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As a professional gardener, in the autumn, when the leaves begin to fall, there is one garden tool I won’t be without. That is my Spear & Jackson Neverbend Leaf Rake. It really is a lovely rake to use but more on this in a minute. Over the last 20 years, I’ve used countless garden rakes for my garden maintenance jobs and on my family’s small nursery and small holding. Most only last a season or two, even the good ones, so in this review, I’m hoping to share what are the best leaf rakes.
I often find myself firing up the petrol leaf blower for very large gardens or hard surfaces such as paths and drives, especially in the nursery. However, I will always have a leaf rake ready, especially for smaller and medium-sized lawns. With a decent leaf rake, I can quickly clear a relatively large lawn of leaves before I’ve even fueled up my petrol leaf blower and got it started. Combine a decent leaf rake with a good sturdy leaf grabber, and I can clear up a lawn full of leaves in no time and more efficiently than any leaf blower. I also often use the leaves to make leaf mould to turn it into soil conditioner for the raised beds or compost them down in my compost tumbler as carbon waste to make compost from my waste.
As I’ve already mentioned, as a professional gardener and nurseryman working on my family nursery. I’ve certainly had my fair share of experience with different garden tools including leaf sweepers and leaf vacuums. I can confidently say that my Spear & Jackson Neverbend Carbon Plastic Leaf Rake is probably the best plastic rake I’ve used, especially for lawns.
One of the things I love about this particular rake is the soft plastic the tines are made from and its durable but lightweight design. More importantly, it’s proven perfect for raking up leaves without damaging the lawn. Some rakes I’ve used over the years, especially those with steel tines, have a tendency to rip up loose grass. This is fine if you have moss and thatch to remove, but not if you want to remove the fallen leaves and other debris without damaging the lawn.
Because it’s so light, it’s also comfortable enough to use for extended periods, and the balance between the flexibility of the plastic and the shape of the tines is just right. Over the last four years, I’ve had no issues with breakages or snapped tines. Basiclly, I highly recommend the Spear & Jackson Neverbend Carbon Plastic Leaf Rake to any gardener looking for a reliable, effective, and comfortable rake. When I need a new one, I’ll be replacing it with this one again. If this isn’t available, then I’d probably go for the Orientools Garden Leaf Rake, which is very similar and also a great option.
If you’re looking for more of a multi-purpose rake with steel tines, rather than plastic, then I’m a big fan of the Stanley FATMAX Springback Leaf Rake. This is very well made, lightweight and overall it’s a great bit of kit. I’d use it for everything from raking moss and thatch out of the lawn to collecting leaves and sweeping hedge trimming. It’s a true heavy-duty multi-purpose rake.
My Best Leaf Rake Reviews
1. Spear & Jackson Neverbend Carbon Plastic Leaf Rake
This Spear & Jackson Neverbend Leaf Rake is, for me, definitely one of the best leaf rakes I’ve owned. I’m actually on my second one now and chose to replace it with the same one which I had for several years. We actually have quite a few rakes at any one time as we have a nursery and garden maintenance business but this is my go-to rake.
What I really like about it, as well as the overall build quality, which is excellent, is that the plastic tines are soft and forgiving but won’t break as some of the other rakes I used over the years do. Because of this, it’s also perfect for lawns that are well maintained, think striped lawns, as it doesn’t rip into the lawn, which for me, is essential for some jobs. It also works great on hard surfaces, including patios and driveways, and doesn’t leave scratch marks like a wire rake can.
This is actually part of the Spear & Jackson range of garden tools with Supergrip handles, for it’s actually very comfortable to use, and at maybe a little over 1kg, it’s also lightweight, so I find it easy on the arms.
The pole in this leaf rake is made from aluminium. Aluminium is a lightweight metal that’s weather-proof and rust-proof. Basically, I don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving the rake out in the rain, although I do recommend keeping it undercover. The soft grip at the end of the pole is designed for maximum comfort and is ergonomic for efficiency.
The rake head at the other end of the pole, the most important part in my eyes, is constructed of lightweight plastic and is nice and wide at 60cm, so around 2ft.
- Very well made wide leaf rake made of aluminium with plastic tines.
- The rake head is 60cm (2fta) wide, making it ideal for raking large areas.
- The Pole is made of aluminium coated in epoxy, which is strong but lightweight.
