Garden & Lawn

Top 6 best petrol lawn scarifiers for removing moss and thatch

Last updated on May 10th, 2022

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Over the years as a professional gardener, I have been able to use many different petrol scarifiers so I like to think I know and thing or two about scarifiers and using them. Full transparency, I own both petrol and electric scarifiers and petrol scarifiers take a little more maintenance but do a much better job overall because of the weight and extra powder the petrol engines provide.

My review of the Best Petrol Scarifiers introduces the most powerful scarifiers for removing moss, decomposing grass known as thatch and other unwanted plant material build-up from your soon-to-be-pristine lawn. Some of the scarifiers I review including my best pick by Hyundai also let you rake the lawn to lightly remove this debris in between the scarification sessions in Autumn and Spring.

Just starting to scarifier my lawn with what I think is one of the most well built scarifiers at an affordable price all things considered
Using the Hyundai 210cc petrol scarifier

My Best Pick is the Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator as pictured above with myself. Its powerful engine has enough power to propel the 18-bladed scarifier cylinder strongly across a fairly large lawn.

Scarifying your lawn may be just what you need to take it to the next level.

Best Pick

Hyundai 210cc petrol scarifier which is my best pick and the best scarifier for most people
What I think is one of the best petrol scarifiers currently available
Hyundai 210cc 400mm 4-stroke Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator
The Hyundai 210cc Petrol Lawn Scarifier is an amazing piece of kit which is why I use this model on my own garden and why I recommend it so much. So what do I like about it? firstly, Hyundai are one of the only companies I would say manufacture both reliable and well built garden tools which are still affordable to most people. I think that most petrol scarifiers are either good quality but expensive or more affordable but often simply not up to the job. However, with Hyundai, I have never found this to be the case. This model is a great option for most people as its suitable for both smaller and larger sized lawns, this means I can use it on my smallish lawn at home but still use it on my dads very large lawn as its still up to the job with a decent working with of 400mm. It also has plenty of power thanks to the 4-stroke 210cc engine to drive the 18 steal tines into the lawn to remove thick moss and thatch with ease. Being 4-stroke its also easy to fuel up as there no mixing like you get on 2 stroke engines either. I also like that its really easy to change the working heights between +15mm and -15mm by turning a simple dial on the front of the machine. Finally, I have found it to be really easy to start and it starts up first time everywhere. Overall, the build quality excellent being made mostly of steel, its does a great job at scarifying my lawn and it also comes with a 3 year warranty too. For most people looking for a decent scarifier, I think this model is well worth considering which is why I have also chosen to use this model on my own lawn.

Buy direct from hyundaipowerequipment.co.uk

Groves in lawn that petrol scarifier has made using the steel tines and removed moss and thatch
Be careful not to start too deep, start at the highest setting, +15mm on this model pictured above on my lawn and adjust little by little

Using a petrol scarifier is just like using a petrol lawnmower; you just have to pay closer attention to what you set the height of the tines at (the blades that remove the moss and thatch), my advice is to always start at the highest setting and work down until you get the desired results.

I also include a Buyer’s Guide that explains more about how a scarifier works and what features to look for when selecting one, especially a petrol model. The FAQ section further down addresses a few of the most often asked questions about scarifiers.


Professionals Pick

If you need an industrial-strength lawn scarifier without spending too much money, the Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier is ideal. It’s fitted with a reliable 163cc Briggs & Stratton engine and it features 22 double-tipped carbon steel scarifying blades that will clear moss and thatch easily even on the most demanding lawns. In terms of fuel efficiency, it’s very economical to run and it is easy to store and compact for easy transport from job to job. For someone who is in the landscaping field, this is one model that you will not regret to have used. A good combination of affordability and reliability for professional gardeners who need a reliable machine for daily use.


Looking for electric and manual scarifiers – check out our recommended scarifiers in this guide by clicking here


Top 6 Petrol Lawn Scarifier Reviews

Below is our top recommended petrol scarifiers after comparing many models and narrowing it down to what we consider to be 5 of the very best models starting with our best pick.

