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Top 6 best petrol lawn scarifiers for removing moss and thatch
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Perhaps your lawn is looking almost like the lush, luxuriant ones in the glossy gardening magazines, but not quite. You used the most select grass seed and fertilise it with the best nutrients, water it on a strict schedule and mow it gently. But there’s something not quite right. It’s kind of…spongy and mossy. Here’s our advice – scarify your lawn.
Our review of the Best Petrol Scarifiers introduces the most powerful machines for removing moss, decomposing grass known as thatch and other unwanted plant material from your soon-to-be-pristine lawn. Some of the scarifiers we review also let you rake the lawn to lightly remove this debris in between the scarification sessions. 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 blades at. And you don’t have to do it as often.
We 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 addresses a few of the most often asked questions about this product.
Our Best Pick is the Einhell 3420020 118cc 40 cm Petrol Scarifier. Its mid-size engine has enough power to propel the 18-bladed scarifier cylinder strongly across a fairly large lawn. The AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawn rake/scarifier is our Runner-up. This model comes with a lawn rake for lighter lawn maintenance work.
Scarifying your lawn may be just what you need to take it to the next level.
The Einhell 3420020 40cm Petrol Scarifier is a great choice for those with lawns up to 1,200m2 who want to weed out everything but the grass stalks.
The AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawn rake/scarifier is a good choice if you’re looking for a lighter, less powerful scarifier and rake combination for an average size lawn.
Looking for electric and manual scarifiers – check out our recommended scarifiers in this guide by clicking here
Top 5 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 on to 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.
We’re impressed by this model so we made the Einhell 3420020 118 cc 40 cm Petrol Scarifier the Best Pick in this review of petrol scarifiers and would recommend this model before any others.
2. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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, is why we’ve made it the Runner-up in our Best petrol Scarifier review.
3. Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator
The Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator helps your lawn look fresher and rejuvenated through its two functions – scarifying and aerating. Its 210cc engine is the most powerful in our review but don’t worry about your petrol budget as this motor has low fuel consumption.
What’s different about this Hyundai scarifier is the range of its cutting depths. This is from +15mm to -15mm. No other scarifier in our 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 select one of the five pre-set depths within this range by simply turning a dial.
The Hyundai Lawn Scarifier & Aerator is basically a scarifier and comes with an aerator attachment. The aerator pokes small holes in your lawn to let air, water and nutrients reach down to the topsoil. Your lawn’s health will increase and the grass will perk right up. When you’re using the scarifying cylinder, the 19 steel blades have a width of 40cm and that’s quite a wide path to cover the whole lawn efficiently.
Design-wise, this scarifier has an ergonomic component in the handlebar. The soft-grip handle won’t tire you as much as holding just a metal bar and you’ll be able to work comfortably for longer. The blades raise up into the transport position so you can haul 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.
This model comes with the usual three-year Hyundai warranty.
- 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.
- The collection bag is too small.
The Hyundai 210cc 400mm Petrol Lawn Scarifier & Aerator is a good choice if you want one of the more powerful scarifiers available. With a slightly larger-than-average cutting edge (40cm) and an ergonomic handlebar, this two-function model will have you efficiently and comfortably maintaining your lawn.
The usual complaint that the collection bag, at 45 litres, is two small is made by some online reviewers but this is usually down to how much moss and thatch they collect. But if you do decide to use the bag, it has a quick-release mechanism. You won’t have to fight to loosen tight fastenings to remove the full and heavy bag.
If you have a large lawn or have never scarified it before, consider this powerful model, we also like that it doubles as an aerator which is also something that is essential for lawn care.
4. 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.
- 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.
- Assembly instructions are difficult to follow.
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.
5. 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.
- 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.
- Doesn’t include a lawn rake function.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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?
As with all power tools, look for a good warranty and money-back guarantee.
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?
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 scarifier 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?
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”.
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.
Our Best Pick of petrol scarifiers is the Einhell 3420020 118cc 40 cm Petrol Scarifier. It has a mid-size engine that can handle lawns up to 1,200 m2. The AL-KO 38P Combi-Care 2-in-1 Petrol Lawnrake/Scarifier is our Runner-up. 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 2020-05-26 at 11:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API