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The Best Lawn Dethatchers and How To Use Them

Looking for the definitive guide to the best lawn dethatchers? You’ve come to the right place.

A lawn dethatcher is a machine that has spiked wheels that roll over the lawn to remove dead grass and leaves. These machines have many benefits for people who want their property to be maintained in an aesthetically pleasing way. Most lawn dethatchers are inexpensive, easy-to-use, and environmentally friendly. And let’s not forget – they can make lawn work far less tedious, too!

While you can always choose to rent a bigger dethatching machine from a local shop, but most homeowners find it’s best to invest in their own if you’ll be using this machine on a regular basis (which you should, if you want your lawn to look lush and healthy). 

How and When to Dethatch Your Lawn

Ready to tackle the chore of dethatching? Start by mowing your lawn to about half of its typical height before you start. Do not fertilize – this can harm your lawn if you do it too close to dethatching. 

You’ll begin by first marking shallow irrigation lines, utility lines that might be buried, or sprinkler heads. You don’t want to catch these with your machine later on!

Adjust the cutting depth and spacing for your grass type, with blades set to cut no deeper than half an inch into the ground. Read the instructions for your specific dethatcher machine carefully, as these can vary.

Don’t panic after dethatching if your lawn looks a bit ragged – that is to be expected! You can use a leaf rake to remove the loosened bits of thatch.

You will see piles of loose thatch on top of the grass after using a dethatcher.

After you dethatch, water deeply and fertilize. 

The best time to dethatch your lawn will be any time in which it is actively growing and the soil is somewhat moist. You want it to not be too sodden yet not bone-dry. If you are growing cool-season grass, plan to detach in the early spring or fall. If it’s a warm-season grass you are working with, save the dethatching until late spring or early summer, after you have already mowed twice and the grass is growing vigorously.

What to Look for in a Lawn Dethatcher

Here are some of the most important features to consider as you are shopping for a lawn dethatcher.

Manual vs. Electric

You can usually buy a dethatcher that is manual or electric. While electric dethatchers get their power from engines and are often found in walk-behind models  – and tend to be a bit more expensive – manual dethatchers are meant to be towed behind another machine, like a lawn tractor. 

Manual tow-behind dethatchers tend to work best for homeowners with large lawns who already own lawn tractors or similar pieces of equipment, while electric dethatchers are best for those with more moderate-sized plots with a bit more money to spend.

Size

You may also want to consider the swath of a dethatcher. If you plan on tackling a large area with a tow-behind tool, you’ll generally find dethatchers that are around 36-48 inches will do the trick. The larger the width, the better suited a detacher is for a large lawn.

Smaller lawns are best tackled with more narrow dethatchers. Often, electric models will fit the bill, generally having a path of around 10-16 inches.

Compatibility

If you plan on using an electric dethatcher, you will want to make sure it is compatible with your extension leads and power sources. Use your machine with the wrong voltage and you can permanently damage the amp motor in your machine. 

You’ll also need to check the compatibility of your manual dethatcher. Some are only compatible with certain brands of tillers for tractors. It’s important to look for one that will work for your specific tractor – but keep in mind some dethatchers do come with universal hooks that enable them to be used on any kind of machine regardless of the brand. 

Weight

Weight capability typically only applies to tow-behind dethatchers. These have preset, light dethatching functions which allow you to detach by dragging times across the grass. However, if you want to be more thorough in your work, adding weight can help, as this will press the times further and deeper down into the soil. You’ll be able to lift and remove far more thatch as a result.

Most models have a top weight capability of around 70 lbs, but this can vary – some can handle only 40 lbs and are therefore suited only to light dethatching work.

8 Best Lawn Dethatchers 

On the hunt for the best lawn dethatchers? Consider some of these top picks. 

1. WORX Electric Dethatcher

Sale
WORX 14" - 12A Electric Dethatcher
  • [3 DEPTH ADJUSTMENTS] Set the Dethatcher to -9mm, -3mm or +3mm. Some lawns need deeper dethatching, some just need to be managed
  • [EASY TO STORE] The handle folds down so you can throw it in the corner of the garage or the trunk
  • [LOCK-OFF SWITCH] Stop quickly when you need to. The lock-off switch also keeps things safe and power efficient

The Worx Electric Dethatcher is a simple, easy-to-use lawn care machine that will keep your yard looking impeccable. The handle folds down so you can quickly and easily store it in the garage or trunk of your car when not using. 

