Best Lawn Scarifier – Learn why the Bosch AVR 1100 Vericutter is probably your best choice
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Choosing the best lawn raker for removing moss & thatch
When it comes to keeping a lawn lush green and healthy, one job that cannot be overlooked is scarifying which should be done in Autumn and Spring to remove moss, thatch and also help aerate the soil. You can buy manual models which are surprisingly good although they take a lot of graft but we think the best lawn scarifiers are those powered by either electric which are very low maintenance, ideal for smaller and medium sized lawns. Next are the petrol scarifiers which ere perfect for larger gardens or where no electric plug is available but they need regular engine maintenance which is far from ideal.
After hours of intensive research and some testing, we have put together our top recommended models, manual petrol and electric so you can make an informed decision about which model is right for you.
They vary in price from £50 for the good entry model for small gardens to over £300 for larger petrol powered machines but these are more suited for large gardens.
Despite the large price range, we have found that you can get a good electric scarifier from around £100 to £150.
Our favourite model which we awarded our 'Best Pick' award and have recently retested just recently again is the Bosch AVR 1100 Vericutter Lawnraker. We really like this model as its powered by electric making it a great choice for most people. It's low maintenance with no engine to maintain, simple to use, simply plug it in and set the depth, best of all, it really does lift and remove moss and thatch well, plus it collects it very well to. Below is a few pictures we took along with a brief overview before getting into the other models and reviews further down.
After much debate and comparing several lawn scarifiers, we decided to put the Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker to the test again. Our conclusion, what a machine, you may be a little tied down by the power cord when compared to a petrol model but for small and medium size gardens this shouldn't be a problem. We tested this on a lawn which was heavily infested with moss that was approximately 10 meters by 10 meters and the cord was just about long enough with the help of an extension lead to reach the lawn from the garage. Below is a quick summary of what we liked and a few specifications that make all the difference.
Top Scarifiers Comparison Table
-10 to + 5mm
(4 cutting heights)
5 cutting heights
-5 to + 10mm
(4 cutting heights)
4 to -4 to -8 to -12 mm
(4 cutting heights)
2, 3 & 8mm
Scarifying guide to help maintain a healthy lawn
To ensure you have a healthy lawn, you need to aerate the lawn so that moisture and nutrients can get into the soil and to do this you need to scarify the lawn to remove thatch, moss and other debris from the base of lawn. This is where a good scarifier comes to make the job much easier to do.
What you need to know before you start scarifying
The one mistake most gardeners make is simply scarifying at the wrong time of year, which often leads to a very messy, awful looking lawn.
When you set about scarifying you need the best growing conditions possible, this means that the lawn will recover faster, once its been scarified, as its likely to look a mess, but don't worry as it will look better than ever once its recovered, which is why we do it in the first place.
Spring scarifying should be done when the weather starts to warm, just as things start growing, which is usually around April. You should only do a light scarifying to remove moss and thatch in Spring, this means, do not set your scarifier on the lowered setting, start high and go lower in stages, until its removing the moss and thatch without doing too much damage to the lawn. A light scarifying can also be done in Autumn around August / September before the cold weather sets in.
In most cases, if you have a fair amount of moss and thatch to remove, then the best time to scarify your lawn in Autumn is around August / September, just before the cold weather sets in. This is the best time of year, to do a more 'aggressive heavy scarifying', but be warned, it will leave your lawn looking bare battered for a few weeks if not a few months, however your lawn will soon recover and look much better, and will be the foundation for a better, healthier lawn.
Best Manual Pick
What if you cannot scarify in Autumn because of bad weather
f you cannot scarify your lawn in Autumn, maybe bad weather prevented it o another reason, then a heavy scarifying can also be done in Spring, ideally though, Autumn is a much better time of year to do it. The reason for this is that once you do a deep scarify, it will leave some nice bare patches on your lawn, these can re-seed if needed, however it also leaves a nice bare patch for weed seeds to germinate, so by scarifying in Autumn you will miss the bulk of the weed seeds that germinate. After all, you don't want to replace the moss and thatch with weeds.
Preparation before scarifying
You need the grass to be short before scarifying, so its best to cut the lawn a week or two before scarifying to get it nice and short.
