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8 Best Lawn Dethatchers | 2021 Ultimate Buying Guide

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.

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8 Best Lawn Dethatchers 2021 Ultimate Buying Guide

8 Best Lawn Dethatchers of 2021

What is Thatch and Why Should I Remove It?

What is Thatch?

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

A woman using a lawn dethatcher

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

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

best lawn dethatcher for 2021

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

Greenworks 10 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher

With a powerful 10 Amp motor, this corded electric dethatcher is eco-friendly, quiet to run, and easy to maintain. With a 14-inch width, it’s a practical size for most small to medium-sized gardens, and the dethatching height can be adjusted to 3 different positions.


The 18 stainless steel tines are built to last, and the foldable handles make it easy to store. It weighs just 25.9 lbs. and is easy to assemble.

Pros

  • Corded electric – 15 feet
  • Self-propelled
  • 10 Amp motor
  • 14 inch width
  • Adjustable to 3 positions
  • 4-year warranty
  • Maintenance-free

Cons

  • Limited by cord range
  • No collection container
VonHaus 12.5 Amp Corded 15 inch Electric 2 in 1 Lawn Dethatcher

This is a great 2-in-1 corded lawn dethatcher and aerator, so you get more for your money. Ideal for small to medium-sized yards, it has a 15-inch width, and the height is adjustable to 5 different settings (-0.47”/ -0.35”/ -0.24” / -0.12” / +0.24”).


It collects the thatch it pulls up into a large catchment bag, which is a fantastic feature! It has a folding, soft grip handle for ease of use and storage, and the build quality is good.


This dethatcher is simple to assemble, and you don’t need any tools to get it up and running.

Pros

  • 2-in-1 dethatcher and aerator
  • Self-propelled
  • 12.5 Amp motor
  • 5 height options
  • 15-inch width 
  • Large collection box
  • Soft grip handle
  • Maintenance-free

Cons

  • Heavier than some competitors at 30.9lbs
  • Limited by cord range
Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator & Dethatcher

If you are looking for something that is purely manual, this is a durable, well-built option that can stand heavy work with ease.


You can use it to aerate or dethatch your lawn, either using it to pull out plug lawn cores or lift the thatch out of the lawn, which is easy with the additional leverage of the foot bar. 


These tools are built for life, and this dethatcher weighs just 3.72lbs

Pros

  • Manual
  • Affordable
  • Hand-held
  • 37 inches
  • Foot bar for extra leverage
  • Durable steel construction

Cons

  • Manual – not self-propelled
Yard Tuff 48 in. Tine Dethatcher

This tow-behind dethatcher is an impressive 48-inches wide, making it a good choice for large lawns. The 7-inch wheels can handle tough and uneven terrain well, and the two rows of independent, high-grade steel tines can work well in thick thatch.


Using a pin-style hitch, you can attach it to your ATV, riding mower or garden tractor. It’s built to last and has a useful lift feature for crossing paving and driveways.

Pros

  • Tow-behind
  • 48 inches
  • Rugged 7-inch wheels
  • Two rows of independent steel tines
  • Pin-style hitch
  • High-quality manufacturing
  • 37 lbs.

Cons

  • Requires a garden tractor, ATV, or riding mower
  • Wheels are poly/plastic
Hattomen Lawn Dethatcher & Scarifier

This is a light, maneuverable and practical corded electric dethatcher that’s ideal for small to medium-sized yards. With an adjustable height between 4 settings (-0.35"/-0.24"/-0.12"/0.12") and Air Boost technology, this model makes sure more thatch is collected on every pass.


The safety system built into the start mechanism means you can’t start the machine accidentally, and the lever handle is easy to grip and use as you work.


The 8-gallon catchment container means no more raking, and other than giving it a good clean and storing it in a shed or garage, it’s maintenance-free. 

Pros

  • Self-propelled
  • Safe start feature
  • Adjustable to 4 levels
  • Air Boost technology for efficient thatch pickup
  • 8 gallon catchment container
  • Lightweight at 22.4 lbs.
  • Maintenance-free

Cons

  • Limited by cord range
  • Better for small to medium yards
Agri-Fab 40-Inch Tine Tow Dethatcher

If you are looking for a real workhorse, this is a great option. Offering a working width of 40 inches as well as a 40-inch collection tray that holds up to 70lbs of thatch and debris, this tow-behind unit is conveniently sized, practical for large yards, and gets the job done quickly.


Made in the USA, this dethatcher is robust and built to a high quality, from the 2 rows of 20 rust-proof heat treated steel tines to the 7" x 1 3/8" flat free wheels, ensuring it lasts for many years even on tougher terrain and with frequent use.


The universal hitch means you can easily attach it to any ATV, lawn tractor or riding mower, and it’s fairly lightweight at 28.5lbs. 

Pros

  • Tow-behind
  • Universal hitch
  • Affordable
  • 2 rows of 20 heat treated steel tines
  • 32lbs 
  • 40-inch width
  • 40-inch collection tray holds 70lbs
  • Transport handle
  • Good for large lawns
  • Made in the USA
  • 3 Year Limited Consumer Warranty

Cons

  • Requires a garden tractor, ATV, or riding mower
  • Some assembly required
Earthquake DK43 Dethatcher Attachment Kit for Cultivators

This is an attachment kit that fits onto a cultivator to dethatch your lawn. You’ll need a compatible Earthquake cultivator or a cultivator with a 3/4" D shaped shaft in order to use it.


It’s very lightweight at 15lbs, the steel tines are good quality, and the 8-inch wheels keep it stable while you work. The 16-inch working width is a decent size for small and medium-sized yards, and it’s easily portable to wherever you’re working.


Simple to assemble, this kit comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Lightweight at 15lbs
  • 8-inch wheels
  • 16-inch width
  • Portable
  • Simple to assemble
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Only works with Earthquake cultivators or cultivators with a 3/4" D shaped shaft
  • Better for small to medium-sized lawns
WORX WG850 12 Amp 14 Inch Corded Electric Dethatcher

This corded dethatcher is powered by a 12-Amp motor to deliver great performance at an affordable price. The 14-inch working width is a little smaller than competitors, but it’s still a good size for small and medium-sized lawns.


The height is adjustable, but only to 3 settings, and it’s not self-propelled, which can mean more work for you. It does come with a collection bag, which is great for avoiding the raking, and the build quality of the steel tines, body and handles of this dethatcher is good.

Pros

  • 12 Amp motor
  • Adjustable height
  • 14-inch width
  • Foldable handles for storage
  • 0.9 bushels of collection capacity

Cons

  • Height adjustable to only 3 positions
  • Heavier at 32.2lbs
  • Not self-propelled

Our Choice – The Best Lawn Dethatcher for 2021

Greenworks 10 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher
The Greenworks 10 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher takes the top position as the best lawn dethatcher for 2021! This corded model offers plenty of power, and it’s self-propelled to make the job faster and easier. 


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!

About the Author Pat Moreno

Pat is our gardening tool expert here at Sumo Gardener. Working for many years as a private and commercial landscaper, Pat has used almost every type of gardening tool there is. Along with a vast knowledge for types of plants and putting together an amazing looking and maintainable garden, Pat developed a passion for gardening tools as he found that using the right tools vastly improved the ease and outcome of any landscaping job he undertook. When spending hours, days or years using a particular tool, you want to make sure you’ve got the best one for the job, and Pat is the right guy to guide us to the best gardening tools.

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