Written by Terry Smith
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UK’s best electric lawn scarifiers and rakers to remove weeds and dethatch – now with cordless electric models too!
This article was last updated on September 15th, 2022 at 10:33 am
If you have a lawn, and you want it to be healthy, then you really should be using a scarifier or lawn rake from time to time and then get busy with a lawn aerator (or save time and buy a 2 in 1 like the VonHaus). Scarifiers, also known as de-thatchers, remove grass cuttings, moss and other garden debris, by cutting into the soil and sifting your grass with blades. This action also helps to keep the soil free of weeds and healthy by improving the circulation of air and water drainage. When scarifying is ignored, the debris known as ‘thatch’ can form and cause a variety of problems for your lawn, such as making it seem ‘spongy’ or not draining water properly (waterlogging).
When it gets thick enough, it basically chokes your grass by restricting the things it needs to grow; namely water, sunlight and oxygen. At this point a lawn weed and feed or individual moss killer for lawns and lawn fertiliser will not work and only the best electric lawn rakes and scarifiers will work in combination with a complete treatment of aerating your lawn and new grass seed. My lawn was so bad, I personally destroyed it with weed killer and levelled it so you can be sure from personal experience you have to be committed to get a super looking lawn. And don’t worry, by the time we get to Summer, you’ll have a lawn that’s the envy of neighbours too 🙂
A lot has changed since I first reviewed electric scarifiers a few years ago. Since testing the Cobra S3840V Cordless Battery Scarifier & Aerator I am convinced cordless models will play a part. It’s not without it’s faults but still, if you need cordless, and you don’t want petrol – it is well worth a look! Here’s me testing that:
Best electric scarifiers and lawn rakes – editor picks:
Best overall electric scarifier and lawn rake: VonHaus 2 in 1 Lawn Raker / Scarifier – Beats the Bosch on value/performance [personally tested and proven]
Best lawn raker: Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker – pricey but you can’t knock Bosch reliability – if you want cheaper and similar performance checkout the AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier
If you fancy a cordless electric scarifier: Cobra S3840V 38cm (15in) Cordless Battery Scarifier & Aerator [personally tested and proven]
Best scarifier – heavy duty for large gardens: Makita UV3600 Lawn Scarifier – Lawn scarifiers Absolutely tears the ground and weeds up 😀 Read my review for more info!! Best for moss and deep rooted weeds – used by professionals in commercial situations.
Budget: BLACK+DECKER 600W 30cm Lawn Raker – given the weight to power ratio and price combined this is easily the best deal for small gardens at the moment in the UK
What else do I need a lawn scarifier for?
Thatch isn’t the only thing you need to scarify, dead weeds and leaves can also sit down there in the soil and will cause similar issues if not removed. Scarifying is essentially just deep raking and you can use a normal garden rake to do it but it will be rather labour and time intensive if you have even a small lawn let alone a medium to large one. Most people these days prefer to save time and energy by investing in an electric or petrol scarifier, or electric lawn rake which is a similar tool, instead. So we have picked out the best scarifiers / lawn rakes for you and given them each a review after some sensible testing. Let’s get started…
How much thatch, moss, and weeds are choking my lawn?
You would be shocked just how much dead material is left behind, especially if you’re using a collection box and not raking up after. This is literally choking your lawn, causing water to sit longer than it should without draining, and ultimately ensuring poor lawn health. To get a feel of just how much thatch and dead material is still sat in a lawn (even one that looks relatively healthy, just watch this (I’ve moved you to the relevant point but worth a watch from the start anyway):
Shocking wouldn’t you agree? Until you use a scarifier it is almost impossible to comprehend just how much dead material, moss, thatch, and weeds you’re going to use.
So with that said, let’s look at what you need to consider when buying a lawn scarifier / raker:
What to consider before buying a lawn raker and scarifier?
Before buying a scarifier there is loads to consider. For a start the whole point of buying one is lawn care and the truth is this is just one part of a healthy lawn. Some people’s lawns are so bad they start again. I took that decision myself because I wanted to level my lawn as well. First I used a weed killer to completely obliterate my lawn. Also remember this is a Spring job so be ready for it. Cutting up your lawn like this (literally) takes it’s toll and Spring is the best growth time so will give you best recovery times (and quickest to choke out moss and weeds, rather than the grass getting the choke 🙂 ) If your lawns in really bad nick you’ll want something heavy duty whereas if your just maintaining you’ll be able to get away with a much lower spec, in fact a bigger machine may be difficult for you to operate – let’s look at some of these considerations:
Difference between a lawn rake and scarifier
So the difference is subtle but it is there. What you’ll find is the cheaper models like the BLACK+DECKER and Flymo are lawn rakes.
