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How to choose a rake?

How to choose a rake

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There are lots of different rakes, for different jobs. Garden rakes, leaf rakes, lawn rakes, hand rakes, thatch rakes are some of the rakes you might come across There are a few things that you should consider when choosing which rake will be most suitable for you to work with, as well as considering the jobs you’ll be using it for. You may need to have more than one rake in your garden tool collection.

General features to consider when choosing a rake

Wonkee donkee sometimes gets confused when choosing the right tools, so he makes sure he does his research so he can pass advise on to you Not only are there a number of styles of rake for different tasks – there will also be a few variations between individual rakes of the same style. Personal preference and where you’re working will be important things to consider in making the right choice.
A good size for a rake to be is to come to the bridge of your nose from the floor. Rakes should be comfortable to hold

Handle length

A rake you will use standing up should be a suitable length and weight for you to handle easily. A general indicator for a comfortable length of a rake is for it to reach the bridge of your nose from the floor. When you hold a rake you want some distance between your hands, but if it’s too great the balance of the rake will not feel right.

Choose a rake with a head that is a suitable width

Head width

The best width of head for a rake will depend on where you need to use it. Leaves covering big garden areas, or levelling ground covers on long driveways, will take less time if the rake has a wide head. However, larger heads will be heavier, so you could tire quicker. If working around shrubs or in other tight spaces you will need a rake with a smaller head, such as a hand rake.

The weight of the rake will depend on what it is made of and how strong you need it to be, garden rakes may be quite heavy but leaf rakes may be fairly light


The rake should be heavy enough to enable you to perform your tasks, but light enough for you to be able to hold comfortably. Rakes intended for more heavy duty work will often be relatively heavy, because they need to be strong. Rakes designed to move light garden debris, like leaves or grass clippings, won’t need to be as strong so will be lighter. The lighter the rake, the easier it will be to use for longer periods.

The weight of the rake will depend on what it is made of and how strong you need it to be, garden rakes may be quite heavy but leaf rakes may be fairly light The materials a rake is made from will affect its overall weight. Steel parts mean that a rake may be fairly heavy. Aluminum and wood will be lighter but weaker than steel, with fiberglass being the lightest material. Most rakes have a head and handle made from different materials. You may need a rake with a fairly strong head, but a more lightweight handle, depending on the jobs you’ll use it for, and how durable you want the rake to be.
The durability of a rake will depend on what you use it for, and if its suitable for that job, and also the quality of the materials it is made from

Durability of materials

Steel will be the strongest material rake parts can be made from. They should be durable, but can rust if exposed to moisture for prolonged periods and not coated for protection. Aluminium should be fairly tough and rust resistant, but it can bend or dent if used for heavy duty tasks. Fibreglass will usually be durable and doesn’t need any maintenance.

Raking leaves doesn't necessarily need a tough or strong rake, you might find a light rake is easier to use Wooden tines are usually soft and can break easily. Good quality wooden handles will usually be strong but can rot if left in the wet. Plastic tines will be flexible and can be durable if its good quality. However, plastic can snap if it’s used for anything much heavier than leaves or grass clippings, and can become brittle if exposed to cold and wet weather.

If you want to get the job done quickly, sometimes a leaf blower is a great option.

You can get ergonomic rakes with shaped heads or handles which should be easier on your back


If you find you get blisters or sore hands when using a rake try to find one with soft grips. People who suffer from back problems may benefit from choosing an ergonomically designed rake with an angled head or handle, or an extra grip handle. If you need to use a rake for a long time you will want to find one you find comfortable to hold.

The size and style of rake you need to use will depend on many different factors. There are many types of rake available

Size and landscape of garden

An important thing to consider when choosing a rake is the area it will be used in. Small gardens, gardens with many shrubs, or gardens with lots of sharp corners or small gaps will require a rake with a fairly small head. Also, relatively short handles will be easier to control precisely. Narrow rakes should be able to reach into and around awkward spaces.

Use a rake for many gardening jobs. The styles of rake available include garden rakes, leaf rakes, lawn rakes and thatching rakes For large garden areas, especially open ones with limited corners and small spaces, rakes with larger heads can cover more ground quickly. However, they will be heavier to use and not as easy to move freely. Another feature of a garden to consider is the evenness of the ground. Rakes with flexible tines will be more forgiving of uneven ground, which could be damaged by rigid tines.

Which rakes can be used for which tasks?

Which rakes can be used for which tasks or jobs? Most rakes can be used for various tasks, especially if they are high quality, but they can’t all be used for the same tasks. The table below gives you a quick guide to which rakes can be used for which jobs.


Rake type










Garden rake

Lawn rake

Leaf rake

Thatching rake

Landscape rake

Tarmac rake

Garden hand rake

Lawn hand rake

Which is the best type of rake for which task?

Rakes for gardens and landscaping come in different designs, they can be used for many tasks Some rakes will be more efficient than others for specific tasks, depending on the individual rake’s features.
Leaf rakes are the best rake for gathering leaves

What is the best rake for gathering leaves?

Leaf rakes get their name from the job they’re designed to do. Leaf rakes have flexible tines which fan out to a large span. This makes them perfect for gathering large amounts of leaves with each sweep, and also means they are gentle on ground surfaces. They should also be lightweight so they can be used for long periods at a time.

Thatching rakes or dethatching rakes are the best rakes for scarifying lawns

What is the best rake for scarifying lawns?

Thatching rakes are specifically designed to scarify a lawn, by removing thatch and moss, and by scratching the soils surface layer. They have sharp tines which cut through tough roots and shoots, but can still pull up debris. Using a thatching rake to scarify should be less labour intensive than using other rakes for the task.

The best type of rake to turn soil for planting is a garden rake, they're specially designed for various gardening tasks

What is the best rake for turning soil?

Garden rakes are sometimes called soil rakes because they are designed to be used for turning different types of soil, as well as other garden tasks. They are strong with widely spaced tines, so they can break up lumps and remove unwanted debris, like weeds and stones, from soil patches.

Landscape rakes have extra wide heads to level large areas quickly. They can be used with many different types of ground covering

What is the best rake for levelling ground coverings?

Landscape rakes are designed to level a variety of different ground covering materials, while still being relatively light to use. They are commonly used for covering fairly large areas, as they have extra wide heads. They have a flat edge on their heads, to smooth over a surface.

Wonkee Donkee says "Landscape rakes are desinged to quickly spread a variety of ground coverings However, for use with heavy coverings, like aphsalt or tarmac, you might need to use the stronger tarmac rake."

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