Raking isn’t high on the list of how most homeowners want to spend their weekends, but finding the right rake can at least help the job go more smoothly and help you finish it more quickly. Most rakes won’t strain your budget too much—expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $30—but spending a bit more often buys greater durability in the form of sturdier handles and tines that are less likely to break.
Leaf rakes with wide heads, flexible tines, and long handles are best suited for cleanup in large,... tree-filled yards, while more narrow rakes with shorter handles should be in the tool shed for anyone who needs to tidy up flower beds or other tight areas with lots of flowers or bushes. Some rakes even convert between the two types. Finally, a bow rake with a wide metal head is best not for moving leaves but for spreading heavy dirt, mulch, gravel or sand.
With that in mind, here are seven of our favorite rakes for a variety of needs.
A traditional garden leaf rake that’s best suited for lighter duty, the True Temper Poly Leaf Rake with Cushion Grip gets solid reviews for value and simplicity. It has a 48-inch hardwood handle and a large, 30-inch head made of lightweight polypropylene that can grab more leaves at once than rakes with narrower spans.
Reviewers note that assembly may be required with this rake, but they say it’s easy to screw the head to the handle. They love the wide 30-inch head, saying it makes yard cleanup... go more quickly, and appreciate the cushioned handle. A few warn that this rake just isn’t sturdy enough for yards with a lot of sticks or debris, and say the poly tines aren’t as sturdy as steel.
While rakes don't cost a bundle, spending money on something you use to clean up debris might not be a priority for you. This 22" version is compact making it easy to store (though maybe not the best option for big jobs) and it's also lightweight and durable so you won't get fatigued easily.
The hardwood handle makes it a solid choice, while the steel grates pick up what you need to clean efficiently. Plus, the red color makes it easy to spot in your lawn or leaf pile.
Looking for a little more versatility in your rake? The Gardenite Adjustable Expanding Rake features tines that expand from 7 inches, suitable for raking under bushes and in other tight spots, to 22 inches, a standard width for leaf raking in the open yard. The rake is a generous 63 inches long, making it ideal for taller users, and the zinc-plated handle is rust-resistant with a rubber grip at the end for comfort.
Users say that the Gardenite rake is surprisingly sturdy for the price, and the... like being able to lock in between adjustments so that the tines don’t expand unexpectedly. They especially like being able to make it smaller for work in flowerbeds or other confined areas where a full-size rake would be awkward. This is also a pro for those without a lot of room to store lots of outdoor equipment – at 7 inches wide, it won’t take up much space in a shed, garage or even a closet. Some reviewers caution that the tines seem flimsy, and the handle is too short when the rake is used at its smallest size.
When raking requires more precision, a long handle can be a hindrance. That’s why reviewers love the Black & Decker BD1537 Steel Fan Rake, a hand tool with a 5-inch head that’s best suited for anyone who needs to clean up around delicate flowers, tender new sprouts or any other growth that might be damaged by the rakes tines.
As its name suggests, the BD1537 is made of rust-resistant powder-coated steel that users say can stand up to a lot of abuse. They also like the flexible tines and... narrow head, which makes it easy to grab debris out from under even the lowest plants and shrubs. The thickly padded handle also earns a lot of praise for its comfortable grip and convenience in tight spots where a long handle would get in the way. A couple of reviewers say they expected stronger tines, but overall, owners say the rake feels solid and functions well.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
Buyers who want a sturdy, long-handled rake that can make quick work of a leaf-filled yard will want to check out the Fiskars 96605935J, which provides plenty of reach, leverage and comfort, even for taller users, thanks to its 67-inch length. The 24-inch wide head has clog-resistant resin tines that are curved to help prevent leaves from bunching up and sticking to the rake.
Reviewers love this rake’s long aluminum handle, which has an oblong rubber grip for improved comfort. They also say... the clog-resistant tines live up to their billing, though as with all rakes, some clumps will stick if the yard debris is wet. The wide rake head easily handles larger jobs, many say, though they caution that it’s still not for heavy-duty jobs like moving lots of mulch. When it comes to complaints, some owners say the handle and rake head should be better secured, while others say the resin rake head and tines are prone to cracking.
Reviewers say that it’s hard to beat the Bully Tools 92309 Bow Rake for jobs that need a little more elbow grease such as moving and spreading mulch, dirt, and small rocks. The rake has a 16-inch, 12-gauge steel head and a 54-inch fiberglass handle that are built to stand up to difficult chores. It’s also American-made and backed by a lifetime warranty.
Owners warn that the Bully 92309 is not a lightweight rake, but they say it’s well-balanced and find the handle thick and comfortable to grip.... They also appreciate how solidly the rake head is attached to the handle. Though a few owners warn this rake is too clunky for normal leaf-raking especially in flower beds or other tight spots, they appreciate having it their arsenal and expect it to last for years.
One of the greatest joys of being a kid in the fall is jumping in the leaf piles, so why not have you kids get in on the cleaning action to help speed up your weekend chores.
At 18" wide this rake can still handle small jobs, but it is more sized to their stature making it easy for them to maneuver. The hardwood handle measures 42" so it can suit various heights and weighs in a one pound making it easy for them to hold. After making this purchase you'll wonder why you didn't do... this years ago.
Disclosure: At The Spruce, our expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.