Garden & Lawn

5 Best petrol lawn scarifiers for removing moss and thatch

Last updated on March 26th, 2024

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Scarifying is not just about having a scarifier; it’s also about reducing the spread of moss before a scarifier even touches the lawn by applying a moss killer with iron sulphate a week or two before, which I’ve discussed here. Not forgetting, aerating the lawn with a lawn aerator improves aeration and lets essential nutrients and water reach the grassroots. If you need more information, I’ve previously discussed lawn aerating here.

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

I’ve also covered how to overseed a lawn after scarifying here and which lawn spreader I use. Finally, don’t forget to apply good quality lawn feed, weed and moss killer to maintain a healthy lawn and help keep on top of the moss.

With that out the way, this is where scarifying comes in! I make a point of scarifying my customer’s lawns every autumn or spring in almost every garden I maintain. Removing moss and thatch from the lawn will reward you with a much healthier lawn. Without a doubt, scarifying makes the most significant impact on the quality of a lawn.

Petrol scarifiers offer more power than electric options but electric scarifiers are a great option for small lawns
Petrol scarifiers offer more power than electric options, but electric scarifiers are a great option for smaller lawns – My Hyundai 210cc scarifier and my Electric Bosch Verticutter

A petrol scarifier might not be the best choice if you have a smaller lawn. I’ve previously reviewed and tested a few electric lawn scarifiers including the green Bosch Verticutter pictured above here. They do a great job, and I’ve tested them on my own lawn at home for the last few years, as it means I don’t need to bring a heavy petrol scarifier home with me. I’ve even reviewed some of the new cordless scarifiers, which have come a long way in recent years.

my Weibang WB384RB Scarifier I use as a professional gardener
Weibang WB384RB Scarifier is a good choice for professional use

I’ve been a professional gardener for well over 24 years now. Over the years, I’ve used several petrol scarifiers as part of my garden maintenance business which. we run from my family’s nursery, so I’m reviewing which models I recommend and which are worth considering.

Petrol scarifiers are much heavier compared to little electric models. However, they are much better suited to medium-sized and larger lawns. A heavy petrol scarifier has the weight and raw power to push the tines into the ground and remove the moss and thatch from deep within the lawn. You also have the freedom of having no cables and can quickly refuel when needed.

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 my Hyundai 210cc petrol scarifier on my own lawn

Below, I have reviewed six different petrol scarifiers, most of which I have owned or used at some point. I’m a big fan of the Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier, and it’s the one I now use the most. I have been using it for three years now, and it never missed a beat. I have also been using the Weibang WB384RB Scarifier professionally, which has proven to be a real workhorse. That being said, the Hyundai is a very impressive machine, and it offers better value for money for occassional use on your own lawn. You get alot for your money!

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

First off, it’s extremely well built and super reliable, and you can easily swap the cassette from scarifying to aerating. It’s powered by a super reliable 4-stroke 210cc Hyundai engine. For most people looking for a petrol scarifier for personal use, it is hard to beat and justify paying extra. It’s a good option for professional use if you’re on a budget or just getting started.

Weibang WB384RB-Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier for professional use or large lawns

However, if you use a scarifier every day professionally, I would pay a little extra and get the Weibang WB384RB Scarifier. It has slightly more tines; it is designed for industrial use, whereas Hyundai is aimed at personal or lighter professional use. Both are very good machines, but quality-wise, Weibang has the edge!

I’ve got to admit, for the price, I like my Hyundai scarifier; I use it on my mum and dad’s smallholding the most as they have large lawns around their property, and it’s just the job. I also reviewed it in more detail further down, but it has a 400mm working width and 18 steel tines. It’s really easy to change the working heights between +15mm and -15mm by turning a simple dial on the front of the machine. Overall, you won’t be disappointed if you decide to get one!


Petrol Lawn Scarifier Reviews

Below are my top recommended petrol scarifiers. After comparing many models, I narrowed it down to what I consider to be some of the very best models, starting with my personal favourite the Hyundai 210cc lawn scarifier.

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

Best Pick

Buy direct from hyundaipowerequipment.co.uk

Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator

This 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 which is pictured below.

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 powerful 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 most 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 it is 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 the 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. 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.

I also like that because my lawn is not totally even, I can scarify the whole lawn. 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 scarify the sections I missed. I can also use the handle to raise the deck (another great feature I will 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 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 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, that it also comes with a second attachment with steel wire tines for lightly raking the surface of the lawn. This attachment works well for general maintenance between heavy scarification in autumn and spring. I like to swap it over in the 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 soft grip handle, so I’m able to work comfortably for longer. If you are taller, you may want to have the handlebars 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 is 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 scarifying

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
The lawn has really come on, I 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 looks 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 lawns of any size.
  • The scarifying cylinder has 19 hardened steel blades for efficient churning.
  • An aerator attachment is 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.
  • The 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.
  • An 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.

