The 8 Best Leaf Rakes of 2021

Tidy up your lawn with these top-picks

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A rake is one of the most used tools in the yard and garden. Whether you are gathering fallen leaves, smoothing soil, or distributing gravel, there’s a job for a rake nearly every season. Successful gardeners know that having the right tool for the task makes it so much easier. Luckily, there are rakes designed from different materials and with the correct length tines for outdoor work around the house.

Whether you are buying your first rake or replacing one that is nearly toothless from overwork, it’s important to buy the right rake for the task. Consider who will be using it. I am barely 5’3”, my sons are over six feet tall. Without an adjustable handle, we would be miserable using the same leaf rake.

To help you find the right rake for what you need to accomplish in the garden, here are the best brands and rakes on the market.

Our Top Picks
Covered by a lifetime warranty, this lightweight rake with an ergonomic handle will gather years of autumn leaves.
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Made of sturdy steel, this rake’s dual head will distribute heavy gravel and reverse to smooth it out.
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Best for Grass:
Ames Thatch Rake at Amazon
Layers of thatch can kill a lawn very quickly but this rake easily removes the dead organic matter and helps prepare the soil for reseeding.
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The bow-shaped head of this sturdy steel rake will break apart dirt clods with ease and flip to smooth the soil for planting.
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Best Adjustable/Collapsible:
Tabor Tools Telescopic Metal Rake at Amazon
This lightweight rake features an adjustable handle to fit everyone’s height but also collapses for easy storage.
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With a narrow rake head and long, lightweight handle, you can easily maneuver around shrubs and tight spaces to remove leaves.
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The perfect accompaniment to a rake, there’s no more bending over and over and over with this leaf and yard debris grabber.
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Don’t let the low price fool you; this large lightweight rake will make quick work of clearing away leaves.
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Best Overall: Fiskars 24-inch Leaf Rake

Fiskars 24 in. Leaf Rake

Tine Length:  5.5 inches | Rake Head Width: 24 inches | Tine Material:  Polycarbonate | Handle Material:  Aluminum | Weight:  1.5 pounds

What We Like
  • Ergonomically-shaped handle

  • Lightweight

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Not adjustable

  • Not suitable for heavy soil or gravel

Our choice for the best overall leaf rake is from Fiskars, a leading manufacturer of garden tools. This 24-inch wide rake is lightweight, but the polycarbonate fan of tines is durable enough to take on even the deepest layer of leaves. The handle, made of aluminum, is teardrop-shaped to fit the palms of your hands with a grip at the end. 

With an overall length of 67 inches, the 55-inch handle provides plenty of reach to get under trees. The curved polycarbonate tines flex and grab leaves easily but help prevent the rake head from clogging.

What Our Experts Say

"I have used this Fiskar rake for more than five years to gather leaves and small twigs. The handle is comfortable and fits the shape of my hands and aids in the natural motion of raking leaves. I love the ease of using a lightweight rake."—Mary Marlowe Leverette, Master Gardener

Best for Gravel: Hooyman Landscape Rake

Hooyman Landscape Rake

Tine Length:  3 inches | Rake Head Width: 24 inches | Tine Material:  1050 Carbon Steel | Handle Material:  Fiberglass | Weight:  4 pounds

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Head can be used for raking and smoothing

  • Ergonomic, non-slip handle

What We Don't Like
  • Not adjustable

  • Not suitable for raking leaves

When it is time to add gravel to a driveway, in a xeriscape bed or French drain, the right rake will make the job go more smoothly. The Hooyman Landscape Rake with 24 carbon steel tines along the 24-inch wide anodized aluminum head is strong enough to move the gravel into place. Once you have the stones in place, flip the rake head over and use the smooth edge to pack down and even the gravel.

Weighing just four pounds, it is easy to use thanks to a lightweight fiberglass handle. The handle has a no-slip, H-grip that turns tacky when wet to give you a secure hold until the job is done. In addition to gravel, you’ll find this rake useful for spreading mulch or hay and breaking up garden soil.

Best for Grass: Ames Thatch Rake

19-Tine Adjustable Thatch Rake

Tine Length:  4.875 inches | Rake Head Width: 14.25 inches | Tine Material:  Steel | Handle Material:  Wood | Weight:  4.5 pounds

What We Like
  • 15-year limited warranty

  • Self-cleaning head

  • Two tine types, one for dethatching and one for scarifying soil for seeding

What We Don't Like
  • Not adjustable

  • Not suitable for raking leaves

Leaving deep layers of leaves on a lawn will eventually kill the grass. Leaving a thick layer of thatch—grass clippings, stolons, and rhizomes that have not decomposed—is equally as detrimental to a healthy lawn. While some thatch is removed when raking leaves, removing thatch with a rake can be hard work but the Ames rake will do a thorough job.

