In this guide we’ll take a look at the best lawn scarifiers for the UK market.
We’ve compared power, rake width, weight and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Lawn Scarifier?
Things to Know Before Buying a Lawn Scarifier
So, you’re thinking about buying a lawn scarifier? Great idea!
Scarifying your lawn will protect the grass and help keep it looking smart all year round.
The condition of your lawn will dictate what type of scarifier you need.
Below I have assembled some helpful information to help you make an informed purchase.
Firstly, it may help you to know that a ‘dethatcher’ and a ‘scarifier’ are the same thing.
Scarifying is the process of removing debris (moss, leaves, grass cuttings) from the lawn by catching it in bladed teeth.
The other function of a scarifier is to aerate the soil. It does this by piercing down into the lawn’s surface.
But why is that important? Well, the more oxygen in the soil, the healthier your grass will be! In addition, scarifiers also help keep weeds at bay. They really are exceptionally useful little machines!
Ideally, you want a scarifier with a selection of working depths.
Scarifying (removing the dead moss and thatch) isn’t a deep action – it only needs to be deep enough to yank out the thatch.
When you have a choice of working depths, you can start on the highest, going down through the settings until you find which is best for collecting the debris. It is much better to go slow, rather than choose too deep a setting to start with and puncture your lawn.
For example, the Bosch AVR Electric Lawn Raker has a great range of working depths. This is ideal for slightly tougher jobs: if you’ve got a very thatched lawn, or want to aerate it deeply.
Those of you that have looked after the lawn can get away with a cheaper machine that doesn’t dig so deeply. You may even consider a hand-push model like Gardena Hand-Powered Lawn Scarifier which will save you money but still work well on a relatively well-groomed lawn.
If your scarifier has depth options like “-5 mm” this means it can be used as an aerator as well. 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.
When it comes to scarifiers, the more teeth the better! The teeth do exactly what you’d expect – pierce down into the lawn aerating it and collecting debris.
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 teeth will last longer than plastic ones, for example.
You can buy replacement teeth for some machines. If you’re splashing out on a pricey model, it’s worth checking if you can buy spares before you commit to the purchase. Also, check how much replacements cost – some brands are more expensive than others.
The larger the cutting width, the less time it’ll take to scarify your lawn. Simple.
Most people are looking to get these types of jobs done quickly, so the idea of a wider machine to cut down time is appealing.
Out of the models I reviewed, the Flymo Lawn Raker has the widest rake width at 34 cm.
One thing to bear in mind, however, is that a wider width tends to mean a bigger machine. Which also generally results in a heavier machine. The aforementioned Flymo model weighs 12.6 kg. Whereas the Black & Decker GD300 has a rake width of 30 cm (only 4 cm less) and weighs a mere 7 kg.
You’ll just need to weigh up the pros and cons of width vs. weight and see which model best fits your needs.
Scarifiers do require a bit of user effort. They need to be manhandled around corners and can feel a bit lively sometimes too.
Therefore, one thing to make sure of is that you are in control. Make your life easier by choosing one that suits your height. A height-adjustable handlebar is worth its weight in gold.
Ergonomic, non-slip handles are also a blessing, unless you have the grip of a boa constrictor!
Finally, that brings us back around to the topic of weight. Be realistic about what sort of weight you can handle. You may find it’s better to get a slightly smaller, lighter option that you won’t tire of using (like the Black & Decker GD300), rather than a hefty, powerful 15 kg model which is exhausting to manoeuvre.
There are pros and cons to both petrol- and electric-powered scarifiers
- Petrol scarifiers are powerful, versatile and great for large lawns. They are ideal to use in areas with lots of weeds because they aerate effectively and are heavy duty. An electric scarifier may just “bounce off” in dense, heavily weeded spots. Whereas a petrol scarifier will grind it out and finish the job. However, petrol scarifiers are heavy, emit fumes, and can be time-consuming to start. They are noisy, so you may want to wear ear defenders, and will require maintenance such as filter and spark-plg changes.
- Electric scarifiers are quiet, lightweight and cost effective. They are great to use on small- to medium-size lawns. They do a great job of hauling the moss and thatch from your grass with minimal effort on your part. They won’t need re-filling like a petrol one either. However, they’re not always as powerful as petrol scarifiers and you may find yourself restricted by the cord length.
Manual scarifiers are quiet, easy to store and don’t require any maintenance other than scrapping the rust off.
They’re great for tackling jobs in small gardens and often work surprisingly well.
A simple rake and a push-along aerator could also do the job. You could even buy some aerating shoes that spike the grass as you walk around.
