Best Lawn Scarifier Review for UK Gardens
Best Lawn Scarifier – Updated from my initial 2020 review, in this guide, I’ve checked out the best lawn scarifiers (which come inclusive of lawn rakers) for the UK gardener.
If you’ve come across this article and you’re in the US, then you’d very likely be more interested in this post:
Do note that all of the following scarifiers are electrically powered.
If you have a large-sized lawn you would likely benefit more from a petrol-powered scarifier. I’ve reviewed the best petrol lawn scarifiers for the UK gardener.
So, let’s get straight to the meat and potatoes!
(Incidentally, this post contains links to products. Please make the assumption that at least some of the links may result in earning commissions. Thank you.)
Best Lawn Scarifiers (UK)
VonHaus 2 in 1 Lawn Scarifier – 1500W / 1800W Corded-Electric Garden Lawn Rake with 4 Working Depths & 10m Power Cable
VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Scarifier Review
Kicking off our best lawn scarifier reviews we have the electrically powered VonHaus 2-in-1 Lawn Scarifier/ Garden Rake.
It’s easy, convenient, and efficient to use. It’s plenty powerful enough with the 1500W output or the 1800W output, whichever model you prefer.
The VonHaus Scarifier/ Lawn Rake has a metal frame while the body is made from durable plastic. No bad thing because it’s lightweight (8.5kg or 9.9kg).
The VonHaus will remove thatch, moss, leaves and various other lawn debris. Simultaneously, with the scarifying drum attached, it perforates the soil below your lawn which promotes healthier growth of the grass.
It comes with an interchangeable drum: The change over from scarifier to lawn rake is easily achieved. Plus, you get a collection box with a 28-litre capacity with the 1500W model and a 55-litre capacity collection box with the 1800W model. So you don’t have to rake up after the main project is complete. Instead, dump everything from the collection box into your compost bin.
You get a 38cm working width with the VonHaus scarifier/ raker and that makes it ideal for the smaller to mid-sized lawn. There’s a manual lever that allows you to choose between five variable operational heights for scarifying: -12mm, -9mm, -6mm, -3mm, and +6mm.
The handle is height adjustable making it easy on the back even for the taller folks among us.
The grass box is, obviously, removable and the soft-grip handle is foldable which makes this scarifier/ lawn raker convenient to store. It comes with a built-in carry handle, too.
The VonHaus comes with a 10-metre power cord. Long enough for the smaller-sized lawn, though an extension will likely be required for something bigger or a lawn that’s distant from the garage/ home.
There’s assembly instructions included. The VonHaus comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Additionally, the VonHaus scarifier does have spare drums available should your current drum become damaged.
Working depths 5 positions: -12mm, -9mm, -6mm, -3mm, and +6mm.
VonHaus 2 in 1 Lawn Scarifier Pros and Cons
- Nice price.
- Lightweight but durable build.
- Doubles up as scarifier and lawn raker.
- Performs extremely well.
- Variable scarifying depth settings to suit.
- No manual raking necessary since there’s a debris collection box attached.
- Spare drums available.
- If any it would be that the power cord is only 10 metres long. Mind you, this length of power cord is pretty standard.
Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker
Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker Review
Though the Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker does not lay claim to being a lawn scarifier, it actually is and it works pretty much as a 2-in-1 lawn rake/ lawn scarifier. Perhaps it’s the ‘Verti Cutter’ bit that actually means ‘lawn scarifier’. I don’t know.
But, anyway, yes, the Bosch AVR does both jobs – scarifies your lawn and rakes your lawn, too.
It’s a bit costlier than the other two scarifiers/ lawn rakers reviewed up above. But there’s good reason for that. And it’s not just because Bosch is a household brand.
It’s fast. You get fast and complete collection of the moss and the thatch that’s in your lawn.
The combination of the ‘Jet-Collect system’ and the 1100W Powerdrive motor ensures that verticutting is speedy and there’s no tool blockage.