This is because they don’t dig into the ground pulling out weeds in the same way as the scarifiers.
Incidentally, the best for weeds and roots are the Makita and the Bosch. So following on from that you probably want to understand how deep it can rake and scarify so you can workout what tool you’ll need for your garden specifically:
How deep can it scarify?
Pulling thatch is easy but what about if you need to do far more serious work such as weeds with deeper roots? Part of picking the right lawn raker or scarifier is understanding what material you’re trying to remove. For example the BMC lawn Raker and VonHaus both dig 15mm under the surface of your lawn – the Makita only claims 10mm but I have to say it seems far better – just like the Bosch. The general rule of thumb is if you want weeds and moss removed then you’ll need a scarifier, if it’s just dead grass and thatch then a lawn raker will do the trick.
Cordless electric scarifiers and de-thatchers are seriously on the up
I was asked to test a cordless electric scarifier – fair enough. All my reviews involve a power cord and as a result of Makita the commercial range of electric scarifier not producing one yet I veered away from this. To my surprise however, the Cobra I tested was really up to the task. This is a game changer for me. As to whether you buy this one or not. It points to the fact cordless scarifiers are on the way up and no doubt will take over as they have done almost all aspects of electric power tooling.
If you take a look at my full test and review of this cordless electric scarifier you’ll see it is quite a serious proposition – and certainly gives the Vonhaus a run for it’s money even if it doesn’t deliver quite the same power. The heavier unit (much like the Makita) really does make a difference to the overall practical use!
1. VonHaus 2 in 1 Lawn Scarifier
For sensible money you can buy this 2-in-1 scarifier and aerator from VonHaus. It really only has two competitors in my mind other than the Makita UV3600 Lawn Scarifier which isn’t even fair to review in the same category – let’s just call the Makita a Tiller :D. Firstly the better but way more expensive Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker and the BMC that looks to be built on the same tech with the same depth of lawn rake (15mm to -7mm). As a lawn aerator I Fancied the Einhell, but as a scarifier of lighter material, on money, this wins hands down at just over half the price! I think for thatch this is a real winner:
Fitted with a dual purpose drum, this VonHaus product can be easily changed from aerator to scarifier by changing the rollers. The 1500W motor gives you plenty of power and removes great quantities of waste material from your lawn – shockingly large amounts actually – you may well be concerned on first use but don’t be – refer to the video ‘how much thatch is chocking my lawn‘ and it’ll become quite apparent this is a quality little unit and doing similar work to heavy duty petrol alternatives!
Sometimes, extra power comes at a cost, such as extra weight, but this isn’t the case here and this 2-in-1 tool is still relatively light, and weighs just 8.5kg. It’s actually not far off my favourite pick for small gardens and those less physically able – the BLACK+DECKER
You can choose from 4 different working depths for working at different times of the year, and also included is a simple, yet decent grass collection box. This product comes with a 10 metre long power cord and should be long enough for most gardens.
- 2-in-1 aerator and scarifier
- Powerful 1500 watt motor
- Lightweight. Only 8.5 kilograms
- 4 different working depths
- Grass collection box included
- 10 metre power cord
- Height adjustable handle
- Not as powerful as the Makita
- You may prefer the reliable old Bosch brand.
2. Makita UV3600 Lawn Scarifier - Lawn scarifiers
The Makita UV3600 Lawn Scarifier is so powerful and charged up they forgot to reinforce the under panel of this unit – it’s about the only flaw in an otherwise perfect unit. When you unpackage and assemble this unit the first thing you’ll notice is the outrageous weight – it’s double the weight of the VonHaus and nearly double the Bosch which is easily the yardstick for home use lawn rakers in the UK.
So does the weight translate into power? Yes absolutely, no doubt about it – for home use this is the heavy duty pick. In fact it’s actually scary to listen to and you would be forgiven for thinking this thing is a tiller 😀 The fact professionals are making use of this for lawn care pretty much says it all and when put to the test you can’t help but fall in love with this:
I wouldn’t bother with the grass box either – watch just how much this tears out of a lawn – the box fills in literally seconds – thankfully the box flap keeps material down of you would be plastered, literally. If I had a weed and moss problem I would go to this unit no question. It’s about as close as you’ll get to petrol power without paying out full money. You’d think the small wheels at the rear would be a cause for concern on taller grass but somehow the balance is great with larger wheels upfront – it keeps the weight back and down on the machine, giving a genuine -10mm cut.
