The 8 Best Lawn Dethatchers For 2023

It’s that time of year again – the weather is getting nicer and homeowners are starting to think about their lawns. One of the most important steps in keeping your lawn looking great is dethatching it at least once a year. Dethatching helps remove dead grass, debris, and weeds from your lawn, allowing new growth to come through.

When it comes to dethatching your lawn, there are a lot of different machines and methods to choose from. If you’re not sure which dethatcher to buy, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Here are the 8 best dethatchers for 2023. Keep in mind, though, that the best dethatcher for your lawn will depend on its size and condition, so be sure to check out our buyer’s guide before making a purchase.

Whether you’re looking to buy your first dethatcher or are just curious about what’s available on the market, keep reading to learn more about our top picks!

What Is Thatch?

Thatch is a layer of dead grass, debris, and weeds that builds up on the surface of your lawn. It usually looks like fluffy, dried-up grass, and it also contains parts of the grass such as crowns, stolons, rhizomes, and roots. Additionally, about 25% of it is composed of lignin, which is a complex organic polymer that does not decompose very easily.

Grass clippings form mowing your lawn are predominantly not responsible for thatch, so mulching and leaving your mower clippings on the lawn is not going to cause thatch build up. This is because shredded grass decomposes a lot faster than thatch.

This layer can prevent new growth from coming through and can also make your lawn more susceptible to disease. Dethatching helps remove this layer of debris, which allows your lawn to breathe and grow healthy and strong.

Why Does Your Lawn Have Thatch?

Your lawn can have thatch buildup due to a few factors. Firstly, your grass might just be more likely to produce thatch – some species are more prone to it than others.

Other soils can be too acidic to sustain sufficient numbers of decomposing microorganisms. If this is your lawn, check out how to raise your soil pH.

Applying too much insecticides or fungicides might lead to more thatch production, and the same can be said of nitrogen fertilizers.

Is Thatch Good Or Bad For Your Lawn?

A layer of thatch may provide some insulation against temperature and moisture changes. However, an excess amount of thatch can cause root issues and lawn mower problems.

If allowed to develop thick enough, this thatch layer prevents water, sun, and nutrients from reaching the grass. As a result, your grass will start to turn brown and dry because it is being deprived of moisture by the thatch.

The thick thatch also attracts insects, which enter and take up residence in the protective thatch. They then spread out and infect the grass, spreading illnesses that cause it to deteriorate even more. The thatch can also grow so thick that your lawn mower might not be able to work.

Up to 1/2 inch of thatch is beneficial to your grass, as it acts as a barrier from the scorching heat of the mid-summer sun. However, anything more than 1/2 inch of thatch is considered a negative for your lawn.

How Does A Dethatcher Work?

Dethatching your lawn is a great way to remove thatch build-up, improve water penetration, and get your grass looking healthy again.

Dethatching is the process of removing thatch, the layer of dead grass and leaves, from your lawn. A dethatcher is a device that performs this task. It can be manual or motorized. Steel tines or blades comb the grass and pluck up the thatch from the surface.

The most basic form of a lawn detacher is a rake, although tow-behind or motorized push ones with rotating tines may be used as well. Once the thatch has been dragged to the surface by the rake or scarifier, it can be collected and composted.

Dethatchers can be hired or rented from your local home improvement store, or you could buy your own if you plan on doing this often.

Dethatcher Vs. Scarifier Vs. Aerator

Chances are you have come across the words aeration and scarifying when looking into lawn thatch and searching for a dethatcher.

A scarifier and a dethatcher are considered essentially the same thing, as they both are mainly used for removing thatch from your yard. Scarifying, however, also involves cutting the grass roots, so they can grow back fuller and more healthy.

On the other hand, aeration is a more intense process. Aerating your grass means pushing long metal rods or spikes into the ground all over it and then removing dirt plugs, allowing water and air to reach down to the plant’s roots.

