Which lawn dethatcher is best?
If you want to keep your lawn looking healthy, dethatching is a must. A small layer of thatch in your yard can be beneficial. Still, when you have 3/4 inch of thatch or more, it can reduce the amount of oxygen your grass gets, leading to slow-growing, unhealthy grass.
There are several different styles of dethatchers, and it’s essential to choose the right style for your yard. The Greenworks 10 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher stands out as a top pick for its ability to easily cover small to large lawns and its large dethatching path to make the job quick.
Taking the time to learn more about what thatch is, why removing it is important and the different methods available for dethatching will help you choose the dethatcher that’s best for you.
What to know before you buy a lawn dethatcher
What is thatch, and why should you remove it?
Thatch is a layer of dead grass, roots and stems that forms between your healthy, green grass and the soil. It’s ideal to have a layer of thatch in your yard around 1/2 inch, as it helps regulate the temperature of the soil and retain moisture. However, if the thatch grows much higher than a 1/2 inch, it deprives the roots of oxygen and nutrients and makes insect infestations and lawn diseases more likely.
Different types of lawn dethatchers
- Electric lawn dethatcher – These dethatchers typically resemble small lawnmowers and both battery-powered and corded models are available.
- Gas lawn dethatcher – Much like the electric models, gas lawn dethatchers resemble small lawnmowers. Both gas and electric lawn dethatchers have small spikes, called tines, that rotate at a relatively high speed to pick thatch out of your lawn.
- Tow-behind lawn dethatcher – Tow-behind models are ideal for extra-large yards, as they’re typically significantly longer than push models. Tow-behind dethatchers usually have multiple rows of flexible tines that you drag along the ground with your tractor or mower.
- Thatching rake – Thatching rakes have a row of durable tines that you manually drag across your lawn, much like you would a regular rake. These models can be good for smaller lawns but are highly labor-intensive.
When to dethatch your lawn
If your lawn seems to be growing slower than usual or doesn’t look as healthy as it normally does, it may need to be dethatched. You can see and measure your thatch if you take a look at the bottom of your grass — the thatch will resemble tangled, tannish-brown grass that wraps around the base of the green grass. If your thatch measures higher than 3/4 inch, it’s time to dethatch your lawn.
What to look for in a quality lawn dethatcher
Having durable tines is an absolute must, no matter which type of lawn dethatcher you decide to get. Many lawn dethatchers are built with tough, stainless steel tines that are ideal for jobs of any size. If your tines snap, you can usually buy replacements. Still, buying a lawn dethatcher that’s known for being able to handle tough jobs, without broken tines, will save you money in the long run.
Scarifiers aren’t necessary for all lawns, but they help promote healthier grass growth after a dethatching session. Scarifiers are bladed accessories that cut grassroots and encourage new growth. Many models have detachable scarifier accessories that do an excellent job at keeping your lawn looking healthy.
A wide dethatching path
If you have a small lawn, a narrow electric or gas dethatcher or even a capable thatching rake will do the job. However, if your yard is relatively big, you’ll benefit from getting a model with at least a 14-inch dethatching path. For extra-large lawns and farmland, you’ll likely want a pull-behind dethatcher with at least a 40-inch dethatching path to create a manageable workload.
How much you can expect to spend on a lawn dethatcher
A dependable thatching rake can run anywhere from $40-$70. If you opt for an electric dethatcher, you’ll likely spend between $130-$250. Tow-behind lawn dethatchers can cost anywhere from $100-$200.
Lawn dethatcher FAQ
Is there a specific season that’s best for dethatching?
A. Generally speaking, cool-season grasses, like perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass, should be dethatched in late summer or early fall. Warm-season grasses, like bermudagrass and St. Augustine grass, should be dethatched toward the middle of spring.
How often should you dethatch your lawn?
A. This depends on the type of grass and the weather in your area. The more your grass grows, the more often you’ll have to dethatch it. You should aim to dethatch your lawn any time the thatch grows to a level that begins to impact your lawn’s growth.
What’s the best lawn dethatcher to buy?
Top lawn dethatcher
Greenworks 10 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher
What you need to know: This is an easy-to-use and highly effective lawn dethatcher with a wide dethatching path.
What you’ll love: There are three different depth settings for your tines, making it ideal for most small-to-large-size lawns. The contoured handle makes the machine comfortable to use. The Greenworks 10-Amp Corded Dethatcher is easy to maneuver and has a powerful 10-amp motor.
What you should consider: The plastic doesn’t feel durable and the cord can become a nuisance.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top dethatcher for the money
Ames 19-Tine Adjustable Thatch Rake
What you need to know: This durable thatching rake is excellent for small yards and backed by a 15-year limited warranty.
What you’ll love: It is easy to use and doesn’t require significant added pressure to remove thatch. The cushioned grip is surprisingly comfortable, and it’s made with durable tines that can stand up to thick patches of thatch.
What you should consider: The wing-nuts that hold the rake to the handle tend to come loose.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
Worth checking out
Brinly-Hardy 40-Inch Tow-Behind Dethatcher
What you need to know: This durable steel dethatcher is ideal for extra-large lawns.
What you’ll love: The 40-inch dethatching path, and the fact that you’ll be sitting while using this dethatcher, make it ideal for larger-than-life lawn care. This lawn dethatcher is built to last. It only takes about 20–30 minutes to assemble. In addition, the price is relatively low for a dethatcher this size.
What you should consider: Some customers felt that the wheels were wobbly while in use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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