When you compare the depths they need to be taken with a pinch of salt in my mind. Whilst the VonHaus is claiming 15mm it’s very hard to gauge. This is only -10mm but when comparing the two cuts this Makita really does seem to be ripping more material 🤔
Changing depths is easy if you feel like you’re taking too much material. Just like the cordless lawn mower range you simply disengage the handle and lift or drop to the next setting:
- Pound for pound annihilates the competition
- Don’t use the lowest setting lightly – this will seriously tear up a lawn 😀
3. BLACK+DECKER 600W 30cm Lawn Raker
Black and Decker have been a trusted name for decades. As a child I thought that they were the only tool makers in the world, as everything we owned was Black and Decker. Only to grow up and realise my dad had it all wrong 🙂 Makita is the tool for any professional – the problem with the Makita lawn scarifier though is. the cost when compared to this unit 🙂
This lawn rake is another fine product worthy of the name. First of all, it has an extremely compact and light weight design with dimensions of 24 x 50 x 50 cm, and tipping the scales at only 7kg. Despite this, the raker feels robust and has a decent amount of power thanks to the 600W motor. I tell you right off the bat I really do think this is the best for budget in the UK but it’s not without flaws. When using the deepest setting I get the feeling it rides up a bit creating a cut in the lawn that isn’t quite as deep as intended. This is fine if you pass over multiple times but remember the process is pretty brutal on a lawn!
This thing really doesn’t muck about with thatch – if that’s your main problem you can easily get away with using this machine – watch how much material this removes. It’s a serious bit of kit for lawn health:
So what does it stand up to? When I compare performance I have to say I prefer this over the Netta. Now I appreciate the Netta is a 2 in 1 and offering value in a different way but when strictly comparing the lawn raker / scarifier component I feel this has it edged, and at much less money!
There are 3 rows of metal tine doing the raking at a width of 30cm and there are 3 raking heights to choose from, the lowest of which is the best for picking up moss and thatch. The higher settings would be good for raking dead leaves in autumn though. The 30 litre collection box sits at the front of the lawn rake which makes it easy to monitor how full it is getting and also quick to remove and empty. The power cable is 10 metres long.
- Stunning value for money
- Compact and lightweight
- Feels robust despite the lightness
- 600w electric motor
- 3 rows of metal tines
- 30cm raking width
- 3 height settings
- Front loading 30 litre collection box
- 10 metre cable
- Lowest setting doesn’t feel like it really gets as deep as I’d like.
4. Cobra S3840V 38cm (15in) Cordless Battery Scarifier & Aerator
I gave this a real working over – a thorough test and I have to say the performance surprised me in a good way! So if your looking for a small / medium garden, you don’t want a power lead and you don’t want to deal with a heavy petrol scarifier, then this might be what you’re looking for 🙂 Before we get into the review in too much detail – here’s a quick video and it runs through the main benefits, negatives, as well as a demo of the performance you can expect, you can also buy this scarifier from the manufacturer directly here – very very good at pulling out broadleaf stuff and crabgrass, plantain, and dandelion:
Assembly bugged me a bit. As soon as I saw the quick snap connectors to put the arms together I assumed this was going to be an absolute breeze. And in fairness it was pretty easy, just a touch fiddly getting the nut and bolts to go together. Here’s a look at what you get and have to assemble – not too daunting at all:
This is actually an improvement on the arms of the Makita and other top models in this review – their direct competitors I might add:
But what bugged me was the collector. Perhaps I was having a dozy day but the frame (which way round it should go) took me a good few minutes to decipher. The user manual might want to work on that.
You need to slide the cover over the frame then it all becomes so so easy. And that is one of those things – easy when you know how! So bear that in mind to save a couple of minutes when you start assembling yourself.
About ten minutes after I started and still a bit annoyed by the cover I went back to the charger – this wants a full charge before you get going. There is a trickle in your battery when it arrives – I presume this is where they have tested the battery before packing as most manufacturers do – fine by me that.