For the perfect lawn, don't forget to apply an Autumn and Spring, weed and feed to your lawn, some weed & feeds also contain moss killer to help control moss and keep it under control.
Best Budget Pick
Top 8 Lawn Scarifier Reviews
Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker Review
OUR BEST PICK
The 'Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter lawnraker' is a scarifier and aerator in one, this dual-purpose model has a powerful high-torque, 1100 watt 'powerdrive' motor which drives a specially designed cylinder raker system, which efficiently removes moss, thatch, weeds and leaves, as well a scoring the soil to help aerate the soil.
Using the Bosch 'Jet Collect system', the drum, which has 14 very strong blades, collects the moss, as well as thick layers of thatch etc. The drum also creates a powerful airflow which helps pack the collected moss and thatch into the large 50-litre collection box which increases the amount of moss and thatch that can be collected.
It has a working width of 32cm which means you maximise the area you scarify with each run and it has 4 adjustable height setting, which can be set between +5 mm to -10 mm, this means it can be used through out the season.
To change the height setting, simply use the twin levers, to set it to the correct height depending on the job you want to do. The lowest setting -10mm, will slice into the soil below the grass to help aerate the soil and let water and nutrients back into the soil as well as removing thick layers of moss and thatch as well as weeds.
The higher setting can be used to lightly rake the lawn with the highest setting ideal to collect debris off the surface of the lawn.
The high-speed motor and innovative gear, ensure it has enough power, when its needed most if the job becomes more demanding that the scarifier automatically increases power needed to efficient scarify the lawn in any situation.
Due to its compact design, it can be stored in a small amount of space, the folding handles and two piece collect box, means it can be folded down so that its only 40cm tall.
This model is the more expensive one out of the two scarifiers Bosch manufacturer, both are very good models, but this model has the advantage of having a more powerful motor, 1100 watt motor, compared to 900w for the cheaper model but we think it makes all the difference and its worth paying extra for. More importantly, this model has 14 steel blades which do a fantastic job at removing moss, thatch and weeds, the cheaper model uses wire tines which as less effective at scoring and aerating the soil all though they are great for removing moss and thatch from the surface.
The winner of our 'Best Pick', this is our top recommended model due to its great performance, quality build and features.
It does a great job at removing moss and thatch, but be careful, on the lowest setting, it may leave your lawn scalped with bare soil but this is a great opportunity to reseeding and is great for aerating but not ideal if you just want to lightly scarify to remove the moss and thatch in early spring. If you want to do a heavy scarifying we recommend doing this in early autumn as it will leave your lawn looking bare but it will recover stronger than ever.
Overall this Bosch Vericutter Lawnraker is one of the best models available without the hassle of removing cassettes to change from scarifying to aerating which you have to do with most other half decent models such as the one we also review by Vonhaus. It's probably the best electric scarifier currently available and if we had to recommend just one model, this would have to be it. If budget is not a factor and you're looking for an electric model, this is well worth considering and don't forget it also includes 3 years warranty too.
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Wolf Garten Roller Moss Remover Review
We've looked at 6 different manual scarifiers and found two that were brilliant and worth considering, however, the 'Wolf Garten Moss Remover' was by far the best in terms of build quality and you can see its clearly built to last. It also comes with a 10-year guarantee for full peace of mind so first impressions, very good.
The first thing you need to know is that this scarifier does not come with a handle, this means you have to purchase the handle separately. The handles alone range from £12 to around £25 depending on which one you choose. The advantage of this is you can choose the correct length to suit your height as well as choose between a lightweight aluminium handle or a traditional wooden handle.
Now on to, how to use it. Its very simple, when you push it forwards it used a pendulum action to lift the teeth or tines off the lawn and when you pull it towards you the pendulum action moves the tines into the lawn and removes the moss and thatch from the lawn and leaves it in a small pile of moss and thatch to collect.
So its super easy to use and will easily last many years proving a moss-free lawn, if you already have any of the Wolf Garten tools, you can use your current handle. If you purchase any of the other Wolf Garten Tools you can use the handle with these tools as well, there are around 50 different tools to choose from such as rakes. This in the long run, will save you some money.
