Scarifying your lawn in spring and autumn removes excessive thatch, encourages the grass to thicken and allows nutrients to reach the roots.
Best Overall Lawn Scarifier
Scarifiers can also be used to remove moss. Combined with top dressing, fertilising and overseeding, scarifying will help your lawn achieve its full potential.
Best Cheap Lawn Scarifier
Lawn Scarifier Buying Guide 2020
Scarifiers are either petrol, electric or manually powered and which you choose will depend on the type and size of your lawn and your budget.
A good scarifier will have steel blades that penetrate and aerate the soil whereas other machines are designed more as powered rakers or moss removers. Some have interchangeable cassettes allowing several functions.
Choosing a lawn scarifier
Manual scarifiers are ideal for small to medium sized lawns or for problem areas on larger lawns. They are cheap and save much of the hard work and time of using a rake.
They are usually two-wheeled machines with telescopic handles, are easy to store and require very little maintenance.
They still require some effort to use though and don’t always have collection boxes so you may want to consider a powered scarifier. An option worth considering is a 3-in-1 hand-push lawn mower, scarifier and aerator.
If you have a medium to large sized lawn, or you find the effort of pushing a manual machine too much, an electric scarifier is a good option.
The powered action makes them easy to push and, if you buy a model with a collection box, you won’t have any raking to do afterwards.
If you don’t have a convenient electrical supply or prefer not to have leads trailing around, there are various cordless electric scarifiers available which run on rechargeable Li-ion batteries.
Some electric machines have wire tines rather than blades making them ideal for removing moss. They are less effective as scarifiers as they do not penetrate the soil.
This can be overcome by buying a model with interchangeable cassettes – wire tines for moss removal and blades for scarifying. If you have a bumpy lawn, swinging rather than fixed blades could be a better option.
Electric machines are generally good value for money, but some cheaper models have plastic raking heads which are only suitable for very light use.
For very large lawns petrol machines are ideal. They are less tiring to use and the additional power enables heavy build-ups of thatch to be removed more easily.
A good petrol model with sharp blades is essential for high quality, ornamental turf where a cheaper machine might cause unsightly damage.
The downside of petrol machines is that they are noisy, not environmentally friendly and require regular maintenance.
Features to look out for
• Blade height adjustment – varies from no adjustment to 4 or 5 settings.
• Adjustable handles – more comfortable to use and, if foldable, easier to store.
• Working width – wider machines are better for larger lawns.
• Collection bag – if you don’t have one, you’ll have lots of raking to do. If your lawn is large a big bag makes life easier.