It comes with a collection box of no less than 50 litres – less trips to the compost bin.
If you know about vibration emission values, the Bosch is rated at ah: 2.5 m/s², uncertainty K: 1.5 m/s². In essence, it has an A-rated noise level so it operates quietly (perfect for early Sunday morning use, then 😉 ).
The drum, which comes with 14 rotating BOR stainless steel blades and airflow inlets work in removing the thatch and moss fast. These blades also remove weeds.
The collection box is stackable (removable) and the handle is foldable for easier storage.
It weighs just 9.9 kg so it’s a pretty mobile piece of equipment.
Working width is 32cm and the Bosch AVR has four variable blade settings: -10mm, -5mm, 0mm, and +5mm.
The Bosch AVR comes with a 2-year warranty.
Spare blades are available and come in packs of ten.
Working depths 4 positions: -10mm, -5mm, 0mm, and +5mm.
Warranty: 2 years.
Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker Pros and Cons
- As one user put it: “The Bosch AVR Verti Cutter Lawn Raker is fiendishly efficient”.
- Lightweight but durable build.
- Doubles up as scarifier and lawn raker.
- Performs extremely well.
- Variable scarifying depth settings to suit – four different settings.
- No manual raking necessary since there’s a 50-litre debris collection box attached.
- Warranty: 2 years.
- Spare blades are available.
- Power cord again… it is only 10 metres/ 30 feet long.
- It’s quite a lot pricier than the two lawn scarifiers/ rakers reviewed above.
BLACK+DECKER 600W 30cm Lawn Raker GD-300
BLACK+DECKER 600W Lawn Raker GD-300 Review
The Black+Decker 600W 30cm Lawn Raker is not, in fact, a scarifier. However, like the Bosch above, the B+D GD-300 does a good job of removing thatch as well as moss from the lawn.
What’s more, because the B+D Lawn Raker is such a popular choice I simply had to include it here.
And what’s even more is that the B+D Lawn Raker is priced extremely competitively. You certainly get great bang for your buck when you invest in this little machine.
The motor may not seem to be so powerful in comparison to the other scarifiers/ lawn rakers reviewed up above. However, have no doubt that the B+D will perform extremely well even on lawns with excessive thatch and moss build-up.
It has a 30cm raking width which makes it suited to the small and perhaps also the medium-sized lawn.
There are three raking heights: -2mm, +3mm, and +8mm. To adjust the height you need to adjust the rear wheel. Here’s a video demonstrating how you do that.
If you watched the video above you would have noticed that, unlike the other three lawn scarifiers/ rakers reviewed here, the Black+Decker 600W 30cm Lawn Raker has a front-loading grass box. Actually, a front loader like this makes it a little easier when it comes to disposal. I always found that back-loading collection boxes are fiddly to get off and back on again.
The front-loading collection box has a capacity of 30 litres.
The machine’s safety ‘lock-off’ switch is relatively commonplace on electric-powered lawnmowers. Simply speaking, the safety switch turns off the power whenever you let go of the handle.
The GD-300 is a lightweight machine, weighing in at only 7kg. That makes it the lightest lawn scarifier that we’ve reviewed here.
The handle folds down so it’s easy to store away when the work is complete.
Raking width, as mentioned in the title, is 30cm. Makes this little raker suitable for a small or perhaps a mid-sized lawn.
The power cord is as standard: 10m/ 30 feet in length.
Are spare parts available for the GD-300 Black+Decker 600W?
Yes, there’s a whole bunch of spare parts over on the partsshopdirect.co.uk website.
Working depths 3 positions: -2mm, +3mm, and +8mm.
Warranty: 1 year.
Black+Decker 600W 30cm Lawn Raker Pros and Cons
- Extremely competitive price.
- Very lightweight build (7kg) but still nicely durable.
- Performs extremely well at raking but can also be used for scarifying.
- Variable raking depth settings to suit – three different settings.
