Garden & Lawn

Top 8 Best Lawn Scarifiers For Removing Moss and Thatch From Your Lawn

Last updated on July 12th, 2022

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The two scarifiers pictured below on my own lawn are what I think are two of the best scarifiers currently available depending on what you’re looking for in a scarifier. One is electric while the other is petrol, however, they both do an excellent job at removing moss and thatch from deep within the lawn.

Comparing the best electric and petrol scarifiers side by side
I have been testing both the Bosch AVR 1100 and the Hyundai 210cc petrol scarifier

Both are easy to use, simple to get set up and both manufactured by what I think are respected brands of garden tools, one being Bosch and the other Hyundai. My review will focus on both these models as I have now been testing one for a few years and the other for over a year.

The two models are the Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator, my new personal favourite if I’m honest and my trusty Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker which has never let me down.

MY BEST PICK

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My Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker which has been used for many years
The Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker is the best pick for ease of use. No petrol engine to worry about and very effective at removing moss and thatch
Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker
The Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter lawnraker is a powerful electric 1100W electric scarifier that I have been using for over 4 years and it does an excellent job at really getting down into the lawn and removing moss and thatch. Its really easy to raise or lower the adjustable rake between the maximum height of +5mm to lightly rake the lawn which I like to do every few weeks to maintain the lawn to the lowest depth of -10mm to heavily scarify and aerate below the level of the soil if you have alot of moss on your lawn, I prefer to do this in spring as it recovers much faster. Be careful of the -10mm depth, it could leave your lawn looking bare but it will come back much better than before epecially if you treat with a lawn conditioner afterwards like I do. I have find the second setting to be fine for general scarifying if you do it once a year, once in autumn or in spring. It has a working width of 32cm and had 14 strong steel times, much better than models that just have thin steel tines that are more of a raker than a scarifier. As with all garden tools, this is an investment piece of garden equipment that looks after your seasonal lawn care for years. Overall, its a great scarifier for small lawns and really does a great job which is why I think it deserves my best pick spot.

Best Petrol Pick

My top recommended petrol scarifier the Hyundai 212cc Petrol Scarifier/Lawn Aerator
The Hyundai 212cc petrol scarifier which I have been very impressed with
Hyundai 212cc Petrol Scarifier/Lawn Aerator
The Hyundai 212cc Petrol Scarifier is perfect for both smaller and large lawns and is a good alturnative to electric scarifiers for more domestic use. It has two interchangeable cassettes, one with 18 hardened steel blades to scarify and then a second cassette that is more of a lawn raker with spring loaded steel wire tines which allow you to lightly rake your lawn, letting the water and nutrients reach down into the roots system as well as maintaining your lawn over summer so you get more use of it. Its simple to use, easy to adjust the working heights between +15mm to -15mm using the large blue knob on the front of the scarifier. The build quality is excellent, its proved very reliable and always starts first time every time. I also like that is has a 4-stroke engine so its not as noisy as some of my other petrol garden tools with 2-stroke engines and easer to fuel and maintain. Finally, if your looking for a very well built scarifier that will last, this is well worth considering and you won't be disapointed. I have really enjoyed and been very impressed with this scarifier, its very powerful, effective, and reliable which is why I highly recommend it. Its worth noting that it also comes with a 3 year warranty too for peace if mind.

My Best Lawn Scarifiers review looks at scarifiers that let you effectively remove moss and thatch from your lawn and some even include lawn aerator attachments. I look at the some of best models currently available and list the pros and cons of each model. I also discuss their features and talk about how I found them to actually use during my testing which by the way, is at least 4 years in with one of the models.

My Buyer’s Guide further down offers information on how to choose the scarifier that best suits your circumstances as well as some advice on how to carry out the scarifying process, especially in relation to aerating your grass. The FAQ section covers a few of the further questions that usually crop up in the purchase decision.

