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Best thatching rake for fall lawn care

Which thatching rake is best for fall lawn care?

Most people can identify a thatched roof. However, when asked to point out thatch on their lawn, many would be baffled, even though it looks very similar. Thatch is a buildup of organic debris that forms a layer on the top of your soil that can keep sunlight, water and nutrients from getting to the roots of your grass.

The tool you need to remove this organic material is called a thatching rake. The best model will be ruggedly built and feature an adjustable rake head. Both those qualities are why the True Temper Adjustable Thatching Rake is a top option.

What to know before you buy a thatching rake

What is thatch?

Your yard is filled with organic debris such as grass clippings and leaves. This layer of organic debris is called thatch. Over time, thatch will break down and feed your yard. However, it can also accumulate and suffocate your yard. When this layer of organic debris gets too thick — roughly over half an inch — you should remove it.

How to use a thatching rake

A thatching rake is a special rake that features a number of sharp, curved blades called tines. The head of the rake is heavy, so when you drop the rake down, the tines can easily penetrate the thatch. As you pull a thatching rake toward you, it collects the thatch in its tines. When you push the rake away, it clears the tines so you can pull the rake toward you again. Thatching rakes are best for small areas, as it may take more than once to adequately dethatch an area and requires a great deal of effort. Also consider getting a power thatching rake to make the job easier and faster.

To learn more about other types of rakes that you can buy, visit the BestReviews buying guide for rakes.

What to look for in a quality thatching rake

Durable build

Dethatching your yard is hard work. Your thatching rake must have a sturdy build to be up to the task. Make sure that not only the handle and the tines are durable, but the way the rake head attaches to the handle is solid as well.

Adjustable rake head

The sharper the tilt of the rake head, the more aggressively your thatching rake can dig into your lawn. A model that has an adjustable rake head is by far the best option, because it allows you to tackle both light-duty and heavy-duty dethatching tasks. 

Multifunction rake head

While this is not necessary, many individuals enjoy having a two-sided rake head. Typically, one side is for dethatching while the other side is for cultivating the soil.

Handle length

Using a thatching rake can give your entire upper body a workout. A thatching rake with a short handle, which forces you to bend while working, may lead to back stiffness or injury. Make sure you purchase a thatching rake with a handle that is long enough for your needs. Ideally, the end of a thatching rake should come roughly to the height of your nose.

Rake head width

The wider the rake head is on your thatching rake, the more quickly you can work. However, a wider rake head also means you will have to exert more effort, and you won’t be able to get into any narrow spaces. Consider not only your overall strength and fitness level, but also the size of the area where you will be working.

How much you can expect to spend on a thatching rake

The price of a thatching rake can span from $20 to $80. Most people, however, find what they need in the $40 to $60 price range.

Thatching rake FAQ

How often do you need to dethatch your yard?

A. In general, you should only need to dethatch your lawn once each year in the beginning of the growing period. For warm-season grasses, this would be early summer. For cool-season grasses, this would be late summer or early fall. However, before you begin, check to see how much thatch has built up, as you do not need to dethatch if it is less than half an inch.

Do you need any safety gear for dethatching?

A. The biggest risk when using a thatching rake is blisters, so get yourself a durable pair of gardening gloves to help protect your hands.

Also, since a thatching rake has sharp tines, you might want to get a pair of puncture-resistant work boots for added safety. Additionally, long pants should be worn. 

What’s the best thatching rake to buy?

Top thatching rake

True Temper Adjustable Thatching Rake

What you need to know: This is a durable and versatile thatching rake that has a simple design, but it gets the job done.

What you’ll love: The 15-inch rake head has two sides: one for cultivating soil and one for thatching. The head is adjustable so you can determine how aggressively you’d like to remove the thatch, and the 54-inch handle has a cushioned grip for comfort.

What you should consider: The packaging for this product could be better, as some customers complain of the rake arriving with bent tines.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top thatching rake for the money

Hortem Rake Set for Gardening

What you need to know: For the budget-minded individual, this three-piece set offers a great deal of value.

What you’ll love: When you buy this multifunctional garden rake, you also get a small hand rake and a pair of nitrile gardening gloves, and assembly is simple — you just need a screwdriver. Both rakes include a built-in hook for easy storage.

What you should consider: The lightweight tines on this thatching rake are not as durable as the steel tines found on higher-priced models.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Ames 19-Tine Adjustable Thatch Rake

What you need to know: This is a reliable steel-tined thatching rake that is backed by a 15-year limited warranty.

What you’ll love: This rake features a head that has two different types of tines: straight-edged tines designed for removing thatch and flared tines for breaking soil to prepare for planting. The easy operation of the self-cleaning rake head allows you to pull until it is full, then simply push to clear it.

What you should consider: Check to make sure all the screws on this thatching rake are tight before using, as some can work their way loose over time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and The Home Depot

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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