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The UK's bestLawn Scarifiers2022 Review

What To Look For in a Lawn Scarifier

The best lawn scarifiers also come with a lawn aerating feature. This means that not only will the machine be able to remove moss, thatch and debris, but it will also be able to increase the oxygen flow, therefore the health of your lawn. Scarifying and aerating can lead to thicker grass that grows faster and is better equipped to fight disease. 

It’s worth paying attention to the number of cutting heights the scarifier has, as this affects how deeply it’ll cut into your soil. Our recommendations below range from 3 to 5, and it’s certainly a case of the more the better.

You should also consider the working width of the machine, as it’s related to how many times you’ll be going up and down your lawn! Medium to large gardens will need 36cm or above. For smaller gardens, the 30cm – 35cm range is fine. 

Collection capacity is also an important feature, as it relates to how often you’ll be emptying the container! Medium to large gardens will need a collection box of 45 litres and above. For smaller gardens, 25 to 40 litres will do. 

Lastly, we also recommend looking at the weight and power of the machine, as it indicates how easy it’ll be to use and manoeuvre. All this information can be found in the handy comparison table below.

When considering all these features, and based on our scarifier testing, we feel the best option for most households will be the Hyundai 2-in-1 Lawn Scarifier and Aerator. It does a lot for its fair price and it also looks the part too.

See the best Lawn Scarifiers below

Compare Lawn Scarifiers Here

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Our score
  • Best For
  • Working Width
  • No. of Heights
  • Weight
  • Collection Capacity
  • Power
  • Power Source
  • Cable Length

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Read Our Lawn Scarifier Reviews

B092R28F2K
5056275799816
Best scarifier and aerator
Hyundai 2-in-1 Lawn Scarifier and Aerator
Top Pick

Best scarifier and aerator

  • Where to buy
  • Our Scoring
    Assembly
    Design
    Performance
    Ease of Use
    Noise
    Safety
    Value for Money
    Overall
    7 4.4285714285714
  • Working Width
    36cm
  • No. of Heights
    5
  • Weight
    11.5kg
  • Collection Capacity
    45 litres
  • Power
    1500W
  • Power Source
    Corded Electric
  • Cable Length
    10m
  • Our Review

    I’m a big fan of Hyundai’s garden products – I recently tried-and-tested their petrol lawn mower, and it’s the best I’ve ever used. So, I expected their 2-in-1 Lawn Scarifier and Aerator to also become a favourite. However, while it certainly has a few unique advantages, there were a couple of things that left me a little disappointed in its challenge for best lawn scarifier…

    Hyundai-2-in-1-Lawn-Scarifier-Review-performance
    Analysing the performance of the Hyundai scarifier

    Let’s start with assembly – something that I never really enjoy doing. Fortunately, none of the scarifiers that I had already tested required too much work, until I came to Hyundai’s. Assembly took about 30 minutes in total. This isn’t a huge amount of time, but keep in mind that I have a fair bit of experience assembling scarifiers. For someone who has never done this before, it’ll likely take much longer, especially considering that the instruction manual was very little help.

    However, once assembly was out of the way and I had a good look at the machine, I was instantly impressed. It comes with five height settings, from -12mm to +10mm (most other scarifiers have just three or four), and there’s a single lever to adjust the height. You can adjust the height of the handles too or fold them away to easily store the machine. Being a 2-in-1 model, this product comes with two interchangeable rollers; one for scarification and one for aeration.

    With a sizeable 1500W motor, this machine is pretty powerful. It feels faster than the others I reviewed, and it’s also noticeably wider (36cm instead of the standard 32cm), which means that it won’t take you quite as long to scarify your lawn. Not only will it save you time, but it does a great job too – find the right height setting for your lawn and it’ll pull up moss and thatch without damaging healthy grass. It doesn’t leave the lawn quite as churned up as some of its competition, yet it effectively removes what it needs to.

    The aerating roller works just as well. You may find that you don’t actually need to use it once you’ve scarified, but, if you do, you’ll be happy with the results.