BEST PICK
BOSCH AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker
RUNNER-UP
Hyundai 212cc Petrol Lawn Scarifier and Aerator with 3 Year Warranty
AL-KO Comfort 38E Combi-Care 2 in 1 Electric Lawnrake & Scarifier/Aerator with Collector 1300W Powerful Motor - 38cm Wide Width
AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/ Scarifier
Wolf Garten Multi-Change URM3 Roller Moss Remover
Darlac DP888 Telescopic Lawn Scarifier Moss Aerator Grass Scarifying
Title
Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter
Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator
AL-KO Comfort 38E Combi-Care 2 in 1
AL-KO Combi Care 38 P Comfort petrol scarifier
Wolf Garten Multi-Change URM3 Roller Moss Remover
Darlac DP888 Telescopic Lawn Scarifier
Power
1100W
Hyundai 210cc 4-Stroke OHV petrol engine
1300W
53cc Petrol engine
Manual
Manual
Scarifying heights
+5/0/-5/-10mm - 4 heights
+15mm to -15mm - 5 heights
5 adjustable heights
5 adjustable heights
N/A
N/A
Scarifying width
32cm
40cm
38cm
38cm
30cm
35cm
Cable length
12 meters
N/A
12 meters
N/A
N/A
N/A
Collection box size
50L
45L
55L
55L
N/A
N/A
BEST PICK
BOSCH AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker
Title
Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter
Power
1100W
Scarifying heights
+5/0/-5/-10mm - 4 heights
Scarifying width
32cm
Cable length
12 meters
Collection box size
50L
Buy from Amazon
RUNNER-UP
Hyundai 212cc Petrol Lawn Scarifier and Aerator with 3 Year Warranty
Title
Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator
Power
Hyundai 210cc 4-Stroke OHV petrol engine
Scarifying heights
+15mm to -15mm - 5 heights
Scarifying width
40cm
Cable length
N/A
Collection box size
45L
Buy from Amazon
AL-KO Comfort 38E Combi-Care 2 in 1 Electric Lawnrake & Scarifier/Aerator with Collector 1300W Powerful Motor - 38cm Wide Width
Title
AL-KO Comfort 38E Combi-Care 2 in 1
Power
1300W
Scarifying heights
5 adjustable heights
Scarifying width
38cm
Cable length
12 meters
Collection box size
55L
Buy from Amazon
AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/ Scarifier
Title
AL-KO Combi Care 38 P Comfort petrol scarifier
Power
53cc Petrol engine
Scarifying heights
5 adjustable heights
Scarifying width
38cm
Cable length
N/A
Collection box size
55L
Buy from Amazon
Wolf Garten Multi-Change URM3 Roller Moss Remover
Title
Wolf Garten Multi-Change URM3 Roller Moss Remover
Power
Manual
Scarifying heights
N/A
Scarifying width
30cm
Cable length
N/A
Collection box size
N/A
Buy from Amazon
Darlac DP888 Telescopic Lawn Scarifier Moss Aerator Grass Scarifying
Title
Darlac DP888 Telescopic Lawn Scarifier
Power
Manual
Scarifying heights
N/A
Scarifying width
35cm
Cable length
N/A
Collection box size
N/A
Buy from Amazon

BEST FOR PROFESSIONAL LAWN MAINTANCE

Weibang WB384RB-Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier for professional use or large lawns

Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier

Designed with industrial-strength features and to handle daily heavy use, the Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier is perfect for commercial environments and heavier domestic use. For a professional dealing with medium-sized lawns, the wide cutting width and the reliable Briggs & Stratton 750 Series 163cc petrol engine will prove irreplaceable. The carbon steel blades are durable and remain sharp, and the wide range of raking depths (-16mm to +20mm) lets you scarify far above and below the ground. Overall a reliable more heavy-duty model which is designed to meet the demanding jobs of professional grounds maintenance.


The best scarifiers I have reviewed and recommend are listed below:

  1. Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter LawnrakerBEST PICK AFTER 4 YEARS OF USE
  2. Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator – BEST PETROL PICK I HAVE BEEN TESTING
  3. Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn ScarifierBEST FOR PROFESSIONAL LAWN MAINTANANCE
  4. AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier
  5. AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Scarifier
  6. Wolf Garten Roller Moss Remover
  7. Darlac Lawn Scarifier
  8. VonHaus 2 in 1 – Scarifier & Aerator

Want to get rid of that power cord without maintaining a petrol engine

I didn’t cover cordless scarifiers in this review but I have reviewed 3 of the best cordless scarifiers in this review guide here


Top 8 Best Lawn Scarifier Reviews

1. Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker

BEST PICK

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

My bet electric pick has to be this Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker

So for a corded scarifier or a Verticutter as Bosch call it, this really is a great piece of kit. In fact, this was one of the first domestic models I used. Before this, I had used professional heavy-duty petrol models as a professional gardener so this model has a lot to live up to.

So first things first, I have been personally using this model on my smaller lawn for over 5 years now and this is not the only scarifier I currently own. For example, I am also currently testing a Hyundai petrol model (which, by the way, I’ve been very impressed with) on several lawns, one of the perks of running a review site I suppose and sharing my experience.

The blades on the Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter lawnraker that are very effective at removing moss and thatch

Back to this electric Bosch model, the Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter is a scarifier and aerator in one but it only has one cassette as shown above with 14 carbon steel blades. This dual-purpose model has a powerful high-torque 1100 watt powerdrive bosch motor which drives the scarifying blades. 5 years in now and it’s still going strong so I think that says something about the quality.