This will thicken the grass by drawing important nutrients, air, and moisture into the soil. The end result will be a strong and lush green lawn.

A lawn aerator is a simple yet highly effective instrument for achieving this objective. It perforates the ground by rolling a wheel with many spikes on it or using a pitchfork-shaped device to penetrate your grass and remove cores of dirt.

Types Of Lawn Dethatchers

It’s essential to understand the multiple sorts of dethatchers before you start shopping for the finest one. Each has advantages and drawbacks, so becoming familiar with how each type works might help you choose which is the best dethatcher for your needs.

There are manual dethatchers, motorized dethatcher that are primarily powered by mains electricity, and tow-behind dethatchers.

Manual Dethatcher

Manual dethatchers are significantly less expensive than tow-behind or electric models, but they are also more hard work to use. They are similar in appearance to a traditional yard rakes, and they also allow gardeners to concentrate their efforts on getting all the thatch in smaller, more specific areas.

Because they resemble a rake, manual dethatchers take up little room and are excellent for small garages or workshops with limited storage. They do need a bit more work when in use, so therefore they’re best suited to tiny patches of thatch and smaller back lawns.

Electric Dethatcher

Homeowners with small to medium sized yards could be best served with an electric dethatcher. These models are basically like small lawn mowers that rotate tiny dethatching tines that dig and loosen the thatch.

The majority of motorized dethatchers are electric, and those that are electric are predominantly powered by mains electricity, so you will need a place to plug them into, as well as an extension cord if you want to dethatch a larger plot of land.

These types of dethatchers are used as one would use a push lawnmower, you plug it in and then slowly walk it back and forth over your yard. They are also fairly easy to maintain.

Tow-Behind Dethatcher

A tow-behind dethatcher may be a good addition to your lawn-care collection if you have a big yard and a riding mower or tractor. This dethatcher is a tool that attaches to the back of a lawn mower, tractor, four-wheeler, or side-by-side, and as you ride in it and pull the dethatcher across the yard, it swiftly and efficiently loosens up the thatch.

Pull-behind dethatchers are simple to use, requiring little effort once they’re properly connected. They can even be dragged behind a riding lawn mower to complete two tasks in half the time. However, as many tow-behind detachers can be as much as 4 feet wide, storing them might be difficult.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Dethatcher

Here are the factors we consider to be the most important to think about when shopping around for the most appropriate dethatcher for your lawn.

Lawn Size

The first and most significant factor you need to think about when shopping for a lawn dethatcher is the size of your lawn. This will be the primary reason for buying a manual, electric, or tow-behind dethatcher.

A manual dethatcher is your best option if you have a small, compact yard, or if you just have a thatch problem in a certain small area of your lawn. It is small and simple to store, so it will work well for those who do not have large areas to operate on. And there shouldn’t be much thatch or any thick parts, it is more than enough for loosening up dead grass and leaves.

An electric dethatcher, on the other hand, would be just the thing for small to mid-size properties, such as those up to 1 acre or two. These devices can dethatch a lawn swiftly. Remember, however, a closely-located power source is required.

For anything larger than two acres or so, a tow-behind dethatcher should be your choice, because if you do have that much land you most likely have a lawn tractor or riding mower to work on it, and you can simply attach these dethatchers to the back and dethatch as you mow in an efficient manner.

Motor Power

Dethatching isn’t a difficult task that requires a large, powerful motor. The layer of grass and leaf litter that lies on top of most lawns is simple and quick to get rid of, so the use of a basic electric motor will suffice.

These motors are typically rated between 10 and 15 amps, with 15 amps being the most powerful. If your yard is on the medium side, you’ll want a higher amperage for more efficient engine cooling while you are working. A smaller lawn, on the other hand, should not require more than 10 amps.


Tines on a dethatcher are little finger-like prongs that dig into the thatch to pull it up. The number of tines on any dethatcher model is usually determined by the machine’s width. The tines dig into the thatch, lift it, and break it up. They rotate around the shaft or get dragged through the yard.