- No manual raking necessary since there’s a 30-litre debris collection box attached at the front.
- Spare blades are available.
- Power cord again… it is only 10 metres/ 30 feet long.
What is a Lawn Scarifier? What Does a Lawn Scarifier Do?
A lawn scarifier, which some people call a ‘dethatcher’, is a tool that works in cutting through the soil beneath your lawn. This action helps to remove moss and other stuff called thatch – thatch being made up of grass cuttings.
The scarifier, which can be electrically powered, petrol-powered, or manually ‘powered’, likewise helps in aerating the soil. In turn, this makes your lawn a healthier lawn, it reduces the number of weeds, and it keeps your lawn looking good.
If you do not scarify your lawn and if there’s a build-up of moss and dead grass clippings, rainwater cannot penetrate the soil below. Instead, the rainwater sits on top of your lawn. Over time, this action will have your lawn looking very poor, and it may die off altogether.
Furthermore, with excess surface moisture, it’s a likely cause of more moss growth. A lawn full of moss is not an attractive lawn.
How to Use a Lawn Scarifier
Before you use the lawn scarifier get rid of any moss or debris.
How do you achieve this goal?
Use a moss killer. Spread the moss killer over your lawn, paying heed to the instructions.
Why do you need to kill off the moss before scarifying?
Because, if you choose to do otherwise, you’ll spread moss spores all over your garden when you begin to scarify the lawn.
After scarifying your lawn, make an application of grass seed.
You may not need to do this but if your lawn looks a bit tired after scarifying then it will more than likely benefit from some new life.
Once the seed is down, cover it over using a blend of sharp sand and good quality compost. This will provide the grass seed with protection while it germinates.
Providing that the weather is amenable, within a week to two weeks, your lawn will be looking a lot better.
Best Lawn Scarifier – When Should I Scarify My Lawn?
If you don’t time the scarifying right, you’ll be left with a horrendous-looking lawn for months to come. Plus, the wrong timing can damage the grass.
This is why you should scarify your lawn at a time that it will likely be able to fully recover more rapidly. That means sun, warm weather, and rain. It does not mean too hot, too dry, or too cold. In other words, you want ideal growing conditions so that your lawn will recover quickly.
In the springtime and/ or the autumn, it’s a good time to carry out some light scarifying and removal of moss. In the UK, that would likely mean in April when things are beginning to warm up.
Avoid doing this in the summer months as sometimes (emphasis on ‘sometimes’ given that the UK weather is so unpredictable) because growth can be slow due to the heat and lack of rain.
Autumn is a good time for light scarifying (also for deep scarifying – see below) and moss removal from your lawn. Autumn, for our purposes, would mean late August through to the end of September, prior to when the cold weather sets in.
If the thatch and/ or moss is heavy in your lawn and it requires deeper scarification then go for autumn – as mentioned above, ideally late August or in September.
If you deep scarify (or deep rake) the lawn will be depleted to a serious level. The soil will then be exposed in numerous areas.
In turn, what you have here is a perfect seedbed. A perfect seedbed for overseeding with grass seed, yes. But also a perfect seedbed for weeds to get a hold.
This is an intensive treatment and by confining it to late August or September there are fewer weed seeds floating around than at alternative times of the year.
So, if you do the deep stuff in spring, for example, while you will successfully remove the moss and thatch, you’ll simply be replacing it with weeds.
Notwithstanding, springtime can, in fact, be a good time to deep scarify:
- If you were unable to deep scarify during the prior autumn – maybe the weather was bad – it’s better to do it in the following spring. If you continually put it off, the problem will become worse.
- When the lawn is partly or completely shaded. During the winter months, a shaded lawn becomes a thinner lawn. In the spring, a shaded lawn will thicken. If you opt for autumn scarification your lawn is going to suffer throughout the winter and may not recover.