Check out my video review of the Bosch AVR Verticutter

So, on a really mossy lawn like I have, I like to set the scarifier on the lowest setting or maybe slightly higher on setting 3. This removes a lot of moss and thatch and I mean a lot. On a small lawn, I can easily fill 3-4 green recycle bins.

I can’t stress this enough, your lawn, mine included, which you can see in some in the image below will leave your lawn bare in places but it will recover within a few weeks. After giving it a good scarify, I recommend using a good lawn moss killer with feed such as ferromel-20 which is ferrous sulphate, I have reviewed it here. A couple of weeks later, I always go over the lawn on the second height setting to give it another less aggressive once over.

Lawn after scarifying with the Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker
Lawn staright after scarifying
My lawn 5-6 weeks after scarifying, starting to really fill in now
Lawn 4-6 weeks after scarifying starting to look really well, in a few more weeks those small gaps will have filled out

In terms of how well it collects, it comes with a 50 litre collection box, now this works great and it collects a lot of moss but it will fill up very quickly. On a lawn with more moss than grass, you will be emptying it every run. However, this is the same with all scarifiers as most don’t have a collection box bigger than 50 litres, even the bigger petrol models.

Personally, I still think it’s better to collect a not rake it afterwards as some people do as you risk spreading moss to other parts of the lawn that are perhaps not as badly affected.

Moss collected using the Verticutter Lawnraker in the collection box

I have also noticed that the drum also creates a powerful airflow which helps pack the collected moss and thatch into the collection box which increases the amount of moss and thatch that can be collected. Basically it collects really well.

Let’s move on to how you use this scarifier and its features, firstly it has a working width of 32cm which means you maximise the area you scarify with each run. The four adjustable height settings are easy to set and have a range of  +5mm to -10mm. You can easily adjust the working height by adjusting the twin levers (one of each front wheel) as shown below.

Easy to adjust the working height of the Verticutter Lawnraker using the two handles to left and lower the deck

The lowest setting (-10mm) is for aerating the soil as well as scarifying it, while the highest setting (+5mm) is for collecting debris off the top of the lawn and giving it a light rake, something you can make use of through summer. I usually find myself using the second setting and it gives good results.

Double handle on the Verticutter Lawnraker which needs to be pressed to use the scarifier

Finally, I find it’s quite a compact machine and can be stored on a shelf. The folding handles and two-piece collection box fold down so that the unit is only 40cm tall. I usually do this over winter when it’s not going to be used until spring.

Pros

  • Perfect for maintaining and scarifying small lawns where having a power cable is not an issue.
  • Has a powerful 1100W high-torque Powerdrive motor electric dual purpose unit.
  • Scarifies and aerates without having to change cassettes or rakes is a convenience most other dual function rakes don’t have.
  • Cylinder raking system which uses a cylinder with 14 blades (tines).
  • 32cm working width and four easily adjustable scarifying heights from -10mm to +5mm. (I usually use it on the second setting)
  • Lowest setting (-10mm) slices the soil to help aerate the soil, with the higher setting (+5mm) being ideal for collecting moss and layers of thatch from within the lawn.
  • Innovative Jet System collects well into the large 50-litre collection box.
  • Two-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

Conclusion

The Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker provides the dual functions of scarifying and aeration in one electric model, without having to change cassettes or rakes, plus is a big plus as changing cassettes can be awkward on most models.

I choose this model as my best pick, not because its the very best scarifier money can buy, it’s not, the Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator is better in every way, its more durable being mostly steel, it’s better for larger gardens but its much more expensive and heavy and not for everyone.

Bosch 1100 AVR Vericutter Scarifier Review after 3 years of testing. Full detailed review where I talk about build quality, performance & the pros and cons.

I choose this model as my best pick because I believe it’s the best scarifier for most people with an average sized garden and perfect for smaller lawns. It scarifies really well, collects well, has a good quality build, reliable and affordable. Thats why it’s my best pick. If you have a larger lawn or need a petrol scarifier and the freedom it gives you, then I recommend my next petrol pick below. For everyone else with smaller lawns looking for an affordable scarifier that does a decent job, this is well worth considering.

Check out my review of the Bosch AVR Verticutter after owning it for 4 years on this post

You can also read about lawn levelling rakes here which I recommend using to fill in dips on the lawn.


2. Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator

Buy from hyundaipowerequipment.co.uk

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Hyundai 52cc Petrol Scarifier - My best petrol scarifier

Now, this reminds me of the professional models I used to use but more affordable and a little more user friendly. I love this model and have used it on my own lawn, my dad’s two very large lawns and my brother’s which is also a very large lawn.

So what I like about this Hyundai 210cc Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator is that it’s not too big for smaller lawns like many other petrol models as it’s still a manageable size with a working worth of 40cm. However, it’s big and powerful enough to tackle larger lawns and not feel like it’s just too small for the job. This means it’s a really good choice for nearly everyone looking for a decent petrol scarifier which is why I recommend this as my Runner-up.

