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Home & garden.

Updated: 22 Apr 2022

Best lawn rakers and scarifiers

Our garden experts have tested a selection of lawn rakers and scarifiers to see which models promote lush and healthy turf. Plus, we run down all you need to know about raking and scarifying your lawn.
Rebecca Jakeman

When it comes to buying a lawn raker or scarifier, you'll be looking for a tool that's easy to use and well-equipped for treating lawns. Our testing reveals the best lawn rakers and scarifiers you can buy.

The Which? garden experts have been hard at work putting lawn rakers and scarifiers through their paces. While some models will banish thatch for good, others are a pain to use.

To see which lawn rakers and scarifiers will leave your garden looking pristine, we tested some over the course of several months.

In total, we tested eight electric machines: three for raking only, and five that rake and scarify. At our test site, our grass experts used each machine on two lawns. One had a build-up of thatch and debris, while the other was mossy and treated with a lawn mosskiller before the test started. We recorded the time it took to cover each test site, weighed the material removed, and rated the machines effectiveness.


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Best lawn rakers and scarifiers

Below are the top two-in-one lawn rakers and scarifiers from our tests (meaning they can be used both to rake and scarify). Scroll down for the full results table for our winners, plus how other rakers and scarifiers performed.

Only logged-in Which? members can access our recommendations below. If you’re not already a member, join Which? to get instant access to all our reviews

 ModelOverall ratingRake: moss removalRake: thatch removalCollection box capacityScarifier: moss removalScarifier: thatch removalEase of use
84%
81%
68%
57%
52%
Overall score: Ignores price and is based on: ease of use 40%; moss removal 30%; thatch removal ability 30%. The removal scores take account of removal speed, weight of material removed, short-term effectiveness, long-term effectiveness and the collection-box capacity for each material.

Best lawn rakers

Scroll down to see the full information on how three different brands of rakers performed in our tests. These models work only as rakers without scarifying features.

Only logged-in Which? members can access our recommendations below. If you’re not already a member, join Which? to get instant access to all our reviews.

ModelOverall test scoreRake: moss removalRake: thatch removalCollection box capacityEase of use
72%
71%
48%
Overall score: Ignores price and is based on: ease of use 40%; moss removal 30%; thatch removal ability 30%. The removal scores take account of removal speed, weight of material removed, short-term effectiveness, long-term effectiveness and the collection-box capacity for each material.

How we test lawn rakers and scarifiers

For each lawn raker and scarifier we test, we pay close attention to the features that matter the most, to ensure you get good value for money.

To help us highlight the best lawn rakers and scarifiers money can buy, we paid close attention to each of the following:

  • Speed - How quickly the machines can pull moss or thatch from turf
  • Effectiveness - How much moss or thatch was removed and how well it was collected
  • Short-term effects - How free from moss and thatch the grass looked
  • Long-term effects - How dense and healthy the grass grew
  • Convenience - How easy the machine is to move and operate

Need a new lawn mower but not sure where to start? See our lawn mower reviews to see which brand could work for you.


What are lawn rakers and scarifiers used for?

A lawn covered in dead grass clippings or suffering a build-up of moss can benefit from having a lawn raker or scarifier run across it.

Beneath the green blades of your grass there's a hidden layer of thatch, which is made up of grass clippings, flattened stems, shoots, moss and weeds. Thatch is a normal part of grass turf, but too much thatch will leave your lawn feeling soft and spongey. A soft lawn can feel nice to walk on, but these conditions impede drainage and prevent air from reaching the base of the grass. 

The best lawn rakers and scarifiers are able to effectively pull moss and thatch from the ground, which helps your lawn breathe again. 

Using a lawn raker

They can cut the lateral shoots (stolons) of grass, encouraging these to root and create new grass plants, making your lawn thicker and more lush.

Scarifiers also cut into the soil, creating slices that help to aerate it and reduce compaction. 

Raker vs. scarifier - what's the difference?

Both of these machines look a bit like lawn mowers, but they function in a slightly different way.

  1. Lawn rakers feature a plastic cylinder lined with sprung metal tines, capable of combing the lawn, pulling out moss, thatch and horizontal grass stalks.
  2. Lawn scarifiers have knife blades attached to their cylinders, making them well-suited for removing moss and thatch. On the lowest setting, you can use a lawn scarifier to cut into the soil to help aerate it. Scarifiers give a cleaner cut to grass stolons than a raker, which tends to rip and tear them apart.

Electric lawn rakers and scarifiers

Rather than making use of horizontal spinning blades, electric lawn rakes and scarifiers use cylindrical rollers. These bear tines or vertical blades that rotate down into the grass.

We've seen some models that come with both blades and rollers, which means you can choose between regular raking or a yearly scarification.

Lawn raker and scarifier rollers

When is the best time to rake or scarify your lawn?

Raking and scarifying your lawn can have great long-term benefits, but can also be a somewhat aggressive lawn treatment, so it's important not to overdo it or do it at the wrong time of year.

For the best results, we recommend raking your lawn every couple of months during the growing season. 

And if you want to scarify your lawn, we suggest using a lawn scarifier once a year, ideally in autumn or spring.

Raking by hand

If you're on a budget, you might consider raking your lawn by hand. Doing so saves you some money, but our tests have found that electric lawn rakers are far more effective.

Comparing a manual rake and electric raker

When we pitted our electric lawn rakers against a manual rake, the electric version was quicker and easier to use. Not only is raking by hand strenuous work, but we've found that it's less effective in terms of removing moss. It takes far longer than a machine, too.

Still want to rake by hand? A wheelbarrow could help you transport the load. Jump over to our how to buy the best wheelbarrow guide