Garden & Lawn

The Best Cordless Scarifiers For Removing Moss and Thatch

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After over 20 years of maintaining lawns as a professional gardener, if there is one job I think has the most significant impact on the quality of a lawn, it would have to be scarifying the lawn to remove moss, thatch, weeds and other debris. This is best done in Autumn or early Spring, depending on when I get a chance to do it. Next, I overseed the lawn with quality grass seed using a lawn spreader to fill those gaps and generally improve the grass. Give it 2-3 weeks to recover, and then apply a decent lawn weed, feed and moss killer and mow the lawn using a lawn mower with a roller to make stripes. You will have a fantastic lawn.

What I do recommend doing first, though, is applying a decent moss killer to your lawn a couple of weeks before scarifying it. This will kill the moss and help prevent you from spreading it to other parts of the lawn when scarifying. I recommend using Ferromel 20 Iron Sulphate. It contains 20% iron, which kills the moss. However, it’s also a lawn tonic and will green up the lawn.

Testing the Hyundai petrol scarifier and Bosch AVR electric scarifier in my other scarifier review

Back to the best cordless scarifiers! Professionally, I have always used petrol scarifiers, which I’ve reviewed here. As good as they are, and I love my Hyundai, they are very heavy and require a little tinkering with filters, spark plugs, and all that good stuff. Overall, petrol garden tools are not for everyone, especially for smaller lawns. Until recently, I still used my electric scarifiers at home; I still use my Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter at home. It’s a great model; it’s just the cord can get in the way, and you nearly always need an extension lead.

This is why cordless scarifiers caught my attention; some models are now finally powerful enough to do a decent job and give a reasonable run time so you can still scarify a decent-sized lawn from a single charge.

The Greenworks cordless scarifier is a good option for small lawns
The Greenworks cordless scarifier is a good option for small lawns

There are a few models I’ve come across. However, only three cordless scarifiers that stand out for their efficiency, ease of use, power to get the job done and reasonable run time to scarify a decent-sized lawn or two without needing to recharge. Scarifying takes power, and you need at least two 18v batteries, so 36v of power and a decent capacity, which is what ensures a decent run time, so ideally 4-5Ah batteries.

Einhell GE-SC 35 Li Solo Scarifier will last an hour on a full charge with a 5Ah batteries
Einhell GE-SC 35 Li Solo Cordless Scarifier powered by 2 18v batteries (36v)

My two personal favourites are the Einhell Power X-Change 36V Cordless Lawn Scarifier pictured above and the Ryobi RY18SFX35A-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Scarifier pictured below.

Ryobi RY18SFX35A-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Scarifier

Both of these cordless scarifiers have a generous 35cm working width and are powered by two 18V lithium-ion batteries, providing 36V of power, which makes all the difference. I want to quickly make it clear that for both these models, you have to buy the batteries separately. Now, if you already have 18v Ryobi or Einhell power tools with compatible batteries, you can use the same batteries and save yourself some cash. Remember though, these two scarifiers need two batteries, not one!

Einhell GE-SC 35 Li Solo Cordless Scarifier is probably the best cordless scarifier currently available
Einhell GE-SC 35 Li Solo Cordless Scarifier will give around 1 hour with two 18v 5Ah batteries

If I had to choose one, my favourite would probably be the Einhell Power X-Change 36V Cordless Lawn Scarifier pictured above. Right out of the box, it comes fitted with a blade aerator. It does a fantastic job of aerating your lawn, but it also scores deep into the lawn and removes moss and thatch, and personally, it does a better job than the wire tines scarifers. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re looking to tackle the lawn with the wire scarifier rake, this is better for just removing moss or lightly raking the lawn, then this attachment is sold separately.

Also, be mindful that for both the Einhell and the Ryobi models, batteries, chargers, and even the collection box are sold separately. If you invest in the Einhell, I recommend going for the twin battery charger along with the two batteries for maximum efficiency, allowing you to charge both batteries at the same time. All in all, even with the extra attachment with the wire tines, two batteries and a charger it’s still well under £300 when I last checked, which is value for money.