Hyundai 52cc 4-stroke engine that powers the scarifier blades

So first, let’s talk about the most important part, the engine, it’s powered by a Hyundai IC210 210cc 4kW Engine. I have found it to be very easy to start and it starts after 1 or 2 pulls every time.

Fuel and choke lever on engine
fuel on/off bottom lever, choke on for cold start, top lever

All you need to do for a cold start is turn the red switch to ON, give the primer bulb 5 or 6 pumps, slide the choke lever to on by sliding the lever to the left, pull the drive handle up and give the pull cord a good firm pull until you hear the engine tries to start but not.

Now slide the choke lever halfway to the right and pull the cord again and it will start straight up, let it run for a minute and then turn the choke off and it’s ready to use. Over the last 12 months of testing, I have always found it very easy to start.

Fuel tank that takes start unleaded petrol
Fuel tank that takes start unleaded petrol

Something else I like, because it’s a 4-stroke engine, its easier to maintain but fueling is also much easier as there is no petrol and oil to mix as you put it in separately.

Where you fill the oil into the engine and dip stick
Where you fill the oil into the engine and dip stick

I feel this also makes it much easier for anyone who is not familiar with petrol engines as you don’t need to worry about mixing the correct ratio of oil and petrol and risk damaging the engine. This is where most people usually go wrong and make a costly mistake.

40cm wide cutting blades on the Hyundai scarifier

As you can see in the picture above, it has 18 hardened steel blades that make light work of scarifying the lawn and with a 40cm working width, it does a great job at really getting into the lawn and removing moss and thatch without having to do too many runs up and down the lawn even on larger lawns.

Something else this model comes with I nearly overlooked is the second cassette with spring-loaded steel wire tines. This is good for maintaining the lawn over summer as you can rake the lawn to keep on top of moss and other debris to maintain your lawn. I don’t personally use this much but if you want to take your lawn care to the next level, this will come in useful.

Something that is often overlooked is the actual deck and they are usually the most venerable part. This model has a durable steel deck which is obviously better than plastic and the wheels have a wide tread which makes it very easy to manoeuvre but also doesn’t leave tread lines in the lawn like some models I have used in the past have.

Hyundai Lawn Scarifier & Aerator

So as you would expect, you can alter the working height of the blades between -15mm to +15mm. Depending on how deep you want to aerate and scarify, you can adjust the blades cutting height using the single blue dial on the front of the machine as shown in the image below.

Adjustment knob used to change the working height of the Hyundai petrol scarifier

Now this is not a lever like most models so you can actually make micro adjustable by tuning the dial only small increments at a time, this is great for fine tuning the working depth. Overall, I have found it to be a system that works really well.

So, I have found it to be a joy to use and it really is an excellent machine. It does remove large amounts of moss and thatch with ease and the difference in power between this and electric models stand out a mile. I feel that the extra weight of a petrol model and steel build make it more effective at removing moss as it helps push the blades into the ground better.

45 litre collection box on Hyundai petrol scarifier

So the downside is that the collection bag is only 45 litres so it fills up quickly, to be fair, this is the case with all scarifiers I have ever used. Just means more trips to the green garden bin.

Another option is to simply not use the collection bag and then simply collect it by hand by raking it into piles. Below are a few pictures of before and after I used the scarifier without the box.

Before scarifying the large lawn
Lawn after scarifying with the box and will need to be collected afterwards
After scarifying some of the lawn
Lawn after scarifying and collecting moss by hand after raking it into piles
Lawn after scarifying and collecting moss by hand after raking it into piles

So to start, you also have to pull back a secondary handle as shown below but another feature I like is that you can lift the cutting deck without turning the engine off. This means when you do a run and when you need to turn around to do the next run back, you can lift the deck using the handle as shown in the second picture below whilst you manoeuvre and then lower it again.

handle they need to be pulled to keep the engine running

It just makes it easier to use and ensures you don’t damage the lawn. It can also be used for transport mode when you need to move it along paths or whilst in storage to protect the blades and stop them from catching the floor.

Handle that lifts the deck up and down.

Finally, the main handle also folds down for easy and compact storage in case you’re tight for space.

Showing that the handles on the Hyundai scarifier fold down flat to make the machine more compact for storage

It’s worthing noticing that it also comes with a three-year warranty which only goes to assure you of the high quality of the product.