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

Best Pick

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Buy direct from hyundaipowerequipment.co.uk

Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator

The Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier is an impressive piece of kit and the model I recommend and still use myself on my medium-sized lawn as well as my dad’s much larger front and back lawns.

The picture below is of a large front lawn I treated with iron sulphate before using the Hyundai petrol scarifier to remove the dead moss.

Lawn before scarifying the lawn but after I have applied moss killer

As you can see in the picture below, it was a waste of time using the collection box as there was so much moss so I removed the collection bag and decided it would be easier to rake it up afterwards and collect it by hand and then collect any bits I miss with a lawn mower.

Below is after I have raked up a lot of the moss so you can see how much moss this scarifier has removed.

After I have removed the moss.

In terms of specification, it has a 210cc 4-stroke OHV petrol engine which is the most powerful in my review, overall the build quality is exceptional too with a steel deck, nothing feels cheaply made and I think it’s as good as any of the more expensive models such as those by Weibang.

The 210cc 4-stroke engine on the Hyundai petrol scarifier
210cc 4-stroke petrol engine – red dial switch can be turned on/off

So one of the most common problems with petrol machinery is how easy they are to start which is not always straightforward. On this model, I have found it really easy to start and starts the first time every start, on milder days I have even been able to start it without choke.

Basically, all you need to do is turn the red dial on the front of the engine to the ‘ON’ position, turn the choke to the ‘ON’ by pushing the lever to the left and then make sure the fuel lever is pushed to the right. The setting below shows how it should look for a cold start.

Choke and fuel on levers on side of engine
Choke and fuel on levers on side of the engine

Then all you need to do is pull in the secondary handle towards the main handles as shown below and give the pull cord a nice steady pull and it will start. Once it starts, let it run for a minute and then turn the choke off. If you let go of the second handle, the engine will cut out which is how you turn it off.

Pull second handle before pulling the pull cord to start the scarifier
The second handle on the handlebar which needs to be pulled back to start the engine

One of the features I really like about the Hyundai scarifier is the range of its cutting depths and because it’s adjustable by a dial, rather than a lever that has several set heights, you can adjust it in mini adjustments by turning the dial switch on the front of the machine which raises the blades up and down.

Round dial for adjusting the scarifying height, clockwise rises the blades, anti-clockwise lowers the blades for a deeper cut
Turning the round dial will adjust the scarifying height. Clockwise raises the blades, anti-clockwise lowers the blades for a deeper scarify

You can adjust the working height from +15mm to as deep as -15mm. No other scarifier in my review has these upper and lower numbers. This range allows you to do very light lawn work (+15mm) and, when needed, perhaps at the start of the season, do intense lawn maintenance (-15mm). You can adjust the working depth within this range by simply turning a dial on the front of the machine as shown above.

What I also like, because my lawn is not totally even, I can scarifier the whole lawn and then for sections that were missed because of dips in the lawn (I have a few of them), I can lower the blades using the dial and just scarifier the sections I missed and also use the handle to raise the deck (another great feature I also touch on in a moment) when needed, to avoid scarifying a section of the lawn more than another section.

Lever that raised the scarifier blades off the ground and lowers them against when your ready to do your next run.
Pulling the handle back raises the scarifying blades for transport and manoeuvring the scarifier when in use to stop it from damaging the lawn.

Another feature I like is that you can lift the scarifying deck so that the blades don’t touch the ground using the handle as shown above. This is handy as you can move it around without having to adjust the actual scarifying depth you have set.

It’s also great for when you need to turn around as you can pull the handle back towards yourself which lifts the blades up, position the scarifier for the next run and then lower the blades back down and start your next run. This can all be done without having to turn the engine off so I really like this feature.

The 18 steel blades that penetrate into the lawn and remove moss and thatch
The 18 steel blades that penetrate into the lawn and remove moss and thatch

When you’re using the scarifying cylinder, the 18 steel blades have a width of 40cm so as mentioned, this is not too wide for smaller lawns but from experience, it’s still wide enough for larger lawns too. From the picture above you can see the hardened steel blades that effectively remove the moss and thatch.

