How To Choose A Lawn Scarifier / Lawn Rake

We can’t tell you which Lawn Scarifier to buy, however we can help you to choose one.

Armed with a few basic pointers, you can easily select the right lawn scarifier to suit your garden and your budget.

The most popular scarifiers are electric. This is because the majority of domestic lawns are under 300 square metres and are only scarified once a year, so do not really warrant buying a petrol machine. I have seen some very basic electric scarifiers churn  through thick thatch on lawns 10 metres wide by 20 metres long, so they are more than man enough to do the job.

As with most things you get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money to get a reliable machine that will do the job. You just have to be aware of how much you are getting for your money. 

The Motor

The most expensive part on these machines is the motor. If you are getting a very powerful motor on a cheaper machine then ask yourself, Is the machine going to cover a large garden? therefore, Is that motor going to last? If your garden is quite large, then you would be wise to get a more powerful motor. Not because it will do a  better job, but because it will be able to withstand a longer running time when its under load (raking the lawn).

The Machine

You will usually find lawn scarifiers and aerating machines with interchangeable heads at the lower end of the market. Budget machines definitely have a place in your garden. Buy these models for light use only or if you have a small garden. The aerating drums have blades which make slits in the soil surface, these drums can take quite a pounding. If set too low or if the ground is particularly hard, a strain can be put on the machine if used for a long period of time.

Lawn scarifying/raking tines are usually angled prongs on springs, attached to the rotating drums combing out the loose thatch as it goes. They are designed to cope with soft moss and dead grass so avoid sticks and stones if you possibly can.

All machines come with a collection box, although useful, thatch is bulky stuff and will quickly fill the box. So the larger the box the better, the capacity of the box is measured in litres.

Most electric scarifiers come with a height adjustment facility. This enables the machine to go deeper into the grass to pull out more thatch. Useful, but not essential. Three levels of raking is sufficient.

A word of warning, when you start to scarify, test the machine on a piece of lawn first. Start the machine on the highest setting and lower the setting until it starts to pull the thatch out. You need to avoid the tines that pull out the thatch hitting the soil as this puts unnecessary pressure on the machine, shortening it’s life.

Scarifier Best Buys

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Just a Word on Scarifying

Lawn scarifying is one of the most important aspects of lawn care. Scarification is the removal of thatch (Old decaying grass) and moss from between the grass blades which have settled on the soil level. The removal of this material is important because it allows the lawn to breathe. Damp, rotting material attracts bacteria around the base of the blades of grass and disease can soon start to spread across the turf. Once the blanket of bad stuff is removed, it allows easy access for nutrients to penetrate the soil below.

The metal tines/blades on the drum of a scarifier spin round, pulling out the lose material from around the blades of grass. The lawn may look very bare once this has been removed but don’t worry the grass will soon spread and fill in the gaps. With any particularly bald areas, you can reseed.

Uneven Lawns can be a problem when scarifying as the machine spans a hollow and cant get to the ground below, if this happens use a metal tine rake to scratch out the missed areas.

Don’t be alarmed if you set to with your new scarifier and your lawn of once green appearance looks a brown balding mess with only a few blades of grass sticking up! It will recover, come back thicker than ever and be a lot healthier for it!


Aeration is a process of allowing gases to escape from the soil below your lawn and enabling nice fresh air to flow round the base of the grass. Aerating the soil can be done in two ways.

  • Slitting: This process uses blades to make slits in the soil surface.
  • Spiking: This process uses spikes to make thin holes in the lawn.

Both methods are acceptable ways of aerating. Aerating shoes are a useful addition to your lawn care armoury as they can be worn even when you’re cutting the lawn

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When is the Best Time to Scarify my Lawn?

Scarifying in the Autumn.

A lot of debris and dead grass can build up throughout the summer, it can be useful to remove this from your lawn, so that the turf does not spend the winter sitting in a stale damp environment.

Scarifying in the Spring.

The best time to scarify and renovate a lawn, is in the spring. The main reason for this, is the ability for the lawn to recover. The weather is warming up so the grass will be starting to grow and you will be thinking of applying a fertiliser, which after scarification, will make it’s way to the soil quickly where it is needed. Damp winters will provide a good environment for moss to grow. Killing the moss in the spring with Lawn Sand, then removing it with a scarifier will certainly give your lawn a great start.


Well known brands like Bosch, Black and Decker and Flymo are safe bets. They are very competitively priced and have a quality build. In fact, these manufacturers all have machines in the Best Seller List. 

If you have a small lawn and don’t want to house another machine, the Wolf Garten Hand Rolling Moss Remover is a surprisingly efficient tool. In fact, in our test, it removed as much as the electric machines, albeit with a little more effort.

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Moss Busting Products