Lawn after scarifying with the Hyundai 52cc petrol scarifier
Lawn after a deep scarifying
My lawn 5-6 weeks after scarifying, starting to really fill in now
My lawn 5-6 weeks after scarifying, starting to really fill in now

Pros

  • A great model that is compact enough for small lawns but big and powerful enough for larger lawns. Perfect if you have a small front lawn and large back lawn for example.
  • Petrol lawn scarifier with an impressive 210cc motor with the power to handle large lawns.
  • Scarifier and aerator with a very impressive 40cm working width for very few passes across the lawn.
  • Roller has 19 hardened steel blades for clean raking and aerating so your lawn isn’t torn up.
  • Durable steel deck and wide tread wheels are also gentle on your grass.
  • Adjustable heights in a wide range of -15mm to +15mm get all the top thatch.
  • Sizeable 45-litre collection bag so fewer trips to the compost pile.
  • Ergonomic soft-grip handles so no blisters or callouses when looking after your lawn.
  • Three-year Hyundai guarantee backs up the high quality of this garden machine.

Conclusion

The Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator is a hard-working machine, particularly if you have a large lawn and need a powerful lawn scarifier and aerator.

My top rated petrol scarifier the Hyundai petrol scarifier

Overall, I found this model over the last 12 months to be a very impressive machine that is capable of removing large amounts of moss and thatch with ease. I think the extra weight of this model makes it more effective than electric or cordless models. If your looking for a quality petrol scarifier or just a decent model overall, this is well worth considering and I’ve been really impressed with it. Well worth considering and would highly recommend. It really is a great piece of kit that has been well designed.


3. Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier

Best For Professionals

Buy from mowers-online.co.uk

The Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier is powered by a 163cc Briggs & Stratton 750 engine which makes it well worth considering for professional use.

This powerful petrol model is equipped with 22 sharp carbon steel blades that are double-tipped for effective scarifying. You can adjust the depths of the tines as needed from -16mm for a deeper scarify really get into the roots to +20mm for a light raking for surface moss and debris. This very wide range of depths lets you have full control over how aggressively you scarify your lawn at different times within the growing season.

All the raked thatch and other debris goes into a large 40-litre collection box which is easily detachable for emptying into your compost pile or bin. However, on large lawns you may not want to stop and do this and may choose to let the raked bits remain on the lawn and manually rake them up afterwards. The 38cm raking width is suitable for small or medium size lawns and won’t require too many passes.

The lawn scarifier weighs 46kg, making this model appropriate for heavy-duty work as the weight helps the tines penetrate into the lawn. On the other hand, the weight also makes the unit a little more difficult to lift. However, the durable wheels permit easy transportation from one location to the next which makes moving the unit around relatively easy. Additionally, this scarifier sports a transportation mode feature that raises the blades to prevent them from grazing the ground.

Pros

  • Features a strong Briggs & Stratton 163cc engine for optimal performance.
  • Sharp carbon steel blades are durable.
  • Wheels for easy transportation.
  • Wide range of cutting height adjustable settings for better control over the blades.
  • Wide cutting width for faster coverage.
  • Five-year warranty for domestic use and a One- year warranty for commercial use.

Cons

  • Quite heavy to move around.

Conclusion

The Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier is powerful enough to handle heavy-duty work. The very reliable and robust engine is made for heavy use, and when combined with the swing design carbon steel blades, it produces neatly scarified results. With regular maintenance, this petrol lawn scarifier is suitable for long-term or professional use on small to medium size lawns.

This model is our pick for Best Professional Scarifier. If you regularly need to scarify lawns throughout the growing season, the Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier provides the power, the wide range of scarifying depths and the strength for all your needs.


4. Wolf Garten Roller Moss Remover

Best Manual Scarifier

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

The Wolf Garten Moss Remover is probably one of the best, if not the best manual scarifier on the market. The quality is simply unmatched and the performance outstanding, it really does remove moss and thatch easily and the 10-year guarantee is really the cherry on top.

The Wolf Garten Moss Remover is the best quality manual scarifier that we found. It comes with a 10-year guarantee to back up this quality so you can use it without hesitation.

The first thing you need to know is that this scarifier does not come with a handle. You have to purchase that separately (or use one that you already have). This will add to the price of the scarifier but you can choose the correct length of handle to suit your height as well as choose between a lightweight aluminium handle or a traditional wooden handle.

Now on to how to use this scarifier. It looks like a regular rake but on wheels, so it’s very simple. When you push it forwards it uses a pendulum action to lift the teeth or tines off the lawn, and when you pull it towards you the pendulum action lowers the tines into the lawn and removes the moss and thatch from the lawn. This scarifier leaves all this debris in a small pile of moss and thatch for you collect later (just like a regular rake does).

Using this manual scarifier is fairly hard work as you’re digging the tines down into the bound-up thatch in the grass, and sometimes you may be digging down into the soil. For this reason, we suggest you only use this on small lawns, or slightly larger ones if you want to do some muscle work.