- Your lawn grows beneath trees. First, trees cause shade. Second, deciduous trees experience leaf fall in autumn. The fallen leaves tend to reduce the health and vigour of the grass unless those leaves are raked off immediately. Nevertheless from late March through April, the leaves are just beginning to grow and thus your lawn enjoys maximum light.
Making Your Lawn Ready for Scarifying ( Raking)
Making plans ahead of time is important. The lawn should be short and it should be dry for scarifying (or raking) to work at its best. This means you should cut mow your lawn a week or two in advance to reduce the height of the grass.
By doing this air penetrates the turf better and that helps to dry it out.
If there are weeds in your lawn, get rid of them manually. Don’t be tempted to use weedkiller. When you scarify after using weedkiller the process of ‘killing’ is disrupted. Plus, if you do overseed after scarifying, if there’s weedkiller still on/ in the soil, it can kill the grass seed.
Scarifying, though, does help to kill off some creeping weeds.
Finally, the soil beneath your lawn needs to be moist, but not overly so.
If it’s too moist and the ground is soft or it’s too dry so the ground is hard, either you’ll want to wait it out until there’s an improvement to the conditions, you can manually assist improvement – use a sprinkler if the ground is too dry, or you’ll have to avoid doing any scarification for now.
One day prior to scarifying your lawn mow it short but avoid scalping the grass.
If the grass is long it makes the scarifying process much more difficult because there’s additional resistance and a lot more cleaning up to do.
Often scarifying during an afternoon is best policy. That’s because the dew on the grass is now gone and the conditions are dry.
Best Lawn Scarifier – What You Need to Know About Scarifiers
If you do decide to scarify your lawn, your lawn will not only last longer but it will look better year-round.
For those more thatched, rougher-looking lawns, a more powerful scarifier is in order.
That said, here are a few tips to help you to choose the best lawn scarifier for your needs.
The longer the teeth/ blades are the better it is for your lawn.
However, I remember when I first ‘overhauled’ a large, very well kept lawn, and it was in such a mess I thought the owner was going to kill me. Fact is that the blades on the machine I used were very long and the work was extremely thorough.
Is, or was, that a bad thing?
Not at all. Even though the lawn looked horrendous, the owner was very pleased that I’d done such a thorough job.
The grass does grow back, given time. And because all of that thatch and possible also moss is now a thing of the past, that lawn will likely look as good as it has ever done.
Thus, you want a scarifier that has quality blades that are of a decent length. Tempered or stainless steel blades are going to outlast plastic blades by a long shot.
For some scarifiers, replacement blades are available. Do be sure that you can get spare blades for the scarifier you choose.
When you remove the dead moss and the thatch from your lawn the blades do not have to go deep. Really, it’s more a matter of ‘tickling’ the surface so that the thatch and the moss are pulled out.
Nevertheless, with deeper blades, the lawn is aerated. In turn, oxygen and rainwater better penetrate the grass which is healthy. So, with this in mind, it’s best that you can adjust the height of the scarifier’s blades/ teeth. Make sure the scarifier/ raker you get comes with an option to adjust blade height.
Width of Action
For the larger-sized lawn, you’ll definitely want a wider scarifier. Otherwise, you’ll be back and forward all day long with little time even for a tea break.
Wider scarifier width more than likely means that you get a heavier machine. Worth bearing in mind.
There’s a lot of manoeuvering a scarifier. You go back and forward. You go around tight corners. You likely have to avoid certain obstacles on your lawn – that whirlygig clothes drier, for example.
It’s easier to handle a scarifier where the handlebar is the right height for you. Make sure that the scarifier you get comes with an adjustable handlebar because that’s going to make life a whole lot easier and your back will thank you for it later.
Source of Power
The first scarifier I used way back in the day was a petrol-driven beast of a thing. Even though I was a whole lot younger back then than now, it was tough going because that monster was fit for the heavyweight category.
The most popular scarifiers these days are electric. That’s good because it means they are much lighter than their petrol-driven counterparts.