The Ames rake features a head with two types of tines. The straight-edged tines loosen and remove the dead thatch layer with ease. Flip the head over and the flare-edged tines can be used to scratch or scarify the soil to prepare it for reseeding if needed. The head and tines are made of steel so they are strong enough to pull through the most tangled mat of thatch.

Best for Garden Soil: Bully Tools 66-inch Garden Rake

Bully Tools 66-in L Fiberglass-Handle Steel Garden Rake

Tine Length:  4 inches | Rake Head Width: 16.25 inches | Tine Material:  Steel | Handle Material:  Fiberglass | Weight:  3.7 pounds

What We Like
  • Lightweight, but durable

  • Limited lifetime warranty

  • Steel head

What We Don't Like
  • Not adjustable

  • Not suitable for raking lightweight leaves

Made in America, Bully tools are made to last. This sturdy rake features a bow-shaped steel head with 15 tines that can break through hard garden soil. The connectors on the head are welded to the handle to add the strength you need. Use the tines to break apart dirt clods and then flip the head over to smooth the soil and ready it for seeds or seedlings.

The bow design helps give efficient spring action when raking. The 54.5-inch fiberglass handle provides the reach needed to make spreading mulch, weed removal, and removing small roots and rocks go more quickly.

Best Adjustable/Collapsible: Tabor Tools Telescopic Metal Rake

 TABOR TOOLS

Tine Length:  16 inches | Rake Head Width: 8 to 23 inches | Tine Material:  Galvanized steel | Handle Material:  Galvanized steel | Weight:  2 pounds

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Adjustable rake head and handle

  • Galvanized, non-rusting steel tines

  • Collapsible

What We Don't Like
  • Not suitable for heavy raking tasks

If the leaf raking duties at your house are shared by folks with varying heights, then a rake with an adjustable handle will reduce back fatigue and complaining. The Tabor Tools Telescopic Metal Rake not only has an adjustable handle, but also has an adjustable rake head that can move from eight to 23 inches in width.

Made of lightweight galvanized steel that will not rust, this is a great rake for small urban yards. It is not a good choice for heavy tasks like spreading mulch or dethatching grass but works great for raking leaves. Since the head width can be adjusted, you can get in tight spaces under shrubs and in small garden beds.

The handle adjusts and locks at any length from 63 to 32-inches. This not only makes it more comfortable to use but also reduces storage space. Since it collapses into an 8-inch by 32-inch tool, this rake is great to take along to a campsite to clear away leaves for a tent or campfire.

Best Shrub Rake: Fiskars 8 Inch Shrub Rake

fiskars-leaf-rake

Tine Length:  5 inches | Rake Head Width: 8 inches | Tine Material:  Plastic resin | Handle Material:  Aluminum | Weight:  1.08 pounds

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Fits well in small spaces

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Not suitable for heavy raking tasks

Wide rake heads just won’t fit between and under shrubs or in tight corners easily. That’s why you need a shrub rake and this one from Fiskars is a great choice. The 66-inch long aluminum handle is lightweight but long enough to get under the largest shrubs. The handle is teardrop-shaped for comfort and provides a good grip as you work.

The tines are made from plastic resin that is flexible but difficult to break. The 8-inch head and 11 tines will pull out an amazing amount of leaves with each pass. While doing an entire lawn with this rake would be exhausting, you’ll make fast work of clearing leaves from hedges and foundation shrubs.

Best Scooping Rake: Great States Earthwise Gator Grabber

Great States Earthwise Gator Grabber

Tine Length:  10 inches | Rake Head Width: 13 inches | Tine Material:  Polyfiber plastic | Handle Material:  Powder-coated steel | Weight:  5 pounds

What We Like
  • Telescoping handles

  • Easy to use, no bending

  • Disassembles for storage

What We Don't Like
  • Not suitable for raking

Once the leaves are raked, they must be transferred to a compost pile or bags for disposal. My least favorite thing about raking was having to bend over multiple times to scoop up the leaves until I found the Gator Grabber. Designed like a large pair of tongs, the adjustable length allows you to scoop up an amazing amount of leaves and small twigs from a pile. A simple scissor-like motion moves the leaves to a tarp or bag for quick clean-up. 

The 37-inch adjustable handles are made of rust-proof powder-coated steel and feature a rubber grip at the end. The scoop is made of slightly flexible polyresin plastic and features interlocking teeth to help prevent spillage while you lift away debris. Cleaning is simple, just rinse it off and the grabber can be disassembled for easy storage.