I like to rake the moss and thatch into piles instead of using the collection box, i find it much faster than continually emptying the collection box
I like to rake the moss and thatch into piles instead of using the collection box, i find it much faster than continually emptying the collection box

Speaking from experience, while the collection box may seem like a convenient feature, it tends to fill up quickly unless you have a small lawn that doesn’t really have much of a moss problem. More often than not, I find myself not using the collection box on most scarifiers. After scarifying, I prefer to rake the lawn manually, gathering the debris into piles as pictured above before putting it in the garden waste bin or compost tumbler.

Greenworks 40V cordless Scarifier comes as a complete kit but the running time is limited to around 20 minutes so only suitable for smaller lawns
Greenworks 40V cordless Scarifier comes as a complete kit, but the running time is limited to around 20 minutes, so it is only suitable for smaller lawns.

For those with smaller lawns, the Greenworks 40V cordless Scarifier is another option worth considering. It comes as a complete kit, including the battery, charger, and collection box. However, for a single 40V and small 2.5ah capacity battery, its runtime is around 20 minutes, so it’s not long. However, it’s still worth considering for smaller lawns.

Which should you buy?

Personally, if you already own other Ryobi or Einhell 18v tools with compatible batteries, sticking with their models for your scarifying needs makes the most sense. You get the benefit of longer runtime, approximately an hour, with two 4Ah or 5Ah 18V batteries and can enjoy the convenience of interchangeable batteries among your tools. If you don’t have any of these tools, I’d probably go with the Einhell first and Ryobi model second, thats just me, both are brilliant cordless scarifiers.

In the evolving world of cordless garden tools, scarifiers have made significant strides in recent years, offering gardeners like you and me the flexibility, power, and efficiency needed to keep our lawns in top shape. No engine to maintain, no power cords, cordless is definitely the way to go!

Let’s dive deeper into what makes these models stand out.


My top recommended cordless scarifiers:

  1. Einhell GC-SC 36/31 Li-Solo Power X-Change Cordless Scarifier – My top pick, powered by two 18v batteries for a total 36v of power, combined with a 4 or 5Ah twin batteries, the performance really is hard to beat.
  2. Ryobi RY18SFX35A-0 18V ONE+ Cordless 35cm Brushless Scarifier – If you already have Ryobi tools, this is the one to go for, again powered by two 18v batteries (36v) so plenty of power.
  3. Greenworks Cordless Scarifier G40DT35 – Perfect for smaller lawns – Complete setup with 40v 2.5Ah Lithium-ion battery and charger but limited run time of 20-30 mins.

Best Cordless Scarifier Reviews

1. Einhell Power X-Change 36V GE-SC 35 Li Solo Cordless Scarifier

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Einhell Power X-Change 36V GE-SC 35 Li Solo Cordless Scarifier
Einhell Power X-Change 36V GE-SC 35 Li Solo Cordless Scarifier

This Einhell Power X-Change 36V GE-SC 35 Li Solo Cordless Scarifier is easily one of the best cordless scarifiers mainly due to the excellent build quality and twin battery design that provides 36v of power instead of only 18v like some models I came across.

This Einhell scarifier is made of robust plastic that makes it lightweight very durable, and easy to hose down and clean. As mentioned, it’s powered by two 18V Lithium-ion batteries, which are interchangeable within the Power X-Change family of Einhell tools. If you already have other power tools in this range, you’re all set as long as you have two. But if this is your first PXC tool, you also need to buy two 18v batteries and, ideally, the dual charger charger separately. Then, you have the choice to choose the battery Ah rating you need. To give you an idea, the 2.5Ah battery will scarify around 130 square meters from a single charge while the larger 6 Ah battery will cover around 350 square meters, and there are a few other capacity batteries to choose from. I would recommend getting at least the 4 or 5ah batteries as it gives you that extra scarifying time, around 60 minutes for not a lot more money invested.

