To many people, a rake is simply a rake. A garden tool which is effectively little more than a broom used in the garden rather than across the floor of your house. When shopping for a rake to use around your home, it’s imperative that you know exactly what it is your buying.
Comprised of a handle and a head full of tines – the teeth with which the raking is carried out through – Rakes are one of the more beautifully simple tools on the market. Within this simplicity though, is a hidden range of subtleties which affect how the tool is used.
The one aspect which connects all types of rake is in the quality of the product itself. As with any tool you buy, a good tool is best identified as a product which has been well engineered from high-quality materials. This can be a rake with either metallic or plastic molded tines but ultimately, they must be fit for the purpose your garden will demand of them.
Here is a list of The Best Garden Rake
Contrary to popular belief, garden rakes are not all alike. With different purposes comes different designs and it’s important to understand this in choosing a tool fit for your specific needs. Below we look at the four main types of rake which can help cultivate your outdoor areas and help maintain your land in a clean, tidy and healthy state throughout the year.
The most common reason people use a rake is for gathering grass, leaves, straw and other loose debris from the top of a garden. Designed with long, flexible tines arranged in a fan-like shape, this allows for maximum efficiency in combing an area without causing any damage to the ground beneath. Available in a range of different materials and sizes, it’s important to match the rakes specifications to the requirements of your tasks when looking to buy such a tool.
For tasks which require a more delicate approach, shrub rakes are the tool that offers more precision. Primarily designed for spreading compost and mulch in tight spaces between large plants, the head of these rakes are much narrower than any other type. For delicate work focused around the base of plants where roots need to be protected, soft-tine rakes are preferential, however, hard-tine rakes are available for applications where more strength is required, such as the spreading of small stones and pebbles.
The classic rake design which is often generally referred to as a level-head rake or often simply a garden rake. This tool is more suited to heavier tasks than collecting leaves, such as leveling earth, breaking up heavy soil and moving small rubble across the ground. Featuring shorter, wider tines than other types of rake, this tool is also ideal for forming planting rows across the top layer of soil in a garden. While landscape and tarmac rakes are designed in a similar form, soil rakes are not as industrially designed for heavy tasks but are much lighter and easier to manage.
These small hand-tools are ideally suited for working on smaller patches of garden which require more intricate and precise tending. A multi-purpose tool appropriate for tilling soil, weed removal, planting or even digging for clams on a beach, the short handle is designed so the gardener works close to the surface in which they’re maintaining. While some hand-rakes feature spindle-like tines suitable only for collecting leaves, claw rakes have more robust, sturdier designs intended for heavier duties. Available in varying sizes, with differing number of spindles, and in a diverse range of spindle designs, a good hand tool should be well put together and engineered to withstand the rigors of the task it’s designed for.
Fallen leaves and cut grass needs to be removed from a lawn for more than just aesthetic reasons. In order to maintain your lawn in a healthy state, organic debris needs to be lifted off your lawn to prevent a deterioration in the overall quality. While providing a perfect environment for propagating pests and diseases within your lawn, the main threat leaves pose is in forming a barrier which neglects the grass of sunlight and air flow that can substantially harm the grass.
Despite organic debris being detrimental to the health of your lawn, you don’t need to remove every last piece from your garden. Some smaller leaves or mulch will benefit your garden by providing additional nutrients to feed the grass as worms pull them below the surface where they will break down into nitrogen-rich components.
Scarifying or raking your lawn is essential to remove moss and thatch from between the blades of grass. When doing this manually with a rake, not only should you use a sturdy-tined rake built for this purpose, it’s highly recommended that you wear a pair of leather gloves with talc powder added inside them to prevent blisters forming on your hands.
As with any outdoor tool, it’s important to clean your rake after each use. A heavy-bristled brush is sufficient to knock any dirt or trapped leaves from the rake and ensure it’s kept in good condition for when it’s next needed.
