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Last updated on March 19th, 2021
After over 18 months of testing and scarifying my own lawn, I think that the Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker is the best scarifier for most gardeners. Its overall performance, reliability and ease of use from scarifying deeply to remove thick thatch to light raking for moss make it a great model to buy. People with large lawns might want to consider one of our petrol picks by Weibang or Alko.
Quick overview of our best picks
Our 8 Best Lawn Scarifiers review looks at scarifiers that let you do this process yourself. We look at the best models on the market and list the pros and cons of each model, along with discussing their features. Our Buyer’s Guide 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.
If you already have a scarifier and are looking for information on how to use it, we have an article that explains just that.
OVER 12 MONTHS OF REAL WORLD TESTING
The best scarifiers we have reviewed and recommend are listed below:
- Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker – BEST PICK
- Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier – BEST FOR PROFESSIONALS
- AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier – RUNNER-UP
- AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Scarifier – BEST DOMESTIC PETROL PICK
- Wolf Garten Roller Moss Remover
- Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator
- Darlac Lawn Scarifier
- VonHaus 2 in 1 – Scarifier & Aerator
BEST FOR PROFESSIONALS
Designed with industrial-strength features and to handle with 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. Just keep up the regular maintenance required with any petrol garden machine and this scarifier will work as hard as you need it to for years to come.
Best Petrol Pick
Top 8 Best Lawn Scarifier Reviews
1. Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter Lawnraker
The Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter lawnraker is a scarifier and aerator in one. This dual-purpose model has a powerful high-torque and a 1100 watt powerdrive motor. These drive a specially designed cylinder raker system which efficiently removes moss, thatch, weeds and leaves, as well as scoring the soil to help aerate the soil.
Check out my video review of the Bosch AVR Verticutter
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. You don’t have to go along afterwards and rake it up for yourself, saving you time and effort. 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.
This Verticutter Lawnraker has a working width of 32cm which means you maximise the area you scarify with each run. The four adjustable height settings have a range of +5mm to -10mm, changeable by twin levers, so you can use this unit throughout the growing season.
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 soil. But be careful on the lowest setting as it can leave your lawn looking scalped with bare soil showing.
Due to its compact design, this lawnraker can be stored in a small amount of space. The folding handles and two-piece collection box fold down so that the unit is only 40cm tall.
- 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 adjustable scarifying heights from -10mm to +5mm.
- 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 is a large 50-litre collection box.
- Two-year warranty for extra peace of mind
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. This model has 14 steel blades which do a fantastic job at removing moss, thatch and weeds. The -10mm to +5mm adjustable depth range lets you rake lightly from the top of the soil to way down into the ground, though be careful with the lowest setting as it can leave your lawn bare. (Best used in the autumn.)
The Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter lawnraker is our Best Pick in this review due to its great performance, quality build and dual scarifying and aeration functions. If you have the budget for this model, we highly recommend the investment and during our testing, it really performs well has more power than most alternative electric models.
2. Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier
Best For Professionals
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.
- 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.
- Quite heavy to move around.
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.
3. Wolf Garten Roller Moss Remover
Best Manual Scarifier
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.
- 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,
- Takes some effort.
- Not suitable for larger gardens.
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.
4. AL-KO 38P Combi-care 2 in 1 Scarifier
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.
- 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.
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.
5. Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator
This Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator works well on large lawns. The 2100cc lawn scarifier and aerator comes with a 4-stroke engine that powers the 19 hardened steel blades. The engine is powerful and consumes minimal fuel so will not drain your pockets dry in the long run.
This dual function scarifier and aerator possesses a cutting width of 40cm which covers more lawn surface at a given time. That is why this model is perfect for aerating and scarifying all sizes of lawns from small to large. It has a durable steel deck and wheels with a wide tread for easy manoeuvrability.
The Hyundai Lawn Scarifier & Aerator also comes with a cutting height adjustment range from -15mm to +15mm. Depending on how deep you want to aerate and scarify, you can adjust the blades’ cutting height using a single knob. The moss, thatch and other organic debris collected are deposited in the 45 litre collection bag. This sizeable collection bag is easy to attach and detach for emptying.
This machine comes with soft grip handles that provide comfort so you have long-time use without getting blisters. The handle is also foldable for easy and compact storage in case you’re tight for space. This model comes with a three-year guarantee which only goes to assure you of the high quality of the product.
- 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 grass.
- 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.
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. Armed with a powerful 4-stroke engine, this machine removes all the moss and thatch that has been obstructing your lawn’s growth. It has five cutting height settings and therefore you can scarify and aerate as deeply or shallowly as your lawn needs.
6. AL-KO Combi-Care 38 E Electric Scarifier
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.
- 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.
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
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.
- 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.
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
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.
- 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.
- Hard work to use, especially if the lawn is a little uneven.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 wit 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.
Last update on 2021-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API