The Different Types of Dethatchers Explained

There are many different types of dethatchers. A dethatcher or scarifier, simply put, refers to a mechanical tool that is used to remove thatch from lawns. The thatch is the accumulated layer of bulb, dead grass, overgrown roots or moss. If not dealt with early enough, thatch will eventually result in thinning causing the grass to wither. Dethatching is essential for two major reasons: allows air and water infiltration and improves grass health. The dethatcher uses rotary blades or knives to cut thatch and bring them unto the surface of the grass.

The major cause of thatch buildup is dead grass that results in a layer of dead grass roots, bulb, crown, or tuber. The thatch, if not removed affects grass growth since it inhibits the infiltration of water, air, and other essential nutrients.

When it comes to the type of dethatcher to use on your lawn, you never ran short of options since there are plenty of products on the market. Many brands and models of dethatchers are available, with each boasting unique features, benefits, pros and cons. Read our dethatcher reviews to see what we here at YardUpkeep have to say about selected products.


Types of Dethatchers

Dethatchers have been broadly categorized into three distinct categories:

Manual Dethatchers

Types of Dethatchers - Manual Dethatchers

This is a simple design rake that is more affordable. It is similar in design to the ordinary garden or leaf rake. Operating a manual rake is a no brainer. It works best on areas that are difficult to access when using a power dethatcher or a tow-behind dethatcher. However, the manual rake requires a lot of physical effort and time when working on thick and extensive thatch.

Power Rake Dethatchers

Types of Dethatchers - Power Dethatchers

This is simply the dethatching machine powered either by an electric or gas motor. It has a similar design to that of a lawnmower and features adjustable bottom blades. The ideal power dethatcher is one with a number of width and height adjustment settings. These allow for adjustment to suit the grass type and thatch thickness. You will also get a collection box in some models that make dethatching easy. The power rake does an excellent job on huge areas. However, they do not come cheap.

Tow-behind Dethatchers

Types of Dethatchers - Tow-behind Dethatchers

This has been designed to be attached to a tractor or a riding lawn mower. In terms of efficiency, they are a great asset since they cover a wide area within a shorter time than other types of dethatchers. Its blades should be tightly hitched and blade height adjusted correctly before you begin dethatching.


How the Dethatcher Works

  • Rotary Blades  it uses blades or knives which plunges into the soil and cuts the thatch. Some dethatchers use tines and prongs.
  • Run the dethatcher over the yard  the dethatcher should be run over the lawn two or three times.


Benefits of Using a Dethatcher

  • Healthy grass dethatching helps boosts the root access to essential nutrients, water and air. This eventually makes the grass stronger and resistant to diseases. It also helps remove areas that harbor pests and diseases.
  • Substantially reduces watering frequency and duration. Thatch takes up and wastes lots of water that should be utilized by the grass roots. Once removed you need less water to water the lawn.
  • Maximum growth grass that has been dethatched grows to its full potential and without any traces of dry grass or withered leaves.


How to Choose the Right Dethatcher

To get the right dethatcher, consider the following:


Different dethatchers are not created equal. There are various designs and models on the market and at times to get the best one requires some knowledge. You should buy only from manufacturers that have built a good reputation with buyers. Check out their website and ensure it is legit and reputed.

Customer Feedback

What others say about a product really matters and thus it is prudent to check out the bad and good reviews. One important thing to note though is that not all negative feedback are true. Some may be misinformed and others may be due to the failure of the user to understand how to use a product. Therefore, you should be careful when making a final judgment about a unit. For more information, check out our dethatcher reviews.

Quality vs price

One of the biggest mistakes that buyers make is being too responsive to high prices. Price should never be a put-off once you understand quality for money. This does not mean you should be quick to draw out the big bucks for a highly priced dethatcher. It precisely means you should check out the quality of the product in question and ensure it is a definitely worth the price. Cheap is always expensive if you consider longevity and quality for money.


Available storage space should be considered before you buy a dethatcher. If you have a small storage space, then it is wise to get a model that can be stored easily.


The dethatcher capability is an important factor to consider before you purchase one. If you intend to dethatch a small lawn, then it makes sense to buy a smaller one, but if you will work on an extensive area that has deep thatch then you must buy a highly-powered dethatcher.