Unlike the vast majority of tools, a rake requires very little upkeep throughout the calendar year. Although not all metal used in rakes are resistant to rusting, choosing a product which is, will save you much maintenance and add years to the lifetime of your product.
With only two main sections to a rake, there’s rarely any moving parts or weak points which can cause problems. For those that are constructed in sections or contain telescopic handles and adjustable fan-heads, it’s always worth seeking out a product of higher quality to ensure it won’t prematurely break.
One common problem people experience with rakes is often with the handle. While fiberglass handles require little more than to be wiped clean, wooden handled tools can suffer weakening with age. To prolong the lifetime of a wooden handle, you should treat them once a year. This involves a light sanding before applying linseed oil with a cloth to protect the wood from the elements.
Below, we have compiled what we believe to be the premium products you should consider when looking for a rake to fulfill your horticultural needs. Based on a mixture of consumer reports and practical experience, we present six heavily-recommended products that offer specific roles within the garden, taking into account value for money and overall performance.
Gardenite - 63 Inch Adjustable Garden Leaf Rake
Specifically designed for the collection of fallen leaves and grass clippings, Gardenite’s adjustable steel leaf rake delivers exactly on what it promises. The tines on this rake are easily adjusted from anywhere between 7” to 22” allowing work in restricted alcoves as well as large open areas. This also allows the tool to be compacted, making storage much easier for urban gardeners who have limited storage space.
The head is comprised of stainless steel and hard-wearing plastic while the handle has been zinc-plated to prevent rusting. Although the thin tines are not suitable for gathering heavier objects, the whole product is well constructed and will prove deceptively durable considering its ultra lightweight feel.
- Extra-long reach
- Adjustable head size
- Can collect grass clippings in addition to leaves
- Weather-proof handle and highly durable design
- Lightweight tine design for lightweight tasks only
- Rake length is greatly reduced when head width is narrowed
- Head-locking mechanism can slip when used for heavy duty applications
The perfect leaf rake for moderate levels of use, this Gardenite product is the ideal tool for maintaining smaller gardens and outside areas. The adjustable tines provide huge amounts of flexibility while the customer service provided by the dealer is refreshingly first-class.
Bully Tools 92312 Leaf and Thatching Rake with Fiberglass Handle and 24 Spring Steel Tines
For horticulture professionals and the more serious gardeners, Bully Tools provides the ultimate heavy duty alternative. Made in America from 14 gauge steel, triple-wall reinforced fiberglass handles and welded supports, this tool is built to last.
Not only will it prove durable, its performance exceeds expectation too. While still offering flexibility, the extra-thick tines in this rake are made from spring steel and possess enough strength to handle the more grueling tasks. This does mean that it’s much heavier than most other rakes on the market, however, for jobs that require power, this all-American rake can step up to the mark.
- Provides incredible strength and sturdiness
- Multi-purpose tool
- Limited lifetime warranty
- 100% American product
- A heavier tool which requires more strength to use over sustained periods
- Not currently available in California or outside the United States
Heavy jobs require heavy tools and they don’t come much more robust than this. Essentially much more than a leaf rake, this truly is a multi-functional tool which can retrieve debris through long grass or de-thatch a lawn in addition to gathering fallen foliage.
Emsco Group 9010 Small Shrub Rake, Green
Perfect for spreading compost or mulch, the 10” width at the head of this rake make it ideal for reaching through narrow spaces. A 48” wooden handle also provides an overall length of 55” which is not only comfortable and easy to use, it acts as an extension to your arm for accessing hard to reach areas of your garden.
Complete with hard plastic tines, this shrub rake is unaffected by rusting and is hard-wearing enough to last for many years of regular use. This also makes for a lightweight yet sturdy shrub rake, meaning that it can be maneuvered with great ease and with little strength required.
- Unbeatable value
- Lightweight and durable
- Basic but highly effective design
- No international shipping means it’s currently only available in the U.S.
