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Expert Shopper Lawn & Garden

How do plastic rakes compare to metal rakes?

A rake is one of the most practical and useful home tools. Whether raking autumn leaves or pushing garden dirt in the spring, a good rake can make yard work quick and easy.

Rakes come with metal or plastic blades. There are advantages and shortcomings to each type, but plastic rakes are popular. Understanding the differences can help you choose the right rake for the yard projects on your to-do list.  

In this article: Truper Tru Tough 48-inch Plastic Rake, True Temper Clog Free Leaf Rake and Union Tools 26-Tine Leaf Rake.

Why plastic rakes are a good choice

Plastic rakes are lightweight, making them easy to hold and carry. Most plastic rakes weigh under 3 pounds and are ideal for seniors, children or anyone wanting something easy to maneuver.

If your goal is to rake leaves or move topsoil, plastic rakes are very effective. Their weight and design are ideal for moving large quantities of leaves. They also are excellent at pulling leaves and debris away from flowers and small bushes without harming them. Metal rakes are too rigid and can rip plants apart or pull flowers out of the ground.

Plastic rakes also come with a more budget-friendly price tag than metal rakes. Most plastic rakes are priced between $25-$35 with some under $20. Many metal rakes cost between $35-$50 or higher.

Why plastic rakes may not be a good choice

Plastic rakes are more prone to breaking than metal rakes. The plastic blades will crack or break against rocks or hard turf over time. Even the handle can split and show wear much faster than metal rakes. If your yard projects are high-intensity, plastic may not be the right choice.

If you're planning on moving gravel, mixing concrete or raking up tree branches, plastic blades may struggle. Metal rakes are meant for heavier chores and are designed to stand up to the weight and force of those projects. Plastic rakes are the best option for lighter-duty yard chores.  

If you live in a cold weather climate, you may want to keep your plastic rake inside during the winter. The subzero temperatures, snow and ice can make plastic rake heads brittle, weakening them for the next use when the weather warms up.

Plastic rakes also take a long time to decompose when discarded. Some plastic rakes made from recycled plastic may be more acceptable for the environmentally conscious.

Why your rake handle matters 

The way the handle and rake head attach is an essential consideration for plastic and metal rakes. Handles that have been glued to the head are less sturdy and likely to break sooner. Look for handles that have been welded or screwed to the rake head for reinforcement and longer-lasting support.


Q.  What is the difference between a leaf rake and a shrub rake?

A. A leaf rake has a wider head between 18 and 30 inches to cover large swathes of raking. Shrub rakes typically have a 10-inch head that makes them convenient for hard-to-reach places around plants and landscaping. Both have plastic tines that won't cause damage.

Best plastic rakes

Truper Tru Tough 48-inch Plastic Rake

The lacquered handle is made from North American ash for extra strength. The head is 22 inches wide. This rake is ideal for homeowners wanting an all-purpose rake that is easy to rinse off.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

True Temper Clog Free Leaf Rake

The 48-inch hardwood handle has an ergonomic grip. The 24-inch head is designed for leaves and mulch. The rake is perfect for anyone with a lot of leaves to rake every fall that doesn't want to unclog the rake head.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Union Tools 26-tine Leaf Rake

This is the basic leaf rake seen in many yards each fall. It has a 48-inch handle and a plastic head with 26 tines. For occasional yard work, this rake is one of the least expensive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Colwelt Plastic Leaf Rake

This lightweight rake features a 56-inch stainless steel handle. It is designed to reach under tight spaces and comes with a pair of garden gloves. This rake is ideal for anyone wanting a rake this isn't heavy or difficult to work with.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Bully Tools Poly Leaf Rake

American-made with a fiberglass handle, this rake is extra sturdy. It features a wide 30-inch head that can move a lot of leaves and mulch at one time. This is the rake for anyone who wants strength and durability for the long term.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Aparecium Garden Leaf Rake

The extra-long handle is adjustable up to 60 inches. It features a reinforced joint for extra support. This rake is excellent for anyone with a bad back that needs the rake to adjust to the proper height for comfort.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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

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