The second attachment which can be used to lightly rake the lawn in summer
The second attachment can be used to lightly rake the lawn in summer

It’s worth noting, as shown in the above picture, it also comes with a second attachment with steel wire tines for lightly raking the surface of the lawn which also works well for general maintenance between doing a heavy scarify in autumn and spring. I like to swap it over in summer so I can lightly rake the surface of the lawn every few weeks to keep on top of the moss and other surface debris on the lawn.

Using Hyundai scarifier on smaller lawn and its not to large as its quite a compact machine
lightly scarifying the lawn

Design-wise, this scarifier has an ergonomic component in the handlebar so when you set it up for the first time you can have the handlebar height on one of two different settings, I’m 5.8ft and have it on the lowest setting. I also like the softgrip handle so I’m able to work comfortably for longer. If you are taller, you may want to have the handle bars set to the highest setting.

Handlebars fold forward for easy transport and storage

Finally, the blades can be raised up into the transport position as mentioned earlier which are also used when using the machine so you can turn the machine without the blades damaging the lawn.

So you can use this same feature to raise the blades when you push the machine over the lawn or path without damaging anything. Also, the wheels are wider than normal and have a large tread that makes the scarifier easier to manoeuvre and less likely to damage the lawn or leave deep wheel tracks. 

Below you can see how effective it has been at removing moss from a section of my garden. That is on the highest setting.

Before scarifying

Before scarifying
Before scarifying

After scrarfying

After scarifying on the highest setting
After scarifying on the highest setting

After scarifying and a few weeks later, also overseeded with a little grass seed

Lawn has really come on, also did a little overseeding to fill in those gaps
Lawn has really come on, also did a little overseeding to fill in those gaps

The picture below is after scarifying a smaller lawn with one setting on high and then a little deeper to get right into the roots and remove the thatch. It will look much better in a few weeks once it recovers even though it does look pretty bad at the moment.

After scarifying with the Hyundai petrol scarifier - will look much much better in a few weeks, going to overseed lawn as well
After scarifying with the Hyundai petrol scarifier – will look much much better in a few weeks, going to overseed lawn as well
And 4-6 weeks later it looks much much better, also overseeded

Something else to note, this model comes with the usual three-year Hyundai warranty which also gives me peace of mind.

Pros

  • Hyundai 210cc 4-stroke engine has low fuel consumption to save your petrol money.
  • The cutting width is 40cm so it’s suitable for any size of lawn.
  • The scarifying cylinder has 19 hardened steel blades for efficient churning.
  • Aerator attachment included to help rejuvenate your lawn. 
  • Variable five-height adjustment is controlled from one dial to easily change the cutting depth.
  • Selection of cutting depths from +15mm (light lawn maintenance) to -15mm intense repair) so you can control how your lawn looks.
  • Collection bag holds 45 litres of lawn debris.
  • The 45-litre polyester collection bag has a quick-release mechanism so you won’t have to fumble with the catch when the bag is full and heavy.
  • Large wheels with wide tread make the machine particularly manoeuvrable.
  • Ergonomic soft-grip handle lets you use the scarifier for longer periods of time without becoming too tired.
  • Handle folds down over the body for ease of storage or transportation in your vehicle.
  • Transport position raises the blades so you can take it over the lawn or paving without damage to anything.
  • Three-year Hyundai warranty.

Cons

  • The collection bag is perhaps a little too small. (Something I complain about with all scarifiers, 45 litres if actually large for a scarifier bag)

My recommendation

The Hyundai 210cc Petrol Lawn Scarifier has to be my top recommended scarifier for anyone looking for a decent, well-built scarifier and a good choice if you want one of the more powerful scarifiers. I would also describe it as affordable, it’s not cheap but it’s not expensive either when you compare it to brands like Weibang but these are professional models designed for intensive use commercially, this model by Hyundai is best suited for someone with their own lawns to maintain.

Hyundai petrol scarifier with handles folded down

With a slightly larger-than-average cutting edge (40cm), plenty of power from that easy to start 4-stroke 210cc engine and decent build quality, there really is nothing to dislike. Now at around 40kg, it’s heavy, it does have a front handle which makes it easier to pick up should you need to but it is about as heavy as I would be able to lift on my own, much easier with a second pair of hands. This weight, however, is one of the things that makes it so effective at removing moss and thatch. That weight really helps push those steel tines into the lawn.

