Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Use a leaf rake to keep your lawn free of garden debris over autumn and winter so that the lawn looks neat again in spring. There is a wide range of different leaf rakes, which differ in their dimensions, materials and construction.

In our big leaf rake test 2021 we want to help you find a leaf rake that is perfectly suited to your needs. Whether with or without a handle, in a combination system, made of metal or wood. We have compared leaf rakes with different features and listed their advantages and disadvantages.




The most important facts

  • Leaf rakes are used to sweep grass clippings and leaves from your lawn. With a leaf rake you can maintain your lawn perfectly.
  • The leaf rake is used in autumn as soon as the first leaves fall. This prevents dark spots in the lawn.
  • Leaf rakes are available with and without a handle. A leaf rake with a handle is cheaper and does not jerk. A leaf rake without a handle offers more flexibility and you can use a combination system.

The best leaf rake: Our picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for leaf rakes

With the following points we would like to show you which criteria can help you to find the right leaf rake from the seemingly endless selection.

In summary, these are:

Below you will find a detailed explanation of the individual criteria so that you can make a suitable choice for a leaf rake.

Material

Leaf rakes can be made from a wide variety of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Since the handle and rake attachment are usually made of different materials, the following paragraph is also structured accordingly.

The material affects durability, flexibility, robustness and the weight of the product.

Material for handles

Typical construction materials for the handle of a leaf rake are stainless steel, wood, metal, plastic and aluminium. Especially leaf rakes made of metal, wood and hardened aluminium have a long-lasting durability. Wood and plastic stand out positively due to their low weight.

A hard rubber handle provides a perfect grip.

A stainless steel handle looks high quality. In terms of durability and robustness, stainless steel performs worse. Some handles are made of hard rubber and prevent the user from slipping. Wood can splinter without the right coating and a metal handle could rust after some time.

Material for rake attachment

The rake attachment or broom of a leaf rake is usually made of a different material than the handle. According to our research, tines made of metal, plastic and rubber are particularly popular. However, brooms made of bamboo, fibreglass, wood or aluminium can also be found on the market.

The materials plastic and rubber convince with their high flexibility. These rather soft materials are particularly gentle on plants and flowers on lawns. Metal and fibreglass tines are productive and enable efficient work.

Dimensions

Important criteria for buying leaf rakes are dimensions and weight. A distinction must be made between the individual factors for the handle and the head of the rake.

The decisive factor for the handle is the length. The best place to find out which length is perfect for your posture and height is in your local specialist shop. If you want to order the leaf rake online, you should always pay attention to the length specification of the product. We cannot give you an exact formula.

Make sure you get the right measurements. One size does not fit all users.

If you want to be on the safe side, we can recommend a leaf rake with a telescopic handle. This is individually adjustable and therefore fits all body sizes.

The most important keyword with regard to the dimensions of the rake attachment is the working width. This indicates how wide the just lawn section is after one pull. The most reliable measurement is the centimetre of the width of the fan.

The range of leaf rakes varies from a working width of 20 to 80 centimetres. These are extremes. The normal range is 30 to 50 centimetres.

Functions / Combinations

Leaf rakes are equipped with various additional functions and can be combined in different ways. These vary from product to product, which is why there is a large selection of leaf rakes.

A popular combination is a "two-in-one" leaf rake with leaf broom and loading fork. The leaf broom is ideal for raking leaves and grass clippings. If you rotate the leaf rake once around its own axis, the broom becomes a loading fork. This allows you to transport the collected leaves into a waste bin without having to bend down and get your hands dirty.

A leaf rake with a grabber is also very practical. This is characterised by the fact that the rake can be turned into a leaf tongs thanks to a mechanism built into the handle. The tines of the rake grab the leaves and the swept up leaves can end up in the bag. A back-friendly innovation.

If you are thinking of buying several garden tools, you should take a closer look at the combi-systems.

Efficiency

The efficiency of leaf rakes depends on various factors:

  • Working width
  • Number of tines
  • Handling

We have already explained what the term working width means above under the heading "Dimensions". The larger the working width of a leaf rake, the more lawn area can be worked on at once. However, a wide broom will not fit into smaller corners of the garden. You should choose the working width according to the type of use and the shape of your lawn to be as efficient as possible.

