Generate great grass with the best lawn scarifier

De-thatch your lawn and minimise moss with a specialist rake-style garden tool.

Best scarifiers

by Amy-Mae Turner |
Updated on

While a decent lawn mower is absolutely essential for maintaining any kind of lawn, other garden tools can greatly help you make your turf more healthy, like the best lawn scarifier. This tool will remove 'thatch' from your lawn, a suffocating lawn layer comprised of dead grass cuttings, fallen leaves, dead weeds, and that arch enemy of all lawn-lovers - moss. Thatch can get compacted into your lawn over time and stop rain, sunlight, and nutrients from getting to the soil below, in turn damaging your grass's roots.

Removing thatch can be a back-breaking job, so you need to find the best lawn scarifier to make the task less arduous. Used alongside a lawn aerator, a tool that creates small holes in your lawn to loosen the density of the turf to allow air and water to get to the grass's roots, a scarifier will keep your lawn looking lush. A scarifier can also prepare your lawn for grass fertiliser or a seasonal sprinkle of grass seed.

Best lawn scarifiers at a glance:

Best overall scarifier

BLACK+DECKER Electric Lawn Raker

Best roller scarifier

Gardena Combisystem Escarificador Vertical Cutter

Best electric scarifier

VonHaus Electric Lawn Scarifier, Aerator & Rake

Best traditional scarifier

Kent & Stowe 70100902 Long-Handled Scarifying Rake

Scarifiers come in many different forms. You can get petrol-powered, electric, cordless battery-powered versions, and of course, traditional manual options. Which type will suit your needs best basically comes down to the size of your lawn. There's no need to invest in a mower-style electric scarifier if your lawn is the size of a postage stamp, for example. For most average households a manual lawn scarifier will suffice, but take a look through our selection of different kinds of lawn scarifiers so you can find the best solution to suit you.

Best lawn scarifiers for your garden

Best overall scarifier

BLACK+DECKER lawn scarifier BLACK+DECKER/Amazon
Price: $325.73

BLACK+DECKER's 'Lawn Raker' might not bear the name, but does the same job as a push-along scarifier with the added bonus that it's powered by a 600 watt motor, taking the hard work out of the process.

This boasts a 30cm working width and can rake to three different heights, so you can start on the most severe setting and then give your lawn a more gentle going over after that.

To save the need for raking up afterwards, this machine has a front-mounted grass collection box that will keep all the thatch debris for you to dispose of in your green waste bin, or chuck on the compost heap.

Pros

  • This currently enjoys a 4.5-star Amazon rating from over 3,000 reviews
  • Electric-powered 600 watt motor makes this great for small to medium gardens

Cons

  • Reviewers suggest the grass box does require emptying often

Best roller scarifier

Gardena roller scarifier Gardena/Amazon
Price: $142.61

Part of Gardena's popular 'Combisystem' range of garden tools, this roller scarifier is a manual option that offers the benefit of a wheeled head to take the strain out of the scarification process.

This tool's head is equipped with a sturdy set of metal, blade-like, spring tines that are made of high-quality steel with a Duroplast coating for longevity.

This does require the separate purchase of a Combisystem handle, so something to keep in mind. There are various options to choose from including wood and aluminium handles, telescopic handles, and 'ErgoLine' ergonomic aluminium handles.

Pros

  • Roller design for less physical exertion
  • The blades have a Duroplast resin plastic coating to protect them

Cons

  • You will need to buy a Gardena Combisystem handle

Best electric scarifier

VonHaus lawn scarifier VonHaus/Amazon

We wouldn't recommend this VonHaus garden machine for anyone with a compact lawn, but if you're lucky enough to have a large lawn an electric scarifier is a savvy investment. This corded option has multi-tasking abilities - as well as scarifying, this can rake and aerate your lawn.

This comes with two interchangeable rotary roller blades that fit into the base of the machine to offer two different functionalities. Once fitted you simply squeeze the power trigger and push just like you would a mower. A 30-litre collection bag will catch the thatch and moss that's dug up.

This has a 32cm working width and four cutting depths, changed by a simple safety trigger, so you can choose the best working height. There's a height-adjustable handle and a 10-metre power cable.

Pros

  • Less hard work than using a manual lawn scarifier
  • Three-in-one aerating, scarifying and raking functionality

Cons

  • Needs to be used within reach of a power source

Best traditional scarifier

Kent & Stowe scarifier Kent & Stowe/Amazon

From well-respected garden tool brand Kent & Stowe comes this classic scarifier rake. This long-handled tool offers a traditional design with a wooden handle and a high-quality, polished stainless steel head.

The oscillating head offers 10 sharp tines spanning a 37cm width. The handle is made from FSC-approved ashwood. The handle's long length - 155cm - and tapered design eliminates the need for bending and makes it more comfortable to use.

We're not suggesting using this garden tool on a multi-acre plot, but if you're looking for a scarifier for annual or occasional use, this high-quality tool is great for small lawns.

Pros

  • Long, FSC-approved ash wood handle for great reach
  • Generous 37cm scarifying width for more coverage

Cons

  • Not suitable for larger lawns

Best two-in-one scarifier

Gardena rake Gardena/Amazon
Price: $75.00

This is another rake-style option from Gardena that offers handy two-in-one functionality with a double-sided head. The sharp tines on one side are designed to remove thatch and moss from your lawn, while the more rounded, closely spaced tines can be used for raking leaves, levelling gravel, and other garden tasks.

