Fallen leaves are pretty and great fun to kick through, and can also offer your garden some much-needed nutrients. Not only can they be added to your compost bin and made into leaf mould but they also offer a good source of nutrients on your plantbeds. But unordered piles of rotting leaves can also be a nuisance, attracting pests and quickly turning into an eyesore.
Leaves, twigs, branches, grass cuttings and other garden waste are all problems that are easily sorted by a good-quality rake. There’s a reason that rakes have been used by gardens for thousands of years: not only will these versatile tools keep your lawn and garden tidy, but can also be used for a variety of other jobs.
Perhaps you need to turn over the soil in your seedbeds, perhaps you need to level out a bumpy lawn. Maybe you just need to gather up some stray gravel. Either way, a rake is almost definitely the best tool for the job. But you’ll be surprised by the variety out there. Which is right for you?
Read on for a few pointers in helping you pick the perfect lawn rake, before scrolling down to our pick of the best garden rakes. And for more information on caring for your garden during the colder months, you can read our guide on how to prepare your garden for the winter.
How to choose the best garden rake
- What do you need your rake for? If it’s for clearing leaves, twigs, grass trimmings and lighter materials, a leaf or lawn rake is your best choice. These have thinner, more closely set tines intended to catch and gather stray materials.
- If you need a rake for tougher jobs like turning over soil or levelling a lawn, make sure you buy a heavy-duty model with heavier, claw-like tines.
- If you only need a rake for clearing up leaves, a set of plastic leaf scoops might be a wiser choice. They will be lighter in weight, although you’ll find there’s a lot more bending over and crouching involved.
- If you’re only planning to rake grass and leaves from your lawn, you may wish to invest in an electric raker, which is pushed along like a lawnmower. Yes, they will cost much more, but will save you time and exertion in the long run.
10 of the best garden rakes
Sneeboer 7-Tine Leaf Rake
Dutch company Sneeboer is a highly reputed brand who makes hand-forged garden tools, and you can see the company’s quality in this seven-tine leaf rake. The handle is made of FSC-sourced ash, and the head is made of stainless steel that comes with a five-year guarantee. There is also a 37cm-wide, 20-tine model available through the same link below.
7-Tine Leaf Rake
Emorsgate Traditional Wooden Hay Rake
If supporting British manufacturers is important to you, then take a look at this traditional wooden rake, which is made of ash set with silverbirch tines. It has been handmade by the Rudd family in Cumbria, who can lay claim to being the last commercial rake makers in the UK. Although it’s marketed as a hay rake, this is also recommended for use with leaves and gravel.
Traditional Wooden Hay Rake
£40, Emorsgate Seeds
Wolf-Garten Multi-Change Longspan Rake
This 50cm-wide metal rake by Wolf-Garten is intended for use on lawns, and is a good rake for grass. It has an impressive 60 tines, which are set closely together to comb the grass for unwanted material, and can also be used for tougher jobs like levelling your lawn. At just over a kilo in weight, it’s also an excellent lightweight option, if you don’t want a rake that’s too heavy.
Multi-Change Longspan Rake
Sneeboer Garden Rake
Another Sneeboer rake, this one aimed at general tasks, and not just clearing leaves. Don’t be fooled by this simplicity of this eight-tine rake: it has been hand-forged by artisanal craftsmen who are constantly honing and perfecting their products. Those heavy-duty tines that will stand up to aggressive use – a rake that’s perfect for preparing seedbeds or levelling lawns.
Fallen Fruits Leaf Scoops
If leaves are your chief challenge in the garden, then a pair of leaf scoops may be a better choice than a standard rake. While most leaf scoops have flat, spade-like edges, this set from Fallen Fruits has long tines, and will do an excellent job of raking through the grass to collect those leaves.
£6.49, Fallen Fruits
Manufactum Heavy Foliage Rake
If you’re looking for a rake that will last you over many decades, then this heavy-duty foliage rake is definitely worth consideration. It’s sourced by Manufactum, a company that specialises in household products that are built to last, rather than cheap and throwaway. Made of zinc-coated steel and set in a reinforced socket, this rake that’s intended for tougher materials like foliage. Keep in mind that you will need to buy a standard 28mm broom handle separately.
Heavy Foliage Rake
Radius Gator Grabber
Here is another set of leaf scoops, attached in a scissor-like design rather than in separate components. The Gator Grabber is marketed as ‘the ultimately back-saving clean-up tool’ – and is certainly one to consider if it’s actually clearing, versus raking, that you need to do. The steel handles are telescopic, and the ‘jaws’ are made of a durable poly-fibre.
Perseus Bronze/Copper Rake
Bronze is a material that’s rarely used in the manufacturing of practical tools. But in the 1940s, an Austrian scientist discovered that bronze tools can actually enrich toil with the copper-trace elements they contain, by helping the growth of much-needed microorganisms. Being honest, we were impressed by the Perseus on looks alone – if it works wonders with your soil, that’s an added bonus.
Sophie Conran Gardener’s Hand Rake
For flowerbeds, plant pots and other small parts of your garden, a long-handled rake might be too big and unwieldy. This hand rake from Sophie Conran is perfect for those more delicate tasks. We love the care and quality that has gone into its design (much as you would expect from a member of the Conran family), from the beech handle to the delicately curved tines.
Gardener’s Hand Rake
£17.95, Sophie Conran
Bosch ALR 900 Lawn Raker
Is the thought of raking your lawn by hand simply unbearable? Consider investing in an electric lawn raker like the Bosch ALR 900 – it will do all the hard work for you. Its rolling drum works in much the same way as a traditional vacuum cleaner, gobbling up the contents of your lawn into its 50L collection box. The most you will have to do is plug it into the mains indoors and push it back and forth.
ALR 900 Lawn Raker