Everything We Recommend
More Detailed Lawn Scarifier Reviews
VonHaus Lawn Scarifier & Raker 1300W Review
The VonHaus Lawn Raker is one of the best lawn scarifiers on the market, combining great features and value for money.
This powerful 1300 w electric rake effectively and efficiently clears moss, thatch and leaves from your lawn. This, in turn, allows water to drain properly and avoids a build-up of decaying material. Resulting in… a very happy and healthy lawn!
This scarifier can be used on small- to medium-size lawns in any season. Its 4 adjustable depth settings mean it is just as equipped to tackle mushy autumn leaves as it is to clear up summertime grass clippings. Aiding the tidying process further, its generous working width of 32 cm ensures the job won’t take all day. While the 28 L collection bag gathers the debris and is easy to empty when full.
Both safe to use and ergonomic, this electric rake can be comfortably used for long periods of time. The safety trigger prevents accidental activation, while the thermal cut out mechanism stops overheating.
There are two main safety features: a two-stage safety trigger to prevent accidental activation, and a thermal cut-out mechanism to avoid overheating. With these in place you can feel confident about your purchase and safe when using it.
You’ll also find this scarifier comfortable to use because it is lightweight, at only 9 kg, and has an ergonomic handle which is kind on the hands!
If you’re looking for a solid, powerful and reliable garden rake for small- to medium-size gardens, you should consider purchasing the VonHaus Lawn Raker.
Black and Decker GD300 Lawn Raker Review
The Black & Decker GD300 is lightweight, good value, and easy to use.
If you struggle with heavy tools, this is the best lawn scarifier for you. Weighing just 7 kg thanks to the inclusion of a small, compact 600 w motor, Black + Decker have thought of everything in order to bring you this light, easy-to-manoeuvre machine.
It may be compact, but it still has a 30 cm raking width – a good size for getting the job done fast!
In addition, the rake section has three rows of tines (blades) that sit at three adjustable 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.
There are plenty of safety features which is always reassuring when using power tools. The automatic switch-off means that the motor will stop when you let go of the handle, and there is a handy cable-management set-up to prevent accidentally chopping the 10 m lead.
If you’re looking for a lightweight lawn scarifier on a budget, perfect for small gardens and year-round maintenance, this is the one for you!
Flymo Lawn Raker Compact 3400 Review
This Flymo Lawn Raker is a versatile scarifier from a respectable brand. Flymo is a recognisable name in the gardening world and this electric lawn rake lives up to their golden reputation!
It has a 750 w motor which works alongside the powerful cylindrical rake. Together, they pull all the nasty dead grass and moss out of your lawn. If you feel like your garden is suffocating, this scarifier will help it breath again!
The cutting width isn’t too shabby either. Sitting at 34 cm wide it will certainly cut working time.
Additionally, the nifty collection box helpfully compacts moss so you’re not emptying it every five minutes. It’ll hold 34 L of thatch which will keep you going for a while, and has a window so you can see how full it is.
This Flymo scarifier has the most adjustable working height settings out of all my recommendations. There are six settings to choose from, ranging from -5 mm up to +8 mm.
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. Instead, it’s easy and practical to choose the best setting for you.
Weighing in at 12.6 kg, this machine is heavier than the others I reviewed. However, it’s still pretty compact for storage, measuring just 46 cm when folded down.
The Flymo Lawn Raker is ideal if you’re looking for a scarifier with plenty of depth options. The six settings really give you complete control over the task in hand. Not forgetting, this great machine is high quality and perfectly compact for storage.
Gardena Hand-Powered Lawn Scarifier Review
The Gardena Hand-Powered Lawn Scarifier is an affordable, manually powered lawn scarifier. It does a great job at effectively removing moss, weeds and thatch from your garden.
This is a great option if you’re looking for a straight-forward way to keep your garden clear of debris, but you’re not after a bulky or expensive machine.
The Gardena scarifier is sold as a ‘head’ attachment – you will need to purchase, or already own, a Gardena Combisystem handle. The scarifier mounts easily onto the handle and can be screwed into place. The Combisystem handle is suitable for use with many Gardena products. Ultimately, this means it is an economical choice in the long run, removing the necessity to buy full versions of other tools.
The 32 cm working width of this scarifier is a great size – considering how lightweight the unit is, it will take no time to cover your entire garden.
If you’re looking for a scarifier which isn’t too large or intimidating, but will work well on light tasks, the Gardena Hand Powered Lawn Scarifier is a great choice.
VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Scarifier and Aerator Review
The VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Scarifier and Aerator is a fantastic lawn scarifier. It’s perfect for very mossy, thatched lawns and grass that hasn’t been touched for a long time.
