The 8 Best Dethatchers

Updated October 17, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

8 Best Dethatchers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Too much thatch can be detrimental to the health of your grass, as it may not allow enough water, air, and other other nutrients into your lawn's root system. Clear out all the dead clutter easily with one of these dethatchers. We've included manual, electric, and tow-behind models to suit every need and size of plot. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best dethatcher on Amazon.

8. Agri-Fab 45-0294

The Agri-Fab 45-0294 is a 40-inch tow behind model designed to work with almost any tractor. It does a great job of loosening heavy thatch and compacted dirt to enhance drainage while letting in vital oxygen. It's best suited to commercial use or those with large lawns.
  • sturdy heat-treated tines
  • manufactured in the usa
  • assembly is laborious
Brand Agri-Fab
Model 45-0294
Weight 32.8 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. Gardena 3395

The Gardena 3395 is designed for use with Gardena Combisystem handles. It has a supporting axle that allows you to expend less effort when thatching, and robust wheels that should last for years. Since it is a manual option, it is best for small areas, though.
  • exceptionally well made
  • tines dig easily into soil
  • cannot adjust the depth
Brand Gardena
Model 3395-U
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Agri-Fab Electric

The Agri-Fab Electric is ideal for areas up to 1,000 square feet. While it does a good job of picking up thatch without disturbing living grass, it doesn't seem particularly durable. On the plus side, it's easy to assemble and disassemble for storage.
  • handle is well-cushioned
  • lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • loud for an electric motor
Brand Agri-Fab
Model 45-0472
Weight 33.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Mantis 5222

The Mantis 5222 is designed to attach to Mantis tiller cultivators and has 60 strong, yet flexible, steel tines that grab at thatch and weeds without ripping up your grass in the process. It covers a 15-inch swath in each pass to help you get the job done quickly.
  • relatively easy to attach
  • commercial-quality construction
  • can only be pulled and not pushed
Brand Mantis
Model 5222
Weight 12.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Sun Joe AJ801E

The Sun Joe AJ801E features a thatch catcher, so you don't have to go back and pick up all of the debris afterwards. It starts reliably with the push of a button, and the electric motor is maintenance free, so you don't have to worry about tune ups.
  • five depth settings
  • tines stay sharp for a long time
  • comes with a scarifier roller
Brand Snow Joe
Model AJ801E
Weight 33.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Brinly DT-40BH

The Brinly DT-40BH connects to most riding mowers and lawn tractors to make dethatching effortless. It features two rows of flexing tines to pick up a large amount of thatch, and has three operational modes that can be controlled from the tractor seat.
  • easy to remove collected material
  • assembly doesn't take much time
  • can be used weighted or unweighted
Brand Brinly
Model DT-40BH
Weight 31.3 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Ames True Temper Thatch Rake

If you have an old school approach to things and believe lawn work is supposed to feel like manual labor, then the Ames True Temper Thatch Rake is for you. It has a 15-inch head and a durable hardwood handle that can withstand all the pressure you put on it.
  • can also be used as a regular rake
  • yellow accents make it easy to find
  • budget-friendly price
Brand The AMES Companies, Inc
Model 2914000
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Greenworks 27022

The Greenworks 27022 is a powerful and eco-friendly electric option. It has a good amount of padding on its adjustable handle, making it comfortable for long jobs, and its tines can be adjusted through three different depths depending on your needs.
  • comes with replacement tines
  • doesn't take much effort to push
  • doesn't damage healthy grass
Brand Greenworks
Model 27022
Weight 30.3 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Maintaining A Lush And Healthy Lawn

Whether one manages the grounds at a golf course or park, or if he or she is working to establish and maintain a lush, verdant lawn for their own property, most people who have tried to create a uniformly green lawn will agree that it is a difficult task to say the least.

The health of your lawn is affected by everything from soil type to pH, from the hours of sunlight it sees, to the amount of rainfall your area receives, and the irrigation you can provide, and of course based on the way the property is used.