This tool's multi-tasking ability means you don't need two separate tools - saving space in your shed, garage, or greenhouse. In fact, this is even more space-saving as it's part of Gardena's Combisystem range in which one handle can be used on over 80 different tools including brushes, weeders, and hoes.

This has a 35cm working width and the tines are high-quality steel that have been galvanised and then given a thermoset coating.

Pros

  • Tines have been galvanised to protect them and prevent rust
  • Two-in-one functionality to save space in your shed

Cons

  • Not a lightweight option weighing at nearly one kilogram

Best cordless scarifier

Einhell Lawn Scarifier Einhell/Amazon

Einhell offers a standalone lawn scarifier that's battery-powered, so completely cordless. It uses one of Einhell's 18-volt Power X-Change batteries that can be used across the brand's power tool range, so great for anyone who has already bought into the system.

While at 28cm, this has a narrower cutting width than alternative tools, the brushless motor and electric power should make up for it. There are 12 rotating blades that can be adjusted to three different depths.

This is sold as a bare tool, so you'll need to buy the battery and charger separately. There are other optional extras you can purchase too - a debris collection bag and a lawn aerator roller - which you might find handy in your landscaping ventures.

Pros

  • Convenient cordless tool thanks to the Power X-Change rechargeable battery
  • Ability to adjust the scarification depth to suit your needs

Cons

  • Only offers a 28cm working width

Best budget scarifier

Darlac lawn scarifier Darlac/Amazon
Price: $43.27

If your lawn is well-maintained and relatively moss-free, experts suggest it should only need a scarification session once a year. There's no need to spend loads on such a tool then - opt for a budget-friendly version like this Darlac lawn scarifier.

This is a roller scarifier with a wheeled head to assist you as you move it around your lawn. The head has a row of sharp tines that are made from powder-coated steel for strength to tackle your lawn.

This tool has a telescopic handle with a simple twist-to-lock mechanism, extending from 97cm up to 1.5m so you can adapt the tool to the most comfortable working height to suit you.

Pros

  • This affordable tool is simple to use and compact to store
  • Telescopic handle with a simple twist-to-lock mechanism

Cons

  • Reviewers say it takes a bit of effort for best results

How we chose the best lawn scarifiers

All of these lawn scarifiers have been hand-selected by our team of Modern Gardens shopping experts. We carefully considered the design, functionality, and usability in our selection of the best. Our team has spent hours investigating and researching lawn scarifiers to make it easier for you to find the very best, and we'd never recommend a product we don't believe in.

Where possible, we also test and share the latest and best products you should know about. And with help from Modern Gardens Magazine, Garden News and Garden Answers, we share expert gardening knowledge to help you get the most from your product.

Different types of lawn scarifiers explained

Rake-style - The most simple type of scarifier is a rake-style tool. Compared to mower-style scarifiers these take up very little room in your outdoor storage space, but do require some physical effort to be used effectively.

Roller - A roller scarifier takes the rake principle with a row of tines and adds wheels, making these tools easier to push or pull around your lawn.

Petrol - We've chosen not to include petrol scarifiers as they are very bulky, loud, expensive, and not very eco-friendly. These kinds of scarifiers are more for professional use maintaining playing pitches and greens.

Electric - Electric scarifiers look like small lawn mowers and use corded power to operate. These are more effective than manual tools and some can also offer aerating capabilities too.

Cordless - Here at Modern Gardens we're big fans of cordless garden power tools. As with cordless lawn mowers, such a design means you don't have to worry about being close to a power socket - or cutting through the cable.

Ride-on mower attachments - Another option we haven't included in this list are scarifiers you can attach to the back of ride-on lawn mowers. This is because they are very niche, and expensive, but do be aware this is an option if you own a lawn tractor.

When should I scarify my lawn?

If your lawn is relatively well-maintained and you don't suffer from problem moss, once a year should be adequate. Over-scarifying your lawn can actually damage it. Experts recommend an annual scarification session in autumn to clear away thatch debris that will have accumulated over the summer months.

If your lawn is in need of maintenance, a spring scarification session might suit your needs if you're planning to fertilise and seed the lawn for the summer ahead. Clearing your lawn of thatch will give the fertiliser a chance to work its magic and the seeds better odds for germinating.

Make sure you mow your lawn before you scarify to make the job easier. It's advised to scarify in dry conditions, as when wet a scarifier's sharp tines could damage healthy lawn growth.

How do I get debris off my scarifier's tines?

Whether you call them tines, blades, prongs, or spikes, the pokey parts of your scarifier will inevitably get grubby. When it comes to cleaning, the most important consideration is safety - be very wary around any blades and consider wearing gardening gloves as extra protection.

If the debris on your scarifier's tines is dry, simply brush it off. You may need a damp cloth if there is a build-up of soil or mud. When the blades are clean you can give them a wipe down with blade or tool oil before putting your scarifier into storage.

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Amy-Mae Turner is a Commerce Content Writer for Modern Gardens, Yours, Take A Break Pets, and A Modern Kitchen. When she's not pottering in the garden or mucking around in the kitchen, she can be found having doggy cuddles with her two beloved cockapoochis.

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