Electric lawn scarifiers are suited to lawns that are small to medium-sized. And while they will not be able to penetrate the ground quite as deeply as petrol-driven scarifiers, they still do a terrific job of extracting thatch and moss from the grass. All with minimal effort where you’re concerned.
Furthermore, electric-powered scarifiers are quieter to operate than petrol models. Plus, they don’t need much maintenance, if any, really. Then, you can avoid emissions with an electric scarifier.
There is a time and a place for a petrol scarifier: It’s a better alternative than an electric scarifier for larger-sized lawns and when more aeration is called for.
How would you know if more aeration is a requirement? The lawn will likely not be looking much like a lawn. Rather, it will probably be made up of weeds, moss, and thatch rather than grass. As mentioned, petrol scarifiers scarify more deeply than electric and that’s what you’d need in this situation.
Petrol scarifiers are noisier than electric. You may want to wear ear protection. Additionally, there’s more maintenance involved with the petrol scarifier: Changing the oil filter, cleaning the spark plugs, and, of course, refilling the petrol tank.
Feeling energetic? If so, and if your lawn is small, a hand-propelled scarifier may be just the ticket.
For obvious reasons, hand-propelled scarifiers are particularly quiet. They are very light so, they are easy to maneuver. And they don’t call for any maintenance, besides cleaning before putting away.
If you do opt for a manual scarifier, you may want to consider getting some spiked aerating shoes to go along with it. These shoes, while somewhat limited in scope, help to aerate the grass and they successfully achieve this goal by wearing them when you’re busy with your scarification task.
Can I Not Achieve the Same Goal With a Garden Rake?
Yes, you could scarify your lawn with a garden rake – to some extent. But, unless your lawn is very small, it’s real hard work. And, more importantly, scarifiers reach deeper into the soil below the lawn.
This is what you want because it aerates the soil and the lawn. This is certainly a worthy goal to achieve because it will have your lawn looking like new.
A rake is never going to be able to achieve the same objective as a dedicated lawn scarifier.
Best Lawn Scarifier – What is the Difference Between a Lawn Scarifier and a Lawn Rake?
Some folks refer to scarifying the lawn as de-thatching.
That’s because scarifying removes that from the lawn and to do that it relies on vertical blades. Depending on the size of your lawn, you can use a powered scarifying machine to do the work or you can use a hand-held tool. For obvious reasons, if your lawn is large, using a hand-held tool to scarify would be a huge task – and a task that would likely take weeks to complete.
Anyway, once your lawn has been scarified you’ll have a firmer lawn surface. The surface will allow air, water, and nutrients to ‘ameliorate’ into the soil below. Thus, the lawn will be much healthier and will really look the part, too.
Because a scarifying machine’s blades are vertical, the grass roots are likewise pruned. In turn, as is the case when you prune the roots of many other types of plants, this encourages fresh growth. In return, you’ll enjoy a denser grass sward throughout.
Scarifying also helps with the control of weed-type grasses that are shallow rooting. An example? Annual meadow grass. It also helps to control creeping weeds such as clover and speedwell.
Bear in mind that if you’ve never scarified your lawn before, you may be in for a shock. A thorough lawn scarification will make your lawn look pretty rough for a while.
Not to worry, though. The grass will come back better than ever. Just try to be patient and believe in the fact that your work will reap excellent rewards.
On the other hand, raking is more about removing moss from your lawn.
For this purpose, you can use a powered lawn rake such as the ones reviewed above or you can use a hand-held springbok (springtime) rake. Either way, it will successfully tear the moss from your lawn’s surface.
The process of raking your lawn will also remove the upper layer of dead grass roots and more. This is good because otherwise all of this stuff, inclusive of the grass rhizomes and stolons will become thatch. And, as we know, thatch in a lawn is bad news.
Raking, while it seems a pretty rough treatment of your lawn, it’s much gentler than deep scarification. Hence, if you rake but do not scarify, your lawn will still look decent straight afterward.
If you rake your lawn often, there will be less scarification required.