Its fairly hard work to use as you would probably expect, we would only advise using it for small lawns, maybe medium sized lawns if your feeling adventurous and have plenty of energy and feel like a workout. For most people, you would be better with a motorised version for larger lawns but for small lawns where a motorised version maybe overkill, this model is perfect and will get the job done
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 only downside is that you have to purchase the handle separately and you would not really want to use it on larger lawns are it can be quiet tiring to use as you would expect.
Overall it has a good 30cm width so you can cover a good with of lawn from each pull and is your after a manual scarifier this is probably the best choice, we think it's worth paying the extra and buying a tool you know you will have for many years. However, If you would prefer something more affordable then the Darlac Lawn Scarifier reviewed below, is a good alternative but the quality is not quite on par but its still a great choice.
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AL-KO 38P Combi-care 2 in 1 Scarifier Review
Powerful Petrol Scarifier With 5 Working Depths, Perfect For Larger Lawns
The AL-KO 38P Combe-Care 2 in 1 Scarifier is a petrol powered model, powered by a 53cc engine, its designed for medium and larger sized gardens where a cable model would not be suitable or you simply need a larger model.
It has a working width of 37cm and comes with two interchangeable cassettes (rollers), one has steel blades, great for slicing into the soil, which helps aerate the soil and they also remove moss and thatch that's embedded deep into the lawn. The other cassette has steel wire tines that are ideal for removing moss and thatch as well as leaves and other garden debris.
The cassettes can be easily changed without tools for the job at hand and it has 5 working heights.
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.
That being said I do really the AL-KO 38P Petrol Scarifier as it is well built and you can change the cassettes easily without any tools without to much trouble.
At around 20kg, it's not too heavy, especially when compared to other petrol models and its small enough to store and manoeuvre.
A greats choice for homeowners with medium and larger sized gardens where an electric scarifier would not be suitable, if you're after a petrol model then we would recommend you take this model into consideration before buying one
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VonHaus 2 in 1 - Scarifier & Aerater Review
The Vonhaus 2 in 1 scarifier/lawnraker 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 and remove weeds, pull out deep embedded thatch and moss from the lawn. As the blades penetrate into the soil, this also aerates the soil, which lets in moisture and nutrients into the soil.
The raking roller removes moss, thatch and leaves from the lawn, but without penetrating the soil and does a much lighter job when compared to the scarifier roller with the blades. This is ideal, as you can use it throughout the season to keep your lawn nice and healthy another summer.
Powered by a 1500 watt motor, it has plenty of power and has a working width of 32cm as well as 4 working heights, this makes it very flexible when deciding whether you want to go over the lawn aggressively, for a deep scarify or lightly to keep on top for the moss and thatch through the season without causing too much damage to the lawn.
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 interchangeable rollers for scarifying and aerating are great as you can use each one for its intended purpose, as opposed to models that only have the raking roller which usually cannot penetrate deep into the soil as well as models with knives.
VonHaus manufacture some really good gardening equipment and this scarifier are to their usual high standard but at a very affordable price.
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 was actually one of the models that we felt could also be a 'best pick; model as it offers excellent quality, performance as well as excellent value.
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Black + Decker GD300 Lawnraker Review
The Black + Decker GD 300 Lawnraker is robust, low priced lawnraker designed for all year round maintenance of your lawn to keep it nice and healthy.
Powered by a 600-watt motor, it has 30cm working width and 3 adjustable height setting which can be easily changed with minimal effort, making it ideal for all small and medium sized lawns.
The lowered height setting is designed to give the lawn a good aggressive raking and will remove thatch from the base of the grass as well as moss and other debris. The middle setting will also remove moss without being too aggressive and the highest setting is ideal for collecting fallen leaves.
If you're after quality, but affordable simple lawnraker for removing thatch, moss as well as fallen leaves in the fall, then this could be what you're looking for.
The Black + Decker lawnraker does an excellent job at removing moss and thatch but it does have its limitations, which are reflected in the price of the product.
This simple model is really only designed for removing moss and thatch, what it does not do is penetrate into the soil like other models we have reviewed, this feature helps improve aeration which ensures moisture and nutrients can get into the soil, which I feel is essential if you want a really healthy lawn.
Overall it's a good lawnraker, but if you're looking to do a more 'thorough scarifying', then you may want to spend a little more and invest in a slightly better model. However, if you're in need of a cheap lawnraker to remove moss and thatch, this could be ideal. It does come with 2 years warranty for extra peace of mind, which is ideal considering its low price tag.