    Whether you’re scarifying or aerating, this machine is comfortable and easy to use. It’s not self-propelled, but the blades pull the machine along, making the job pretty effortless. It’s slightly heavier than the other scarifiers I’ve used (11.4kg), but this also gave the machine a sturdiness that the other scarifiers lacked. It’s worth noting that this machine is a little louder than the others that I tested, but not significantly so.

    Now to touch upon the product’s main flaw – its grass collection bag. At 45 litres, it’s an adequate size, but that’s where the praise ends. It feels quite flimsy, it’s awkward to insert and remove, and it doesn’t fill fully. However, many people don’t actually use a collection bag when scarifying, preferring instead to get the job done first before raking or mowing the discarded thatch up. If this is what you plan on doing, then the issues with the collection bag won’t really matter.

    Hyundai’s garden products are often priced higher than the competition, and this lawn scarifier is no exception. It may cost a little more, but, unlike many of the cheaper alternatives out there, this really is a machine that can effectively scarify and aerate – its 2-in-1 claim isn’t just a marketing ploy.

    If your garden is on the small side or if you’re only seeking a lawn scarifier, rather than a lawn aerator too, then it probably wouldn’t be worth splurging on Hyundai’s 2-in-1 Lawn Scarifier. However, for medium or large gardens, I would consider this is machine to be the best lawn scarifier and aerator combo. So long as you’re happy to do away with the collection bag, it’ll get the job done much faster than other similar scarifiers, giving you a thicker and healthier lawn the following season.

    Pros

    • 5 height settings make this machine versatile on various types of lawns
    • 36cm cutting width makes short work of larger lawns
    • Effectively scarifies and aerates (most other 2-in-1 models aren’t great at aerating)
    • Its weight (11.4kg) gives it sturdiness, but doesn’t make it too heavy to lift
    • 2 handle positions make this machine comfortable to use for people of varying heights (the handles are foldable too for easy storage)
    • No tools are required to swap the rollers over
    • Comes with a free wall bracket for convenient storage

    Cons

    • Assembly is fiddly and time-consuming - set aside at least 30 minutes
    • The collection bag feels flimsy and doesn’t fill to full capacity
    • Thatch and grass sometimes falls out of the collection bag while the machine is working, meaning that you’ll still need to rake your lawn once you’re done
    • Slightly louder than other scarifiers, which could potentially annoy nearby neighbours

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B07GSH6841
4006825628272
Best budget option
Einhell GC-SA 1231/1 Electric Scarifier & Aerator
Budget Pick

Best budget option

  • Where to buy
  • Our Scoring
    Assembly
    Design
    Performance
    Ease of Use
    Noise
    Safety
    Value for Money
    Overall
    7 4.4285714285714
  • Working Width
    31cm
  • No. of Heights
    3
  • Weight
    9kg
  • Collection Capacity
    28 litres
  • Power
    1200W
  • Power Source
    Corded Electric
  • Cable Length
    4.5m
  • Our Review

    Nobody wants to spend a fortune on a separate scarifier and aerator, especially considering that it’ll only be used once, or twice at most, a year. That’s what makes the Einhell GC-SA 1231 Electric Scarifier and Aerator so instantly appealing – not only does it promise to scarify, but it has been designed to aerate too, and it boasts a pretty reasonable price point to match.

    Einhell-GC-SA-1231-Electric-Scarifier-Review-performance
    The Einhell doing a great job!

    However, let’s start at the beginning – the grand unboxing. It’s always a bonus when garden tools need minimal assembly, and this scarifier definitely fell into that category. Assembly only took about 15 minutes. All that needed to be done was assemble the handles, clip the cables into place, and swap the aerating roller that was already inserted with the scarifying roller.

    If you’ve ever used an Einhell product before, you’ll be familiar with this product’s red and black branding. It immediately makes the scarifier look like a high-quality machine, and a closer look at its features confirms this. This dual-function machine boasts adjustable handle heights (the handles are also foldable for easy storage), three scarifying/aerating depth settings (plus an extra transport setting), and a working width of 31cm.