The tines’ material is also significant, as the thatch they pick up is frequently damp and might cause corrosion on certain materials. Tines made of stainless steel or spring steel are the greatest option, since they are both sturdy and resistant to rusting. For people looking for a low-maintenance and stress-free dethatching experience, stainless steel is the way to go.

Weight Capability

Thatch for the most part is fairly light and easy to pick up. However, sometimes it can be heavier and thicker, especially if it is left to accumulate more lawn debris throughout the year. This is where you might want a bit more strength to dethatch it.

You can add weight to most tow-behind dethatchers so that the tines dig more strongly into the thatch, if you need that extra power and strength when working.

Dethatcher Width

Lawn dethatchers come in many various widths and sizes. This can certainly change how you operate one within the confines of your yard. Different models can range from 12 inches across to 48 inches.

Choosing a wider dethatcher means you can get work done on a larger lawn in fewer passes and therefore in less time. However, they might not be able to maneuver easily around any lawn obstacles or within tight corners or spaces. In these situations, a smaller dethatcher would be preferred.

Collection Bag

Keep in mind that if your dethatcher doesn’t have a collecting bag, regardless of whether its electric or manual, you’ll be raking up the thatch for a long time after loosening it. People don’t often think about this when they purchase their dethatcher, and are shocked when it dumps the released thatch onto the lawn.

Most individuals will be well-advised to check and see whether their new dethatcher has a collection bag. Although if you have a lawn mower with a collection bag, you may use it as a makeshift solution, and if raking is your thing, then maybe you won’t mind either way.

Storage Space

A homeowner with a small lawn might want to opt for a smaller dethatcher because you save on storage space as well. If you have plenty of space in your garage or shed, then a tow-behind model or large electric one could fit with room to spare, but for those without any extra outdoor storage, then choose a smaller model.

Remember you can always work a large yard with a smaller dethatcher, but you can’t always fit a larger dethatcher in a tight storage space.

Grass Type

Thatch formation is heavily influenced by the sort of grass you have. Kentucky Bluegrass, for example, is known to produce a lot of thatch. Tall fescue grass, on the other hand, has been shown to produce very little thatch, and dethatching any grass of that type may actually do more harm than good.

Additionally, the time of year that you should work on your grass differs between certain grass types. Keep your lawn in good condition by dethatching before the growing season for cool-season grasses – so, early spring or early fall – and after the second mowing in late spring through early summer for warm-season grasses.

Reviews For The Top 8 Lawn Dethatchers

It’s time to choose the finest lawn dethatcher for your requirements now that you know what dethatching is and how it may benefit you. Our top 8 list includes both pull behind as well as manual and electric grass dethatchers, so there’s sure to be one that will work for you.

Before purchasing a dethatching tool, keep in mind the size of your yard, how often you will use it, and any other requirements. Remember that dethatching your lawn at least once a year keeps it looking healthy and lush!

#1. Greenworks 13 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher And Scarifier

Greenworks 13 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher / Scarifier, DT13B00
  • 2-IN-1 DESIGN - 13A 15-Inch Dethatcher / Scarifer provides the power and versatility to keep your lawn healthy.No load speed : 3200 RPM
  • LIGHTWEIGHT, EASY TO USE - Lightweight design allows for easy manuevering. Easy push button start
  • QUICK RELEASE - Quickly and easily switch between the included dethacther and scarifier attachments
  • 3-POSITION - tine depth adjustment for removing matted layers for healthy lawn growth
  • HEALTHY LAWN - Keep your yard healthy by dethathcing in early spring or early fall for cool-season grasses, and in late spring through early summer (after 2nd mowing) for warm-season grasses

The Greenworks 13 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher And Scarifier is our highest rated recommendation for a lawn dethatcher. This tractor is lightweight and simple to maneuver around a medium-sized garden, and it has a basic push button start that starts immediately every time. With this dethatcher, you can easily shift between the scarifying and dethatching attachments, and you can even aerate your soil as well, because it can dig about an inch into your dirt with its stainless steel tines that stay sharper longer.