To the performance – I was pretty impressed and surprised. Firstly it’s a heavy unit, far more inline with the heavy duty Makita model rather than the light weight Vonhaus. This manifests itself as more difficult to push but that’s because it’s actually cutting hard into the ground and definitely doing the job of aerating. As a result of that though, my biggest criticism was that it would stall if I whacked into a lump of dirt – I guess I should be doing better with my mole traps 😀
I was pleased with how much thatch and weed were removed – I mean I couldn’t finish a 10 metre line without having to empty the collection box. It really was aggressive. The battery died 4 times on a 100m2 section – I got about 20-25m2 out of one battery which is fine considering this is actually digging into the ground aggressively unlike some of the other electric scarifiers which aren’t aerating much at all. I have to say if I did it again I would be inclined to maybe cut the lawn first. The thing is I wanted to test it hard to see it’s limits and to be fair it really held up well:
If you take a look before from my video you can see just how much has been removed when zooming in:
When it came to moving the unit when it’s not under power, you’ll need to pull it along on its back wheels which are the ones not connected to the engine drive. That’s fine and popping it away was pretty simple – easier than the Makita in fact – because the arms have the snap connectors I had this put away in literally seconds. I have to say – it was a decent unit to test and fit perfectly into my wheelie bin storage (I bought two more after I tested them and they were a bargain on Amazon prime) – it worked out much cheaper than a small plastic shed!
If you have a small or medium sized garden and don’t mind the breaks between charges (or paying for an extra battery as well as don’t like an extension lead, then this isn’t a bad shout at all. It performed pretty well overall.
5. AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier
Coming from makers AL-KO, the Combi-care 38E can be used for scarifying, raking and collecting garden debris. Changing from raking to scarifying and vice versa is a synch thanks to the cassettes that can be swapped using just your hands, no need for tools. I can tell you from experience this thing will just keep on working all day long and in some respects I reckon it’s as powerful as the Bosch at scarifying. If you watch this demo you’ll see it easily scarifies to the same depth as the Bosch but doesn’t have that animalistic Makita power:
The scarifier roller has 3 stage steel blades and does a good job of removing thatch and turning over soil thanks to the 1300W motor. The steel spring times on the lawn raker roller also work efficiently.
There are 5 working depths to select from, and you can also adjust the height of the handlebars for your comfort. Having four wheels means that you get better traction and it makes the tool easier to handle. The huge 55 litre collection box cuts down on the amount of times you have to stop and empty it.
- 1300W motor
- 38cm working width
- Scarifying or raking functions
- Tool free roller changes
- 55 litre collection box
- 12 metre power cord
- 5 working depths
- Adjustable handlebars
6. Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker
Our next review is of a lawn rake from another reputable brand- ‘Bosch’. And what a lovely looking unit – probably the most stylish of all but I have to say it’s a tough pick for me when I compare this to the Makita which is very much substance over style:
However, before we start the charge on Makita,The Bosch AVR verti-cutter has a combination of BOR steel blades, a 1100 watt power drive motor and their innovative ‘jet collect’ system and has proven the test of time – it’s been around a lot longer and used far more, I know from experience. These 3, working in unison, allow the verti-cutter to shift thatch and moss rapidly, efficiently and without leaving any behind. With a working width if 32cm, 4 working heights from -10mm to +5mm which are the same depths of the Makita but I wouldn’t let the Makita loose on the lawn in this video – I fear there would be nothing left 😀
The 50 litre collection box is sensible and pretty much highlights this really removes a fair bit of material – if it were a smaller colection box like the others it would be full in minutes – remember this lawn raker will remove moss too and that fills a box up fast! Also worth a mention – the fact it can all be folded up to only 40cm for storage, it is easy to justify the already price tag but it’s hard to pick this over the Makita for me.
- 1100W power drive motor
- 14 BOR steel blades
- Working width of 32 cm
- 4 height settings
- Jet collect air flow system
- 50 litre collection box
- Folds away for easy storage
- Weighs under 10kg
- Pretty expensive solution – I feel we are in petrol territory here at this money.
7. NETTA Lawn Scarifier and Aerator 2 In 1- Electric Lawn Rake
At sensible money, this 2-in-1 lawn scarifier and aerator is worth considering but it’s a hard pick over the VonHaus or even the BMC – they ar epretty much the same category but with the Vonhaus having decent customer service and the unit clearly up to the task of pulling weeds it’s hard to take the plunge and pick this unit.
