricking holes in it. This is good as it allows rain and oxygen to replenish the grass, so look for adjustable heights.
Obviously the larger the cutting width the less time it’ll take to scarify the lawn.
Some people find it therapeutic and just love removing all the thatch, but others like me who prefer to enjoy the garden on a sun lounger want a wide width. Be aware that a wider depth may mean a heavier machine. He gives with one hand…
Scarifiers require manhandling around corners and they can jump around too. Make your life easier by choosing one that suits your height. An adjustable handlebar is worth its weight in gold and ergonomic handles are pretty much essential unless you have the grip of a boa constrictor.
Electric scarifiers are the most popular because they are light weight with considerable power.
Electric scarifiers are best for small to medium-sized lawns and do a great job of hauling the moss and thatch from your grass with minimal effort on your part.
They are pretty quiet compared to petrol offerings and need little in the way of maintenance. Plus you won’t be choking on emissions.
If you’re scarifying once or twice a year an electric option is best.
Petrol scarifiers are best for large lawns with lots of weed as they are heavy duty and offer up strong aeration. If the area you need to tackle is pure dead weed and moss then an electric offering may just bounce off whereas a petrol powered scarifier will grind it out.
They are noisy creations though so wear some ear defenders and be prepared for more maintenance such as spark plugs and filter changes.
If you have the energy a simple handheld scarifier is going to suit you.
Manual scarifiers are quiet, easy to store and don’t require any maintenance other than scrapping the rust off. A simple rake and a push-along aerator will do the job, but if you like usual tools buy some aerating shoes that spike the grass as you walk around.
Are Scarifiers Worth The Effort?
So there we have scarifiers. I’ve done my best to explain what they are and how to use one, but if you’re still confused about the whole scarifier versus lawn-raker set up – just remember that scarifiers are usually more heavy duty and reach further into the soil.
It’s very tempting to just leave that lawn, I mean who has time to play around when there are BBQs and snoozing to accomplish in the fine weather, but try to make time because eventually your daisy-strewn lawn will turn brown, soggy and look awful because dead thatch is killing the grass.
Good luck, go easy with the machine and you’ll enjoy a healthy lawn for years to come. Scarifying is totally worth the effort, I promise.
What Exactly Is A Scarifier?
It’s a machine that pulls out the dead grass, known as thatch, and moss from your choking lawn. This allows fresh new green grass to push through.
They look a lot like lawnmowers with four wheels, a handlebar and a collecting box.
Scarifiers also aerate the lawn when its blades push into the soil. This allows air and water to penetrate.
Lawn-rakers pull out the thatch but they don’t generally cut into the soil, however you can get a machine that does both either with a cassette change or by changing blade height.
Does A Scarifier Make A Difference?
They do make a difference but whether you need one depends on how you want your lawn to look. If you like springy moss, daises and little mowing leave it be for now. If you prefer green grass get a scarifier!
If you don’t ever scarify the lawn then weeds, grass clippings, moss and dead plant matter clog up the surface. This means rain and light can’t get through, the grass doesn’t get enough nutrients and eventually it will die off.
If your lawn is developing large brown patches, it’s definitely time to scarify because water isn’t getting through to hydrate the new shoots – it’s a dark and dank place where midges can lay their eggs.
After you’ve scarified the grass it might look, well, dreadful! But don’t worry because grass grows at lightning speed and it’ll soon be back greener and fresher than ever.
What Does A Lawn Scarifier Do?
Whereas your lawnmower keeps the grass at a manageable height, it doesn’t remove the dead grass and moss. The teeth on a scarifier or lawn-raker claw at the soil and pull out the dead stuff so the grass can breathe.
The blades or tines spin quickly, cutting into the soil at a few mm of depth to get the dead plants out. It then throws it all into a collection box attached to the machine.
It is surprising how quickly these fill up, the volume of dead thatch and moss always takes me by surprise. Even if it looks clean and green there’s always dead stuff lurking.
How To Use A Lawn Scarifier?
For best results and the greenest lawn, you should scarify once or twice a year. Once in spring when the grass is growing strongly to start the season off right, and again in autumn to remove the year’s waste – but only if it needs it.
Before you begin you need to kill any live moss. This prevents the spores flying all over the garden and taking over. Use a good quality moss killer and wait until its gone brown.
Chose a dry day so the lawn doesn’t turn into a mudbath and ensure you’ve given the grass a cut a few days beforehand.
Chose the highest setting on your scarifier and just as if you were mowing the lawn push it around. Choosing the highest setting prevents motor burn out, and emptying the collection box keeps the motor cool.
For the second pass use a lower setting and so on. If you do the second pass at a right angle you’ll get better coverage.
Wear protective clothing because scarifiers throw debris into the air such as stones, random pegs and all of last year’s BBQ waste that’s still there under the thatch waiting to fly out. I was once slashed in the leg by a metal tent peg I’d used to hold down a cloche but it could have been worse – better safe than sorry.
Wear protective glasses and sturdy shoes at the very least. If it’s hot consider wearing gloves to avoid slippage. If you have a petrol scarifier wear noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs.
Once you’ve pulled out the dead thatch you might find there’s little left! Now is a good time to re-seed.