What Our Experts Say

"I live in an area with lots of pine trees. The Gator Grabber is a lifesaver when picking up all those fallen cones. When raking leaves, I can make fast work of transferring the piles of leaves to a tarp to take to my compost piles. It’s a great tool and the perfect gift for a gardener."—Mary Marlowe Leverette, Master Gardener

Best Budget: True Temper 30-inch Lawn Rake

True Temper 30-in Lawn and Leaf Rake

Tine Length:  10 inches | Rake Head Width: 30 inches | Tine Material:  Plastic polymer | Handle Material:  Wood | Weight:  3.2 pounds

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Cushioned

  • 15-year limited warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Not adjustable

  • Not easy to use in small spaces

If you have a large yard, the True Temper 30-inch rake is perfect. The wide 30-tine head covers lots of ground in one motion. With a cushioned wood handle, the rake is sturdy and surprisingly lightweight.

Made by the Ames company, established in 1774, this rake has a 15-year limited warranty. The 48-inch handle is easily replaceable if an enthusiastic raker or leaf pile jumper breaks it!

While the rake is a bit large to handle every raking task and can’t handle heavy chores like moving and smoothing gravel, at this budget price, it will be a tool you’ll have hanging in the garden shed for many years to come.

Final Verdict

The best overall rake is the Fiskar 24-inch Leaf Rake (view at Home Depot). The rake is well-balanced with an ergonomically designed handle, is lightweight, and is durable. The size is large enough to gather leaves on a lawn but small enough to get under many shrubs. With a lifetime guarantee, this aluminum and resin rake is a workhorse in the garden. If you are looking to remove deep layers of grass from your lawn, we recommend the Ames Thatch rake (view at Amazon). It has two tine types including one for detaching and one for scarifying soil for seed.

What to Look for in a Leaf Rake

Type of use

They may all be called rakes but not all rakes are created equal. When it’s time for a new rake, it is essential to keep the work task in mind. Using the right type of rake for the job will make it go so much more smoothly.

  • Leaf/Lawn Rake: The classic lightweight rake for removing fallen leaves, the flexible tines are long and fan out from the handle to swoop leaves into a pile. The ends of the tines are bent at a 90-degree angle to gather leaves without damaging the lawn.
  • Garden/Landscaping Rake: Much more heavy-duty, garden or landscaping rakes are offered with either a straight or bow-shaped metal head. The tines are short and rigid to break through clods of soil or move heavy gravel.
  • Thatch Rake: Fitted with heavy-duty, short specially-shaped metal tines, a thatch rake is used to remove the layer of dead organic matter that can choke out the grass in a lawn.
  • Shrub Rake: A smaller version of a leaf rake, a shrub rake has a narrow, less-flared head of tines to easily remove leaf litter from underneath shrubs.
  • Hand Rake: Around the size of a garden trowel, a hand rake is perfect for removing leaves or loosening soil in a container or small area of the garden.

Tines

As you select a rake for the specific task, pay attention to the tine material. length, and number. For heavy jobs, choose a rake with short, evenly-spaced tines made from steel. For lightweight leaf-raking, you’ll find long tines made from thin metal, resin, or bamboo. 

Weight and Comfort

One of the most important decisions in choosing a rake is buying one that feels comfortable in your hands. Adjustable handles are a good choice if multiple people will be using the rake. A lightweight handle like polyresin or aluminum will help reduce arm fatigue and a cushioned grip eases hand fatigue. Consider a rake model that can accommodate a handle replacement.

FAQ
  • When is the best time to rake leaves?

    The one rule to always follow when raking leaves is to get the leaves removed before the first snow falls. Leaves left on the ground over the winter season can cause diseases in turfgrass. Too many leaves left around home foundations can also harbor bothersome insects and rodents.

    Some gardeners like to rake leaves several times during the autumn season to keep the leaf piles smaller. Others wait until late autumn so that one weekend of labor takes care of the task. It is always best to rake leaves when they are as dry as possible before winter rains make a soggy mess.



  • Is raking good for your lawn?

    Removing large leaves and thatch from your lawn will help keep it healthy. Both types of organic matter can block nutrients, airflow, and sunlight that are needed for lush lawns. If you despise raking, consider getting a lawnmower that will grind the leaves into small bits of mulch to leave in the lawn to enhance the nitrogen level of the soil.

  • What rake materials are the most durable?

    Rakes made with metal tines and handles are usually the most durable. The metal tines seldom break and can be hammered back into shape if they get bent. Metal handles are often adjustable for comfort. With the durability of metal, comes a higher price tag.

    When choosing a rake with “plastic” tines, look for resin. It is more durable than other types of plastic and will flex without breaking. Resin rakes are lighter weight, less expensive to purchase and work well for light raking duties.



Why Trust The Spruce?

For this roundup, Mary Marlowe Leverette researched and tested dozens of rakes and has a couple of blisters on her hands to prove it. Carefully evaluating each rake’s design, materials, and customer reviews, she has chosen the best type of rake for each gardening task. Mary is a Master Gardener and has extensive personal and professional experience testing, reviewing, and writing about home and garden products. You can find more of her work on The Spruce.

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