    Once I turned the scarifier on, it continued to impress. Ok, to be fair, I was a little shocked at its brutality at first, but this is because I had the machine on its lowest setting. Once adjusted to the highest, the machine made light work of the small lawn that I was scarifying. It pulled out a large amount of thatch but didn’t leave the soil completely bare.

    The scarifier did such a good job that I didn’t feel the need to aerate the entire lawn once I was done. However, I still gave the aerating roller a quick workout and it performed well. It didn’t aerate the ground as deeply as I thought it would, even on the lowest height setting, but, as I said, the ground didn’t seem to actually need anything more after the scarifier had worked its magic. Whether or not Einhell designed things this way on purpose or not, we’ll never know! If it did, we can possibly consider this to be the best lawn scarifier in terms of performance.

    Weighing in at just 9kg means that this lightweight machine is easy to manoeuvre around a garden. Its wide wheels helped with this too, keeping the machine sturdy. The only drawback is the size of the collection bag – at 28 litres, you’ll find yourself stopping to empty the bag a frustrating number of times. My recommendation would be to do without the bag and either mow or rake away the surface thatch once you’re finished.

    This scarifier comes with some good safety features – not being able to accidentally turn the machine on will be appreciated by those with pets or young children around! However, I was disappointed by the fact that the power lead was black – this made it much harder to see in the grass, which is quite a safety hazard.

    That said, there weren’t many downsides to this machine, and none of them were deal-breakers. This machine offers great value for money – it does what it promises and it does it well. Although it’s powerful enough for a large lawn, its cutting width makes it better suited to small or medium gardens. If you plan on making scarifying and aerating an annual part of your lawn care plan, this Einhell machine is the best budget lawn scarifier.

    Pros

    • Minimal assembly takes just 15 minutes
    • Handle height is adjustable and the handles are also foldable for easy storage
    • Scarifying roller works exceptionally well - it’s one of the most effective of all the machines we tested
    • At 9kg, this is a very lightweight machine that’s easy to manoeuvre and lift
    • Designed with an Allen key holder on the handles - you’ll need an Allen key each time you swap the rollers over, so this ensures that you always have one nearby. Very clever!

    Cons

    • Collection bag is very small with a capacity of 28 litres. This means that you’ll be constantly stopping to empty the bag, unless you use the machine without the bag inserted
    • Black power cable is hard to see in the grass, increasing your chances of accidentally running over it with the scarifier
    • Power cable is only 4.5m long, so you may need to use an extension lead
    • Only has three heights to choose from (others, such as the Hyundai, have five)
    • Two levers need to be adjusted in order to change the height
    • Doesn’t seem to aerate as deeply as it scarifies, although you may not need to aerate once you’ve used the scarifying roller

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B01BGZA73W
5060351499583
Best lightweight lawn scarifier
VonHaus 2 in 1 Lawn Scarifier & Raker (1500W)
Good value

Best lightweight lawn scarifier

  • Where to buy
  • Our Scoring
    Assembly
    Design
    Performance
    Ease of Use
    Noise
    Safety
    Value for Money
    Overall
    7 4.4285714285714
  • Working Width
    32cm
  • No. of Heights
    4
  • Weight
    8.5kg
  • Collection Capacity
    28 litres
  • Power
    1500W
  • Power Source
    Corded Electric
  • Cable Length
    10m
  • Our Review

    VonHaus is loved by many for its eclectic range of home, kitchen, and garden tools. Thanks to their well-designed products, this brand has a loyal following, and it’s one that I’ve personally never had a bad experience with either. So, I had high hopes for their 2-in-1 Lawn Scarifier – a machine that both scarifies and aerates to give you a thicker and lusher lawn. 

    VonHaus-2-in-1-Lawn-Scarifier-Review-assembly-performance
    Derek testing the VonHaus scarifier

    Assembling garden tools often feels like a chore, so I always appreciate products that require minimal assembly. This is what VonHaus promises with their 2-in-1 electric scarifier, and that’s a promise that they’ve managed to keep. Assembly took about 15 minutes overall – you simply need to attach the handles and the trigger, before swapping over the aerating roller for the scarifier. The only tools you’ll need for assembling this machine is a Philip’s screwdriver and an Allen key, although the brand provides an Allen key for you to use. 

