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Landscaping professionals know that using a dethatcher is a great tool to improve residential and commercial lawns’ look and health.
You don’t need to be a professional to dethatch your lawn! In this guide, you will learn how to find the best dethatcher for your needs.
I review what I believe are the best lawn dethatchers available, explain how they work, and determine if you need one. I finish up with things to watch out for, so you can make a knowledgeable purchasing decision!
The Greenworks model 27022 electric dethatcher gets rave reviews for its easy plug-n-play operation and reliable thatch removal results.
The 10-amp motor powers through thatch but remains quiet, so you aren’t disturbing your neighbors. The ergonomic shape and padded grip of the handle relieve strain during use. The tines are stainless steel, and the unit comes with a full replacement set, which saves you both money and time when they do wear down. I like that this dethatcher model features three positions of tine depth, so you can adjust it to different levels, which means you can dethatch all sections without damage.
Foldable handles allow you to store it more easily
Three tine-depth settings for more dethatching versatility
Dethatches without harming living grass
Self-propels which is less stressful on the body
Environmentally-friendly, leaving no carbon footprint
Requires a 14-gauge (A.W.G.) extension cord to prevent overheating or loss of power during use
Instructions are not very clear for assembly
I really like this Greenworks electric dethatcher because it’s quiet, rugged, and super easy to store. With a properly-rated extension cord, you can expect years of comfortable, reliable use. I think this model is best for ecologically-conscious homeowners with smaller lawns and space for storage.
The WORX WG850 corded electric dethatcher is a top selection because it is lightweight and is easier to store with its fold-down handle.
The motor delivers plenty of power to handle all your dethatching needs without bogging down, which avoids frustration. While it doesn’t have a self-propelling feature, it’s easy to push along on the large wheels, so you don’t have to struggle while dethatching the lawn.
I like that this dethatcher comes complete with a collection bag, which eliminates the hassle of raking up the loose thatch off the top of your grass. I also appreciate the lock-off switch, which allows you to quickly shut off the unit in the event of sudden safety concerns like a pet runs near.
Corded unit with strong motor delivers powerful, consistent results
Quiet, environmentally-friendly operation reduces noise and pollution
Handle can be folded for compact storage
Tine depth can adjust into three positions for better ground contact
Quick shut-off switch avoids dangerous contact with moving tines
Bag fills quickly, which means more stops and time to finish the job
On uneven ground, the machine tends to dig deeper in places which can cause holes if you’re not careful
The WORX WG850 14″ Corded Electric Dethatcher is the perfect choice for homeowners looking for the convenience of a more powerful yet quiet dethatcher that doesn’t require gas or battery charging. The foldable handle for easy storage is another nice perk.
The Gardena 3395 Combisystem dethatcher is a no-nonsense, affordable solution to keeping your lawn in tip-top shape.
The stainless-steel tines are closer together than other models and come in a unique shape that helps remove not only thatch but moss and weeds.
Gardena sells tools with proprietary attachment points. The separately-sold handle you need to purchase to use this dethatcher rake head will also work with a variety of Gardena garden tools if you wish to expand your gardening equipment.
I like the high-quality construction of this dethatching rake head and the large wheels that help alleviate your upper body strain. You never have to lift the unit; just roll it forward and back to achieve thatch removal. It’s one of the easiest manual dethatching rakes around to remove debris without harming the grass with a bit of practice.
Head only, so it detaches for compact storage
Strong, stainless-steel tines break through and pull up thatch quickly
Large wheels provide comfortable movement and turning
Does double-duty as a tiller to remove weeds in the garden
Sharp, thick tines won’t bend or break under the strain of dense thatch
Must purchase the separate Gardena handle to fit the dethatcher head
Using the tool may be physically difficult for older or weaker people
The Gardena 3395 Combisystem Thatching Rake Head is best for gardeners that desire the flexibility to swap out the handle to use on other Gardena System tools and utilize the dethatcher to remove weeds and loosen soil in the vegetable garden.
The AMES Adjustable Self-Cleaning Thatch Rake comes with a 61-inch durable hardwood handle with a padded grip that is very comfortable to use.
The curved tines are made of hardened steel and dig out thatch with ease. The rake head is adjustable, so you can set it to suit your personal needs. The rake head is also self-cleaning, eliminating the need to clear debris from the tines by hand.
I like that this thatch rake is also functional for use as a general de-weeding rake in planter beds and vegetable gardens without digging too deep and destroying root systems. The head’s width is not too large, which makes it able to fit into small spaces electric dethatchers won’t fit.
Adjustable tine movement, so you can set it at an angle comfortable for you
Long-lasting materials and construction
Comfortable handle length and a rubber grip that offers better control
Cleans out thatch effectively, without digging too deep into the ground
Self-cleaning tines prevent the need to stop and clear out stuck debris
Rubber grip tends to slip up the handle during use
Needs a lot of physical effort to dethatch an entire lawn
I think the AMES Adjustable Self-Cleaning Thatch Rake is one of the best dethatching rakes and an excellent solution for homeowners looking for an affordable dethatcher to deal with problem spots in their lawn or to remove troublesome weeds.