Showing 45 litre collection box, could be bigger but not a bad size but fills up quickly
45 litre collection bag needs emptying regularly

My usual complaint is that the collection bag, at 45 litres, is maybe a little small but this is usually down to how much moss and thatch they collect. This, however, is something I complain about with all models but I still use the collection bag on both my smaller lawn and my dad’s large lawn. I personally still think it’s easier than raking it up afterwards. I just have a green garden wheelie bin close by or a 1-ton builders sack when doing my dad’s lawn as it removes a ton of moss literally.

I find on small lawns it’s fine, I just empty it every couple of runs. However, for larger lawns, it may be easier to not use the bag and rake it all up at the end instead. I think it’s more of a personal choice. For me though, I prefer to collect and empty often.

After scarifying with the Hyundai petrol scarifier

So overall, I think the design is great, I like the way the deck can be lifted without turning the engine off, I like that it has a 4-stroke engine so there is no oil and petrol to mix like on 2-stroke models. It’s easy to start, well built, fairly compact but still has a decent working width of 400mm. It is ideal for both small and larger lawns, it’s got plenty of power and finally, you can’t ignore that it comes with a 3-year warranty which is amazing too.

Something else I forgot to mention, it came with a bottle of engine oil so all you need is a jerry can of petrol and it’s ready to use, add the oil first of course. For most people, this is the petrol scarifier I would recommend, after all, I also use this model myself which I paid for with my own money.

Hyundai 210cc 4-stroke petrol scarifier

Buy direct from hyundaipowerequipment.co.uk

Want the freedom of cordless but without the petrol engine – Check out our top 3 best cordless scarifiers I have recently reviewed to see how they compare


2. Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier

Professionals pick

Buy from Mowers-online.co.uk

Weibang-WB384RB-Push-Petrol-Lawn-Scarifier

The Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier is powered by a powerful engine which is sure to provide many years of service if looked after correctly. Able to support a blade speed of 3300rpm, the 163cc Briggs & Stratton 750 Series engine will run optimally even when used for long periods on the most demanding lawns. The model comes with a steel chassis and 22 steel carbon tipped blades that bear the swing design. The blades are sharp and can be replaced once they get blunt so spares are not a problem. Check out this link to find official spares dealers.

This lawn scarifier has a working width of 38cm which covers a wide surface area at a go. The wide working width paired together with a fuel-conscious 3.1-litre engine make a great combination for those in professional environments. You can get the work done fast without using too much fuel. This, in the end, will allow you to save a bit of money which can be directed elsewhere.

All the moss and thatch collected is deposited in the 40-litre collector which can be used with or without depending on your own preference. The collector has enough capacity to make a couple of runs before needing to be emptied. Another convenient thing about this model is that it is easy to store because it comes with folding handles that take up less space. You can adjust the knob provided to control the cutting depth. The maximum working height of the cutting height adjustment is 22mm.

This is a heavy machine which weighs 46kg, therefore, it comes with durable wheels to support that weight. This lawn scarifier also comes with nylon wheels that are strong and wide enough not to cause any harm to the lawn. It is a model that is built to cope with industrial environments and therefore you can trust that it will be durable. It has a 5-year warranty for domestic use, but if you want to use the lawn scarifier for commercial purposes, you’ll get a 1-year warranty but this is standard for professional warranty of most scarifiers.

Pros

  • It features a durable 163cc Briggs & Stratton 750 Series engine.
  • Comes with folding handles for easy storage.
  • The blades are made of carbon steel and thus they are durable and sharp.
  • Possesses a wide cutting width of 38cm for faster coverage.
  • Features cutting height adjustment for better control.
  • Comes with a 5-year domestic and 1-year commercial warranty.
  • Provides good value for money.

Cons

  • It is quite heavy but this also means it better for pushing the blades into the lawns.

Our recommendation

The Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier does not come cheap, however, if you are willing to put up the investment it will serve you well for many years. We would recommend this model for those who have a bit of work to cover and professional gardeners. Thanks to its reliable and powerful engine and wide cutting width, one can scarify wide areas without using up too much energy.

