A rake is an essential item for any gardener and this not only for garden maintenance during the autumn months. The right kind of rake can actually be incredibly useful year round.
While the most commonly known use for the rake is for leaves, the heavier duty lawn and garden rakes have far more uses.
In the market for a good garden rake? Here’s a quick guide to the different types of rakes on market, how to use them and everything you’ll need to know when choosing the right kind of rake for your gardening needs.
How Do I Choose A Rake?
A garden rake isn’t just a broom for outside and finding the best garden rake for you really depends on how you’re planning to use it. Specifications vary between head size, the number of tines and the angle and which they connect to the handle.
The main types you’ll find in a good gardening shed are leaf, lawn and garden or bow rakes.
Main Types of Rakes
Leaf rakes are the go-to garden item in the autumn seasons as leaves begin to cover lawns. These are generally light weight and have a very broad head for easy leaf collection. Most leaf rakes will be plastic as the movability of the tines helps to gather leaves.
Lawn rakes are also popular backyard items as they are a little more versatile. These you can use for your conventional leaf raking but are usually used to remove dead grass from lawns. Lawn rakes will have a far heavier head and will have a solid join between the head and handle. It’s strong but flexible tines can help gather grass, leaves, gravel, sand and soil.
The most common use for garden rakes is to help move or level out soil. These rakes will have far fewer prongs and are usually made of metal or other solid materials. Even though it has shorter, sharper-angled tines, it is still a multi-purpose tool.
Are Metal or Plastic Rakes Better?
When it comes to what material to choose, it again depends on your use. The most common manufactured rakes include:
- Plastic: Plastic rakes are by far the cheapest options on market and offer mostly light-weight which allows for easy use.
Still, this material is not always the most durable, especially when exposed to a lot of sunlight or very cold temperatures.
- Wood/Bamboo: Wood or bamboo rakes are usually a reasonably priced and light-weight option. Plus, they’re environmentally friendly.
Wood rakes also have a long lifespan when stored properly. If left in the elements, the wood can warp or deteriorate.
- Metal: Most heavy-duty garden rakes will be made from a type of metal. Many manufacturers of metal rakes have started using aluminum for the handle as it offers a lightweight alternative
Either way you will want to look for a quality rake that can last.
The Features of a Good Rake
While certain specifications, like head size and tine material, will differ, there are certain things you’ll want to check before buying. You’ll want to check:
- Head Size. You’ll want a bigger rake head size for your leaf and lawn rakes. A good size is generally between 20-24” wide.
- Tines. You’ll want to ensure that your tines are sturdy. Thicker tines are far better for garden rakes. The best kind have a slight curvature to the tine which assists in raking.
- Handle. You’ll want a solid handle to make sure it doesn’t warp or bend as you work. Some modern rakes even have grips on the handle to prevent strain on the hand.
You should also check that the rake head is solidly attached to the handle.
What is the Best Garden Rake?
The best garden rake is that which gives you quality for your cost and can perform a multitude of garden tasks.
Here’s a look at the 4 best garden rakes available in Australia:
While it may be a mouthful, this garden rake is an incredibly well rounded device offering far more than a one-function rake.
It has a strong, aluminium alloy handle which is lightweight and adjustable to suit your needs.
It has tough steel tines as well an ergonomic rubberized handle for incredible hand comfort.
This rake offers variation with an adjustable handle so you can expand the rake size from 7-1/2 inches to it’s 24-inch size.
So, it’s garden for in the garden and in and around bushed.
It has 15 flat tines with and extendable handle and plastic grips.
This Flameer rake is made from quality high-carbon steel with it's surface coated with anti-rust paint for long lasting use.
With it's 22 Teeth design, this rake is dense enough to clean the leaves and weeds.
This rake is optimally made for aerating and cleaning mossy lawn areas. The best part?
It Comes with a 25-year warranty
Spear & Jackson nail rake have pointed and angled nails for soil penetration.
With it's 20 tooth nail rake head and powder coated carbon steel, raking it made easier than ever.
How to Use A Garden Rake
If you’re still wondering what a garden rake is used for, or if you’re wanting to know the ways you can make the most out of your rake, here are the most common ways that garden rakes are used:
- Removing Weeds. By pressing tines over the soil in your garden, you can easily remove shallow rooted weeds. This is a great way to avoid getting on your hands and knees around bushes and shrubs.
- Turning Soil. With time and weather conditions soil can harden. Its best to loosen the soil and break up clumps to allow for easier plantation and root growth.
- Spreading Soil Covering. Metal rakes are great to help spread, gather, mount or level soil. A heavy-duty garden rake can also help even out heavier materials like gravel or pebbles.
- Gathering Debris. Rakes help to gather up dried leaves, twig, off-cuts, debris and dead plants from your lawn or around your garden. It is recommended to rake on a not-so windy day, so you don’t loose your neatly raked heap in sudden gust of wind.
Tips When Using A Garden Rake
It is recommended to make use of some gardening gloves when raking to avoid strain or blistering on the hands. Especially for those working in bigger gardens, there can be a lot of pressure on the hands.
When raking, try to accumulate debris into a set pile. From there you can easily pop leaves and debris into a wheelbarrow or bin.
You can also keep all your leaves and use them to add to your compost heap. Dead leaves are high in carbon and form a great base for the ‘Brown materials’ in your compost.
It is advised to keep your garden rake in a tool shed or garage, so as not to expose it to the elements. This will minimize damage on your rake and ensure it lasts longer.
Best Garden Rake | Australian Buying Guide Summary
When it comes to finding the right kind of rake, make sure you know what you’ll be using it most for. Heavy-duty, metal garden rakes are best when working with lawn and soil, however a good, plastic leaf rake will do the trick when it comes to ridding your garden of yellowed autumn leaves.
Remember to look for a handle which is properly fused to the head, of sturdy quality and one that perhaps has a nice, soft grip. If you’re looking for the best garden rake, invest in a quality offering that can help you keep your garden tidy for years to come.