Let’s start this review by looking at the powerful 1500 w electric motor. This is a very impressive wattage for a scarifier. 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 rollers that fit on a single dual-purpose drum. One roller is for aerating and the other is for scarifying. It’s extremely easy to switch between the two, making it straight-forward to do a combination of tasks. To change them over, you will simply need to lift up the grey cover and swap the rollers using the supplied allen key. Make sure to disconnect the power source first of course.
The Von Haus electric scarifier has four working depths. These give you the choice to ‘lightly scarify’, or carry out an ‘in-depth purify’. All of the working depth options will come in handy at some point, depending on your objective. For example, before sowing lawn seed it is extremely advisable to thoroughly scarify the area.
In addition, something I always love to see is a user-height adjustability setting. This scarifier has a height-adjustable handle which will do wonders to save your back. What’s more, it only weighs 8.5 kg anyway, so it’s not a heavyweight piece of machinery and is easy to move around.
It has a 40 L debris-collection box which will allow you to get a lot of work done before it fills up. The 10 m cable is also a well-considered inclusion – you won’t need to worry too much about running out of line or dragging an extension lead around with you.
So, this scarifier is super powerful, versatile and lightweight. It provides more than enough energy to efficiently get the job done, along with the flexibility to easily swap between being an aerator and a scarifier.
Bosch ALR Electric Lawn Raker, 900 W Review
The Bosch ALR Electric Lawn Raker is a another quality offering from Bosch.
Its ‘Jet-Collect’ system enables more efficient operation. It both lifts surface debris, and creates an air flow system inside the unit, in order to increase the collection rate. In addition, the 900 w motor and 32 cm cutting width make it easy to get even larger lawns looking tip-top.
Featuring four adjustable raking heights, this scarifier gives you full control over your garden. The heights range from +10 mm to -5 mm, meaning it’s suitable for use throughout the season; whether you’re collecting thatch, maintaining the lawn, or gathering leaves.
I find Bosch to be a reliable brand who produce quality products. This is a powerful scarifier suitable for most garden sizes.
Bosch AVR Electric Lawn Raker Review
The Bosch AVR Electric Lawn Raker is the best lawn scarifier on the market.
It’s a powerful electric scarifier with a ‘Powerdrive’ 1100 w motor. The motor is intelligent enough to increase torque when it needs to get to grips with a particularly tangled bit of thatch.
This scarifier pulls-out and picks-up dead vegetation using its ‘Jet-Collect’ system. This is Bosch’s way of saying that their scarifier uses air to uproot dead moss, then blasts it into the collection box so the machine doesn’t jam.
It has four height settings ranging from -5 mm to +10 mm. This is important because it enables this model to be multi-functional: it acts as either a drum-system scarifier, or an aerator, depending on which height you set it on.
There are 10 steel blades positioned along a width of 32 cm. As a result, it’s extremely tough and efficient – it will cut down the number of trips up and down the garden.
Speaking of time saving, the collection box has a whopping capacity of 50 L. This is the largest of any model on this list, meaning there’s less need to empty it frequently. If you’re on the impatient side like me these are great features.
This scarifier weighs just 11.8 kg – perfectly controllable for when you’re moving it around, potentially fighting the lumps and bumps of your not-so-flat lawn.
Helpfully, storage is a hassle free. I know we’re all a bit pressed for space in the garden shed and don’t need another huge machine being introduced! The ergonomic handle folds down to just 40 cm high, and the grass-collecting box easily stacks on top. It’s a great design which genuinely makes for extremely neat storage.
This concludes why I believe this Bosch model to be the best lawn scarifier on the market. It’s a powerful, practical tool coming from a reputable and reliable company.
Einhell GE-SC Power X-Change Cordless Lawn Scarifier Review
The Einhell Scarifier and Lawn Aerator is a high-quality, durable machine.
It will efficiently clear and take care of any small- to medium-size lawn.
Adeptly optimising its 16 stainless-steel blades, this aerator removes moss and weeds right down to the roots. The result? A beautifully clear and healthy looking lawn.
Despite the very high-power motor, this aerator is easy and comfortable to use. The handle height can be easily adjusted to suit your requirements using the quick release levers. This is a nice touch as it means you can avoid back pain from being bent over awkwardly.
Speaking of comfort and safety, there is even a ‘parking position’ which will protect the blades and lawn when stationary.
This scarifier comes equipped with three adjustable depth settings – you can clear your lawn in any season no matter what’s clogging the grass.