It is a push machine thus some strength will be needed to move it around. We like that it is easy to store and that it is of industrial quality providing good value for money spent. With good maintenance, this machine can serve for more than a decade. It has all the basic features required to remove moss and thatch effectively from your lawn and is probably one of the best models currently available.


3. Einhell 3420020 118cc 40 cm Petrol Scarifier 

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Einhell 3420020 118cc 40 cm Petrol Scarifier

The Einhell 3420020 118cc Petrol Scarifier with its 40cm working width is a dedicated scarifier that’s powerful enough to handle any difficult conditions found on lawns up to 1,200m2.

The mid-size (of the scarifiers in this review) engine is 118cc and drives the 18 steel blades smoothly on their ball bearings. The experience of using this machine is a smooth and pleasant one. You select the depth you want the blades to operate by using a single level and choosing one of eight pre-selected depths. When using the Einhell 3420020 Scarifier you’ll notice that the broad wheels distribute the weight of the machine over a wider area and so place less stress on your lawn.

The collection bag is an average size and holds 45 litres of collected lawn debris. If you scarify your lawn regularly the bag may be large enough with just a few trips to the compost bin. The two-year warranty with this Einhell model should make you feel comfortable as to its quality.

Pros

  • The engine is 118cc and 4-stroke, so will remove the densest thatch and weeds.
  • No mixing petrol with soil like that of 2-stroke models.
  • Wide wheels so place less stress on the lawn.
  • Depth adjustment is by a single lever for ease of use.
  • Select from eight depths to accommodate whatever depth of thatch your lawn has.
  • 18 high-grade steel blades mounted on ball-bearings give a smooth cutting experience.
  • Handles difficult soil conditions and tall weeds effortlessly.
  • 45-litre collection bag included and is large enough if you scarify your lawn regularly.
  • Handle folds up for storage in a small space.
  • Suitable for lawns up to 1,200m2.
  • Two-year warranty.

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a wire rake for lightly removing the moss and thatch from the top of the lawn.
  • Cleaning is time-consuming as you can’t remove the cassette easily.

Our recommendation

If you’re looking for just a scarifier and not one combined with a rake or an aerator, then consider the Einhell 3420020 118cc 40cm Petrol Scarifier. It’s powerful enough to cope with a fairly large lawn and if you use it on a regular schedule, the average-size collection bag shouldn’t be an issue. Many reviewers, however, recommend that you don’t use the collection bag at all and just let the lawn debris fall back onto the lawn. You’ll have to manually rake it up, but the alternative may be multiple trips to the compost bin to empty the bag.

The Einhell 3420020 only has one function; it doesn’t come with a rake feature. The scarification cylinder is not easily removed as it’s placed firmly within the machine. Cleaning the scarifier takes some time and effort because of this as you need to remove the grass bits and roots trapped behind the cylinder. Luckily scarifying is something you don’t need to do often so not a major issue.

The eight different depths to which you can use the scarifier means that you can maintain your lawn in the way that the time of season requires. 


4. AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/ Scarifier 

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AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/ Scarifier

The AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/Scarifier both scarifies and rakes your lawn. Its 53cc engine is on the less powerful side of the models in this review so it’s best for use on small to medium lawns.

To change from the scarification function to raking your lawn you need to change the cassette. You do this without any tools so it can be done in a flash. The scarifying cylinder has 14 blades for churning the moss and thatch while the rake has 24 steel spring tines for removing the lighter debris. The working width is 38cm (which is about average) and gives you a fairly wide swath through your lawn. Collecting the debris in the collection bag that you churn up is possible as it’s the largest bag in our review – 55 litres.

You have five preset heights/depths to choose from. Just twist a dial to one of the five numbered selections. This is one of the lighter machines we review as it’s made out of plastic and it isn’t heavy to guide.