- Soft-grip PVC coating on the end of the handle gives an ergonomic, comfortable grip.
- Very lightweight at only 1.2kg.
2. Orientools Garden Leaf Rake
This Orientools Garden Leaf Rake is ideal if you need a leaf rake for personal use, maybe a small to medium-sized lawn. However, it’s definitely not up to continuous professional work but overall, it’s a nice wide rake similar to the Speak & Jackson but it doesn’t have the same build quality which is why I’d recommend it for light use. What I do like is that it is adjustable so, whatever your height, you can use it comfortably. The handle is made of powder-coated lightweight steel so it’s weather-proof too.
The handle adjusts from 109cm, so just under 4ft to 152cm, just over 5ft (including the rake head measurements). You twist the handle clockwise to increase the length of the pole and then turn it in the opposite direction to set the length. This selection of lengths suits most gardeners.
It also has non-slip grip at the end of the handle to ensure it’s comfort to use. The hook at the end of the handle makes it easy to store the rake out of the way in your garden shed or garage, the telescopic handle really does make it compact which I think is ideal.
The rake head is made of plastic just like the Spear & Jackson rake, maybe not quite forgiving but good enough. It has 22 tines and a spread of 53cm so it is slightly narrow compared to the Spear & Jackson rake. While this is not the widest rake head I recommend, it’s large enough to rake up a significant amount of leaves in one pass.
There is some assembly required with this rake but it’s easy enough, no tools needed is the main thing. You need to slip the handle into the rake head via a snap lock. That’s all it takes!
- Wide rakee head with adjustable handle means it can be adjusted to suit your height.
- The handle is made of powder-coated lightweight steel, and the head is of high-strength plastic.
- Length of the handle goes from 109cm to 152cm.
- Width of head is 53cm with 22 tines.
- Non-slip grip at the end of the handle.
- Handle is removable from the head for ease of storage.
- Hook at the end of the handle to hang up the rake in storage.
- Best for light domestic work, not for heavy professional work
3. Fiskars Xact Leaf Rake XXL
This Fiskars Xact Leaf Rake XXL is the widest rake I recommend at just over 2ft wide and I think its also the longest at almost 6ft long so slightly wider than and longer than the Spear & Jackson rake. First thing first, I’m a big fan of Fiskar and own several of their garden tools including the weed puller, great for lawns and telescopic tree pruner, both brilliant tools.
This leaf rake is no different, it’s very well made, one of the best for sure. You can’t really go wrong with Fiskars and this rake is probably the best alternative if the Spear & Jackson leaf rake is not for you for some reason and it’s about the same price.
It’s made up of a hardened aluminium pole as the handle and a plastic rake head. Both of these materials contribute to the light weight of the rake, coming in at barely 1kg so again similar weight. As far as dimensions go, the handle is 176.5cm long and the rake head is 61.5cm wide.
A good half of the length of the handle is covered with the Softgrip technology that makes this leaf rake a pleasure to use. It lets you hold comfortably anywhere all along the upper half of the handle while keeping the rake in a good position for raking up the leaves and other organic debris from your lawn. The handle is slightly curved at the top for further efficiency. Overall its a great piece of kit.
- Hardened aluminium pole and plastic rake.
- Long ergonomic Softgrip on the upper half of the handle.
- Handle is slightly curved at the top for further comfort and efficiency.
- Width of the raking head is 61.5cm.
- Length of the rake is 176.5cm (including rake head).
- Hanging look for ease of storage.
- Weighs 1kg.
4. Gardena combisystem (CS) adjustable rake
Just to be very clear, this Gardena combisystem (CS) adjustable rake is just for the rake head. The handle is not included, as you can switch between different tools using the same handle.
This is not as strange as it first seems as this rake is part of the Gardena combisystem of tools and handles – each of which is bought separately. There’s a variety of tool heads and a selection of different types of handles. You mix and match the tool head and the handle that suits you best.
This is a great space saving, and again, I’m a fan of Gardena tools and recently updated my review after I purchased my second automatic hose from them, and I also have their lawn sprinkler system too.
So, this adjustable garden rake head lets you change the width of the rake, which is the main feature I think would come in handy. It goes from 30cm wide (1ft) out to 50cm and so fits into any narrow spaces that you have but it can also be made 50cm for larger open areas. It’s not a wide rake, even at its full width, but it’s useful if you have an assortment of different spaces that are full of leaves, and you just can’t comfortably get a wider rake in them.