    With its 32cm width, this machine is best-suited for small to medium-sized gardens. That said, it could handle a larger lawn too – it would just take you a little longer than if you were to use a scarifier with a wider body, such as the AL-KO. Its four depth settings make it even more versatile, and the fact that there’s just a single handle that you need to move to adjust the height definitely works in this product’s favour. 

    Turn the machine on and the scarifier will continue to impress. I started off at the highest setting before working my way lower, and I was very pleased with the results. It pulled out a fantastic amount of thatch but didn’t damage healthy grass too much – it wasn’t quite as brutal as the Einhell scarifier I tested. 

    However, where this machine falls short is with its aerating function. Unlike the other aerators I’ve used, this one doesn’t seem to actually aerate. Instead, the aerator roller does pretty much the same thing as the scarifier, except it’s much more severe. Remember all of that healthy grass I just mentioned that the scarifier left intact? Well, the aerator pretty much destroyed it all. 

    Aerator aside, this machine is an easy one to use. It’s the best lightweight lawn scarifier on my list and manoeuvres well. Its only downfall is the size of its collection bag – at 28 litres, I found myself having to empty the bag every couple of minutes, which ended up wasting quite a bit of time. You can get around this by simply doing away with the bag and then either raking up or mowing over the thatch once you’re done. 

    Being a relatively quiet machine makes this scarifier suitable for urban settings – you won’t have to worry about your neighbours complaining about the noise it’s making, and ear defenders are definitely not needed. I also appreciated the machine’s safety features, from its bright orange lead that remains visible even in dark grass to the button that needs to be pressed before the machine can be turned on. 

    In my opinion, VonHaus has priced this scarifier pretty fairly. It costs around the same as many of its competitors, although the fact that you can’t really use this machine to aerate does let it down. 

    If aerating is your main goal, then look elsewhere – Hyundai’s electric scarifier does a much better job. However, if you only plan on scarifying, then this VonHaus model will get the job done well, and it won’t cost you too much either. Granted, your lawn may look a bit of a state once you’re done, but it’s not as brutal as some of the other scarifiers out there – it won’t leave quite as much devastation behind, but still cuts deep enough to remove all moss and thatch.

    While its width makes it a contender for the best lawn scarifier for small and medium-sized gardens, I would highly recommend this scarifier for larger lawns too – so long as you remove the collection bag so that you’re not having to constantly start and stop, its powerful motor will cope with larger areas without any issues.

    Pros

    • Fast assembly takes just 15 minutes
    • A single lever adjusts the height of the machine, which saves time compared to models that have more than one lever
    • A large 1500W motor prevents the machine from over-heating
    • Lightweight at 8.5kg - it’s easy to lift and manoeuvre this machine
    • The scarifying roller works very well

    Cons

    • May be a little narrow for larger lawns.
    • The collection bag needs to be emptied very frequently (can fill up even within 5 mins).
    • The handles are a little top-heavy and may make it a bit unbalanced when left to stand.
    • Works more effectively as a scarifier than aerator - the metal rake tines are not overly strong.

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B08T9RQL2W
4059952574387
Best lawn scarifier overall
Bosch Universal Lawn Rake 900
pro pick

Best lawn scarifier overall

  • Where to buy
  • Our Scoring
    Assembly
    Design
    Performance
    Ease of Use
    Noise
    Safety
    Value for Money
    Overall
    7 4.5
  • Working Width
    32cm
  • No. of Heights
    4
  • Weight
    12.3kg
  • Collection Capacity
    50 litres
  • Power
    900W
  • Power Source
    Corded Electric
  • Cable Length
    Not listed
  • Our Review

    Bosch is a brand that just about everyone is familiar with. I’ve personally used several Bosch products in the past, from garden shredders to leaf blowers to cordless strimmers, and have always been happy with how they have performed. I’m clearly not the only one that thinks so – even though it may come in at a higher price than its competitors, the Bosch Universal Lawn Rake 900 is a popular choice in the world of electric scarifiers, and I was excited to find out why.