Includes aerator

You can choose to buy a unit with dethatcher properties only or alternatively go for a combo kit – with aerator and dethatcher capabilities. The combo kit proves to be more economical and efficient depending on your needs.

Petrol vs electric

You can choose any of these two based on your project requirements. The petrol model is more robust and aggressive when compared to the electric fashion. They also last longer and are more powerful.


As the buyer you understand how far you are willing stretch when buying the dethatcher. The various dethatcher brands and models out there come in different prices and even though it may be restraining to stick to a budget, it is wise to strike a balance between price and quality.


Examples of the Different types of Dethatchers 

Electric Dethatchers

The electric dethatcher is also referred to as a garden scarifier, electric lawn rake or a power scarifier. It works best on thatch and moss on huge lawns and uses either a wire or spring tines. The electric dethatcher is ideal for shallow dethatching and not deep dethatching which can ruin the machine.

1. The Bosch AVR 1100 Electric Dethatcher

Bosch AVR 1100 Electric Dethatcher

The Bosch AVR 1100 Electric Dethatcher is a combo kit with both aerator and dethatching capabilities. It has 1100 watt-torque motor that features interchangeable settings. The Bosch AVR 1100 works great on highly demanding and power-consuming conditions. It also has a unique raking cylinder that easily removes thatch, moss, leaves, and weeds.

This electric dethatcher has the power capabilities of a petrol scarifier. Its 14 blades works not only on the thatch on the surface, but also plunges deep into the soil and collects unreachable thatch. There is also no clogging with this unit. Its twin levers also allow the user to adjust the handle accordingly. Its electric cord measures 30 feet long and it is covered by a 2-year warranty. However, when compared to other dethatchers it is quite expensive.

2. The Vonhaus 2 in 1 Electric Dethatcher

Vonhaus 2 in 1 Electric Dethatcher

This is a dual purpose aerator and scarifier unit with some exciting features. It comes with two raking rollers that perform an excellent job of removing thatch, moss, and dead grass. This is achieved without any negative impact on the soil. The Vonhaus 2 in 1 Electric Dethatcher has a 1500 watt motor that is bigger and more powerful than what you get on other scarifiers. This will allow you to regulate the power required whether for light or heavy scarifying. In addition to these, you get a 40 litre collection box which so much bigger than what other dethatchers have.

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3. The Flymo Lawnrake Compact 3400 Electric Dethatcher

Flymo Lawnrake Compact 3400 Electric Dethatcher

The 750 watt Flymo Lawnrake Compact 3400 Electric Dethatcher has been designed with the heavy user in mind. Its powerful engine in addition to a 34-liter collection box ensures you get your work done correctly and efficiently. It also has a vision box that helps monitor the collection box. With this feature you can easily see when the box is full. Its six raking heights also allow the user to choose a dethatching height that works best. Furthermore, it can easily be folded down for storage. Its storage height is 47cm only.

4. The GreenWorks 27022 10 Amp Corded Dethatcher

GreenWorks 27022 10 Amp Corded Dethatcher

The GreenWorks 27022 dethatcher comes with a 10 amp motor that gives superior power capability. It is a heavy performer that can be compared to a gas powered dethatcher. It has a 14 inch wide dethatching width which guarantees more work is done within a short time. Other intriguing features of this dethatcher include: comfortable handles, 3-position tine depth adjustment setting, 36 replacement tines, stainless steel body that is durable, a push button start, and a 4-year warranty. Some of its weaknesses however include; lack of collection bag, quite an old model, and does not work best on Bermuda grass. But overall it is an excellent dethatcher.

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5. The BLACK+DECKER GD300 Lawn Dethatcher

BLACK+DECKER GD300 Lawn DethatcherThe BLACK+DECKER GD300 Lawn Dethatcher has been tailored to meet the needs of the small to medium size yard owner. Its 600 watt motor provides three levels of height adjustment. It does a good job as a scarifier that works only on top of the soil without plunging deep into the soil. It’s also fitted with a safety lock which switches the machine off when it is not being used. It therefore guarantees the safety of the user, children and pets. More beneficial also is its 30-litre front loading grass box.


Gas/Petrol Dethatchers

The gas dethatcher is an extremely hardy machine designed for heavy work. It works best for areas with more than 300 square meters. It is not financially feasible for those who need to dethatch their small lawn once or twice a year. An electric dethatcher or lawn rake will suffice in such a case.