The number of tines on a leaf rake also has an effect on the efficiency of your work. Many tines could cause more resistance when raking and therefore require more time and effort. Few tines might not pick up individual leaves, so you have to rake again or pick them up by hand.

The handling of the leaf rake can make a big difference in the efficiency of your gardening. For handling we include weight, size and ergonomics. The leaf rake should fit well in the hand and not be too heavy. The handle should not be too long, because then you have less guiding control over the garden tool. The handle should also be non-slip.

Adjustability

An adjustable leaf rake is perfect for those who order online, are not sure of the perfect size, or if different people will be using the leaf rake.

An adjustable handle is called a telescopic handle. This can be extended to a certain length and retracted again. This way you can play with the length of the handle and achieve the perfect handling depending on the application. In addition, a telescopic handle is particularly suitable for those who are not sure which handle length provides the most efficient working method.

There are also leaf rakes with adjustable tines. Here, the working width can be adjusted manually. The advantage of this feature is that with a wide setting, more area can be worked on at once. With a narrow setting, the tines are closer together, which leads to a more thorough cleaning of the lawn.

Type of tines

The tines of leaf rakes can be round, pointed, widely spaced or closely spaced. The different types are each perfectly suited to specific working methods and adapt differently to the user.

A leaf rake with round tines is particularly suitable for cleaning lawns after mowing or for scarifying. Round tines made of spring wire tines are extremely sturdy.

Pointed tines really comb through the lawn and do not miss even the smallest grass cuttings. The disadvantage of pointed tines, however, is that they require a little practice to use. If you use the leaf rake too roughly, you can create unsightly aisles in the well-kept lawn.

The type of tines you need depends on your lawn area.

A leaf rake with closely spaced tines will clean the lawn more thoroughly. However, this also involves more effort, as a leaf rake with many tines causes more resistance when raking.

A leaf rake with widely spaced tines, on the other hand, brings about faster processing of the lawn and is suitable for overgrown areas. On the other hand, some leaves and grass clippings are more likely to be missed.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a leaf rake.

In the following section, we would like to answer the most important and most frequently asked questions about leaf rakes. We hope to be able to answer your questions in the next few lines. After reading the guide, you will have learned practical information about leaf rakes.

What is special about a leaf rake and what advantages does it offer?

A leaf rake is a subcategory of a rake. Depending on the type, a rake is used to rake leaves, grass cuttings or hay. There are also rakes designed to make furrows for seeds or to loosen the soil. Some rakes are suitable for spreading materials in road construction.

Laubrechen

In autumn, every garden owner is faced with the task of sweeping up the fallen leaves. The best tool for this is the leaf rake. (Image source: Peggychoucair / pixabay)

A leaf rake finds application in garden maintenance. The handle of the leaf rake makes the physical work easier, so that leaves and grass cuttings do not have to be collected by hand. The fan with bent tines is used to optimally clean the lawn of leaves and grass cuttings.

What types of leaf rakes are there?

Roughly speaking, a distinction can be made between two types of leaf rake: Leaf rakes with and without handles. These two types each have their own advantages and disadvantages, which we have listed in the table below.

Leaf rake with handle

A leaf rake with handle can be bought from the dealer as one product. The rake head and handle are not sold separately, but are perfectly matched to each other.

Advantages
  • guaranteed jerk-free
  • precise fit
  • all in one
  • only one decision
  • favourable
Disadvantages
  • no individual adjustment
  • handle does not reach everywhere
  • in case of repair, entire unit must be replaced

You must decide for yourself which aspects are important to you. It is helpful if you keep in mind exactly what work you want to do with the leaf rake.

Leaf rake without handle

A leaf rake without a handle is available as a tool head for a combination system. These should not be confused with hand rakes, as they fulfil other functions.

Advantages
  • also suitable as a hand rake
  • different combinations possible
  • cheaper as a head part
  • can also reach hard-to-reach places
  • individual parts can be replaced
Disadvantages
  • higher wear and tear
  • not quite jerk-free
  • you have to make two purchases
  • products have to match each other
  • supplier-specific
  • more expensive in combination

It is up to you to decide whether a leaf rake with or without a handle is more suitable for you. We hope that this list of advantages and disadvantages will make your decision easier.

Who are leaf rakes suitable for?