    Bosch-UniversalRake-900-Review-performance
    The Bosch UniversalRake 900 in action

    Bosch products are usually pretty easy to assemble, and this electric lawn rake and scarifier was no exception. It was faster to assemble than any of the other scarifiers I tested making it the best lawn scarifier for ease of assembly – it only took around 10 minutes for it to be up and running once I had unboxed it.

    From its colours to its design, this is very clearly a Bosch product. Yes, it’s made from plastic, but it still feels strong and durable. With a width of 32 cm and four different height settings (+10mm to -5mm), its design gives it great versatility.

    There are a couple of design features that make this the best lawn scarifier compared to the others that I reviewed, with the first being its drum. Unlike all of the others, which come with removeable drums that can be interchanged for aerating rollers, this one only had a scarifying option, and this was built into the machine.

    The Bosch scarifier also comes with a collection box, rather than a bag. Not only was this hard, plastic box much more robust than the fabric bags that most other scarifiers come with, but, at 50 litres, it was almost double the size too.

    In terms of performance, Bosch claims that the Universal Lawn Rake 900 will effectively lift moss and thatch from a lawn, and it definitely does this. However, it doesn’t cut quite as deeply as some of the others that I reviewed, such as the Einhell. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as not every lawn needs an intense scarification. If maintenance is what you’re after, rather than a complete do-over, then the Bosch will produce great results.

    Even better, the machine is so easy to use. It’s lightweight at just under 10 kg, and the large collection box saves you from having to stop to empty quite as often.

    When it comes to safety features, the Bosch Universal Lawn Rake 900 has everything you could need, from its easily-visible bright red power lead to the safety button that prevents the machine from accidentally turning on. It’s not a noisy machine either – in fact, it was probably the best lawn rake in terms of noise levels.

    Now onto what would be the deal-breaker for many; price. There’s no getting away from the fact that this scarifier is priced significantly higher than its competition. In some ways, this is surprising, because it doesn’t offer quite as many features. However, in other ways, it’s to be expected – Bosch products usually do cost a little more, with the reasoning being that you’re paying for a machine that’s been built with quality in mind.

    That said, spare parts for Bosch products also come with the same high price tag. While it’s a bonus that the individual tines on this scarifier can be replaced if one breaks (as opposed to you having to buy a whole new drum), those replacement tines aren’t cheap. With that in mind, Bosch provides two spare replacement tines with this scarifier – treat them well and you hopefully won’t need to buy any extras.

    When it comes down to it, you could either save money and go for a cheaper machine that both scarifies and aerates, or you could spend a little extra on this machine that specialises in aerating. It’s easy to assemble, simple to use, and has been made to last – it may not be up to the task of scarifying a large lawn that has been neglected for years, but it’s exactly what you need if you’re looking for a way to maintain a small or medium-sized garden. Unlike some of the other lawn scarifiers I reviewed, this one really does make scarifying feel like an effortless task, and this, in my opinion, makes it the best lawn scarifier overall.

    Pros

    • Quick and easy assembly takes just 10 minutes
    • Made with higher quality parts than many other scarifiers
    • Comes with a large (50 litre) hard plastic collection box, rather than a flimsy canvas collection bag like most other scarifiers
    • Good for maintaining a lawn that has already been previously scarified
    • A relatively quiet machine that won’t disturb your neighbours
    • Designed with Bosch’s PowerDrive System - although its engine may be smaller than others (900W), it still feels just as powerful
    • Individual tines can be replaced (rather than having to purchase a whole new roller), with spare parts being easy to find. This machine also comes with two spare tines
    • Foldable handles and stackable parts make storage easy

    Cons

    • Unlike most of its competitors, this machine is designed solely for scarifying, rather than aerating too, which limits its use
    • Priced higher than most of its competitors - it’s only worth the investment if you plan on using it regularly
    • Two levers need to be adjusted in order to change the height
    • Lawn rake function doesn’t work very well - you’d be faster using a hand rake or a lawn mower to tidy up your lawn