A lock-off switch conveniently prevents accidental start-ups while still being power efficient for those times where you want to stop on a dime without worry about wasting battery life unnecessarily! 

With an adjustable depth setting ranging from -9mm (which deepens cuts) all the way up to +3mm (keeping them shallow), this tool has something for every type of grass and soil configuration imaginable!

To make sure there’s no mess left behind, there’s even a convenient collection bag to collect excess clippings. 

What We Liked:

  • Has a 14” cutting width 
  • Weighs a lightweight 18.6 lbs 
  • Comes with a collection bag 

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Requires a special extension cord

2. Brinly STS-42BHDK Tow-Behind Dethatcher

Brinly STS-42BHDK Tow-Behind Lawn Sweeper with...
  • Cut Job Time in Half: High-Performance 2-in-1 Sweeper/Dethatcher Enables You to Dethatch and Sweep Your Lawn Simultaneously
  • Multiple Uses: Tines Can Be Raised Via the Adjustment Handle When Not In Use, No Need to Remove the Dethatcher Even When You're...
  • Transport Mode: The Tines Can Be Locked in Transport Position -- With Tines Facing to the Rear -- So No Need to Remove the...

The Brinly Dethathcer is another product for you to consider. It’s a combination sweeper and dethatcher, the benefits of which we will discuss below.

If you have a small yard, this is the perfect tool for quickly getting your lawn picked up. The 2-in-1 high-performance sweeper/dethatcher allows you to dethatch and sweep simultaneously with one easy motion! 

You can raise or lower the times as needed; they will stay in position until modified by using an adjustable handle on top of the device–no need to remove it just because you’re only sweeping. 

And when transporting, simply lock them into transport mode so that your hands are free from holding all those bulky parts together. They will also help keep debris out of other areas inside your vehicle such as under seats or windshield wipers.

What We Liked:

  • Excellent brush-to-ground ratio for picking up all kinds of thatch and debris
  • Rust-resistant, durable steel tines
  • Easy to store with its folding design 

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Difficult to assemble

3. LawnMaster GV1314 

LawnMaster GV1314 Scarifier and Lawn Dethatcher...
  • 【15-INCH Cutting Width &High Efficiency】With 14-inch cylinders,Scarifier and Lawn Dethatcher with 12.5AMP powerful motor...
  • 【19 Cutting Positions】 -0.39 - 0.19 inch for Scarifier Cylinder, -0.19 - 0.39 inch for Aerator Cylinder
  • 【2 Cylinders & Efficient Grass Collection 】2 Cylinders for Scarifier and Dethatcher, 10.5 Gallon Large Capacity grass bag

The LawnMaster is another of the best lawn dethatchers to consider. This lawn scarifier and dethatcher is a powerful machine for removing grass clippings, leaves, or other debris from your yard. 

It has two cylinders to make sure that the blades can be used in both modes without having to adjust anything before use! When folded up it’s just 31 lbs so you don’t have any trouble moving this around when need be.

For those who do not have the time for hours of manual labor, this hand-held machine is perfect. The wheels are 6.7″ and 3.15” in size which can help to turn your soil or work up hard ground without breaking a sweat! 

It’s only 31 pounds so you don’t need any heavy lifting equipment; it rotates easily with less effort needed from you thanks to its lightweight and easy-to-control features.

What We Liked:

  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • High capacity grass bag
  • Powerful motor 

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Included bag is small and fills up quickly

4. Agri-Fab 40-Inch Dethatcher 

Agri-Fab 40-Inch Tine Tow Dethatcher 45-0294,Black
  • Tine de-thatcher uproots dead, matted grass and dislodges hard-packed dirt for planting
  • Twenty Durable spring tines for easy thatch removal; Penetrates and turns up dried grass, weeds, and soil in 40-inch wide swathes
  • Rust-proof and replaceable spring-loaded tines are heat-treated for greater durability

The Agri-Fab tow-behind dethatcher is the perfect choice for the homeowner who wants to do a little more heavy-duty lawn work. It includes tines that are both rust-proof and replaceable, making this product more durable than just about any other machine you’ve used before.