- Not suitable for full-time, professional usage
- Tines are inflexible and care will need to be taken around plant roots
If you need an efficient and effective shrub rake to help manage your garden, this is the go-to product. While this rake may not be as resistant to accidental damage as alternative options, it’s the ideal choice for someone who does not require year-long, heavy usage from their shrub rake.
Corona RK 62060 Fixed Tine Shrub Rake, 8-Inch Wide
If it’s a high-end shrub rake you need, they don’t get much better than this. A coated aluminum shaft and a tempered steel set of fans make this an extremely strong yet incredibly lightweight tool.
The vinyl covering around the handle provides a non-slip grip which is both comfortable and practical in use. Meanwhile, the tines have been designed with extra width to assist raking and incorporate a bi-curved bow to ensure pressure is applied evenly across its reach. Finished in brilliant red, this rake is easy to locate in your garden and will be something you reach out for throughout many years to come.
- Very durable product
- Lightweight yet has exceptional strength
- Produced by a market-leading company formed in the 1920’s
- Limited lifetime warranty
- More expensive than alternatives
- Fixed handle length
Engineered with premium-grade materials, this shrub rake is of the finest quality. The design has been refined by a leading manufacturer for over 90 years, producing a practical solution in terms of both performance and reliability.
Jackson 16-Tine Pony Forged Bow Rake
A classically designed rake with a tempered-steel head and a long wooden handle. Measuring over 60 inches in length and featuring a larger-than-average sized head, this rake is suitable for taller gardeners, however, it is made of sturdy materials meaning it’s a heavier tool which some may find hard to use. This also ensures that it’s of premium quality which will withstand the test of regular use for years to come.
Also available in a more compact 14-tine version, the 16-tine bow rake offers better value at a reduced price or can be upgraded to include a padded handle for additional comfort in use. All models are complete with a vivid blue finish on the head and tines, making this tool easy to spot in the garden ensuring a safer working environment.
- Extra-long handle
- Very durable and suitable for professional use
- Features a bright blue head for extra safety around the garden
- Superb value for money
- The product is non-returnable once bought
- A physically heavy tool
A professional bow rake at a budget-friendly price, this tool offers incredible durability at an affordable price. While not intended for heavy chopping work, it will handle any domestic tasks for years to come and so provides exceptional value for money.
Aottop Stainless Steel Hand Claw Rake and Cultivator with Ergonomic Grip Garden tool
When it comes to hand tools, this claw rake from Aottop offers excellent value. Cast in one piece from an aluminum-steel alloy, this hand-claw is lightweight yet provides great strength and reliability. With only a small spacing between the tines, this tool can also be used to dig into wet soil for planting or removing weeds and crabgrass from a lawn.
While the handle is shorter than those of rival products, the molded handle means it fits snugly into the palm of your hand. Not only does the large, softened grip provide comfort, it also provides a much firmer grip and gives greater control in using the tool.
- Sturdy and hard-wearing
- Very comfortable to use
- Slightly smaller design allows for more precise work
- 100% weather-proof
- Has sharp claws which require vigilance when used in areas small children play
- Claws are angled inwards which may not appeal to some gardener
- Short handle length
Ideal for work in small areas such as small flower beds and window boxes,
Despite having relatively long tines, this hand-claw is well produced and won’t suffer warping or breakage. Made in Japan, this tool is shipped directly by Amazon and is available with next-day delivery.
The most important aspect to consider when choosing a new rake is the purposes that you will require the tool to accomplish. With many different variations of rake on the market, there will be a tool capable of fulfilling your requirements although some people may find more than one tool necessary to tackle their workload.
The above selection of Rakes have all proven to be some of the more superior products on the market. Choosing a product from this list can provide confidence that you will be selecting a tool which is fully fit for its purpose.
It’s also strongly recommended that, as with any tool or piece of equipment, they’re stored safely away from young children’s reach and not left lying in the garden where they could prove to be a danger. This includes leaving more traditional, garden rakes with the tines facing into the ground to prevent them being a hazard if tread upon.