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B00D6HIIHG
4003718044249
Best scarifier for large gardens
AL-KO Comfort 38E 2-in-1 Electric Lawn Rake & Scarifier

Best scarifier for large gardens

  • Where to buy
  • Our Scoring
    Assembly
    Design
    Performance
    Ease of Use
    Noise
    Safety
    Value for Money
    Overall
    7 4.3571428571429
  • Working Width
    38cm
  • No. of Heights
    5
  • Weight
    17.1kg
  • Collection Capacity
    55 litres
  • Power
    1300W
  • Power Source
    Corded Electric
  • Cable Length
    12m
  • Our Review

    A brand that has built its reputation on quality and innovation, AL-KO garden products are a favourite among both domestic and professional users. They usually go above and beyond their competition in more ways than one, so I was expecting nothing less of their Combi Care 38E Electric Lawn Rake and Scarifier.

    AL-KO-Combi-Care-38E-Electric-Scarifier-review-performance
    Scarifying with the AL-KO

    Things started off well, as this lawn rake and scarifier only took about ten minutes to assemble. Although the instructions that come with the machine aren’t great, it’s easy enough to figure out what goes where – simply attach the handles, plug in the power lead, and you’re good to go!

    This machine is a strong contender for best lawn scarifer in terms of design. To start with, it has five heights to choose from, along with a 38cm working width, which is wider than all of the other scarifiers I tested. The height of the handles is adjustable too, or you can easily fold them down if you need to store the machine.

    My favourite design feature? The twist dial at the front of the machine that you can turn to adjust the height. Every other scarifier that I have ever used has had a lever, rather than a dial – not only does the dial make height adjustment easy and convenient, but it also gives the machine a more upmarket feel.

    My opinion of this AL-KO lawn rake and scarifier kept improving after I started scarifying my mossy lawn. It didn’t take long for the machine to pull all of the moss and thatch out, and its large 1500W engine prevented it from overheating when it was used for longer stretches.

    This lawn rake and scarifier is advertised as a 3-in-1 model, but this is really just some clever marketing. It has two main functions; scarifying and aerating. As mentioned, it scarifies well, and it’s also very easy to swap the scarifying drum over for the aerator. However, I wouldn’t bother doing this again, because the aerating roller works in pretty much the same way as the scarifier – it’s not very effective at actually aerating the ground.

    There were a few other points that let this machine down. The first was its weight – at 17kg, it’s definitely not light. So, it surprised me that, even with this extra weight, the machine wasn’t able to stand up on its own once there was some thatch in the collection bag. Instead, it would tip over backward each time I let go of the handles.

    Speaking of the collection bag…at 55 litres, it’s larger than the bags on all of the other scarifiers that I tested, which should be a good selling point for those who hate having to constantly stop to empty a small bag. Unfortunately, since the bag doesn’t seem to fill to its full capacity, the extra size doesn’t make much of a difference. Sure, you can use the lawn rake and scarifier without the bag, but you’ll need to prop up/tie back the rear guard before you do so. If not, the machine won’t be able to properly release the thatch that it has pulled up, which will soon lead to a blockage.

    Although the fact that the machine tips over instead of standing upright could be considered a safety issue, AL-KO has taken other steps to make this machine as safe as possible. It’s the only lawn rake and scarifier I tested that has a special light to tell you if the roller isn’t inserted correctly, and it’s also equipped with a safety button that needs to be pressed before you can pull the trigger. That said, the safety button and the trigger are spaced so far away from each other that you’ll need to use two hands each time you want to turn the machine on, which is pretty awkward.

    This wasn’t the most expensive lawn rake and scarifier that I tested, but it still has a higher price than the majority of its competition. For small gardens, it’s not worth the splurge – you’ll be paying for its sizeable motor and increased width, neither of which a small garden needs. It’s also not worth its price if you’re hoping for an efficient lawn aerator.

