The 5 Best Dethatchers [Ranked]

Dethatcher

A dethatcher is a tool for outdoor use that is used to break up and remove a built-up layer of thatch from your lawn (Source).

Thatch is the compressed dead plant matter that builds up at the base of your lawn overtime. It can be made up of roots, stems, and runners (Source).

It can be beneficial to the health of your lawn but when it gets too thick, it poses a serious risk to the long-term health of your lawn and it’s probably time to consider dethatching your lawn (Source).

Dethatchers work by using strong tines to break up and pull up the layer of thatch in a lawn. Some dethatchers have catch bags to collect the thatch for easy disposal. Being able to easily collect the thatch that is pulled up helps give your lawn a cleaner look right away.

Should You Dethatch?

There are different ways that a dethatcher can work. Some are electric and corded, some are gas powered, and some are towed behind your lawn mower (the Mantis and Agri-Fab).

Many buyers suggested that when using electric dethatchers that you should consider a heavy-duty extension cord to ensure proper function of your electric dethatcher (Source).

Buyers with a pull behind dethatching rake suggest that you use a good amount of weight on the pull behind dethatching rake the first time that you go over your lawn, and also that you be sure to very securely attach the weight to the pull behind dethatching rake (Source).

Dethatchers Compared

How They Compare


The Greenworks, Van Haus, and Sun Joe dethatcher rakes are all corded electric dethatchers. Whereas both the Argi-Fab and Mantis are dethatching attachments.

The Mantis dethatcher attaches to any Mantis tiller, and the Argi-Fab is a pull behind dethatching rake also known as a tow behind dethatcher. It hooks to the back of a lawn mower and is towed across the lawn.

The Van Haus dethatcher and the Sun Joe dethatcher both have a width of 13 inches and include catch bags to collect the thatch for easy disposal. The other three dethatching machines on the list don’t include catch bags but all have larger widths.

The Greenworks dethatcher has a width of 14 inches, the Mantis dethatching attachment has a width of 15 inches, and the Argi-Fab dethatcher has an impressive width of 48 inches.

The Greenworks dethatcher also features a nice ergonomically designed padded grip on the handle for maximum comfort, while the Van Haus electric dethatcher has a height adjustable handle that allows for comfortable dethatching of your lawn regardless of your size.

How to Use a Dethatcher

  1.  Follow the instructions from the manufacturer of your dethatcher to perform any needed assembly and prep your dethatcher for use.
  2. Before you get started dethatching, it’s best to mow your lawn. Mowing your grass shorter than you typically do will help the dethatching process to go more smoothly.
  3. Run your dethatcher over the entire lawn going in the same direction. For best results, run the dethatcher over the lawn again going at a 90-degree angle to the first direction you went.
  4. If your dethatcher has a catch bag, you’ll need to empty it each time it fills up. If your dethatcher does not have a catch bag, you will probably want to rake up all of the loose thatch after you finish dethatching.
  5. It’s a great idea to water your yard right after dethatching. You may also want to take this opportunity to spread fresh grass seed and fertilizer throughout your lawn.

Best Dethatchers For 2017

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

If you are looking for a top-rated dethatcher, you might want to consider this 14’’corded model offered by GreenWorks. Users love this time saver, but some do complain about the tool not going deep enough.

This product features a robust 10 Amp motor which delivers comparable power to gas powered dethatchers. Its 14″ dethatching path gets your work done faster. The unit features a 3-position tine depth adjustment, a full set of replaceable stainless steel tines for a total of 36 tines and an ergonomic and adjustable handle. This item seems like a good choice if you want to save time and effort and make dethatching easy.

The general user consensus concerning the GreenWorks dethatcheris that it has an excellent design and that it works well. They add that it is much lighter than gas powered varieties and that it is easy to use.

However, some buyers complain about the tool not going deep enough, stating that it needs to have longer spikes. Some users say that the manufacturer went cheap in a few critical areas and used plastic parts instead of metal (most notable where the handlebars attach to the machine).

Pros

  • Excellent design
  • Works well
  • Much lighter than gas powered varieties
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Some buyers complain about the tool not going deep enough
  • Some users say there are plastic parts instead of metal in a few critical areas

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

This 13’’ electric scarifier plus lawn dethatcher offered by Snow Joe is a good option if you want to revitalize a small to mid-size lawn. Users like the performance of this product, but do complain about too small catcher bag and cheap construction.