You can also consider getting the optional collection bag. Otherwise, you need to manually pick up all the moss and dead matter that the scarifier brings up from the grass. It will still need emptying regularly like all other models, but it’s better than not collecting any and having to rake it up manually. That being said, I usually rake it up manually instead of collecting it as I would be emptying the collection bag every couple of minutes, but it’s a personal choice.

The working width of this scarifier is a respectable 35cm, which covers its 300m2 range quite quickly. The 16 blades are steel and adjustable to three depths using a simple lever design.

Now, the wire scarifier attachment is sold separately, but honestly, the scarifying blades that are also known as aerating blades, do the job well. However, if you want to scarify removing moss and maybe give the lawn a light rake, this attachment with the thin wire tines is what you need so just keep this in mind.

Finally, the handle height is also adjustable, so you may find a setting for your particular height. The handle also folds down to make this unit compact for easy transport and easily store it in a corner of your garden shed.

Pros

  • Cordless scarifier that handles lawns up to 300m2, depending on the battery you choose.
  • Takes two 18V Lithium-ion batteries, interchangeable with any battery in the Einhell PXC tool series.
  • It has 16 blades on a ball-bearing cutting unit.
  • The working width is 35cm.
  • Three working depths and a transport position for the blade.
  • Housing is made of high-impact-resistant plastic.
  • Handle height is adjustable and folds down for compact storage.
  • Wheels won’t leave deep marks on your lawn.
  • The aerator roller and catch basket are optional attachments.

My recommendation

This is probably the cordless scarifier I would choose. If I had to choose just one model, all in with the extra attach, two 18v 4Ah batteries and the dual charger, you would get a change out of £300. Overall, that is cheaper than the Greenworks scarifier, and you’re getting more scarifier for your money. The build quality is brilliant, it’s reliable, and it does a great job. If you invest in one of these, you won’t be disappointed. The only exception is Ryobi, if you already own other Ryobi tools like me, it makes more sense to choose the Ryobi cordless scarifier, especially if you have a few spare batteries.


2. Ryobi RY18SFX35A-0 18V ONE+ Cordless 35cm Brushless Scarifier

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Ryobi RY18SFX35A-0 18V ONE+ Cordless 35cm Brushless Scarifier

Ryobi makes some of the best cordless tools, and I’ve even got their cordless chainsaw, this Ryobi RY18SFX35A-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Scarifier comes as a bare tool like the Einhell scarifier. This means that you have to either already have the two 18V Lithium-ion batteries that are interchangeable in all their 18v ONE+ tools, or you need to purchase them separately from the scarifier and don’t forget the charger too.

Overall, this Ryobi model is an amazing piece of kit because of its reliability, quality and performance, but the price reflects this.

The Ryobi RY18SFX35A-0 has enough power to scarify smaller to medium-sized lawns thanks to the advanced brushless motor. Its 16 blades are made of stainless steel for strength and durability and are on a drum like on the Einhell.

The working width of this scarifier is 35cm, which is comparable with the other models in my review and suitable for efficiently working on larger lawns. You have a choice of four working depths, so one is more than Einhell.

Ryobi RY18SFX35A-0 18V ONE+ Cordless 35cm Brushless Scarifier after testing on a large lawn

You can comfortably work in your usual stance as the handles are height adjustable and fold down for easy storage and transport, which is a nice feature.

The unit you receive is just the scarifier. However, there’s an optional aerator attachment for purchase, along with an optional collection bag.

Pros

  • Cordless scarifier is suitable for medium to large lawns.
  • Powerful brushless motor for better reliability.
  • Sixteen stainless steel times on a rotating drum for dethatching your lawn.
  • Height adjustable handle plus folds down for storage.
  • The working width is 35cm, and it has four working depths that are easy to adjust.
  • Aerator attachment is available as an option,

My recommendation

This Ryobi Cordless Scarifier comes without the battery and charger but fits seamlessly into the ONE+ series of Ryobi power tools, which I know many of my readers will already have. This is good news if that’s your collection of garden equipment. You already have the batteries you need, so it will be very affordable.

