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What are rakes made of?

Shop for Rakes

Rakes come in various designs and are made from different materials The designs of rakes vary considerably, and they can be made from different materials. The quality of a rake will usually be reflected in its price and the reputation of the manufacturer, as well as the materials it is made from.

Handles

The handles of rakes are made from different materials A good quality rake should have a handle which is comfortable to hold, strong enough for the job, and not too heavy to work with. It is also beneficial for the handle to be resistant to corrosion, as rakes are often used in moist environments.
Some rakes have handles made from wood

Wood

Some rakes have wooden handles. The quality of the wood used will depend on the manufacturer. If the specifications don’t state what wood it is made from it’s likely to be a cheaper softwood. Wood can be relatively strong and long-lasting if properly maintained, but can split over time or rot in wet conditions.

Some rake's handles are made of wood like ash or oak Makers of rakes with good quality hardwood handles will usually specify the type of wood used. The most common wood for rake handles is ash, which is very strong, dense, hard, and tough, but also elastic. It is a popular choice for tool handles but can be expensive. Other hardwoods used include oak and beech.
Wonkee Donkee says "If wood is certified by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) it means it comes from a forest which is responsibly managed."
Some rakes have handles which are made from fibreglass

Fibreglass

Fibreglass, also known as glass reinforced plastic (GRP) or fibreglass reinforced plastic (FRP), is used for many rake handles. It is lightweight and resistant to corrosion, so doesn’t need any maintenance. The plastic in fibreglass can become brittle if exposed to the elements, especially the cold. However, fibreglass is one of the strongest materials used for rake handles, although it can be quite expensive.

Some rkaes have metal handles, they might be aluminium or steel

Metal

Some rakes have handles which are made from metal. They will usually be formed into hollow tubes, which helps keeps the weight down.

Some rakes have steel handles

Steel

Handles made from steel are particularly strong. Usually, steel handles will be painted or coated to prevent corrosion. While their greater strength is an advantage, they will be the heaviest handles. Steel will usually be more expensive than wood but cheaper than aluminium.

some rakes have handles made from aluminium

Aluminium

Aluminium is naturally resistant to corrosion and will be easier to use for long periods as it is lighter than steel. However, it is weaker than steel, unless the hollow tubes of aluminium handles are particularly thick, which will make them more expensive.

Tines

The tines, or teeth or rakes are made from different materials The tines of rakes are the parts that come into contact with the materials you’re moving. The strength and toughness required from tines will depend on what materials they are designed to be used with. A good quality rake should have tines which can resist corrosion and won’t deform when used within their specification.
Woonden parts on rakes can be strong if they are good quality. If maintain properly wooden parts on garden tools will last a long time.

Wood

Some rakes are made entirely of wood, so the handle, head and tines are all wooden. The strength of wooden tines depends on the wood used. Good quality hardwoods will be fairly strong and long-lasting if well maintained and sheltered from excessive moisture. Usually, only hay rakes have wooden tines, as they are used with light materials. Wooden tines are not as strong as most metal ones.

Some leaf rakes and lawn rakes have tines made from flexible bamboo

Bamboo

Some leaf rakes have bamboo tines, although they are no longer very common. These are very flexible and gentle on the ground. However, they are the most fragile material for tines. They are not suited to any heavy-duty work and are only really appropriate for moving dry leaves or grass cuttings.

Some rakes have tines or teeth made from plastic or poly

Plastic

Plastic tines are commonly used for leaf rakes. Plastic is usually inexpensive, slightly flexible and quite weak. Plastics can become brittle if exposed to the elements for long periods. Heavy-duty plastics will be much stronger than other plastics, but they will be more expensive.

Rakes often have parts made from metal, including garden rakes, leaf rakes and landscape rakes

Metal

The type of metal used to make tines depends on what the rake will be used for. Metal tines should be strong and fairly durable. They can be designed so they are thin and flexible, for lighter work, or wider and rigid, for more heavy duty work.

There are a few different steels which parts of rakes may be made of

Steel

The quality of steel used for a rake’s tines will vary, but they will usually be the strongest tines. Depending on the type of rake, they may be wide and rigid, or thin and flexible. Stainless steel will be naturally resistant to corrosion, but sometimes not as strong as other steels, and usually more expensive. The thin tines of lawn rakes are sometimes made from spring steel, which has more flexibility than other steels.

