Best Lawn Roller

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

20 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
162 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best lawn rollers

Last Updated September 2019

Your lawn creates your home’s first impression, and like any introduction, it can set the tone for everything that follows. Whether a lawn is neat and manicured or overgrown and shabby, it can influence how friends, family, neighbors, and even potential buyers react to the property.

If you own property, you already know that a well-kept lawn doesn’t happen by itself. You need a healthy set of tools to get the job done right, and of all the tools necessary to keep your grass in tip-top shape, a lawn roller is among the most useful. A lawn roller is used to even out bumps, ridges, and other uneven surfaces caused by people, animals, freeze/thaw cycles, and erosion. It can also be used to tamp down new grass seed and sod.

Whether you’re a master landscaper or a total gardening newbie, you’re here because you have questions about lawn rollers. Continue with our comprehensive buying guide to get the answers, hear our recommendations, and learn all you need to know about lawn rollers.

Did you know a lawn roller can preserve the life of your mower? It does so by smoothing the ground, presenting a more even surface for the mower to roll across. This reduces blade wear over time, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars.

Key considerations

A lawn roller consists of a large hollow cylinder, a plug for filling, and a handle or hitch for towing. Like a miniaturized steamroller, it pushes or pulls across your lawn to help smooth things out. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind as you shop.

Size

Lawn rollers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs to fit different lots. The majority of consumer-grade units measure between 24 and 36 inches wide. However, you can find 48-inch or larger models for use on substantial lawns.

As you might imagine, price goes up with size. If your project is on the smaller side, we recommend you shop for a smaller product for a smarter fit at a better value.

Capacity

Lawn rollers have some heft on their own, often weighing between 50 and 100 pounds when completely empty. They’re meant to be filled with sand or water for more weight, though, as this force is necessary to smooth rough dirt.

The capacity of the drum determines just how effective a lawn roller is at tamping down soil. A typical consumer-grade lawn roller features a 24-inch wide polyurethane drum that holds 28 gallons, or approximately 250 pounds of water. As mentioned, there are 48-inch drums with significantly higher capacities. These can weigh between 400 and 1,000 pounds when filled and are usually made of steel. A customer with a tractor or riding mower is more likely to want one of these.

Pulling style

Another major differentiator is a lawn roller’s pulling style. Some models are designed for hand use and feature basic push/pull handles. Others are meant for more involved jobs; these hitch to either a tractor or riding mower for extra convenience. Some even have options for both, but remember, there’s no need to overspend for features you won’t use.

Construction material

The last but certainly not least important consideration is construction material. Lawn rollers are subjected to extreme weight and constant weather exposure, making durability a paramount concern. Consumer-grade lawn rollers are made from polyurethane, a tough, rust-resistant plastic that is cost-effective but has the potential to misshape over time if left in the hot sun. High-end lawn rollers are cast from welded steel. These models are considerably heavier and more durable, but they’re more expensive and can rust if left exposed to the elements. For the majority of customers, a “poly roller” is more than capable of getting the job done.

DID YOU KNOW?

The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning. Doing so at night lets the water sit stagnant, raising the risk of mold and fungus growth. Doing so at midday results in excessive evaporation due to sunlight and heat.

Features

Scraper bar

Lawn rollers are relatively uncomplicated, but there are a few features that set different models apart. A common example is a scraper bar. These bars attach to the outer frame and run across the outside of the drum, scraping off excess dirt and debris as the device rolls. Some scraper bars are adjustable or spring-loaded, which helps them avoid getting stuck and impeding mobility.

Baffle bar

Baffle bars are all about stability. They run through the center of the main drum, adding structural rigidity to prevent flexing from occurring. You’re more likely to find these on polyurethane rollers than steel ones, as poly materials have a higher chance of losing shape over time. An alternative to a baffle bar is an internal support disc, which rests in the center of the cylinder.

Hitch pin

If you’re in the market for a towing lawn roller —  that is, one that’s pulled by powered equipment — we strongly suggest buying one with a hitch pin. Hitch pins allow you to secure the roller to a riding mower, tractor, or ATV quickly and simply, often requiring just one hand to operate. These are worth their weight in gold when dealing with equipment that weighs hundreds of pounds, and the quick-connect features are incredibly convenient.

EXPERT TIP

Planting sod? Use a lawn roller to bond it to the ground after it’s been placed, facilitating healthy root contact. Also, remember to keep the sod moist for the first two weeks after installation.


Staff  | BestReviews

Lawn roller prices

Lawn rollers can be divided into two classes: consumer-grade poly rollers and high-end steel rollers.

Consumer-grade poly rollers typically cost between $100 and $200. This price range encompasses 24-inch units, 36-inch units, hand-operated models, and tow-behind variants. Even the largest and most accessory-packed lawn rollers sit in this price bracket with few exceptions.

High-end steel rollers are marketed toward customers with landscaping businesses or extremely large lots and generally cost between $400 and $500. These durable products are made from tough welded steel and, due to their weight, are generally towed by powered equipment rather than pushed manually. Again, this price range covers almost all the available sizes and features you’ll find in the steel category.

A drop spreader simplifies the process of planting grass over large areas. Available in rolling and handheld configurations, these spreaders distribute seeds over a given area at a variety of rates.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Lawn rollers have many uses, but they shouldn’t be used for regular maintenance. Constant use can compact and stress out your grass, causing anemic blade growth, dead patches, and other problems.

  • When filling a lawn roller with water, don’t fill it completely full. Instead, fill it about 25% full and test the weight. If it needs a little more water, add it. The goal is to even out your lawn without crushing tender plant life under a weight that could potentially damage or kill it.

  • Use a lawn roller on moist but not soaking wet soil. If your soil is too saturated with water, the weight of a lawn roller could overly compress the dirt and decrease aeration, which can lead to a plethora of lawn health issues.

Another product we considered

Another lawn roller stuck out as a strong contender during our research. Bon’s 24-inch Steel Lawn Roller impressed us with its tough welded construction that can stand up to years of use. Notably, however, the edges of its drum are relatively sharp, and the U-shaped handle is very basic.

When planting new grass, tamp down the seeds with your lawn roller. Then, cover them with 1/4 inch of peat moss or compost. This holds in moisture, prevents birds from eating the seeds, and helps hold them in place.

FAQ

Q. How do I use a lawn roller to help establish a new lawn?
A.
Grass seed grows best on flat, even ground. A lawn roller can help you obtain a perfectly level lot before planting. Once the seed has been sown, lawn rollers come in handy again, pressing the seeds into the soil below to guarantee proper growth.

Q. How do I use a lawn roller to install sod?
A.
Lawn rollers are stellar at leveling ground, eliminating clods of soil, and highlighting low spots to fill on your lot. These are essential tasks to complete before planting sod. After laying the product out, roll over it again to remove air pockets and facilitate proper contact with the soil below. This can help speed up germination.

Q. What other tools do I need for lawn maintenance?
A.
The basic lawn toolkit consists of a rake to remove branches and debris, a mower to cut the grass, a sprinkler system to irrigate it, and an edger/trimmer to shape hedges, bushes, and borders. Cultivators, tillers, and spreaders come into play when full renovation is necessary, and tools like lawn rollers are essential when starting from scratch.

The team that worked on this review
  • Andrew
    Andrew
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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