The LawnStar Liquid Lawn Dethatcher is an option most people never consider when looking for a dethatching solution for their lawn.
There’s no need to spend hours toiling away raking or pushing an electric dethatcher when you can let this liquid put enzymes to work to digest that bothersome thatch layer for you. The fluid doesn’t remove all the thatch but leaves a protective layer that still allows water, nutrients, and airflow to penetrate.
I like that this formula is safe for the environment, and comes concentrated, so you only have to add water to dethatch a large area without the need for excessive plastic packaging. Use a hose-end or garden sprayer to spread the liquid over your lawn, and enjoy not worrying about raking up and disposing of loads of thatch.
Fast, easy, and affordable which reduces lawncare stress
Introduces good bacteria into the soil, which helps overall grass health
Natural enzymes eat up thatch while being safe for the environment
Concentrated formula means you can mix up the exact amount you need
Eliminates the need to dispose of thatch debris, which saves time and energy
Takes time to see results
If you don’t dilute the liquid enough, it can clog up the applicator
The LawnStar Liquid Lawn Dethatcher is perfect for homeowners who don’t have the physical capability or time to dethatch their lawn with other methods. This liquid is also a great choice for those who only need to dethatch their lawn every other year or don’t want to invest in another yard tool.
Do You Really Need A Dethatcher?
Yes, if you want the ground under your lawn to maintain a healthy balance of air and water penetration. A dethatcher removes the barrier of debris that can choke your lawn and impede proper aeration, nutrition, and water flow, so your grass can grow better.
Dethatching is also crucial before reseeding sections of your yard or if you plan to fertilize or lay down pest control granules. By removing a thick thatch build-up of decaying grass, shoots, and leaf debris off the surface, you allow topical lawn treatments to work faster and more effectively.
Other reasons to use a dethatcher include:
Removes the brown and yellow debris stuck between grass blades, so your lawn looks greener
Allows grass to spread easier so your lawn is thicker
Reduces the chance of fungal or pest infestations forming
Allows rainwater to soak into the ground faster, reducing soggy areas of lawn
Helps loosen surface soil that can get impacted from walking over the grass
As you can see, the proper use of a dethatcher can do wonders to improve the look and health of a lawn.
While a little bit of thatch will break down naturally over four to six months, most lawns quickly form a thick build-up of thatch that will need removal up during the growing season.
The reason to invest in a dethatching tool is to save you hours upon hours of backbreaking work using a heavy metal rake to comb through your lawn to remove the thatch.
Things To Watch Out For
Before you purchase any dethatching tool, you need to consider these things to watch out for:
The first item to consider is the power source you plan to use to operate your dethatcher.
You can choose manual dethatchers that attach to your sit-down mowing lawn tractor and pull around your yard. You can attach the tool as needed and can achieve the task of mowing and dethatching your lawn in one fell swoop, which is a huge time-saver.
You can choose electric push-behind dethatchers that will need to be plugged into a power source while running or to charge up a battery before use. The nice thing about electric dethatchers is that they don’t leave a carbon footprint and run quietly.
Electric dethatchers need to have a motor that can power through thick thatch without bogging down.
The key is to keep the motor power around 12 amps, which is the middle ground when it comes to the average dethatching motor strength of between 8-15 amps.
A weak motor will require more passes to achieve thatch removal. A powerful motor may actually tear up your living grass along with the thatch, and you should only consider this if your grass type and thatch problem demand it.
Most electric cords on dethatchers are only a few feet long and connect to an extension cord. If your lawn area is small, using an extension cord 50-feet in length or shorter should work fine.
Once you use a longer extension cord, you could incur power issues from Ohms law, which reduces the amount of power that delivers to the end of an extended length of wire.
To avoid this issue, either choose a dethatcher that runs on rechargeable batteries or use a pull-behind model with a lawn tractor or ATV.
Materials And Construction
Pull-behind dethatchers should be made entirely of high-strength steel and have a durable finish coat to protect the tool from rusting and chipping.
Electric dethatchers should use quality materials that can withstand the rigors of your landscaping. The outer housing should be thick plastic that won’t crack or fade over time.
The tines should be stainless-steel and attach to the cylinder with strong welds so they do not snap off while digging out severe thatch.
Tine Length And Width
Tines need to be long enough to reach the ground surface to pull up the thatch accumulation.
Every homeowner keeps their grass at different lengths, so find the correct tine length to suit your needs or choose a model that offers adjustable tine depths.
The width of the tine cylinder determines how much coverage the tool delivers on each pass across your lawn. Pull-behind dethatchers tend to be much wider than manual models, so the job gets done much faster.
Thatch Collection Bag
To avoid needing to rake up the loosened thatch from your lawn, look for a dethatcher that offers a collection bag either with the unit or as an add-on accessory.
Another easy option to collect loose thatch is to run your bagging lawnmower over the lawn to pick up the debris.
Adding any dethatcher from my top five recommendations above to your home landscaping toolshed is an ideal way to help your lawn look green and lush.