Over time, your lawn can become clogged and matted by old grass growth and other debris, leading to a lawn that doesn’t look as healthy or uniform as it should.
When this happens, a lawn dethatcher is your best friend, solving this problem quickly and easily by dethatching your lawn, and restoring the health of your lawn.
Take a look at our buyers guide on what is a dethatcher and our review of the best lawn dethatchers of 2021 to find the right one for your home or landscaping business.
8 Best Lawn Dethatchers of 2021
What is Thatch and Why Should I Remove It?
Thatch is old grass growth, old roots, clippings and other garden debris that build up on your lawn after a few seasons. While this material makes good compost, if it doesn’t decompose properly and builds up significantly, it can damage your lawn.
This thick matting will stop moisture from getting down to the grassroots, reducing air circulation and making it more difficult for the grass to access nutrients.
When your grass isn’t healthy, it grows slowly and unevenly, and takes on a yellow hue. It also encourages pests, mold and lawn diseases. Your grass may even start dying off.
What is the Difference Between Dethatching and Aerating?Dethatching is the process of lifting compacted debris out of your lawn, freeing up the grass to grow more easily by increasing access to sunlight, nutrients, air and water.
Aerating is the process of perforating the lawn, with the tines digging clean, deep but small holes into the turf using a spiked wheel to make it easy for water and nutrients to get to the roots.
You can read more about the differences between dethatching vs. aerating your lawn.
Different Ways to Remove Lawn Thatch
There are three ways you can remove thatch from your lawn.
With a Garden Fork
You can use a garden fork to gently lift out the matted material, being careful not to damage the roots of your grass. This material can then be used as mulch or for home composting.
It’s quite a time-consuming process and a laborious task, especially if you have a larger lawn.
With a Rake
For a slightly faster and easier solution, you can use a rake. This is more effective than using a garden fork, but it’s still a lot of manual labor. It only really works well on lighter layers of thatch, and your lawn will need a more effective solution if you want to get the best results.
With a Lawn Dethatcher
As the mechanical option, the lawn dethatcher is the fastest, easiest and most effective way of removing thatch. Simply pull or tow it over the lawn using a garden tractor, and it will pull out the thatch as you do so.
Different Types of Lawn Dethatcher
There are two types of dethatchers; those that you push in front of you (many of which are self-propelled), and those that you tow behind a riding lawn mower or garden tractor.
The tow-behind models are recommended if you have a large yard and a powerful mower, otherwise the push model will be sufficient.
Benefits of Using a Lawn Dethatcher
There are a quite a few good reasons to use a lawn dethatcher:
- Speed – The main benefit for many people is how quickly a dethatcher gets the job done. Rather than spending hours raking or using a garden fork, you can get the work done in a fraction of the time.
- Easy to use – Dethatchers aren’t complex pieces of equipment, so they are really easy to set up, store and use. Simply push it along the lawn or tow it behind your riding lawn mower, and the dethatcher takes care of everything else.
- Great results – Your lawn will look dramatically better after a good dethatching, and that’s what matters most when you want the best lawn in town! We recommend that you feed your lawn with an all-purpose fertilizer after you dethatch it, and water it in well.
We recommend a 15-30-15 fertilizer or a 10-10-10 fertilizer, as well as using a fertilizer spreader for even distribution. This will strengthen weakened roots, stimulate strong new growth, and green up your grass.
What to Consider in the Best Lawn Dethatchers
When you’re looking to buy a dethatcher, these are some important factors to consider:
- Type – You can get a self-propelled lawn dethatcher or a tow-behind dethatcher. Self-propelled dethatchers are ideal for small to medium-sized lawns and if you don’t have a riding mower. If you have a garden tractor and a larger lawn, it’s worth considering a tow-behind model.
- Corded or battery – Electric dethatchers can be corded or battery powered. Corded options are great for continuous running power but are limited to the size of your yard.
Battery powered dethatchers that can be easily taken to wherever you want to work, but are limited in runtime by battery size.
- Adjustable – You should be able to customize the height setting for your dethatcher to make sure the depth is just right for your lawn. This will help pull out the thatch more effectively while not going so deep as to damage the roots.
- Width – The wider your dethatcher is, the fewer passes you have to make to get the job done. However, larger models do tend to be more expensive, more difficult to store, and more challenging to get into small corners or around obstacles on your lawn.
- Weight – A light machine is much more maneuverable, easy to control, and requires less exertion. For tow-behind models, be sure to check that your engine power is sufficient to pull the dethatcher before you make a purchase.
- Comfort – If you are buying a push dethatcher, it needs to be comfortable, supportive and easy to work with. A self-propelled model will make work faster and handle slopes or uneven ground easily, and you’ll have to exert yourself far less as you push it.
Another feature to look for are ergonomic, padded and adjustable handles.
- Warranty – A good warranty is great peace of mind for any garden equipment!
8 Best Lawn Dethatchers of 2021
Our Choice – The Best Lawn Dethatcher for 2021
The 15-foot cord can be extended with an outdoor rated extension cord, so it’s a great option for small to medium-sized yards. It has comfortable padded grips, sharp steel tines and an integrated cord lock to prevent accidental disconnections.
It’s easy to start and use, and while it doesn’t have a catchment container, the quality of the build and performance still makes it stand out.
Start the Journey to a Healthy, Vibrant Lawn with the Best Lawn Dethatcher of 2021
We hope this article helped you learn what is a lawn dethatcher and which dethatcher is right for your yard! Remember, an electric dethatcher is quiet to run, maintenance-free and easy to use, making it a good choice for small to medium-sized lawns.
If you have a large lawn or you already have an ATV, riding lawn mower or garden tractor, a tow-behind dethatcher will be big enough to get the job done quickly. If you have any questions about finding the best lawn dethatchers on the market, get in touch with our helpful team!