Looking for a scarifier to improve the health of your lawn?
In this buyer’s guide, we’ve reviewed the 5 best lawn scarifiers you can buy in the UK right now.
We’ve compared each option based on its quality, ease of use, durability, and value for money.
Quick comparison table
Best lawn scarifiers
Let’s begin our reviews.
In this section, we’ve looked at the 5 best lawn scarifiers and rakers for sale in 2021.
The Bosch ALR 900 is a great all-rounder if you’re looking for a scarifier that just gets the job done.
For the price, this raker offers great value. Despite not being too expensive, it offers a 32cm working width, making it quite efficient, and a large 50L grass box that you won’t find yourself having to empty very often.
The cutting heights on offer are also pretty good. You can set it to scarify below the surface, as deep as -5mm, or just collect surface debris with the tines at +10mm high. No matter what you have it set to, this scarifier does a great job removing thatch and other debris such as fallen leaves.
As you’d expect from Bosch, this is a pretty sturdy scarifier – it comes with a 2-year warranty for peace of mind when buying. However, the grass box is a little flimsy.
Overall, if you need a quality scarifier for a medium-sized lawn, the Bosch ALR 900 is definitely worth checking out.
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2. Darlac DP888
If you have a very small lawn, or are on a limited budget, this hand held scarifier is probably a better choice.
Don’t let its looks deceive you – although the DP888 seems a little puny, it does a great job aerating and dethatching your lawn. Even if you have a thick thatch or moss buildup, the powder-coated steel blades on this scarifier are very effective.
For ease of use, the handle is actually telescopic. This means you can adjust it to a height that works for you, and store the raker away in tight spots when not in use. The handle is also easy to adjust – you simply twist the handle and lock it into place – no screws required. You can even adjust the depth of the blades in the cassette by changing the angle of the handle.
Surprisingly, despite not have a motor, this scarifier isn’t that difficult to push. It’s easy to use, but we wouldn’t recommend it for large gardens, or if you have limited mobility. It takes more energy to use than an electric or petrol scarifier.
What’s more, this lawn raker is very reasonably priced, because it’s a relatively simple bit of kit.
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This lawn raker is small enough that you might think it doesn’t have an engine. But it actually does – there is a tiny 600W motor inside Black & Decker’s raker.
Essentially, if you want something simple and cheap to clean up a moss problem without having to rake your lawn manually, then this lawn raker is worth looking at.
It doesn’t have a true grass box – there’s a basket instead, which does mean that some thatch can escape as you rake. And this device doesn’t scarify your lawn – it only rakes it. This means it doesn’t aerate the ground or reduce compaction.
However, it is very cheap, and has a good range of height adjustment settings. It’s also quite small, which makes it very manoeuvrable.
For minor thatch issues on small lawns, this raker gets the job done.
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This is another mid-budget electric lawn scarifier that offers a lot of value, given what it costs.
Despite the reasonably low price, you get a 38cm working width, and 14 quite tough steel blades. This scarifier does a great job aerating and clearing debris from your lawn. As it rakes up moss and fallen leaves, they go into a 55L catcher box – which is quite a good level of capacity for the price of this scarifier.
Part of the reason this lawn raker is so efficient is the 1300W motor. This is a decent amount of power, especially for such a lightweight lawn raker. AL-KO have also included a 12m power cable, rather than a shorter 10m one, which is a nice touch.
As we touched on above, the Comfort 38E is quite light. This makes it manoeuvrable, and easy to use, but does lead to a slightly flimsy feel. You may want to invest in a petrol scarifier if you want something more sturdy.
There are more durable lawn scarifiers on the market. However, you are unlikely to find any at this price.
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For those with larger lawns who want the best scarifier possible, this option from Feider is worth considering.
The FST212 is a petrol-powered lawn scarifier. It comes with a 4-stroke 212cc engine, which produces 3 horsepower, and a 3.6 litre fuel tank.
This is quite an expensive scarifier. However, unlike the electric rakers we’ve looked at so far, you don’t have to keep it plugged in when in use, making it much better for those with medium to large sized gardens.
As you’d expect at this price, this scarifier does a fantastic job dethatching your lawn. It’s very efficient, as it has a 45cm working width, and comes with a good range of height adjustment settings, from -15 to +5mm.
Plus, the FST212 is very durable. It feels very sturdy, because it’s made mostly of steel, and comes with a 5-year warranty. You won’t have to worry about this scarifier feeling flimsy, or breaking as you use it.
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How to choose a lawn scarifier
In this part, we’ll explain what you need to know when choosing a lawn raker or scarifier for your grass.
What exactly does a lawn scarifier do?
Essentially, a scarifier helps to make your lawn healthier.