Finally, the wheels are worth a mention – the deliberately-wide wheels have been chosen to exert less stress on the lawn meaning you don’t need to worry about damaging it with unsightly wheel lines.
The Einhell Scarifier is an excellent option if you’re looking for a high-performing scarifier to give your small-medium sized lawn some much needed TLC,
AL-KO Comfort 38E Combi-Care 2 in 1 Electric Scarifier Review
The AL-KO Grass Scarifier is a very powerful 2-in-1 lawn scarifier. It will work well on a medium to large lawn and is one of the best scarifiers for heavy-duty work on the market.
The 1300 w motor is more than enough to dig out thatch and it’s got the largest working width of my recommendations at 38cms.
This grass scarifier 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 tackling 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.
The AL-KO Comfort 38E is one of the best lawn scarifiers on the market, because of it’s top of the range features. If you’re looking for the power to tackle a large garden, look no further!
Lawn Scarifier FAQ
Yes. Scarifiers really can improve the appearance of your lawn.
It can be tempting to neglect the lawn, especially when it’s fine weather and there are more exciting things like BBQs to be thinking about. However, you should always make time to scarify because eventually your daisy-strewn lawn will turn brown, soggy and look awful because dead thatch is killing the grass.
A scarifier is a machine that pulls out dead grass (known as thatch) and moss from your lawn. This allows fresh new green grass to push through.
Scarifiers look a lot like lawnmowers. They have four wheels, a handlebar and a collecting box.
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.
They can also aerate the lawn, if you get a model with this feature. The blades push into the soil allowing air and water to penetrate.
Yes. Scarifiers will keep your grass looking healthy and green for longer.
If you never scarify the lawn, weeds, grass clippings, moss and dead plant matter clog up the surface. As a result, 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. This means water isn’t getting through to hydrate the new shoots.
After you’ve scarified the grass it might look… how to put this nicely… a bit awful! But don’t worry – grass grows back at lightning speed and it’ll soon be greener and fresher than ever.
For best results (and the greenest lawn!), you should scarify once or twice a year.
- First, 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.
- Choose a dry day so the lawn doesn’t turn into a mudbath. Ensure you’ve given the grass a cut a few days beforehand.
- For the first round, choose the highest setting on your scarifier. Push it around just as if you were mowing the lawn.
- For the second pass, use a lower setting and so on. If you do the second pass on a parallel route, you’ll get better coverage.
- Once you’ve pulled out the dead thatch you might find there’s little grass left! Now is the best time to re-seed.
You should scarify once or twice a year. Once in spring, when the grass is growing strongly to start the season off right, and once in autumn to remove the year’s waste (only if it needs it!).
The grass needs to be actively growing before you scarify, and you should mow before for best results. If the weather is too hot, cold, dry or wet, your lawn will not recover properly.
For your lawn scarifying to be the most effective, the soil needs to be both warm and moist. Spring and Autumn are the best times for these conditions.
Rakers are gardening tools designed to remove moss and debris from lawns. This will promote healthy growth and can keep your garden looking neat.
Scarifiers also remove moss, leaves and debris from the lawn, but their design gives them another benefit. While rakers can comb through the lawn, scarifiers have steel blades that cut the soil. This aerates the lawn, allowing it to breathe so nutrients can reach the soil beneath the grass.
Yes. For best results, you should mow your lawn before scarifying.
Most people choose to gradually reduce the height of the grass in the week before scarifying, so the grass isn’t shocked suddenly. If your lawn has any weeds, you can remove them manually without weed killer.
Once your lawn has been scarified, you should use a fertiliser to give the lawn the best chance of recovery.
Purchase a fertiliser suitable for the time of year. Autumn fertilisers release nutrients slowly for long term health and growth in the winter. A spring fertiliser will encourage your lawn to grow and recover rapidly.
If there hasn’t been much rain, you should water your lawn in the few weeks after scarifying. If scarifying has revealed any bare patches, you should reseed these areas.
A few weeks to 4 months. It depends on the time of year, weather, and the condition of your lawn before scarifying. If the weather is cold and dry, your lawn may take up to 4 months to fully recover. In warm conditions, your lawn should bounce back within a few weeks.
- Bosch AVR Electric Lawn Raker
- Black and Decker GD300 Lawn Raker
- Bosch ALR Electric Lawn Raker, 900 W
- Einhell GE-SC Power X-Change Cordless Lawn Scarifier
- Flymo Lawn Raker Compact 3400
- Gardena Hand-Powered Lawn Scarifier
- VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Scarifier and Aerator
- AL-KO Comfort 38E Combi-Care 2 in 1 Electric Scarifier
- VonHaus Lawn Raker