If you have the luxury of time, energy, and the budget to start a lawn from scratch, the effort and cash you expend initially will result in the healthiest possible lawn. When you start working a plot of land by removing all old grasses, then till it into fresh, aerated soil, and then pick the proper seed or sod varieties for your region and the time of year, you can almost be assured of a healthy, vibrant lawn, especially if you maintain it properly. These round up to quite a bit of variables, all of which depend on one's willingness to maintain such a schedule over the course of the first several weeks.

In most cases, however, a person tends to find himself or herself faced with the task of lawn restoration. This process usually comes at the start of the spring, when plants are just starting to grow again after the winter's thaw, or in the early fall, when the summer heat is no longer so oppressive (and often lethal to tender new plants).

If your lawn is in generally good condition but needs help in certain areas where patches have died or where weeds have intermingled, a mix of re-seeding and weed control should be sufficient for yard restoration. When re-seeding (also called overseeding) you might want to resist using the most aggressive, densely growing seed varieties such as Kentucky Bluegrass. While such cultivars certainly take hold quickly and grown rapidly, they have a tendency to create excessive thatch in many properties, especially those largely seeded with slower growing, less tenacious grass varieties.

Avoiding excessive thatch is a critical for maintaining a healthy lawn. In fact, before you can even help necessitate your grass, you might need to remove the thatch already built up therein. Thatch is the layer of organic material that builds up atop the soil and underneath the green blades of grass at the upper layer of a lawn. It is made up mostly of dead grass, with other material, such as leaves, brambles, and weeds, that is not being broken down fast enough for the soil to reclaim.

A thatch layer less than a half inch thick is considered positive as it helps create a thermal barrier against extreme heat and cold, and holds some moisture. While a bit of thatch can actually be beneficial for a lawn, too much thatch can prevent water from getting down to the grassroots, can harbor pests, and can suffocate healthy grass. Excessive thatch can also damage the aesthetic appeal of your yard.

Choosing The Right Dethactcher

Once you have determined that your grass has too much thatch built up for its own good (you can determine this by using a shovel to cut out and lift up a portion of the grass; look for a layer of thatch, which will be brownish-tan in most areas, that is more than half an inch thick and/or that seems to be strangling healthy blades of grass), you must determine which dethatching tool is right for your property.

With extreme effort, a standard garden rake can remove plenty of thatch. But it will also pull up healthy grass, and it will likely lead to quite a back ache, if not an injury. It is a better idea by far to invest in a dedicated detaching tool. The right choice for you will depend first and foremost on the size of the lawn you must manage. If you have a property of only a few thousand square feet, then a manually powered dethatcher that you pull behind you while walking should work fine and should cost no more than $75 at most.

For somewhat larger properties, or for those who need assistance with manual labor due to age, injury, or infirmity, there are multiple motor powered dethatchers on the market, many of which deliver power assisted driving and pack numerous dethatching tines into their frames.

And finally, if you own or manage a property large enough to warrant a riding lawn mower, then you will most likely need a towed dethatcher that can be connected to the back of your mower or compact tractor. These rugged accessories can make short work of even deep, stubborn thatch, and will save you hours of time and effort.

Using Your New Dethatcher

Before you set out to remove your yard's thatch, first make sure you know how much thatch you want to extract, and how much -- if any -- you want to leave behind as a protective barrier. Check a sample of the yard to determine thatch thickness, then set your dethatcher depth accordingly. You might want to cut out a chunk or yard after a pass with the dethatcher to make sure you have removed the proper amount before you attend to the entire property.

Make sure to use your dethatcher when your yard is dry; don't start the process immediately after rainfall or irrigation. It is too easy to accidentally pull healthy grass out of soggy soil.

Likewise, try to avoid dethatching when the beating sun will fall directly on the grass right after the process. Tender grass and exposed soil can be damaged and dried out by excessive sunlight, so the dethatching process is best completed in the earlier morning or in the afternoon on hotter, sunnier days.

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Last updated on October 17, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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