It has a transport handle that allows you to easily lower and raise the times and is 100% made in the United States. It can be used to dethatch any areas of matted or dead grass and can also help loosen up hard-packed dirt to prepare the garden or lawn for planting. 

No more backbreaking work for you! Simply hook up the tine dethatcher to your garden tractor and it’ll do all of the hard, sweaty labor for you. The durable spring steel will upturn dead grass clumps and dried soil in a single sweep while leaving plants intact on either side. It has twenty steel teeth so you can push straight down into the soil without having to worry about bending the metal.

What We Liked:

  • Has a 40” weight tray that can hold up to 70 lbs
  • Comes with 20 rust proof tines
  • Two flat-free wheels for smooth, effortless transport

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Assembly instructions can be confusing

5. Greenworks 10 Amp Dethatcher

Sale
Greenworks 10 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher, 27022
  • Robust 10 Amp motor, ergonomic, padded grip and adjustable handle for user comfort
  • 14 inch dethatching path gets your work done faster
  • 3-position tine depth adjustment provides greater control by removing matted layers to promote lawn health

Looking for a more eco-friendly dethatcher? This 10 amp corded dethatcher from Greenworks is a great one to consider. 

It features a durable 10 amp motor, an comfortable padded grip that is designed with the user in mind, and an easy-to-adjust handle for ultimate user comfort. Its 14-inch dethatching path will get your lawn dethatched in a hurry.

The tine depth adjustment allows you to control the thickness with ease so that all layers are removed, allowing you to promote lawn health while stainless steel tines remain sharp for as long as you could possibly imagine.

What We Liked:

  • Can be purchased as a stand-alone dethatcher or with extension cord or scarifier tines 
  • Foldable handles for compact storage
  • No batteries and no charging – just plug and go

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Requires a heavy duty extension cord

6. Sun Joe AJ801E Lawn Dethatcher

Sale
Sun Joe AJ801E 13 in. 12 Amp Electric Scarifier +...
  • Ideal for revitalizing Small to mid-sized lawns
  • Minimum cutting Height (inches): -0. 12. Mower amperage (amps): 13 rakes a 12. 6" Wide path to get your job done faster
  • Scarifier function to cut grass roots for thicker growth, healthier lawns

Another one of the top electric lawn dethatchers to consider is the Sun Joe Electric Scarifier and Lawn Dethatcher. This product is perfect for a smaller or mid-sized lawn, cutting at a low height for maximum convenience. 

Its scarifier function will cut grassroots, helping you enjoy a lawn that is thicker and easier to grow. It also has patented Airboost technology and spring steel tines that will lift and remove thatch with ease.

An ETL-approved product, this electric lawn detacher is backed by a generous two-year manufacturer’s warranty.

What We Liked:

  • Perfect for smaller lawns
  • Raking depth can be adjusted with five-position depth control
  • Has helpful Instant Start feature and safety switch 

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Bag fills up fast

7. Goplus 2-in-1 Lawn Dethatcher

Goplus 2-in-1 Lawn Dethatcher 12Amp, 3 Level Depth...
  • 【2-In-1 Dethatcher& Scarifier】The powerful 12-amp motor rakes 13” wide to effectively solve the problems of trimming and...
  • 【3-Position Depth Control】Our electric corded dethatcher has 3 depth positions to choose and level 4 for transport, which can...
  • 【Safety Lock-Off Design】Dual security switch increases your safety while using. You should adjust the cylinder and depth lever...

The Goplus 2-in-1 Lawn Dethatcher is loaded with all kinds of helpful features to help you dethatch your lawn with ease. 

With a powerful 12-amp motor, this machine can quickly remove unwanted thatch from your yard without you having to worry about pulling them out with manual gardening tools! The 40L bag enables easy transport while also catching all that pesky clippings at once so it’s not left on the ground where they may pose a threat later. 