This is a great scarifier for those with larger lawns, but be aware that it comes without a collection bag. Remember to purchase one if you don’t want to rake up all the moss by hand. Where this model excels is that it’s powered by a brushless motor, which is much superior to the standard brushed motors on the previous two models. If you already have Ryobi tools with 18v batteries, this is the one I would seriously consider. If you are looking for a machine you can use more often, perhaps on larger, more demanding lawns, it probably pays to invest in this brushless motor model, too.


3. Greenworks Cordless Scarifier G40DT35 with 2.5 Ah Battery and Charger

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Greenworks Cordless Scarifier G40DT35 with 2.5 Ah Battery and Charger

This Greenworks Cordless Scarifier G40DT35 with 40V 2.5 Ah lithium-ion Battery and Charger, as its name says, comes with a 40V Lithium-ion battery and charger that works with all the 40V/2.5Ah power tools in the Greenworks cordless power tools range. If you already have some tools in this range and don’t need the battery, you can buy just the scarifier. It’s the same tool even though the name’s different. It’s just the bare tool without the battery or charger.

Greenworks Cordless Scarifier G40DT35 with 2.5 Ah Battery and Charger testing its performance

The 40V battery you receive (or not) has an LED battery charge indicator that lets you know when it’s time to recharge it, which is a nice feature. Don’t worry if you’ve finished your scarifying session without using all the battery power; you can plug it into recharge anyway. It won’t bother the battery’s memory.

For those who are not sure what I’m talking about, probably some younger readers. Older cordless tools used to suffer from what was known as the memory effect. This meant that that battery had to be fully used before recharging, or it would not know when it was fully charged. However, this is no longer a problem with these new lithium-ion batteries. In terms of running time, the 40V 2.5Ah battery will give you around 60 minutes of scarifying time.

Greenworks Cordless Scarifier removing moss from the lawn

Back to the features, this scarifier’s working width is 35cm, which lets it dethatch small to medium lawns easily, especially working at a maximum speed of 3600rpm. The 20 spring-loaded stainless steel tines rake up everything in sight and collect all the dead organic matter, including the dreaded moss, in the (included) 20L collection bag, although it does quickly fill up. From experience, this is the case for all models, as moss doesn’t compact very easily like grass clipping in a lawn mower. However, it can scarify anything 0.5cm above the ground down to 1.0cm below ground, which is fair game. It’s your choice of three depths to work at.

A quick note about adjusting the scarifying depth: there is no lever like on the Einhell and Ryobi models, so it’s not as easy. In the centre of the front wheels, if you remove the knurled knob, there is a screw you can loosen. You can then turn the knurled knob and choose between 3 height settings. I imagine most people who own this tool don’t even know this feature exists.

Finally, the handlebar is ergonomically padded for comfort and less strain on your body. It’s also height-adjustable, which is a nice touch, so you’re not crouching down to use this power tool and putting strain on your back.

Pros

  • Cordless scarifier for small to medium lawns.
  • A powerful Battery, 40V and 2.5Ah, is included (if you want) along with the necessary charger.
  • Blades are 20 steel tines that are spring-loaded and 1.0cm long.
  • The working width is 35 cm and the working depth is adjustable between +0.5cm to -1.0cm.
  • Handle is height adjustable and foldable for compact storage.
  • The collection bag has a 20L capacity and is included in the purchase.
  • The guide bar is retractable.

My recommendation

This Greenworks Cordless Scarifier G40DT35 with its it’s 2.5 Ah Battery and Charger offers you a choice of the scarifier with the battery if this is your first Greenworks power tool purchase or without if you already have the battery from other Greenworks tools. The premium features, including the spring-loaded times and the collection bag, as well as the ergonomic design, add to the quality of this scarifier.