    However, you’ll likely find that once you’ve scarified with this machine, you won’t actually need to do much aerating. Its width also makes it much faster to scarify larger lawns, making this model the best lawn scarifier for those with a larger garden. Granted, the issues with the collection bag are a little annoying, but use the machine without this and you’ll quickly appreciate just how speedy and effective it is.

    Pros

    • Quick and easy assembly takes just 10 minutes
    • A wide working width (38cm) means that scarifying takes less time
    • 5 height settings make this machine suitable for different types of lawns
    • Adjustable handle positions make the machine comfortable to use for people of different heights (the handles can also be folded down for storage)
    • This machine is great at scarifying
    • Has a long, 12m power cable, which means that you may not need to use an extension lead
    • A large, 1500W motor enables this machine to effortlessly tackle spacious lawns
    • No tools are required to switch rollers

    Cons

    • Although large, the collection bag doesn’t fill to full capacity - you’ll end up wasting time emptying this more often than you should be
    • At 17kg, this is a heavy machine - it’s quite cumbersome to manoeuvre around tight spaces and to lift in and out of a vehicle
    • The machine isn’t able to stand upright once the collection bag starts to fill - it tips over backward instead, which could be a potential safety hazard
    • The machine’s aerating function is sub-par
    • It’s awkward to turn the machine on - you’ll need to use two hands each time

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How We Tested

We had a couple of large lawn areas on our farm that were covered in thatch. Honestly, they were in desperate need of some scarifying, giving us the perfect opportunity to test these five electric scarifiers.

We divided up the lawns based on each scarifier’s capabilities (some were designed for small gardens while others were better suited to larger spaces) and then worked our way through each area. Some of the scarifiers had an aerating roller, so those sections of lawn were treated to some aeration too.

After this, we spread grass seed down and then waited to see how each area would look come spring.

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How to Choose The Best Lawn Scarifier

So, you’re thinking about buying a lawn scarifier? Great idea! The models above are what I consider to be the best lawn scarifiers on the UK market.

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 lawn scarifier you need.

Below I have assembled some helpful information to help you make an informed purchase.

What does a Lawn Scarifier Actually Do?

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 and thatch, leaves, grass cuttings) from the lawn by catching it in bladed teeth.

The other function of a lawn 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, the best lawn scarifiers also help keep weeds at bay. They really are exceptionally useful little machines!

Understanding ‘Working Depth’

Ideally, you want a lawn 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.

If your scarifier has depth options like “-5 mm” this means it can be used as a lawn 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.

Look Out for Their Teeth!

When it comes to finding the best lawn scarifier, 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 lawn scarifiers with 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 lawn scarifiers. 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.

Choosing the Best Cutting Width

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 lawn scarifiers I tested, the AL-KO Comfort 38E has the widest lawn raker width at 38 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. You’ll just need to weigh up the pros and cons of width vs. weight and see which model best fits your needs.

Finding a comfortable lawn scarifier

Scarifiers do require a bit of user effort. They need to be manhandled around corners and can feel a bit lively sometimes too. See here for advice on how to use a lawn scarifier.

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 rather than a hefty, powerful model which is exhausting to manoeuvre.

Petrol Scarifer vs. Electric Scarifier

There are pros and cons to both petrol scarifiers and electric scarifiers

  • Petrol lawn 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 lawn scarifiers are quiet, lightweight and cost effective. They are great to use on small to medium lawns. Electric scarfiers 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 scarifier either. However, they’re not always as powerful as petrol scarifiers and you may find yourself restricted by the cord length.

Manual Lawn Scarifiers

A manual lawn scarifier is quiet, easy to store and doesn’t require any maintenance other than scrapping the rust off.

They’re great for tackling jobs on a small lawn and often work surprisingly well.

A simple lawn raker and a push-along aerator could also do a similar job to a manual lawn scarifier. You could even buy some aerating shoes that spike the grass as you walk around.

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Lawn Scarifier FAQs

What does a scarifier do?