Pros

  • Scarifies and rakes the lawn for full maintenance.
  • 53cc engine works best on small and medium lawns.
  • Tool-less cassette changes for its two functions so you’ll never not have the right tool.
  • The scarifying blade has 14 steel blades for permanent removal of moss, thatch and weeds.
  • Lawn rake roller has 24 steel spring tines for efficiently removing the debris.
  • Working width is 38cm for efficient and fast maintenance of your lawn.
  • One-handed adjustment of the blade or tine height by twisting a dial to one of five heights.
  • Collection bag holds 55 litres of whatever you remove from your lawn.
  • Handlebar height is adjustable so you won’t have to stoop to use this machine.
  • Handlebar folds down for more compact storage.
  • The underside of the body is smooth for easy cleaning.

Cons

  • The plastic body is easily damaged.
  • Assembly instructions are a little difficult to follow but you get there in the end.
  • Collector bag is maybe a little small.

Our recommendation

The AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/Scarifier has two functions that can reinvigorate your lawn. It scarifies the lawn to remove the moss and thatch and it also rakes the debris above the surface. It’s powerful enough for small to mid-sized lawns and it’s easy to change the cassettes/blades between the two functions.

Unlike most of the other scarifiers in this review, the body of the AL-KO 38P is made of plastic. While this does make it lightweight and easy to guide around the lawn, it does leave it prone to breakages and damage so a little care should be taken. The assembly instructions are also difficult to follow so take your time and everything should come together. 

AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/Scarifier costs less than most of the other models in our review and this, along with its two functions.


5. Hecht Petrol Lawn Aerator and Scarifier 

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Hecht Petrol Lawn Aerator and Scarifier

The Hecht Petrol Lawn Aerator and Scarifier has a mid-sized (for a scarifier) 87cc engine that successfully runs its two functions of scarifying and aerating your lawn. With both of these processes, your lawn could take on a whole new life.

This Hecht model has 18 blades in its scarifying cylinder. You adjust the height of these blades with just one lever. The range of height is from -12mm to +10mm for heavy to light lawn maintenance. Start with the highest number so you don’t accidentally go down too deep and scrap off the topsoil.

The 38cm working width of the blades is a suitable size for you to efficiently work on lawns up to 1,400m2. With larger lawns though you may choose not to use the 40-litre collection bag and opt to rake it into a pile as it fills up quite quickly. 

The chassis of this Hecht scarifier is made of steel for durability which was a standout feature not all models have.

Pros

  • 87cc 4-stroke petrol engine successfully propels both functions.
  • Working width of the blades is 38cm which will let you cover your lawn quite quickly.
  • 18 blades whose height is adjustable by one lever.
  • Range of blade height is from +10mm to -12mm  for light to heavy lawn maintenance.
  • 40-litre collection bag to handle lots of weeds, thatch and moss.
  • Steel chassis for durability.
  • Suitable for lawns up to 1,400m2.

Cons 

  • Assembly instructions are difficult to follow.

Our recommendation

The Hecht Petrol Lawn Aerator and Scarifier works to maintain small to large lawns by scarification and aeration. Its depth/height range of -12mm to +10mm allows for light through heavy removal of moss and thatch from your grass.

Online reviewers find the collection bag to be too small for regular use and don’t use it. They prefer to let the lawn debris fall back on the lawn and manually rake it up afterwards but this is a personal choice. This is a complaint raised for all the scarifiers in our review. Reviewers also complained that the assembly instructions were poorly written and difficult to follow which is also a common complaint for scarifiers.

This could be the scarifier for you if you’re looking for a model without any extra features for regular lawn maintenance.


6. Webb LS38 Petrol Scarifier with Collector 

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Webb LS38 Petrol Scarifier with Collector

The Webb LS38 Petrol Scarifier runs on a powerful 163cc 4-stroke engine from the renowned company of Briggs and Stratton. The engine is designed to industrial and commercial standards so you know that it will handle your garden needs whatever the size of your lawn.

This Webb model is solely a scarifier; it doesn’t include either a rake or an aerator. But it does its one function very well. The working width is a standard 38cm and lets you cover your lawn reasonably fast. You can adjust the height/depth of the blades from -7.5mm to +8.5mm for a variety of lawn care options depending on the weather, the state of your lawn and the look you’re going for. There are no pre-set depths; you can stop turning the height adjustment dial wherever you want. 

You have the option of using the 40-litre collection bag and making trips to the compost bin or running the scarifier without it and manually raking up everything afterwards. 