This product features a powerful 12-amp motor and a scarifier function for cutting grass roots for thicker growth and healthier lawns. The 13″ wide path helps you get your job done faster. This dethatcher and scarifier combo might be a good choice if you want to get your lawn in top green shape.

In general, users have a favorable opinion of the Snow Joe dethatcher/scarifier combo.What they praise is that it works great and that it has a really powerful motor. Buyers also love the versatility of being able to change from power-raking to scarifying and the fact that the tool takes very little room for storage.

However, many buyers express complaints regarding the catcher bag which fills up after a few feet. Other complaints regard the construction. As one online reviewer states,the unit is made mostly of plastic components and it’s a little clumsy.

Pros

  • Works great
  • Really powerful motor
  • Able to change from power-raking to scarifying
  • Takes very little room for storage

Cons

  • Many buyers complain abouttoo small catcher bag
  • Frequent complaint –mostly made of plastic and a little clumsy

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

This 2-in-1 lawn dethatcher and aerator offered by VonHaus is a solid option for those who look for an effective and convenient way to maintain a healthy and tidy lawn. Users like the excellent dethatching performance of this product, but some do complain about the small size of the thatch bag.

This product features a powerful 12 Amp / 1500W motor with two point safety start switch, height adjustable handle and 16-inch power cord. It comes with a 13’’ working width and 4 working depths (one aerating and one scarifying roller included). Other features include a 40L collection bag. This product might be a solid choice if you want to maintain a healthy, weed-free lawn without spending hours raking, forking and scraping.

In general, users have a favorable opinion of the VonHaus2-in-1 yard tool and they agree that it is a great value for the price.Many of them state that it has a very powerful motor, great blade changing system and small footprint. They add that it is easy to use.

However, some purchasers complain about the small thatch bag which requires often emptying. In addition, some complain about the unit getting very dirty fast.

Pros

  • Great value for the price
  • Very powerful motor
  • Great blade changing system
  • Small footprint
  • Easy of use

Cons

  • Some purchasers complain about the small thatch bag
  • Some users complain about the unit getting very dirty fast

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

This 48’’ tine tow dethatcher offered by Agri-Fab is a solid option for those who have a larger garden.Users like the effectiveness of this product, but some do complain about the poor construction.

This product features a 48″ weight tray which holds up to 70 lb. for improved thatch removal. Its 24 heat-treated spring tines provide durability and 7″ x 1.5″ semi-pneumatic tires allow for smooth transport. It has a simple-to-use cantilever transport handle for easy raising and lowering.This item could be a solid choice for home owners who want the job of lawn care to be easy.

In general, buyers have a positive opinion of the Agri-Fab Tine Tow Dethatcher. They state that it is very effective and worth the money. They agree that it is fairly easy to put together.

However,some buyers complain about not sturdy enough construction. They say that the unit looks a little flimsy and wish it had more robust wheels and tires. Plus, they point out that the height lift system is the weak point.

Pros

  • Worth the money
  • Very effective
  • Easy assembly

Cons

  • Some buyers complain about not sturdy enough construction (flimsy unit and weak height lift system)

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

If you are looking for a dethatcher, you might want to consider this power tiller aerator/dethatcher combo offered by Mantis. Users like its effectiveness, but some have complaints about difficulties with the assembly.

This product includes an aerator and a dethatcher. The aerator is perfect for use in compact, clay soil, while the dethatcher quickly removes thatch. This gardening tool features 4 sets of tempered steel blades and 60 spring-steel picks. If you are looking for two most popular lawn care attachments to the tiller/cultivator in a money saving combo pack,this might be a good option.

In general, users are happy with the Mantis Sweeper aerator/dethatcher. What they like in particular is that it is sturdy and effective. They agree that it is easy to use.

However, some purchasers complain about difficulties with the assembly.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Effective
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Some purchasers complain about difficulties with the assembly
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The Most Common Buyer Concerns


If you have any of the following concerns, we recommend scrutinizing the product pages. You'll find customer reviews as well as Q&A content that'll help clear up some confusion.  

  • Will a dethatcher pick up pine straw?
  • How well do dethatchers work with pine needles and at what depth?
  • Will my detatcher function on a dirt yard to pick up leaves?
  • Will it crush or break down the leaves at all?
  • Is it hard to push and pick up leaves?
  • Will it pick up leaves and sticks off of concrete and pebble patios?
  • Will this work on picking up acorns in the yard as well as leaves?
  • How well does this handle small twigs, acorns and hickory nut casings?
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