Some rakes have heads and teeth made from aluminium.

Aluminium

Aluminium is used for the tines on some rakes. This is a lightweight metal which will not rust. However, it is not as strong as steel and can be prone to bending or denting. It will be more suited to moving ground coverings and debris which are fairly lightweight.

Soft grips

Some rakes have plastic or rubber grips for added comfort The handles of rakes are made from tough materials. Because of this some rakes come with soft grips to make them more comfortable to hold. Made of rubber or plastic, these grips should make the tool easier to use for longer periods and offer some shock absorption. Cheap plastic grips could split or crack over time and rubber can wear down with use.

Which materials?

Which type of rake, and the material it is made from, will depend what jobs you want to use your rake for If you only need to use a rake occasionally you might not need to buy one that’s high quality and expensive. However, if you need a rake for regular use, or heavy duty tasks, buying a more expensive, high-quality rake should make the job easier and save you having to regularly replace them. The most suitable materials for a rake will depend on what jobs you intend to use it for.

For more information see: How to choose a rake.

Garden rakes should be strong and sturdy, they will have heads made from steel

Garden rakes

Garden rakes are designed for relatively heavy-duty work. They have carbon steel or stainless steel heads and tines, for strength. The quality of the steel will usually be reflected in the cost of the rake and the reputation of the brand. The handles of garden rakes are made of wood, fibreglass, aluminium or steel.

Lawn rakes are a versatile garden tool, used to gather leaves and remove weeds

Lawn rakes

Lawn rakes have thin, slightly flexible, metal tines. These are usually made from steel, stainless steel or aluminium. The handles of lawn rakes are made of wood, fibreglass, aluminium or steel. Lawn rakes are designed to be fairly strong, for jobs such as removing thatch, but they are not designed for use with heavy-duty materials, like heavy stones.

Leaf rakes are only designed for lightweight jobs like gathering crass clipping or leaves

Leaf rakes

Leaf rakes are not usually designed to be very strong, but they should be light to carry. The tines of leaf rakes are usually made from plastic and, occasionally, bamboo. Leaf rakes with bamboo tines will be very light and gentle on ground surfaces. Bamboo will break easily and is usually more expensive than plastic. The handles of leaf rakes are made of wood, fibreglass, steel or aluminium.

Thatch rakes have sharp tines which cut through tough plant materials like thatch and weeds

Thatching rakes

Thatching rakes have tines designed to cut and remove plant materials. Because of this, their tines are made from steel and very sharp. The head of a thatching rake usually attaches to the handle with a Y-shaped brace. The handles are usually made of hardwood.

Landscape rakes have extra wide heads for covering larger areas

Landscape rakes

Landscape rakes usually have wide aluminium or steel heads. Landscape rakes with steel heads are intended for heavier work than those with aluminium heads. Landscape rakes have wooden, steel, aluminium or fibreglass handles.

Tarmac rakes or asphalt rakes can be used to spread materials for paths and drives

Tarmac rakes

Tarmac rakes are designed to move heavy materials, like asphalt and tarmac, so they need to be strong and durable. They have heads and tines which are made of hardened steel. Tarmac rakes have hardwood or tubular steel handles. Steel will be the strongest and most durable, but can be heavy and fairly expensive.

Hand rakes are small rakes which are used for working closely with planting areas

Hand rakes

Hand rakes are much smaller than standard rakes, with narrow heads and short handles. They come in two designs, garden hand rakes and lawn hand rakes. Each design is made from different materials, to suit their intended uses.

Garden hand rakes are like miniature versions of standard garden rakes

Garden hand rakes

Like standard garden rakes, hand garden rakes have relatively wide, rigid tines. Their head and tines are usually made from steel,or aluminium, so they should be strong and durable. The handles of garden hand rakes are often made of steel, the same as the tines. Wood and fibreglass are also used for garden hand rake handles. There are also all plastic rakes, usually made from particularly durable plastics.

Hand rakes can resemble garden rakes or lawn rakes

Lawn hand rakes

Lawn hand rakes have thin, slightly flexible tines, like standard lawn rakes. The tines are made from steel or aluminium. Lawn hand rakes can have handles made from wood, fibreglass or steel.