Ergonomically, the Web LS38 is comfortable to use. The handlebar is adjustable so you can set it to whatever height you need to not have to stoop over as you guide the machine. The wheels have ball bearings so they’ll not only last longer but they’ll also give you a smooth and less bumpy ride. The steel chassis is powder-coated so it’s rust-resistant and will last a long time. 

Webb has confidence in their scarifier and provide a two-year warranty.

Pros

  • Briggs and Stratton 163cc 4-stroke engine provides reliable power to refresh any lawn.
  • Working width is 38cm and lets you cover your lawn reasonably fast.
  • Blades adjust from -7.5mm to +8.5mm for a variety of lawn care options. 
  • 40-litre collection bag for everything you remove from the lawn.
  • Adjustable-height handlebar folds down so you can store the machine in a smaller space.
  • Wheels have ball bearings for durability and a smooth ride.
  • Powder-coated steel chassis for durability and rust resistance.
  • Two-year warranty from Webb shows you their confidence in this scarifier.

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a lawn rake function.

Our recommendation

The Webb LS38 Petrol Scarifier with Collector has the power, with its industrially-designed 163cc Briggs and Stratton engine, to tackle any lawn with any degree of mossiness. Its ergonomic design means that you won’t tire out easily, even if your lawn is large or in a state that needs a lot of attention.

The usual complaint that the collection bag is too small surfaces in online reviews. 

The Webb LS38 Petrol Scarifier with Collector is a good choice if you need power to solve your lawn problems of moss and thatch.


Buyer’s Guide

You may be wondering what a scarifier is and what it does. Its name doesn’t really give anything away and perhaps you’ve looked at one and think that it looks just like a lawn mower. We start this Buyer’s Guide with an overview of what this gardening machine is and what it can do for you. We then list the features that you should look for and discuss why they’re important.

What is a scarifier and why might you want one?

Two scarifiers being tested over a season
Two scarifiers being tested over a season

A scarifier is a tool used for maintaining and improving your lawn. It’s basically a vertical mechanical rake that removes moss, thatch and other debris from your lawn.  It leaves behind just the healthy, green grass that can absorb water and oxygen better. You might want a scarifier if your grass looks mossy or is spongy or as if there’s other plants growing among the grass. You can buy scarifiers that also rake your lawn to remove light moss and thatch from the surface as well as other debris.

Thatch is the layer of decomposing root material and grass that lays just above the soil. It’s good for the lawn to have some thatch but too much stops water, air and nutrients from reaching the topsoil.

Power

Scarifiers can be manually powered or electric, but the most powerful are the petrol ones. All petrol scarifier engines are 4-stroke and the sizes of the motors of the scarifiers in this review range from 53cc to 210cc. You will appreciate the more powerful engines if you have a large lawn.

Body and wheels

We’ve said that the scarifier looks just like a lawn mower and it’s constructed in a similar way. The body may be made of steel (durable and rust-resistant but heavier) or plastic (lighter but more prone to breakage). The wheels may be narrow or wide; wider wheels spread the weight of the machine over a wider area and make less of an imprint on your lawn. If the underbody of the scarifier is smooth, cleaning and maintenance will be easier than if there are ridges and grooves for dirt to pack in to.

Functions and cylinders

Lawn raker attachment that can be swapped out for steel blade alternatives
Lawn raker attachment that can be swapped out for steel blade alternatives

Some scarifiers have just one function –  to scarify your lawn – but others can also rake or aerate it. You change between these function by changing the cylinders. The scarification cylinder has about 14 – 19 blades usually made of steel, (like that those of a rotary lawn mower), that churn the debris up. The lawn rake cylinder contains wire tines that rake the surface of the lawn to remove the surface debris. Look for cylinders that you can switch around without the need for tools.

One other feature of the blades and tines is their width. Like with the width of a lawnmower blade, this is the width of the strip that you see across your lawn. The working widths of the models we review average around 38cm. 