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 due 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 things 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, and fairly compact, but it 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 is that 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

2. Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier

Professionals pick

Buy from Mowers-online.co.uk

 Weibang WB384RB is a real workhorse and the best option for professionals
Weibang WB384RB is a real workhorse and the best option for professionals

This Weibang WB384RB Push Petrol Lawn Scarifier is our machine of choice for the garden maintenance business run from our family-run nursery. It’s powered by a powerful 163cc Briggs & Stratton 750 Series engine that has provided many years of service. It’s well looked after and maintained, but it’s a real workhorse.

In terms of spec, the blade speed is 3300rpm, which is powered by the 163cc Briggs & Stratton 750 Series engine, and it gets used for longer periods on some of the most demanding lawns in autumn and again in spring. It has a strong steel chassis and 22 steel carbon-tipped blades, so slightly more than the Hyundai model I also own. The blades are sharp and, more importantly, can be replaced once they get blunt, so spares are not a problem. We usually get them ordered from our local mower service centre.

It also has a reasonable working width of 38cm, so it is wide enough for larger lawns but still easy enough to load and offload from the van. The wide working width paired with a fuel-conscious 3.1-litre engine makes a great combination for those in professional environments like myself. You can get the work done fast without using too much fuel, which, in the end, will allow you to save a bit of money that can be directed elsewhere.

Weibang WB384RB scarifier is very heavy duty and at 46kg is a heavy piece of kit

All the moss and thatch can collected 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, but we often don’t use it. Instead, we rake the lawn into piles and then collect any bits with the petrol mower. 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 lever to control the cutting depth. The maximum working height of the cutting height adjustment is – or + 22mm.

This is a heavy machine and 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 commercial jobs, and it shows in it’s durability.

It does come with 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. However, this is the standard for a professional warranty for 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 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.

My recommendation

This Weibang WB384RB 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 if looked after and maintained. I would recommend this model for those who have a bit of work to cover and professional gardeners.


3. Einhell 3420020 118cc 40 cm Petrol Scarifier 

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Einhell 3420020 118cc 40 cm Petrol Scarifier

This Einhell 118cc Petrol Scarifier is one of several models they make. It has a 40cm working width and is a dedicated scarifier powerful enough to handle any difficult conditions found on lawns up to 1,200m2. It’s a nice alternative to my Hyundai scarifier with a similar spec. I’ve had a couple of Einhell scarifiers over the years, and they are good little machines that are very well made; however, they are more for personal use at home.

The mid-size (of the scarifiers in this review) engine is 118cc and drives the 18 steel blades smoothly on their ball bearings. 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 Scarifier, I’ve noticed that the broad wheels distribute the weight of the machine over a wider area, which will place less stress on your lawn.

The collection bag is average size and holds 45 litres of collected lawn debris. If you scarify your lawn regularly, the bag may be large enough to require just a few trips to the compost bin. The two-year warranty on this Einhell model should make you feel comfortable about its quality, but remember the two years will be for personal use only.

Pros

  • The engine is 118cc and 4-stroke, so it 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.

My recommendation

If you’re looking for an alternative to the Hyundai Scarifier, this Einhell 118cc 40cm Petrol Scarifier is worth considering. It’s still large and 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.


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

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Buy on Mowers-online.co.uk

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

This AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol 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, but AL-KO make great machines, and this scarifier is no different.

You need to change the cassette to change from the scarification function to the wire steel tines. You can do this without any tools so its straight forward and easy. 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 you churn up is possible as it’s the largest bag in my review – 55 litres.

You have five preset heights/depths to choose from. Just twist a dial similar to that on the Hyundai models to one of the five numbered selections. This is one of the lighter machines I recommend, as it’s made of plastic and 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.
  • The lawn rake roller has 24 steel spring tines for efficiently removing debris.
  • The 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.
  • The 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.
  • The handlebar folds down for more compact storage.
  • The underside of the body is smooth for easy cleaning.

My recommendation

The AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Scarifier has two functions that can reinvigorate your lawn. It scarifies the lawn by removing moss and thatch and raking 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 my review, the body of the AL-KO 38P is made of plastic. While this makes it lightweight and easy to guide around the lawn, it also makes it a little more likely to be damaged so just be careful to check for stones before scarifying.


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.

My 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.


Buyer’s Guide

I start this Buyer’s Guide with an overview of what this gardening machine is and what it can do for you. I then list the features 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 healthy, green grass that can absorb water and oxygen better. You might want a scarifier if your grass looks mossy or spongy or as if there are weeds 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 just above the soil. Some thatch is good for the lawn, but too much stops water, air, and nutrients from reaching the topsoil.

Power

Scarifiers can be manually powered or electric, but the most powerful ones are the ones powered by petrol. All petrol scarifier engines are 4-stroke, and the sizes of the motors 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 similarly. 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 into.

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 functions by changing the cylinders. The scarification cylinder has about 14 – 19 blades, usually made of steel (like 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.

Another feature of the blades and tines is their width. Like 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 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 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 allowing 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
Comparing scarifying blades with steel wire tines for raking

Some scarifiers are also lawn rakes, and you change their function by putting them 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 rake 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 grassroots. 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, it’s best to stick to your regular fertilising schedule.


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 gardening magazines. With no more effort than using a lawn mower, your lawn can be mostly vivid green grass, even if you 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.


Last update on 2024-06-25 / 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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