This Greenworks dethatcher has a 14-inch working path, which would be perfect for a normal suburban lawn size or less, and it also includes a cable cord retainer on the handlebars so you won’t be in danger of running over your own cord. Its four-tire design is also compatible with any type of rough or uneven terrain.

With its depth adjustment capabilities of 5 different positions, this model gives you ability to aerate, dethatch, and scarify your lawn up to the amount you choose. However, we would only recommend using it for aeration if you have sandy or loamy soil, as it won’t penetrate deep into the soil like other plug lawn aerators.

#2. Agri-Fab 45-0295 Tow-Behind Dethatcher

Agri-Fab 45-0295 48-Inch Lawn Dethatcher, Medium, Black
  • Tine de-thatcher uproots dead, matted grass and dislodges hard-packed dirt for planting
  • Twenty-Four Durable spring tines for easy thatch removal; Penetrates and turns up dried grass, weeds, and soil in 48-inch wide swathes
  • Rust-proof and replaceable spring-loaded tines are heat-treated for greater durability
  • Transport handle for easy raising and lowering of the tines

The Agri-Fab 45-0295 Tow-Behind Dethatcher is the best pull-behind dethatcher, if that’s what you are looking for. This model is 48 inches wide, which is wider than most riding lawn mowers, so it will help you dethatch your lawn in no time at all. It has 24 heat treated spring steel tines, for one approximately every 2 inches along the length of the tow bar. This means that, even though it’s very wide and large it can still work in small, compact spaces and it will not leave any thatch on the grass.

These tines are rust-proof and replaceable, so they will last a very long time, and if one does bend or break you don’t have to replace the entire machine. With two flat-free wheels, this tool can be towed over uneven and bumpy lawns without any problems, and by any tractor brand because it has a universal hitch.

The weight tray can hold up to 70 extra pounds if you need more weight to dig the tines further into the thatch and the lawn, and the easy-use cantilever handle can raise and lower the tines with a simple and efficient motion.

#3. Sun Joe AJ805E Electric Dethatcher and Scarifier

Sun Joe AJ805E 15-Inch 13-Amp Electric Dethatcher and Scarifier w/Removeable 13.2-Gal Collection Bag, 5-Position Height Adjustment, Airboost Technology Increases Lawn Health, Green
  • [IDEAL]: For revitalizing small to mid-sized lawns.No Load Speed (rpm) 2990.Length of Cord (ft.) : 1, Deck Cleanout : No.
  • [POWERFUL]: 13-amp motor rakes a 15" wide path to get your job done faster
  • [SCARIFIER]: Function to cut grass roots for thicker growth, healthier lawns
  • [AIRBOOST TECHNOLOGY]: Spring steel tines for maximum thatch pickup
  • [MAINTENANCE FREE]: No gas, oil or tune-ups

The Sun Joe AJ805E Electric Dethatcher and Scarifier is another top-of-the-line dethatcher from Sun Joe, which are a great outdoor lawn tool and machine manufacturer. The height adjustment to five different positions means you can tailor your raking depth and amount depending on the amount of thatch on your lawn.

The Sun Joe AJ805E has a 13 amp electric motor and can dethatch a path 15 inches wide. It’s a corded model, so you won’t have to worry about the motor running out of battery or gas. There’s also a bagging attachment, so it can collect any rubbish you pick up while thatching or aerating, though you also have the option of leaving them to decompose on the grass.

The scarifier tool cuts the grass roots and allows them to grow back stronger and thicker. It also has airboost technology, which makes it easier for its spring steel tines to gather the thatch in addition to aerating the lawn if you would like. However, if you are going to aerate, this may suffice for any light scarification or aeration, but we would suggest something more robust for a bigger lawn or denser soil.