The Greenworks Cordless Scarifier G40DT35 with 2.5 Ah Battery and Charger is our choice for Best Pick of the Scarifier in this Best of… review. It serves as a complement to the Greenworks 40V cordless string strimmer and the Greenworks 40V cordless lawn mower, which we have also reviewed previously if you want to collect the set.


Buyer’s Guide

Scarifiers are pretty basic tools. They’re just vertical rakes that rake up the layer of dead organic matter from your lawn, the stuff you see that’s at the base of the grass blades. This lets oxygen, water, and other nutrients reach the grass, making it strong and healthy.

Petrol vs electric scarifier comparison
My petrol vs electric scarifier comparison

Power scarifiers have until recently been electric or petrol driven, but now some cordless (battery) models are appearing on the market which I think is fantastic, no wires to worry about or high maintenance petrol engines, best of both worlds.

My Buyer’s Guide explains what to look for in a cordless scarifier.

Power

Lithium-ion batteries that power most cordless garden tools including cordless scarifiers

Cordless scarifiers run off Lithium-ion batteries, usually 36V to 40V and from 2Ah to 6Ah. The battery and charger may be included in your purchase. All the scarifiers in our review are part of their brand’s series of power tools that share batteries interchangeably, so you may not have to buy a scarifier with a battery. Your purchase decision may simply boil down to which tool range you’ve invested in already.

 Body and wheels

A steel body is durable and rust-resistant but quite heavier. Cordless scarifier bodies tend to be heavy-duty plastic that’s more lightweight and easy to clean, hose them down. Look for large wheels that won’t tamp down the grass as you use the machine.

Functions

Some scarifiers have just one function – to dethatch your lawn – while others can aerate it too (make holes in it to let water and nutrients reach down the grassroots). This function may be part of the scarifier unit; it may be through an attachment that’s included in your purchase or an optional extra part.

Working width and depth

The working width of the scarifier, usually around 30cm to 40cm, is the width of the path you can dethatch at one time. The wider the width, the fewer passes you need to make across the lawn. The working depth is how far down you can go into the grass to pull the dead matter up. For the best scarifiers, you generally have a range of +0.5cm (that’s above ground) to -1.0cm (that’s below ground to get at any roots).

Tines/blades

These are the metal spikes that do the raking. You’re usually told the number of them on the scarifier (8 double, 16 and 20) in this review and their length. Steel or stainless steel tines are best, and spring-loaded ones respond well to the ups and downs of the lawn.

heavy-duty blades that penetrate into the lawn as shown above and remove moss and thatch deep within the lawn

There are two types of tines, the first is heavy-duty blades that penetrate into the lawn as shown above and remove moss and thatch deep within the lawn. This is best done in autumn or spring and gives the lawn a good cleanout.

Rake style tines that can rake the surface of the lawn to remove moss and debris

The second type is more like steel rake tines and lightly rake the lawn to remove moss from the surface. It is great for maintaining your lawn in between scarifying your lawn in autumn and spring with the blades tines.

Collection bag

Not all cordless scarifiers come with a collection bag, though you may be able to purchase one separately. Without a collection bag, the scarifier just deposits the raked bits on the top of the lawn until you manually remove them with a rake. I find that scarifying quickly fills a collection bag and sometimes it can be easier to just rake the lawn later to collect the moss.


Final Conclusion

Dethatching your lawn of moss, thatch, dead leaves and dead grass is a tiresome chore, especially if electric scarifiers don’t reach the area or petrol scarifiers are too heavy for you to use.

Cordless scarifiers are a relatively new product which is why there are so few in our review. But if you want to power scarify your lawn and need the mobility of a cordless tool, the ones in our review are all from brands well-renowned for their high-quality garden equipment.


Last update on 2024-03-17 / 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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