Pros

  • Manual scarifier with a 30cm raking width suits small lawns.   
  • Easily removes moss and thatch from the lawn.
  • Easy to use, just push and pull.
  • Ten-year guarantee for full peace of mind,

Cons

  • Takes some effort.
  • Not suitable for larger gardens.

Conclusion

The Wolf Garten Moss Remover is one of the best manual scarifiers on the market. The quality is simply unmatched and the performance outstanding, It really does remove moss and thatch easily, and the 10-year guarantee is really the cherry on top. But you do have to provide the handle and the person-power to make it work.

This Wolf Garten Moss Remover is our choice for Best Manual Scarifier in our review. If you’ve just a small area of grass to make lush and vibrantly green, this could be the scarifier for you.


5. AL-KO 38P Combi-care 2 in 1 Scarifier

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

I looked at a few petrol scarifiers and being in the trade myself for many years, I've had the chance to use a few petrol models other the years. To be honest, most petrol models I have used are great machines, but they are all heavy and bulky which makes them somewhat, not suitable for everyone, especially domestic use, mostly because of the weight and size and transport can sometimes be an issue.

The AL-KO 38P Combe-Care 2 in 1 Scarifier is a petrol-powered dual-function scarifier and aerator, powered by a 53cc engine. It’s designed for medium and larger sized gardens if trailing around the cable of an electric model would not be suitable or you simply need a larger and more powerful model.

The AL-KO 38P has a working width of 37cm, that’s wider than the usual 30cm you usually find on domestic models. To switch between scarifying and aerating, you need to switch between two cassettes, which look like rollers.

One cassette has steel blades which are great for slicing into the soil, which helps aerate the soil and also removes moss and thatch that’s embedded deep into the lawn. The other cassette has steel wire tines (teeth) that are ideal for removing moss and thatch from above the soil as well as leaves and other garden debris.

The cassettes can be easily changed without tools for the job at hand. The Combe-Care 2 in 1 has 5 working heights so you can select the correct depth for each cassette function.

Pros

  • Quality German scarifier, ideal for scarifying medium to large gardens with ease.
  • Wide 37cm scarifying width and 5 adjustable scarifying heights adjustable up to 18mm.
  • Powerful 53cc petrol engine delivers maximum power to the tines.
  • An extra-large 55-litre collection box.
  • Two separate cassettes, one with blades and one with tines, which can be changed without tools.
  • Two-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

Conclusion

The AL-KO 38P Combe-Care 2 in 1 Scarifier is well-built and suited for domestic or professional work. Most petrol scarifiers are heavy and too cumbersome for domestic use, but at around 20kg, this model is not too heavy for regular home use. It’s small enough to store and manoeuvre at home. The two cassettes are easily changed without tools so there’s no worries there.

The AL-KO 38P Combe-Care 2 in 1 Scarifier is our choice for Best Petrol Scarifier for Home Use. It’s a good alternative to a domestic electric scarifier if you want something a little more powerful or your lawn is too large or too long to hook many extension cords together.



6. AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier

Buy from Amazon.co.uk AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier, 1300 W, 38cm

The AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier is a premium quality 3-in-1 machine that clears moss and thatch from your lawn. The 1300 watt model easily scarifies, rakes and collects the cuttings from your lawn making lawn maintenance an easy job. It comes with two steel blade and tine attachments: one is intended for scarifying and the other one for raking. You can easily switch between the two attachments without using tools, saving you time for other garden chores.

Other features in this electric scarifier include working height adjustment. Just by turning the knob you select which of the five heights are perfect for the job. This model has a cutting width of 38cm which takes care of small to large-sized lawns easily. It has a 12 metre power cable, so you don’t need to think about extension cords for some distance.

The large 55 litre capacity collection bag lets you spend less time running from the lawn to the compost pile. The collection bag is easy to remove for emptying and you can put it back on with no problems. Avoid working with a full collector as it may cause the machine to strain, performance-wise. This machine is backed by a two-year warranty which takes care of your needs in case you have any concerns.

Pros

  • Electric model with 1300W of power in a lightweight unit for easy manoeuvrability.
  • Three functions – scarifies, aerates and collects – on two easily changed rollers.
  • Durable plastic shell is easy to clean, just hose down.
  • Collection bag is a significant 55L in volume for fewer trips to the compost bin.
  • Aerator roller has 24 steel tines for making channels down to the grass root system.
  • Working width is an impressive 38cm, wider than most domestic models.
  • Power cord is 12m long, so less need for extension cords.
  • Two-year manufacturer’s warranty should put your mind at rest.

Conclusion

The AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier is an affordable scarifier and aerator that also has a large collection bag (55L) that automatically picks up all the thatch and moss that you generate. The wide 38cm raking width gets the job done quickly, even on larger lawns. Switching between scarifying and aerating is easily done without tools.

The AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier is a lightweight, straightforward dual function electric scarifier and aerator. It’s also budget-friendly. For these reasons, we chose it as the Runner-up in our review.


7. VonHaus 2 in 1 – Scarifier & Aerator

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

The Vonhaus 2 in 1 scarifier/raker is one of the best scarifiers we have seen, at 1500w, its the most powerful electric model we have reviewed.

The VonHaus 2 in 1 – Scarifier & Aerator, at 1500W, is the most powerful electric model we review. This model is both a scarifier and aerator and comes with two roller attachments, one for each job.

The scarifier roller attachment uses strong steel blades to penetrate into the soil to remove weeds and pull out deep embedded thatch and moss from the lawn. The blades penetrating the soil also aerate the soil, which lets in moisture and nutrients down as far as the grass roots system.

The raking roller removes moss, thatch and leaves from the lawn, but without penetrating the soil. This does a much lighter job when compared to the scarifier roller. This is ideal as you can use it throughout the season to keep your lawn nice and healthy for another summer.

Powered by the 1500 watt motor, the VonHaus 2 in 1 has plenty of power for both the scarifying and aerating tasks. With the working width of 32cm as well as a choice of four working heights, this unit is very flexible. Decide whether you want to go over the lawn aggressively for a deep scarify or lightly to keep on top of the moss and thatch through the season without causing too much damage to the lawn.

Pros

  • High powered 1500W ensures this unit never struggles to remove the deepest embedded thatch.  
  • Wide 32cm working width lets you cover the lawn quickly.
  • Working depths: 4mm to -4mm; -8mm to -12mm mm for the scarifier roller; 11mm to 3mm to -1mm to -5mm for the aerator roller.
  • Lightweight design at only 8.5kg making it easy to manoeuvre, carry and store.
  • Large 40-litre collection box.
  • Two-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

Conclusion

The VonHaus 2 in 1 – Scarifier &Aerator is the most powerful electric model we review, with a very impressive 1500W of power. The interchangeable rollers for scarifying and aerating are easy to switch, and each comes with its own adjustable range of heights suitable for its purpose. This model is perfect for small and medium-sized gardens and would make a great entry-level model for any gardener looking to maintain their lawn.

This is an excellent alternative to our Best Pick.


8. Darlac Lawn Scarifier

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The Darlac Scarifier is a cheaper alternative to the Wolf Garten model we have just reviewed and overall it's a great tool and does what its suppose to.

The Darlac Lawn Scarifier is another manual scarifier. Unlike our previously reviewed manual model, the Wolf Garten Roller Moss Remover, it does not have the pendulum action so it can be used by both pushing it forwards and pulling it towards yourself. This makes for slightly harder work, but it does effectively remove moss, thatch and any leaves embedded into the lawn.

The build quality is not up to the quality of the Wolf Garten model and it might not last as long. On the other hand, it does comes with a telescopic handle so it can be set to a height to suit the user, which is a good feature.

The Darlac Lawn Scarifier is a cheaper alternative to the Wolf Garten model if you really want to spend the minimal amount on a lawn scarifier.

Pros

  • Manual lawn scarifier that’s extremely budget friendly.
  • Easily removes moss and thatch from the lawn.
  • Push or pull to remove moss and thatch
  • Telescopic handle to adjust the height to suit you.

Cons

  • Hard work to use, especially if the lawn is a little uneven.

Conclusion

The Darlac Scarifier is a very affordable and extremely basic manual scarifier. Its construction is not of a high as quality as the Wolf Garten model we also review. And it does take some effort to use so that’s why we recommend it if you have only a small lawn or patch of grass to work. However, it does remove moss, thatch and other debris better than a regular rake does.


Buyer’s Guide

While scarifying your lawn sounds as if it’s a dangerous task, it’s really an easy but very important process for the health and the vibrancy of the grass. This Buyer’s Guide starts at the beginning and explains what scarifying is and why you need to do it. We explain what a scarifying tool is and what your choices are. We end you by giving advice on when and how to scarify a lawn properly.

If you have never scarified a lawn we recommend watching the video by Robbie from Premier Lawns

The problem

Your lawn just doesn’t look as good as you want it to. The problem is that your lawn isn’t receiving the oxygen, water and nutrients that it needs to grow strong and healthy and so look lush and vibrant. One of the problems is that there’s a layer of thatch – moss, grass clippings and other organic matter – that’s lying between the grass and the soil, stopping these essential elements from getting into the soil and down into the grass roots.

Scarifying

Thatch and moss removed from lawn with scarifier
Thatch and moss removed from lawn with scarifier

Scarifying is the process of removing this organic layer without harming either the grass or the soil and scarifiers are the garden tools that let you do this.