A lawn scarifier is a tool designed to remove debris from your lawn, including dead moss and thatch. If debris is simply left to sit on the surface of your lawn, it can prevent rainwater from penetrating into the soil. Instead, it’ll sit on top of the surface – leading to a soggy lawn!

Scarifiers have steel blades which aerate the soil as debris is removed. A scarifier leaves small holes across your lawn, allowing more air and water to get into the grass and soil. While many gardeners use an aerator to achieve this result, aerators don’t remove nearly as much debris as scarifiers.

Is scarifying good for a lawn?

Yes, provided you don’t scarify your lawn too often, your lawn should look much healthier as a result of scarifying. 

However, the time of year is important to bear in mind, and you can cause a lot of damage to your lawn if you scarify it at a time when grass growth is minimal. 

For best results, scarify your lawn in late spring or early autumn. Scarifying too early or late in the year (when there’s the chance of a frost) can cause a lot of damage. 

It’s important to remember that your lawn may not look instantly better after scarifying. This does not mean it hasn’t worked, and after a few weeks of grass growth, your lawn will look a lot healthier. See here for advice on what to do after scarifying your lawn.

Are lawn scarifiers worth the effort?

Yes. The best lawn scarifier 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.

Does a lawn scarifier make a difference?

Yes. Scarifiers will keep your grass looking healthy and green for longer.

If you never scarify the lawn, weeds, grass clippings, moss and thatch, and of course 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.

How do I use a lawn scarifier?

 For best results (and the greenest lawn!), you should scarify once or twice a year.

  1. First, kill any live moss. This prevents the spores flying all over the garden and taking over. Use the best moss killer we recommend and wait until its gone brown.
  2. 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.
  3. For the first round, choose the highest setting on your lawn scarifier. Push it around just as if you were mowing the lawn.
  4. 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.
  5. Once you’ve pulled out the dead thatch you might find there’s little grass left! Now is the best time to use the best grass seed on your lawn.

When should you scarify your 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 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.

What is the difference between a lawn raker and a lawn scarifier?

The differences between a lawn rakers and a lawn scarifiers are very subtle. Lawn rakers are gardening tools designed to remove moss and thatch from lawns. The best lawn rake will promote healthy growth and can keep your garden looking neat.

A lawn scarifier will also remove moss, leaves and debris from the lawn, but their design gives them another benefit. While a lawn raker can comb through the grass, an electric scarifier or a petrol scarifier will have steel blades that cut the soil. This aerates the lawn, allowing it to breathe so nutrients can reach the soil beneath the grass.

Should you cut the grass before scarifying?

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 with a weeding tool.

Can you cut grass after scarifying? 

Scarifying your lawn is an invasive process, so you’ll need to help your lawn recover in the weeks following. You should first check you haven’t exposed any issues in scarifying your lawn, and remove any debris left behind.

Mowing your grass after scarifying is not going to damage it provided you cut at a higher setting than usual. This will help prevent damage to the less covered areas of lawn. 

However, for best results it’s recommended that you mow and feed your lawn before scarifying.

What to put on lawns after scarifying?

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 and winter 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.

How long does it take for scarified grass to heal?

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.

Is it worth buying a lawn scarifier?

The best lawn scarifiers can really improve both the appearance and health of your lawn. If weeds, grass clippings, moss and thatch are left on your lawn, the grass will eventually die. 

The good thing about scarifiers is that they are suitable for domestic use. The models I’ve recommended are generally compact, lightweight and easy to store, although larger options are available for bigger gardens. You’ll have the choice of either an electric or petrol powered model. 

Scarifiers aren’t expensive, yet the results they produce are very impressive. If you’re looking to improve the health of your garden and you’re prepared to scarify your lawn a couple of times a year, the initial cost will almost certainly be worth it.

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Lawn Scarifiers Price Comparison

Every day DIY Garden scans thousands of products to help you find the cheapest prices. Not only do we want to help you find the best products through our in-depth testing, but we also want to help you find the best places to buy them too. We’re working hard to expand our network of retailers, and will be continually adding in new options.

The Cheapest Lawn Scarifier Prices Found Today

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