What is the best lawn scarifier? What is the best lawn dethatcher?


In this guide, I’ve reviewed the best lawn scarifiers (also known as lawn ‘dethatcher’) for US gardeners. All of the scarifiers here are either electrically or battery powered. 


If you’ve come across this review and you’re looking for a scarifier for a UK garden, you can read best lawn scarifiers UK. There’s also an article about best petrol lawn scarifiers UK




how often should I dethatch my lawn





Why Scarify a Lawn?


It’s important to realize that scarifying/dethatching a lawn is NOT the same as aerating a lawn. Aeration pulls plugs of soil from the lawn in order to provide more air below the surface of the lawn.


Scarifying or dethatching (pretty much one and the same thing) removes lawn debris, including thatch (dead grass) and moss. Scarifying also helps to aerate but only on the surface of the soil beneath the lawn.


Scarifying/dethatching encourages more airflow, better water penetration, and helps with nutrient penetration into the soil. It reduces the potential for disease as well.


Scarifying your lawn cuts the grass roots. It encourages growth which makes a healthier, thicker lawn. 


A point to note is that a small amount of thatch in your lawn is a good thing. The thatch provides some protection to the grass roots from environmental factors – hot sunshine and frost for example. 


You can do the same job through manual dethatching as can be achieved by way of machine-powered dethatching. But even on a small-sized lawn, this can be an arduous task. A back-breaking task! Hence, it’s best to push a button and let a machine do the back-breaking work for you. 


The benefits of using an electrically powered scarifier as opposed to a petrol-powered scarifier are multiple:


  • No gas required
  • No oil required
  • No tuning up the machine
  • Electric lawn dethatchers are much lighter in terms of weight
  • And, not least, electric scarifiers are much cheaper than petrol scarifiers



How about if you need an extension power cord? After all, the power cords that are supplied with electric scarifiers are pretty short. 


If you need a mere 50-foot extension cord it should be 14-gauge:


Southwire 2588SW0002 Outdoor Extension Cord – 12/3 American Made SJTW Heavy Duty 3 Prong Extension Cord




If you need an extension cord of between 50 and 100 feet, a 12-gauge extension cord is what you need. This extension cord from US Wire and Cable is ideal:


best lawn dethatcher
 US Wire and Cable 100ft Extension Cord



(Incidentally, this post contains links to products. Please make the assumption that at least some of the links may result in earning commissions. Thank you.)





When to Dethatch a Lawn? 


The time of year to dethatch a lawn depends on your climate. It also depends on the type of grass that makes up your lawn. 


The process of scarifying a lawn is hard work – not only for you but also for your lawn. That’s why you should carry out the task at a time when your lawn has optimal chances of recovery. 


Avoid scarifying during a heatwave, for example. You’ll want your lawn to have a minimum of 1.5 months to recover after scarifying – a period of time that it will have good growing conditions. 


The general rule, as such, is to scarify your lawn in late spring and in early fall. Again though, this is dependent on the type of grass. 


Warm-season grasses – Bermuda, buffalo, and zoysia, for example, will not do well when sacrificed in either March or April if a late frost is a possibility. Neither should these same grasses be dethatched in late fall as this will weaken the grass throughout the winter months. 


For these grasses, the optimal time to scarify is either in late spring or during early summer. This is when Bermuda, buffalo, and zoysia are producing fresh runners. 


On the other hand, grasses such as ryegrass, fescue, and bluegrass – the so-called cool-season grasses – don’t generally require much, if any, dethatching. If dethatching is required then early fall is the optimal time. Bluegrass may also be dethatched during the early springtime – just when it’s turning green.




How Often to Dethatch a Lawn?


The frequency of dethatching a lawn is also dependent on the type of grass. Frequency is likewise dependent on growing conditions. 


Bermuda grass, zoysia, and various other spreading grasses have a tendency for producing fairly excessive thatch. On the other hand, tall fescue produces little thatch. Bluegrass and ryegrass are middle of the table. 


Clay and sandy soils encourage thatch production no matter what type of grass your lawn is comprised of. Acidic conditions, cold conditions, and frequently wet conditions also encourage thatch production. 



The process of dethatching can, and likely will leave your lawn looking like it’s been hit by a bomb. 


If your lawn does produce a copious supply of thatch, it’s wise to dethatch it at least once, perhaps twice annually. This means that you’ll not be faced with the prospect of a massive job (a massive job that will ‘massively’ destroy the aesthetics of your lawn). 


If your lawn produces no more than around a half-inch (1.3cm) of thatch over a year, you may wish to scarify only one time every couple of years. Otherwise, if you’re looking at around 1.5 inches (3.8cm) or more of thatch in a year, then it’s probably best to scarify twice annually – in spring and again in fall. 


If your lawn has a tendency for producing even more thatch than the aforementioned 1.5 inches in a year, you might want to consider digging the entire thing up and starting afresh. 



Whatever you do don’t be tempted to over-fertilize or overwater your lawn. 


Do encourage earthworms into your lawn as earthworms will destroy the thatch. 


Mow your lawn regularly. But do not mow with the blade set too low – that also encourages thatch. 





Best Lawn Scarifier (Dethatcher) US



Greenworks 14-Inch 10 Amp Corded Dethatcher  (Model 27022)



best dethatcher for lawn
Greenworks 14-Inch 10 Amp Corded Dethatcher 27022



At a Glance


    • 14-inch dethatching roller  
    • 10-amp electric motor
    • Tines are stainless steel
    • Handles fold down for compact (ish) storage
    • Item weight: 25.9 lbs.
    • Color: Green
    • GreenWorks 4-year warranty



All GreenWorks garden products have a carbon footprint of zero. Meaning, there are zero carbon emissions.


The 4-year warranty is twice that of industry standard.


The GreenWorks dethatcher does not come with a collection bag. The machine simply pulls up the thatch and leaves it behind for manual collection.


It’s not a self-propelled scarifier either. Not as such, anyhow. The tine movement gently propels the machine forward rather than the wheels being automated.


Will the GreenWorks dethatcher remove moss from the lawn? Yes. It’s very effective at moss removal. 


Can the GreenWorks dethatcher be used as an aerator? No. An aerator removes soil plugs from the lawn. A dethatcher – a scarifier – rakes up lawn debris such as thatch and moss. 





Sun Joe 13 in. 12 Amp Electric Scarifier + Lawn Dethatcher w/Collection Bag (Model: AJ801E)



best rated lawn dethatcher
Sun Joe AJ801E 13 inch 12 Amp Electric Scarifier + Lawn Dethatcher w/Collection Bag



At a Glance


    • 13-inch dethatching roller with 12.6-inch cutting width
    • 12-amp electric motor
    • Five variable depth-control settings
    • Detachable bag for easy pickup
    • Tines are stainless steel
    • Handles fold down for compact (ish) storage
    • Item weight: 27 lbs.
    • Color: Light green
    • Sun Joe 2-year warranty



The 12-amp motor powers the Sun Joe dethatcher’s 12.6-inch wide single-pass path. Airboost technology helps to maximize thatch pickup. 


The five-position depth control (controlled by a knob on the handlebar) provides variable cutting depths from -0.4 inch (10mm) below soil surface to +0.4 inch (10mm) above soil surface.


Start the Sun Joe dethatcher instantly just by pushing a button. The Sun Joe also features a safety switch to prevent accidental starting.




And, sad to say, that’s all there is, folks! Really, there’s not a whole lot of choice. But those couple of lawn scarifiers/dethatchers listed above should do the job for you – or at least I do very much hope so!


Thanks for reading!














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