It has three different depth positions, too – choose level 4 when transporting or use levels 1 through 3 for more aggressive removal tasks in which case both lower blades will be activated simultaneously during operation (except the scrubber). This handy tool offers two large 10″ diameter wheels that make turning corners simple and allows users to navigate around obstacles with ease.

It also comes with a dual security switch so you don’t have to worry about accidental starting. It has an ergonomic grip for maximum comfort. 

What We Liked:

  • Made out of durable materials
  • Comes with a wear-resistant cover
  • Prevents soil compaction and allows you to dispose of debris easily 

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Must be plugged in to use 

8. Hattomen Lawn Dethatcher 

Hattomen Lawn Dethatcher & Scarifier, 12 Inch...
  • Powerful: 11 amp motor and 12 inch blade which improved large-size metal steel to ensure efficient cutting; 8 gallon...
  • 4 Wrok Heights: The lawn dethatcher is equipped with a central height adjustment system, with 4 working depth...
  • Safety System: Double safety switch ensures safe start. the lever handle is easy to grasp and manipulate.

The Hattomen Lawn Dethatcher and Scarifier is a lightweight, durable machine made out of strong plastic. It’s easy to maneuver and is relatively maintenance-free, requiring no oil, gas, or tune-ups. It will be so simple to take care of this machine!

The lawn dethatcher is equipped with a central height adjustment system, which can be adjusted to fit any size of yard. The power behind the 11 amp motor and 12-inch blade ensures that large-size metal steel is cut efficiently without fail. 

With an 8-gallon grass collection box for all your needs, you’ll never have to worry about running out midway through a job again! A 95% harvest rate means less time spent trimming those pesky weeds so they don’t overtake your property. 

Finally, there are also four working heights (-0.35″/-0x3/12/”/1) available if you’re not sure what will work best in certain areas  – or perhaps just want some variety in how deep it goes into the ground while removing unwanted thatch.

What We Liked:

  • Lightweight and durable
  • Powerful 11 amp mower
  • Flexible height adjustment system

What We Didn’t Like: 

  • Not to be used as a lawnmower, which confuses some customers

The Takeaway

The best lawn dethatchers are a dime a dozen, but the wrong one can be disastrous. There are many factors to consider when purchasing your next yard work tool. 

What kind of grass do you have? How much time do you have to spend on it every week? 

Do you need an electric or gas-powered dethatcher? Will this be your first dethatching session ever, or will this be the fifth time in three years that you’re getting back out there?

Ultimately, being able to know your own preferences and your lawn’s unique needs will be key to selecting the ideal piece of equipment. Consider the best lawn dethatchers on our list to help you get started – happy shopping!

Lawn Dethatching: FAQ

What is the best lawn dethatcher?

There is no single best lawn dethatcher for every homeowner. Instead, you’ll want to consider actors like the size of your lawn, whether you have a tractor to pull a manual dethatcher (or you’ll need an electric one instead), and your budget. All of these factors go into making the right decision – but we’ve included a few of our top suggestions for you above to help you get started in your search!

What month should you dethatch your lawn?

Dethatch cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue, in late summer or early fall. Dethatch warm-season turfgrasses like Bermudagrass and Zoysia after the spring green-up to avoid damage during the peak growth period of your lawn’s year cycle.

What is the difference between aeration and dethatching?

The question of dethatching or aerating is one that comes up often in the minds of homeowners. But which process do you go for if you’re on the hunt for a lush-looking lawn?

Dethatching mainly loosens the top layer and removes dead grass from your lawn, while core-aeration breaks up soil compaction as well as removing debris buildup (also known as “thatch”).

What does a lawn that needs dethatching look like?

If you aren’t sure if your lawn needs to be dethatched, take a walk on your lawn. If it feels spongy, springy, or bouncy, that’s a good sign that it needs to be dethatched. 

How many times a year should you dethatch your lawn?

Lawns are in need of dethatching about once a year, or when the thatch reaches 1/2 inch. To check if your lawn needs it done now, just work your fingers into the grass and see how deep until you hit this layer. 

Cool-season turf should be detached during the fall while warm-season ones need to be removed in the early springtime since they grow easily and require more frequent upkeep than cool-season types do.

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