#4. Brinly DT-40BH Tow Behind Dethatcher

Brinly DT-40BH Tow Behind Dethatcher, 40", Black
  • Maximum Thatch Removal: 40" working width and 2 rows of 10 independently flexing spring steel tines comb through a lawn, lifting thatch up and out of the lawn where it can be mowed or mulched to promote a healthier root system.
  • Multiple Settings for Different Tasks: Brinly's Dethatcher can be set to work as a straight dethatcher (tines comb the grass, flicking up thatch) or in a more aggressive mode where the tines scrape and scarify the soil as they pull up thatch - useful for re-seeding projects. Place the Dethatcher in transport mode for crossing drives and walkways.
  • Long-Lasting Construction: All steel design with heavy-duty tray holds up to 70 lbs. of additional weight (for aggressive operations). Tines are made of durable spring steel; in the unlikely event of a breakage, a safety rod is included to catch the tine and prevent contact with mower blades. No-flat diamond rubber-tread transport wheels for durability.
  • Easy-to-Engage Transport Wheels: The engagement lever, conveniently accessible from the driver's seat, lowers the 6" never-flat transport wheels when crossing sidewalks, driveways, and paths.
  • Spring Steel Tines: 20 long-lasting, triple-coil strength 3/16″ diameter spring steel tines stay flexible and guarantee performance. Tines come pre-assembled to the tray.

The Brinly DT-40BH Tow Behind Dethatcher is another great option for a tow-behind lawn dethatcher that can attach to any riding lawn mower or lawn tractor that you happen to use. This is due to the single, heavy-duty universal hitch pin that can easily hitch this machine to any type of ridable machine.

This dethatcher can work your lawn up to 40 inches at a time, and in this 40-inch path it has two different rows of 10 independently flexing spring steel tines. This tool can perform two different tasks – it can be a regular dethatcher in which it combs the grass and flicks the thatch up, or it can more aggressively scarify the dirt in addition to dethatching; this allows for easier re-seeding projects. The steel tray can hold up to 70 pounds of extra weight if you need.

#5. VonHaus 2 in 1 Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier and Aerator

VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier & Aerator 12.5 Amp Corded Motor – 15” Working Width, 5 Adjustable Working Depths, 45QT Collection Bag, Folding Handle – for Lawn Health & Maintenance
  • 2 IN 1 – With separate dethatcher and aerator drums included, this multi-functional tool with 12.5A motor lifts organic debris from your lawn and perforates soil to promote healthy grass growth.
  • 15” WORKING WIDTH – Well-suited to small and mid-sized lawns, with a thermal cut-out and 2-stage safety start ensure safe operation.
  • ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT DEPTHS – Use the manual lever to select between 5 operational heights (-0.47”/ -0.35”/ -0.24” / -0.12” / +0.24”) for all-season lawn maintenance.
  • 47QT CAPACITY COLLECTION BOX – No need for manual raking, attach the collection box to easily gather and dispose of lawn debris.
  • COMPACT FOR STORAGE – Folding soft-grip handle and removable grass box for convenient storage with a built-in carry handle for easy transportation. Dimensions: (L) 23” x (D) 55” x (H) 40”.

The VonHaus 2 in 1 Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier and Aerator is a high-performing electric push lawn dethatcher. This is a dethatcher of decent size and strength, so it would be perfect for a small to medium sized lawn. It has a 12.5 amp motor that is powered by an attached cord, and a 15-inch thatching path that will get your lawn cleared in very little time. It also has a thermal cut-out and a 2-stage safety start, which both ensure safe starting and operation throughout.

With the VonHaus 2 in 1 you can choose between 5 different operational heights, depending on the depth and thickness of your thatch. This model is also a multi-functioning machine – it comes equipped with dethatching, scarifying, and aerating technology, so you can also use it to aerate your lawn if it is getting too compact or is not draining properly. It will perforate into the soil and ensure a healthy, thick layer of grass grows back.