Depth/height range and adjustment

We’ve included both depth and height here because you can set the blades of the scarifiers to churn above the ground (height) and below the ground (depth). The depth/height range is written as, for example, -7.5mm to +8.5mm.  Most scarifiers give you a range of adjustments with pre-set steps, though with the Webb LS38 Petrol Scarifier you turn the dial to whatever height/depth you want. The scarifiers with pre-set steps usually have one or two levers that you use to set the depth or height of the blades. Experts recommend starting at the highest setting and then gradually moving the blades lower so you don’t start out by scalping your lawn or churning up all the topsoil.

Collection bag

Emptying moss out of large 45 litre collection bag

All petrol scarifiers come with a collection bag or box. These hold around 40-55 litres of lawn debris. However, these bags fill up fast. We advise that you’re better off not using them and allow the moss and thatch to be dropped on the lawn. Of course, you have to rake it all up manually afterwards. But how many times can you stop and take the collection bag to the compost heap without becoming more than a little irritated?

Warranty

As with all power tools, look for a good warranty and money-back guarantee.


FAQs

What is the best time of year to scarify a lawn?

The first answer to this is that you should scarify your lawn on a regular schedule. Experts say to do it lightly every four to six weeks to keep the regrowth of thatch and moss at a manageable level. You may want to fit this in with your fertilising and mowing routine. Other experts recommend that you scarify the lawn only once or twice a year in late spring and/or again in the autumn. Keep in mind that your grass must be in good shape for you to do this process and that it will look a bit rough for a few weeks afterwards, especially if you do a deep scarify. For more information check out “How to scarify a lawn: the beginner’s guide”.

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

Comparing scarifying blades with steel wire tines for raking

Some scarifiers are also lawn rakes and you change their function by putting in a different cartridge or cylinder. The scarifier cylinder has blades designed to get down to the base of the grass and pull out dead and weak grass. This makes way for newer, healthy grass to grow. The lawn rake cylinder has wire tines that rakes up moss, thatch and dead grass from the surface of the lawn. The debris from both these processes goes into the collector bag if you’re using one or out onto the lawn if you’re not.

How do you use a petrol scarifier? 

Using a petrol scarifier is just like using a petrol lawn mower. You put the oil and petrol in their respective tanks and pull on the cord to start the engine. Different models of scarifiers have different additional buttons you may need to press as well. The key to using a scarifier successfully is setting the blades to the correct height. The blades should reach down to just brush the soil to get at the grass roots. Start at a higher setting to see how far down the blades reach, then gradually lower them.

How does a scarifier work? 

Area if lawn that scarifier has been used to remove moss

The scarifier is designed to revitalise your lawn by removing moss and dead grass blades from the grass stems. You set the blades of the scarifier low enough to dig into the grass and bring up all the grass debris and unwanted plants. You guide the scarifier as you would a lawnmower and the blades rotate to churn out the unwanted vegetation. 

Can I feed my lawn after scarifying? 

This depends on how often you’re scarifying your lawn. If you’re sticking to the twice-a-year schedule in the spring and autumn, then, yes, you can fertilise your lawn and water it and do whatever you usually do to keep it healthy. If you’re lightly scarifying more often, say every four to six weeks, then it’s best to stick to your regular fertilising schedule. For more information, see “How to scarify a lawn: the beginner’s guide”.


Conclusion

We’ve presented the best petrol scarifiers to remove all the unwanted vegetation – dead grass, moss and thatch – that’s stopping your lawn from looking like those in the gardening magazines. With no more effort than using a lawn mower, your lawn can be mostly vivid green grass, even if you just scarify it twice a year.

My Best Pick of petrol scarifiers is the Hyundai 210cc 4-stroke Petrol Scarifier. It has a mid-size engine that can handle smaller and larger lawns.

The AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/Scarifier is also a good alturnative. The lawn rake cylinder can be switched in without the use of tools.

If you’re still unsure about how, exactly, to go about scarifying a lawn even with one of these models, check out our article “How to scarify a lawn: the beginner’s guide”.  Or perhaps you’re intimidated by these petrol models. Our Top 7 Best Lawn Scarifiers review contains details about scarifiers that are electric or manual that you may prefer.

With just a little extra effort, and a petrol scarifier, your dream of a lush-looking lawn can become more of a reality (and the envy of your neighbours).

Last update on 2022-03-17 / 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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