Please note that, often, scarifying isn’t enough to solve the problem. You need to use an aerator as well.

The scarifier

A scarifier is a manual or powered machine that has strong steel blades known as tines to remove moss and thatch from a lawn by penetrating into the surface of the lawn and pulling up the moss and thatch. This then assists water and nutrients to reach the roots of the lawn grass. Some scarifiers come with both a scarifying attachment with thick blades and a separate aerating attachment with steel spikes for raking the lawn.

scarifier blades close up
scarifier blades close up

Your choice of power is electric for convenience, petrol for more power, or manual, in which you provide the muscle power, ok for small lawns but you wouldn’t want to scarify a large lawn manually.

When to scarify your lawn

Scarifying should be done in either in autumn or spring. We recommend doing any heavy scarifying in early autumn as this will leave your lawn rather thin and may even leave bare patches of soil. This will give you a chance to reseed any bare batches while the ground is still warm and there will be fewer weed seeds to worry about.

Lawn used scarified in autumn
Lawn used scarified in autumn

If you cannot do a heavy scarifying in autumn, (perhaps it’s too wet) and your lawn is particularly mossy, you can do a heavy scarifying in spring around early April. Ideally, you want to do a light scarifying in spring around April just to remove any moss that had built up over winter.

Preparing the lawn

Before scarifying you should cut your lawn down as short as possible. Do this in a couple of stages if your grass is long. You want to leave your lawn for a few days after mowing so it can dry out before scarifying.

If moss in your lawn is a problem, you can apply a moss killer before scarifying. Moss killer which contains sulphate or iron is best applied in autumn or spring. After a couple of weeks, the moss should turn black and you can use a powered lawn raker or spring-tine rake to remove the moss.

After scarifying

Once you have scarified your lawn and removed moss, you can apply moss killer and lawn feed to help your lawn recover faster. We recommend adding a ferrous sulphate moss killer if moss was a big problem on your lawn. This will help to kill any remaining moss you may have left behind or brought to the surface.

Best Moss killer For Lawns - Top 5 moss killers from top brands

It is also beneficial to apply a lawn feed after scarifying to help it recover faster. It’s worth noting you get autumn lawn feed and spring lawn feed so you need to purchase the right one depending on what time of year you scarify.

If you have any bare batches this is also a good time to reseed these bare patches but this is best done in autumn as there will be fewer weeds to germinate in the bare soil.

Once your lawn has started to recover you can also consider aerating the lawn. See our guide on how to aerate a lawn and our review on the best aerators.


Lawn scarifying FAQs

What is the difference between a lawn rake and a scarifier?

A lawn rake usually has steel tines and only removes the top layer of organic matter without damaging the lawn. As moss grows on the surface, it usually just removes the moss and leaves from the surface. 

A scarifier has tough steel tines that can penetrate into the ground. This removes both the moss from the surface and the layer of thatch that builds up under the grass.

Is a scarifier the same as an aerator?

A scarifier is not the same as an aerator. A scarifier removes thatch and moss from within the lawn. An aerator either punches lots of holes into your lawn with a set of spikes (often on a big roller) or removes lots of tiny cores from your lawn. This allows water and lawn feed to go into the holes and reach the grass roots. Aerating does not remove any moss or thatch which is a big difference.

See our top recommended lawn aerators here.

Should you scarify before or after cutting grass?

You should cut your grass as short as possible, perhaps in several sessions, before scarifying. This lets you get at the thatched layer more easily. Let your lawn dry out for a few days before you start the scarifying task.


Final Conclusion

Scarifying a lawn is one of the two essential steps, along with aeration, that you need to do several times a year, for the best lawn in the neighbourhood. Scarifying removes moss, thatch and other organic matter above and below the soil, giving water, oxygen and nutrients more of a chance to reach the roots of the grass for healthy growth. Whether you choose an electric scarifier, a powerful petrol one, or a manual model with DIY power, your investment in this tool will pay off in a lush, vibrant lawn.

Our Best Pick is the Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker. This powerful scarifier also lets you aerate your lawn, so your grass receives the water, oxygen and lawn food that your so carefully give it over the growing season.

Our Runner-up is another electric scarifier that lets you rake your lawn above ground and scarify it below ground. The AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier has an extra-long electric cable to reach the edges of your garden.

For more power and for professional gardeners, choose our Professional Pick. The Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier has industrial-strength features and a very wide height range that suits all styles of lawn and types of grass.

As we’ve highlighted all throughout this review, don’t stop with scarifying your lawn, continue with aerating it and using spring and autumn feed with moss killers. If your scarifier doesn’t have an aeration function, check out our review of the Best Aerators and our advice for aerating your lawn.

If you already have a scarifier and are looking for information on how to use it, we have an article that explains just that.


Last update on 2022-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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