Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Do you sometimes watch football and wonder how the pitch is maintained so that it is even and has a dense lawn? With a lawn roller, you too can achieve such a beautiful result. Not only can it be used to level the surface, but it can also be used to roll patterns into the lawn. You can also use it to push seeds into the ground and prevent them from being eaten by birds.

With our big lawn roller test 2021 we want to help you find the best lawn roller for you. We have compared different types, such as water, sand and concrete fillers, and listed the advantages and disadvantages of each. In this way, we want to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • A lawn roller can be used to roll a sown or already grown lawn in order to compact the soil.
  • This allows the sown lawn seeds to be pressed into the soil or patterns to be rolled into a finished lawn. The most common filling options for a lawn roller are water, sand or concrete.
  • Lawn rollers filled with water are easy to handle, but lighter in weight than when filled with sand. If the lawn roller is made of concrete, it is heavy, but you cannot regulate the weight either.

The Best Lawn Roller: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a lawn roller

What is a lawn roller and how does it work?

A lawn roller, or garden roller, is a piece of equipment that you can use to level an area of ground and/or push seed into the soil. It is also used by greenkeepers in football and other sports to ensure a level playing surface.

You can either push or pull it by muscle power, but it can also be moved by motorised utility vehicles. The purpose of removing unevenness in the soil and levelling seed is to compress the soil after sowing and prevent the seed from being eaten away by birds, for example.

However, you can also use a lawn roller to beautify a lawn by working different patterns into the soil. In order to create a higher contact pressure during the work, there are some lawn rollers that can be filled with water or sand in addition to those made of concrete. This way you can increase or decrease the weight in different ways.

How much does a lawn roller weigh?

The empty weight of a lawn roller, i.e. the weight without the filling, can be up to 13 kilograms. However, you can fill most lawn rollers with water, sand or even concrete, so that their total weight is significantly higher. In the weight category, a lawn roller varies from machine to machine.

Normally, a filled lawn roller can weigh from about 50 kg up to 120 kg. It is either filled with concrete from the start or you fill it with sand or water afterwards, whereby sand often plays a "weightier" role in the truest sense of the word.

Whereas with a concrete-filled lawn roller you cannot vary the weight as you wish, when you fill it with sand or water you can always consider how much the soil should be compressed or how much effort you want to put into the work yourself.

How much does a lawn roller cost?

Generally, many people think that such uncomplicated products are in a low price range. However, there are also considerable price differences in lawn rollers. However, these cannot be attributed to a specific reason and they cannot be divided into price categories. Cheap lawn rollers often start at around 20-30 € per piece.

Further up, there is a lawn roller to buy in almost every price category, with the most expensive devices, which are suitable for the hobby gardener, costing up to about €100. Of course, there are also lawn rollers that cost considerably more than 100 €.

However, these are either professional devices that are used by greenkeepers, for example, or there are also motorised lawn rollers or devices that can be towed by a vehicle and are often used by farmers.

With which filling and which accessories should I buy my lawn roller?

In general, there are three different ways you can fill your lawn roller to achieve even more weight:

  • Concrete
  • Water
  • Sand

If you fill your roller with concrete, you will have a very stable and heavy construction, but you will not be able to change the weight if necessary. The situation is different when using water or sand.

Here you can always adjust the weight you want to work with, although this is much easier to do with water than with sand. On the other hand, the lawn roller will be considerably heavier when filled with sand than with water.

A small tip if you want to get the maximum weight out of your lawn roller: Fill the container of the lawn roller to the very top with sand. Then fill it up with water as much as possible. Since wet sand is considerably heavier than dry sand, you can add a little more weight here.

However, you will then have the problem that it is difficult to get this water-sand mixture out of your machine. As an accessory to a lawn roller, you can buy spikes or small nails, for example.

These can usually be mounted around the roller with a metal rod, the so-called aerator. This is to ensure that the soil is "aerated" during levelling. However, lawn rollers are often sold with these spikes already fitted.

The maximum weight is achieved by filling the roller with sand and water. (Photo: Roman Milert / 123RF.com)

Decision: What types of lawn rollers are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between three types of lawn rollers:

  • Lawn roller for sand filling
  • Lawn roller for water infill
  • Turf roller for concrete infill

Depending on where you use them and what features you value most, a different type is more suitable for you. In the following section, we would like to help you find out which type of lawn roller is best suited for you.

To do this, we will introduce you to the three types of lawn roller mentioned above and clearly outline the advantages and disadvantages of each.

How does a sand roller work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Most lawn rollers on offer are suitable for filling with sand. They come in different sizes and price ranges. As you can regulate the weight by the filling quantity, this model is particularly suitable for the hobby gardener.

All you have to do is purchase sand (at the DIY store for approx. 2-12€) and fill the lawn roller through the side opening using a funnel.

Advantages
  • Weight individually adjustable
  • Heavier than water filling
Disadvantages
  • Filling only with funnel
  • Sand costs extra
  • Lighter than concrete filling

Filling with sand is easier than with concrete, but more difficult than with water. You can do without a funnel, but then you don't save yourself the clean-up work after filling due to fallen sand on the floor.

Emptying is also somewhat complicated but not impossible. Nonetheless, this is the most commonly chosen option, as its all-rounder properties make it suitable for both private use and professional gardening.

How does a lawn roller for water filling work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

There are also many lawn rollers that are designed for water filling, as they are usually identical in construction to those for sand. The area of application here is almost exclusively aimed at the hobby gardener, as the advantages only prove themselves on smaller areas. The lawn roller should be coated against rust. It can be easily filled with a garden hose.

