Lawn and Garden Rake Buying Guide
We have listed several of the most common rakes and some characteristics of each. Use this information to familiarize yourself with the different styles before you shop.
Leaf Rake – A leaf rake is designed to rake up leaves and small debris. One of the biggest considerations you should think about when you are shopping for a leaf rake is the weight.
Leaves are not usually heavy unless you are raking up soaking wet leaves, which would require a garden rake. Leaves are typically light and easy to rake up with a good quality rake.
The lighter the leaf rake the easier it is to use for extended periods of time. Raking leaves can be a tiring job if the rake you are using is heavy and cumbersome. Look for leaf rakes that have large, wide heads, and that are lightweight and somewhat flexible.
The tines of the best leaf rake will be closely spaces so leaves don’t get in between the tines and clog it up. Plastic or resin heads are just fine for leaf rakes due to the light duty work they are suited for.
Lawn Rake – A lawn rake and a leaf rake are similar except that a lawn rake is stronger and heavier. Lawn rakes are also called shrub rakes since they are designed to remove dead grass, leaves and debris from around planters, trees and other places.
Sometimes dead grass can have a tough root system. The leaf rake will not be able to handle this task and the garden rake is too heavy duty. This leaves the lawn rake.
The head of the lawn rake needs to be strong and durable. You also want to make sure that you choose a model that has a solid join between the handle of the rake and the head so it is not loosening up or breaking off.
Garden rake – Garden rakes are perfect for doing heavy duty work in the garden. They are made for raking in soil even if it has clumps of dirt and rocks in it.
Garden rakes can push or pull the rocks and debris out of the way. Garden rakes have fewer tines, usually around 16 or so, that are made of solid, thick steel.
The tines are spaced farther apart than lawn or leaf rake tines are. Another feature of a garden rake is that the tines are on a 90% angle rather than slanted. This makes them well suited to heavy work if you choose a high quality one.
Don’t skimp on quality when it comes to a garden rake. You should spend as much as you can to get one that will last. If you purchase a high quality garden rake and take care of it the right way, it can last a lifetime.
Common Rake Materials
Rakes are made from a variety of materials depending on the type of rake it is and the job that it is suited for. Below we have listed the most common materials that each rake type is made from.
- Leaf Rake – Leaf rakes are usually made with a lightweight handle made of wood and tines that are resin, plastic, bamboo or steel. They are designed for light duty work and should not be used to rake up rocky, clumpy areas. Make sure the head of the rake is solidly connected and welded or riveted on for maximum durability. The tines of the leaf rake should be very close together to avoid clogging. The head of the leaf rake should be wide with tines that are slightly curved to grab the leaves easily.
- Lawn Rake – The handle of a lawn rake is a little sturdier than the leaf rake due to the increase in tasks. Lawn rakes can be used to rid your lawn or rooted dead grass. You can also removes leaves and twigs from around bushes, trees, plants and more. The head of the lawn rake is sometimes wide and sometimes narrow depending on the brand. The tines need to be much stronger and durable. The tines of a lawn rake are usually made of steel since they will need to be strong enough to handle the tasks.
- Garden Rake – Garden rakes will be heavier in weight due to the demands placed on them. They typically have a strong solid wood handle and a steel head that is welded or riveted on for maximum durability. There are fewer tines on a garden rake and they are created on a 90 degree angle to the ground which makes them perfect for breaking up garden plots and doing heavier raking.
Finding the Best Lawn and Garden Rake
All rakes are definitely not created equal, nor do they all have the same design or use. When you start shopping for rakes, take a look at all the offerings and narrow the choices down by knowing ahead of time what jobs you will be doing with them.
- Rake Head Width – If you’re shopping for a leaf rake, wider is better. A wide, securely attached head will rake up a lot of leaves at one time. Some models have adjustable tines that can be widened and narrowed as needed for the job. Ideally your leaf rake tines will be spaced very narrowly so leaves and debris don’t get stuck in between the tines.
- Rake Handle – If you are tall, look for a handle that is long so you are not hunching over to rake. You can also look for adjustable handles that work for a variety of heights. The best rake handles will be made from wood or fiberglass. Aluminum is also used to make handles but it is not the favored material.
- Rake Material – The head of a rake is usually made of plastic, bamboo, metal or steel. The best head material for your rake will depend on what you will be doing with the rake. If it is a leaf rake, resin or hard plastic is favored. If it is a garden rake, thick steel is best and lasts the longest even when used for a lot of heavy duty garden work.
- Rake Tines – The tines of a rake can be shaped in many different ways and be made from plastic, metal, or steel. Choose a rake that has tines that are designed for the job you will be doing. Leaf rakes are best with resin or hard plastic tines. Garden rakes do best with hard steel tines that can handle the hard work of digging through soil.
- Special Features – There are several features that a rake can offer. This will vary from rake to rake depending on what kind it is. Some of the features that you may encounter are ergonomic grip handles, pivoting heads, adjustable handles and clog free tines. Look for rakes that have the kind of features that you will use.
With all of the different rake choices on the market, choosing the right one can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. The most important factor in choosing the right rake is knowing what jobs you will be doing with it. More than likely you will need more than one type of rake for your yard. The most common rakes that people usually have in their garden tool collections are leaf rakes and garden rakes.
Construction of the rake is very important. It can determine how durable the rake will be and how long it will last. Choose the best quality rake you can afford. If it is made well it can last a lifetime with the proper care so it is worth it to take the time to research brands and materials and choose the highest quality you can find.