The tines are made of steel and offer some spring, unlike some of the plastic ones you can find. This lets you confidently rake large clumps of wet leaves without worrying about breaking the tines. It’s also great for collecting moss and thatch after scarifying too.
- Adjustable garden rake that fits all Gardena CS (combisystem) handles (not included).
- Tines are made of steel.
- Adjust the width of the rake head from 30cm to 50cm, making it ideal for narrow and wider spaces.
5. Stanley FATMAX Springback Leaf Rake
The last rake I think is well worth considering, especially if you want one with steel tines as opposed to plastic is this Stanley FATMAX Springback Leaf Rake. It is unusual among the rakes in my review in that its handle is made of fibreglass, not metal or even wood. This is perfect for professional heavy use due to the fibreglass handle and the steel tines. It doesn’t break easily, and it’s ergonomically designed and well balanced with the oversized handle.
The fibreglass handle is built around a wood core which offers more strength, structure and durability to this material. The handle won’t rust, splinter or crack, so you can use it in all weathers and conditions. The steel rake tines, likewise, are incredibly durable and can handle large clumps of leaves and compacted organic debris.
The handle fits into the rake head via a tubed steel shank. This adds just that extra bit of strength to the overall structure and contributes to this Stanley rake’s long life.
The holding end of the handle has a Control Grip feature. This helps you hold the rake firmly so it won’t fly out of your hands if you apply a bit of pressure.
- Contractor grade leaf rake.
- Fibreglass handle and steel rake tines.
- Ergonomic soft grip at the end of the handle for comfort and efficiency.
- Control Grip shape at the end of the handle helps you hold the rake firmly.
- Wood reinforced core to handle for strength.
- Shank is tubed steel that reinforces the fibreglass handle.
Buyer’s Guide for Leaf Rakes
My Buyer’s Guide covers six things to look for when choosing a good reliable leaf rake that is up to the job.
Width of rake head
The width of the rake head indicates how wide a strip of leaves you can rake in one pass. For a wide open lawn, the wider the rake head, the better. But if you have narrow spaces in which leaves congregate, it’s difficult to get in there with a wide rake. One good solution is a rake head on which you can adjust the width. The Gardena combisystem (CS) adjustable rake in this review is such an example.
Number of tines
The number of tines is also important and is dependent on the width of the rake head. Too few tines means that there are large gaps between them through which leaves and other debris can escape. All the rakes reviewed here have around 22 to 24 tines for a width of around 50cm to 60cm. This is a good ratio to look for.
Length of handle
Depending on how many trees are on and about your property, you may be spending a fair bit of time raking up leaves. You need to have a rake that’s suited to your height so you don’t have to bend over or crouch.
The handles of all the models in this review are different lengths. Only one, the ORIENTOOLS Garden Leaf Rake, lets you adjust the length. Take some time to work out what’s the best height of the rake for you before you make your purchase selection.
Material of rake tines
The materials used here are usually plastic (PVC) or steel. If the steel is spring-loaded, the tines have lots of give and can handle wet and heavy leaves as well as compacted debris. Plastic tines don’t have as much give and you should use rakes with these tines less aggressively.
Material of handle
The handles of the rakes can be made of steel, preferably powder-coated; aluminium; wood; or fibreglass. Apart from wood, the other materials are weather- and rust-proof and are easy to look after. Aluminium and fibreglass are the most lightweight, but fibreglass is often formed around a wood core which adds to its weight.
All the rakes in my review have some form of soft grip covering on their handles. It may be proprietary technology proven to reduce the strain on your wrists and hands, or it may be just a rubber sleeve to soften the handle to your touch.
Review what each rake model offers and decide how healthy your wrists are now and what’s the best way to keep them in good shape.
Leaf rakes are not expensive in the big scheme of garden equipment. But they’re a necessary part of the turn of the season from autumn to winter. The models I review here are all suitable for doing the job of removing leaves and other debris from your lawn and sweeping them into piles. They differ slightly by the height of the handle, the width of the rake head and ergonomic features.
It’s up to you to decide what you need to make your task as easy and comfortable as possible and then find the best match.
Last update on 2023-11-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API