Advantages
  • Weight individually adjustable
  • Water is freely available
  • Uncomplicated filling and emptying
Disadvantages
  • Lighter than sand and concrete filling
  • Filling must be emptied before cold period

Emptying is also the easiest thing to do here and is even necessary during cold spells to prevent damage to the lawn roller. As water is lighter than sand and concrete, this model is not suitable for rough ground. If, in an emergency, you do want to push the weight limit, you can mix sand and water for maximum total weight.

How does a concrete infill lawn roller work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

If you are a professional gardener and are looking for a lawn roller, you are most likely to be happy with a concrete infill model. Due to the highest weight of the three types, it is best suited for large and rough areas.

Ideally, it can also be combined with a tractor by means of a trailer device, because handling suffers greatly due to the enormous weight of the concrete filling.

Advantages
  • Heavier than sand and water filling
  • Usually with trailer device
  • Suitable for large areas
Disadvantages
  • Handling difficult
  • Filling laborious and lengthy
  • Concrete costs extra

The price of concrete varies according to the manufacturer and is on average 80-100€ per m³ - which is similar to a load of sand.

On the other hand, filling with concrete is much more time-consuming, as not only the filling process itself, but also the curing time is added. Due to the lack of air, this takes longer than average and involves a risk of imbalance if gaps form during filling.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate lawn rollers

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate lawn rollers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular machine is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Empty weight
  • Roller width
  • Dirt scraper
  • Filling option with water or sand
  • Amount of water filling
  • Amount of sand filling

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Garten mit grünem Rasen

There are several criteria to consider when choosing the right lawn roller. These include the empty weight, the roller width, the dirt scraper, the filling options and the filling quantities. (Photo: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / 123RF.com)

Empty weight

The empty weight of a lawn roller varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. You can distinguish between lawn rollers that are pulled by hand and lawn rollers that are pulled by a tractor or similar.

The former usually have a lower weight of approx. 5 - 15 kg. The latter have a significantly higher weight, as they are usually larger and do not have to be moved by hand.

Make sure you have enough strength to move a hand-operated lawn roller.

Roller width

In this category, too, a distinction can be made between lawn rollers for moving by muscle power and lawn rollers that are moved by vehicles. The first mentioned have approximately a roller width between 40 cm and 70 cm.

Those that are towed by vehicles very often have a rolling width of well over a metre, as they are primarily used to roll huge lawns or level a large field, for example.

Dirt scraper

This functionality is intended to be particularly pleasant for the user. The dirt scraper is usually located about 1 cm above the roller cylinder and is attached to the guide linkage. It is designed to scrape off very moist, sticky or clayey soil that often sticks to the roller.

This prevents the soil from being rolled unevenly due to the lumps of soil that get stuck. Although most rollers have such a scraper, you should still make sure that your chosen product has one.

Filling with water or sand

Although there are lawn rollers that are made entirely of concrete, many manufacturers build their product in such a way that a cavity is created inside the roller cylinder. With the help of a resealable opening on the sides of the roller, you can fill something inside to increase the weight.

This cavity has the advantage that it significantly reduces the empty weight of the lawn roller and that either water or sand can be filled in. This has the positive property that the weight of the lawn roller can be regulated at any time.

If you were planning to buy a concrete lawn roller because you thought that you would then be spared the filling process, it is better to opt for a lawn roller with a cavity, as this means that the device is not permanently bulky and heavy.

Amount of water filling

To increase the weight of the lawn roller, you can, for example, fill water into the cavity already mentioned. This has the advantage that it is accessible at all times and is also cheaper to purchase. In addition, it is quicker and more convenient for you to get the water through the opening into the container with a hose. It is also easier to dispose of.

Amount of sand filling

On the other hand, you can also use sand as a filling option. The main advantage is that it is much heavier than water. In addition, you can regulate the weight very well with sand and the roller can therefore be used even better by you. However, sand is much more expensive to buy than water and it is also more difficult to dispose of.

Facts worth knowing about the topic of lawn roller

Are motorised lawn rollers also available?

Yes, there are also motorised lawn rollers, which you can use primarily to work on much larger areas. The rollers are either built into a machine or they are pulled by a utility machine.

For many landscape gardeners or greenkeepers who have a very large lawn to maintain, it makes almost no sense to move a kilo heavy lawn roller over the lawn with their own power.

This is where motorised lawn rollers come into play. They make the work much easier and ensure that the lawn is optimally maintained. However, there is also the type of lawn roller that serves as a simple trailer.

This means, for example, that a landscaper attaches such a roller to his commercial vehicle in order to level an uneven surface or to press seed into the ground.

Are there alternatives to lawn rollers?

Many people do not necessarily want to use a lawn roller to maintain their lawn because it is too expensive, they want to save themselves a lot of work or simply because a large lawn roller does not make sense on a small lawn. In this case, there are some alternatives that you can fall back on:

  • Levelling with shoes
  • Straightening with boards under the shoes
  • Pushing with the shovel

Of course, if you have a large cultivated area, there are virtually no alternatives to lawn rollers. However, you can more often use the motorised version to avoid unnecessary effort. However, if you only want to level a small area, you can also do this with your shoes, for example. Here you should press the seed into the soil with relatively flat shoes.

Since your own body weight is distributed over the surface of the shoe, you can create a lot of pressure. However, this quickly creates a lot of dents and unevenness in the soil, so you should only use this in an emergency.

You can also strap flat, smooth boards under your feet. To a certain extent, this has the same effect as using shoes, except that the body weight is distributed over a larger area and thus flattened more evenly. You can use the latter option, but it is only for emergencies and for very small areas. You can try to carefully press the seed into the soil with the shovel.

However, this will take some time, as the surface of a shovel is not very large. In addition, this can be very strenuous for your body due to the stooped posture over a longer period of time.

Image source: pixabay.com / MabelAmber

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