If the other two go out of stock I’d have no problem using this though: It has a decent amount of power thanks to its 1500W electric motor and removes garden debris such as moss and thatch without any hassle. Assembly is simple and quick and the overall build quality is good, comprising of a metal frame and strong plastic – it’s by no means a cheap knock off but with a fair few complaints of motors failing outside of the warranty period (just) – I just can’t take the gamble ahead of the other picks – sorry Netta – I’d love to see some customer service on this as it would be a much higher rated unit.
The two separate scarifying and aerating drums can be changed over swiftly and both do their designed tasks to a good standard. This NETTA product comes with a 30 litre collection box and a 10 metre power cord.
- Low price
- Well built
- Powerful 1500 watt motor
- Scarifier and aerator functions with quick change drums
- 10 metre power cable
- Few motor failures sadly
8. BMC 2 in 1 Lawn Scarifier Aerator
Another excellent low priced option is this model from BMC and they are directly in competition with the top pick VonHaus – which is both good and bad 🙂 It’s definitely the only unit for home use I would call heavy duty without actually being petrol.
It has a 1500 watt motor providing a high level of power and together with the 16 blade aerator bar, will make light work of moss and thatch – this is the only other lawn raker with the same power rating as the top pick VonHaus when compared for Wattage – the question is – does it stand up in performance? Well I have to say it also compares in cutting depths too as the Vonhaus also ranges -15mm to -7mm when raking and scarifying. I have to say it’s a bit of a dark horse and only not equal to the Vonhaus in my mind due to the price – I also prefer the Vonhaus sales care as I know and trust it from personal experience where I’ve had no dealings as yet with BMC though don’t let that put you off as I’ve read good things. This chap is extremely thorough which I won’t knock and clearly demonstrates this unit is effective against moss as well as thatch. I’ve started you at the go time, the assembly isn’t a bad watch either if you commit so worth bookmarking him:
The four working height settings are -15mm, -11mm, -7mm, and +1mm, and can be adjusted by lever with only one hand. The BMC scarifier/aerator also has a large working width if 32cm. Accidental starts are very unlikely with this model thanks to a two stage safety operation switch.
A 35 litre, easily detachable collection bag should keep you from having to stop and empty too often and the 10 metre cable is more than enough for most average gardens.
What you’ve got to watch for though is the air filter intake. Since there isn’t one blocking is obviously a potential issue. I read one chap fell foul of this so make sure to keep an eye on clearing the vents. There’s two points to watch out for:
- 1500W motor provides plenty of power
- 16 blade aerator bar and 20 tine rake
- Four working height settings -15mm, -11mm, -7mm, and +1mm
- 32cm wide working range
- Two stage safety switch prevents accidental starts
- 35 litre collection box
- 10 metre power cable
- Vents must be kept clear or over heating can occur
9. Flymo Lawnrake Compact 3400
This product from Flymo is a lawn rake, not a scarifier or aerator. What’s the difference? Well, lawn rakes tend to have thinner tines than scarifiers and don’t turn over the soil. This lawn rake has a 34cm rake width and 6 raking height settings to choose from, ranging from -5mm to +8mm. It’s out of stock on this update but we will give Flymo a chance to sort that, if you know me or my reviews, you’ll know I’m Flymo hover mower mad 🙂
It is powered by a 750W electric motor that does a good job of providing enough power to shift moss and thatch. I’d say this is a real contender for calue for money – but BLACK+DECKER seem to be willing to produce their model that bit cheaper at the moment – granted it’s not quite as powerful though.
The waste is automatically compressed to save space, so the 34 litre capacity collection box can hold a fair amount. There is a handy window so that you can see how full the collection box is getting without the need to remove it.
The Flymo lawnrake has been designed to be compact and the foldable handles help make it easy to store away. It measures 66 x 46.6 x 39 cm and weighs 12.3 kilograms. The 12 metre cable length is longer than average and the extra few metres comes in handy.
- 750 watt motor
- 34cm rake width
- 6 rake height settings
- Good waste system compresses moss and thatch
- 34 litre collection box with viewing window
- Compact and has foldable handles
- 12 metre cable length
Those were our picks for the 9 best electric scarifiers/lawn rakes. If you are interested in any of the products shown and would like to go to another page with further information, photos and customer feedback, simply click on the links provided. This site has lots of similar pages full of product reviews similar to this one so please feel free to browse them at your convenience.