Leaf rakes are suitable for anyone who has a garden with a lawn. The term leaf rake implies that it can be used to clear leaves, but it can also be used to clear grass clippings and other garden waste from the lawn. It is therefore not only those who have deciduous trees in their garden who should purchase a leaf rake.

Laubrechen

Trees are an important part of garden design. In autumn, every garden owner should reach for a leaf rake as soon as the leaves start to fall. (Image source: Timothy Eberly / unsplash)

A leaf rake makes work easier and is easy on the back. Anyone who wants to start the spring and gardening season with a well-kept lawn after the winter should definitely think about buying a leaf rake.

What does a leaf rake cost?

The price range between different leaf rakes is not very wide. The cost is mainly dependent on the factor of whether you buy the handle and rake head in one product or whether you just buy an attachment. Other cost aspects are the materials or whether it is a branded product.

Below you will find a price overview:

variant price range
general 5 to 140 euros
leaf rake with handle from 10 euros
leaf rake without handle from 5 euros
leaf rake with telescopic handle from 25 euros
high quality leaf rake from 25 euros

Leaf rakes are available within the price range of 5 to 140 Euros. To get a high-quality leaf rake, you should expect to invest at least 25 euros.

If you can already count the handle of a combi-system among your garden tools, you won't have to pay much extra. In this case you can expect to pay around 15 euros.

How do I use a leaf rake?

A leaf rake is a universal tool for sweeping leaves. However, we can give you some tips on how to use a leaf rake properly:

  1. You should only use the leaf rake on lawns and not drag the tines over stony or tiled ground.
  2. When using the leaf rake, you should turn it so that the curved tines point downwards.
  3. Then look for a spot on the lawn that you want to clean of leaves or grass clippings. As with sweeping, carefully place the tines in the ground in front of you and then pull the leaf rake, including the garden waste, towards you.
  4. If you are working on a large area, you should create several leaf piles so as not to drag the leaves all over the garden.
  5. If you want to remove moss or work at narrow angles, you should set a narrow working width. This is possible if you have a rake with adjustable tines. If this is not the case, you should use a smaller leaf rake.
  6. The universal lawn area that you want to have cleaned as quickly as possible can also be maintained with spread tines and a wide working width.

With these tips, your lawn should be perfectly maintained in autumn and shine anew in spring.

When is the best time to rake leaves?

The best time to rake leaves is when the leaves fall from the trees - in autumn. The leaves should not be left lying around for too long, otherwise unsightly spots could appear in the lawn, which will then take a long time to recover in spring.

Your leaf rake should be used in autumn.

You can wait until a layer of leaves has accumulated before using your leaf rake for the first time. But especially when it is raining and the air is humid, you should not wait too long.

It is easiest to rake dry leaves. But any leaf rake should also be able to cope with wet or damp leaves.

Where should leaves be left?

Failure to rake leaves in autumn can harm certain plants. On lawns, leaves quickly begin to rot, brown spots appear and the lawn needs a longer recovery period in spring. It is also easy to slip on damp leaves.

However, leaves can also do good in some parts of your garden. On flower beds and under shrubs, the leaves protect against frost and are a natural fertiliser for the plants. They provide the soil with nutrients in the long term.

Laubrechen

The ideal winter home for hedgehogs consists of wood, brushwood and leaves. With a pile of leaves in your garden, you can offer hedgehogs a place to hibernate. (Image source: Piotr Łaskawski / unsplash)

You can also pile up the leaves in an unused corner of your garden. This may provide a place for hedgehogs to hibernate.

What are the alternatives to leaf rakes?

Alternatives to leaf rakes are leaf blowers, leaf vacuums or a lawn mower. However, each of these has its positive and negative aspects. You can find a description in the table below:

Alternative Description
Leaf blower Blows away leaves. Comfortable and time-saving. High energy consumption and noise generation.
Leaf vacuum cleaner Sucks in leaves. Comfortable and time-saving. High energy consumption and noise generation.
Lawn mower Runs the lawn mower over the leaves. Faster than raking leaves. Set the mower deck high. Energy consumption and noise generation. Damage to the lawn.

All these devices are expensive to buy and have more disadvantages than advantages compared to a simple leaf rake. We therefore recommend that gardeners use a leaf rake.

Image source: gpointstudio / 123rf

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