To get the best gas dethatcher, choose one that has sharp fixed blades and not rounded. If you intend to work on bumpy areas use swinging or flail blades. These machines are simply the best for areas with thick moss or thatch and which electric rakes fail to remove.

1. The Al-ko Scarifier

Al-ko Scarifier

The Al-ko dethatcher is a gas dethatcher that is powered by a 53cc engine designed for handling medium and large tasks. It has a working width of 37cm and two cassettes. Its first cassette with its steel blades plunges into the soil easily and removes thatch and moss. It also aerates the soil. As for its second cassette it has steel wire tines that remove the unwanted material such as debris.

The Al-ko dethatcher is also comes with a 55 litre collection box and is covered by a 2-year warranty.

2. The Powerplus Dethatcher

This is a gas-powered scarifier with an 118cc 4 stroke engine. It is quite hardy and removes thatch and moss effortlessly. Its deck is made of steel and its working width is 40cm. It also has spacious collection box of 60 litres. Furthermore, it is made with 11 cutting knives that allow the user to vary the cutting levels when using the machine.


Manual Dethatchers

The manual dethatcher is the most affordable option and is great for those who have the time and energy to dethatch and aerate their lawn manually.

1. The Wolf Garten URM3 Roller Moss Remover

Wolf Garten Multi-Change URM3 Roller Moss Remover

This is a manually operated moss remover that is highly rated by users. It has been designed with cutting steel blades that works on a pendulum mechanism. The blades cut into the lawn when pushed and its pointy tips collect the thatch. It is used while standing and that means your back will never hurt after using the tool.

The wolf Garten moss and thatch remover has a width of 30cm and it is recommended for use at least every 6 to 8 weeks. Its drawback however is that the handle must be purchased separately. Therefore you have to ensure you buy one that is perfect for your height.

2. The Darlac Lawn Dethatcher

Darlac Lawn Scarifier

This manual machine has been custom-made to make scarifying as easy as possible. It is fitted with an adjustable telescopic handle that can easily be adjusted and locked to suit your height as from 98cm up to 1.4m. It uses rounded blades unlike the Wolf Garten moss remover. Its drawback is just it does not have a collection box just like other manual scarifiers.




3. The Greenkey Lawn Aerating Sandals

Greenkey Lawn Aerating Sandals

If you are in need of some little exercise then you should get these shoes that aerate the lawn. It’s made using 100% recycled plastic that is where the name Greenkey comes from. It has 13 spikes that measure 45mm which dethatch and aerate the lawn. It works best when the ground is soft and it should not be used on stony or uneven ground.




Take Home Tips

Before dethatching:

Understand your required dethatcher

Every lawn has its unique requirements with respect to its size. One lawn may require a power rake while another might need a vertical mower. It is therefore wise to know the type of dethatcher needed for your specific job.

Know the type of dethatcher blade used

There are different types of blades and each works best on specific grass types. Some of the types of blades available include: fixed-knife, flat steel, or rotating.

Blade settings

The blade settings matter when it comes to the width and depth to use. You should comprehend the recommended width and depth settings. You will realize that soft grass requires different settings from that of tough grass.

Know when to dethatch

The best season for dethatching is early autumn and late spring. It is ideal since it allows grass sufficient time to recover after the dethatching process has been completed. You should also understand when the grass in question grows, whether in cool or warm weather. For example, grass types such as Buffalo, zoysia, and Bermuda grow during warm summer. They should never be dethatched in March or April. Instead early summer or late summer is the best time. As for cool season grasses such as ryegrass, bluegrass, and fescue ,they do not really require dethatching. However, if needed, it should be done on early fall.

Water and fertilize the lawn

It is highly recommended that once dethatching is completed the lawn should be watered and fertilized. By so doing you boost grass growth and recovery since the roots are well aerated and ready to regrow.


A Final Word

Lawn dethatching is an important activity if you appreciate good looking lawns. You have so many options to choose from given the many designs and models available on the lawn market. If you are savvy buyer then it wise to do your homework before you get one. Understand the state of your lawn beforehand and do your research on what will meet your needs.  Choosing the right type of dethatcher for your lawn is very important. Dethatchers do not come cheap and therefore before you invest in one it is only fair enough to ensure you get quality for your money. Read our reviews to find the dethatcher that will suit you best