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Darlac Lawn Scarifier Review
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.
It does not have the pendulum action like the Garten Scarifier so it can be used being pushed forwards or pull towards yourself. This makes it slightly more hard work to use but it does effectively remove moss, thatch or any leaves embedded into the lawn. In reality, it probably does the job just as well.
The build quality is not perfect and it will probably on last a few years which is our only worry. On the other hand, it comes with a telescopic handle so it can be set to a height to suit the user which is a good feature.
The Darlac Scarifier is a great tool and one that is very affordable, the only real downside is that it takes a lot of effort to use due to nature if it, however, it still but better than trying to scarify with a rake.
Overall it's a great tool but the quality could be better, still, it should last a few years and does the job.
If we have to recommend just one model, it would have to be the Garten but for those looking for a more affordable option, this is probably your best alternative.
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Understanding the features and specifications
Lawn scarifying FAQ’s
What is the best lawn scarifier?
After much consideration and testing, we believe that the Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker is probably the best lawn scarifier for most people with smaller and medium-sized gardens. It’s extremely easy to use and collects the removed moss exceptional well, this combined with the multiple depth setting and quality build, it really is an excellent lawn scarifier for home use. The only real downside is the power cable, we have an average-sized garden and it just about reaches from one end to the other.
When should I scarify my 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. If you cannot do a heavy scarifying in autumn, its to wet for example 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. 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.
What is the difference between a lawn rake and a scarifier?
A lawn rake usually has steel tines and only removes the top layer 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 layer of thatch that has build up under the grass. This also helps aerate the soil and let water and essential nutrients get to the grassroots which enables the lawn to grow thicker and much better. Some scarifiers some with both a scarifying attachment with thick blades and a separate rake style attachment with steel wire rake tines for raking the lawn.
Are lawn scarifiers any good?
If you want a quality healthy lawn then working a yearly scarifying routine into your schedule at least once a year is essential to remove any moss and thatch build-up, which would otherwise stop essential nutrients getting down into the lawn. It's also easier to remove a little moss yearly than to leave it a few years and realise your lawn has been overrun with moss and is really spongy.
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 spike often on a big roller or remove lots of tiny cores from your lawn. This allows water and lawn feed to go into the holes and reach the roots. Aerating does not remove any moss or thatch which is big difference.
Should you scarify before or after cutting grass?
Before scarifying you should bring your lawn down to as short as possible, doing this in a couple of stages if your grass is lawn. You want to leave your lawn a few days after mowing so it can dry out before scarifying.
How many times can you scarify a lawn?
You should only scarify your lawn twice a year at the most and at least once a year for the best lawn, scarify heavily in autumn if needed and again in spring but only a lightly scarify. If you cannot do a heavy scarify in autumn this can also be done in spring around April.
When should I put moss killer on my lawn?
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. You can also apply a moss killer before scarifying.
What Exactly Is A Scarifier and what does it do?
A scarifier is a manual or powered machine that used 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 allows water and nutrients to reach the roots of the lawn grass.
Does A Scarifier Make A Difference?
Using a scarifier on your lawn at least once a year with making a big difference to the quality of your lawn as all the essential nutrients and water will be able to reach the roots which ensure a greener, healthier lawn. Moss and thatch both stop the lawn from receiving nutrients and often leads to a wet spongy lawn is not controlled.
What to do after scarifying
Once you have scarified your lawn and removed moss you can apply moss kill 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 kill any remaining moss you may have left behind or brought to the surface.
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. We also recommend giving the lawn a weed and feed which can usually be applied with a spreader, if you scarifier in autumn be sure you use an autumn weed and feed as the mixture is different than spring and summer weed and feed.
Our Final Conclusion
After many hours of research, it was very difficult to decide which scarifier is 'The Best' as there is a lot of very good models out there, the truth is that there is not a model that we would recommend to everyone, as there are many things to take into consideration when choosing a model that is right for you.
Most Affordable Pick
Budget friendly pick
If your after a cheap model without getting something too flimsy, then the 'Black + Decker GD300' is an excellent choice and does a great job a removing moss and thatch. Its even a 'Amazon Best Seller' but at such as good price, its easy to see why. It may be a 'best seller' but it NOT 'The Best'
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