It does this by removing debris, such as moss, fallen leaves, and thatch, from the surface of your lawn. The scarifier essentially combs the lawn, picking up anything that could be restricting the grass from growing.
By removing this debris, you’re allowing sunlight and warmth better access to reach the roots of the lawn, allowing your grass to grow more easily.
Scarifiers also work to aerate the lawn. Their metal blades make small, shallow incisions into the ground, reducing compaction and allowing your lawn to breath. In saying this, specialised lawn aerators will do a better job at aerating specifically, as they can penetrate the ground much more deeply.
And finally, good scarifiers will also cut the stolons, which are lateral shoots of grass that grow just below the ground, encouraging better grass growth. The end result: a thicker, lusher lawn.
What type of lawn scarifier do I need?
There are three broad types of lawn scarifiers and rakers you can buy right now.
- Manual hand held scarifiers. These are the most simple type of scarifier. You basically get two wheels, the scarifying blades, and a long handle. Then you just push to rake your lawn. Hand held scarifiers are great if you want a basic, inexpensive, hassle-free way of making your lawn look nicer. For small gardens, they’re great. However, they will take a long time to scarify medium and large lawns, and they require a decent amount of effort to use – especially since they’re often quite small (and don’t scarify much ground with each pass).
- Electric scarifiers. Electric scarifiers are probably the most common type in the UK right now. They offer a good all-round package: they’re relatively efficient and easy to use, while still being reasonably priced. Typically, electric scarifiers are powered with a 10-12 metre mains power cord, rather than a battery. Unlike on a manual lawn scarifier, you can change out the cassette on an electric option, if it ever happens to break or become blunt.
- Petrol scarifiers. If your lawn is larger than 100 square metres, you might want to invest in a petrol scarifier. Although they’re quite expensive, and can be a little noisy, they’re the best type of scarifier, especially if you’re looking for maximum efficiency. Petrol scarifiers aren’t the best for beginners, but if you know your stuff, they can’t be beaten.
Working depth explained
Similar to a lawn mower’s cutting height, lawn scarifiers will come with different working depth settings.
Basically, the deeper your thatch buildup, the deeper you will want your scarifier to penetrate. Having depths from -10 (below the surface) to +10mm (above the surface) is fairly typical on electric or petrol scarifiers.
Also look at how easy the depth adjustment is on a given lawn scarifier, before buying it. If you plan to adjust the working depth often, you don’t want it to be a difficult process.
What working width do I need?
Like lawn mowers, scarifiers come with different working widths.
The smaller your lawn, the smaller the width you’ll need. This is why manual hand held scarifiers are smaller. They need to be more nimble to manage smaller gardens.
However, if you have a larger lawn, you’ll want a wider cutting width, of 35-40cm or more, to make scarifying a more efficient process.
Is a lawn raker the same as a scarifier?
The terms lawn raker and lawn scarifier are often used interchangeably. In fact, scarifiers are often advertised as lawn rakers as well.
Here’s what the two terms mean.
In simple terms, lawn scarifiers cut into the ground and aerate your lawn, while lawn rakers do not. While scarifiers have steel blades, that can make shallow incisions into the ground, lawn rakes typically have a plastic cylinder with metal tines. While the two both remove debris in a similar way, a raker is more focused on just combing the lawn. Lawn rakes won’t cut the grass shoots, meaning they won’t make your grass grow thicker like a scarifier can.
If you’re just looking to clear moss and thatch buildup from your grass, then a lawn raker will do the job. However, if you really want your lawn to look great, and think that aeration could help with your soil, then it’s worth going for a scarifier instead.
If you see something advertised as both a raker and a scarifier, then you can just assume that it’s a scarifier, since scarifiers also rake the ground.
Is it worth buying a lawn scarifier?
You might be wondering at the end of this whether or not you really need a lawn scarifier. Could the job be done with a manual rake instead?
While you can clear a lot of moss with a rake, a scarifier is going to do a much better job, especially if you have a lot of thatch as well. Electric scarifiers make the job much more easy as well.
At some stage, nearly every lawn is going to benefit from being scarified. It’s just a question of whether now is the right time to clear all the debris, or if there’s not enough for it to be worth doing just yet.
When should I scarify my lawn?
The best way to tell when your lawn needs scarifying is to look for thatch buildup. When it gets bad, you’ll want to clear the debris to allow your lawn to breath.
You want to use your scarifier when your lawn is not too wet, but not too dry. If the lawn is too wet, you can do considerable damage to it by scarifying the grass. But if there’s not enough moisture, the scarifier might not do the best job dethatching your lawn.
Avoid using your scarifier in the winter. When the ground is hard, this can also do damage to your lawn if you begin raking it.