#6. True Temper 2914000 Adjustable Dethatching Rake

The AMES Companies 2914000 True Temper Thatch Rake -, 15" Brown
  • THATCHING RAKE: Designed to thatch lawn clippings to allow air, sunshine, water and fertilizer in for healthy grass
  • STEEL TINES: Curved steel tines to clear dead grass clippings
  • VERSATILE TOOL: Flared points on rake head can seed, fertilize and cultivate your lawn
  • SELF CLEANING RAKE: Adjustable 15 in. rake head adjusts to make contact with ground
  • DURABLE & ERGONOMIC: 54 in. North American hardwood handle with cushion end grip (grip color may vary)

Next on our list is our only manual dethatcher option, for those who are looking for one – the True Temper 2914000 Adjustable Dethatching Rake. This is a top manual dethatcher model. It has a 15-inch wide raking head, which is comparable to many electric dethatchers. It also has two different lawn-improvement capabilities. On one side, the curved teeth will be useful for cultivating soil. On the other side, the straight steel teeth will be perfect for lawn dethatching.

The handle on this rake is 54 inches long and is made from hardwood, so it is very strong and durable. It also has a cushioned grip at the end for comfortable operation and more control. This manual dethatcher also is much smaller when transporting it and when trying to store it, so it will be easier to keep if you have a smaller lawn and garden.

#7. Earthwise DT71613 16-Inch Corded Electric Dethatcher

Earthwise DT71613 13-Amp 16-Inch Corded Electric Dethatcher
  • Powerful 13-Amp motor delivers power and performace similar to gas-powered dethatchers; Bail wire switch for safe start every time
  • 16" working width for dethatching small to large yards; 40 gallon grass catcher for catching debris quickly and cleanly
  • -0.4" to 0.4" working depth for either scratching the surface or reaching the roots of the grass for ultimate dethatching
  • Loosen up matted layers of grass and debris with 45 spring pins; Spring pins made of zinc-plated piano wire for long-lasting and quality performance
  • Corded electric plug-in and requires low maintenance, no gas or oil resulting in no fumes or mess

The Earthwise DT71613 16-Inch Corded Electric Dethatcher can work a path up to 16 inches wide. It also has a 13 amp electric motor, and a bail wire switch that allows for safe and simple starting. You can plug in this dethatcher to mains electricity and it has up to the same amount of power of a gas garden tiller. It also has a 10 gallon debris catcher so that the thatch can immediately be swept up and carried away, so you won’t have to spend any more time raking it up after using the dethatcher.

In its 16 inch width, this aerator has 45 durable, zinc-plated piano wires spring steel tines that are very effective and can work to loosen up the matted layers on thatch and grass and debris. It also has multiple working depth options, from -0.4 inches to 0.4 inches, so it can either just scratch the surface of the grass or reach deep into the soil.

#8. Agri-Fab 45-0294 40-Inch Tine Tow Dethatcher

Agri-Fab 40-Inch Tine Tow Dethatcher 45-0294,Black
  • Tine de-thatcher uproots dead, matted grass and dislodges hard-packed dirt for planting
  • Twenty Durable spring tines for easy thatch removal; Penetrates and turns up dried grass, weeds, and soil in 40-inch wide swathes
  • Rust-proof and replaceable spring-loaded tines are heat-treated for greater durability
  • Transport handle for easy raising and lowering of the tines

The Agri-Fab 45-0294 40-Inch Tine Tow Dethatcher is another model from Agri-Fab that can be hooked up behind any lawn tractor or riding lawn mower that you have, for fast and easy dethatching work uprooting matted, dead grass and dislodging hard-packed dirt for planting. This is a 40 inch model and it has 20 rust-proof and spring-loaded tines that are also heat-treated for longer durability.

The wheels are 7-inch pneumatic wheels and flat free, so they will be able to move over uneven and bumpy ground, and the tray can hold up to 70 pounds of additional weight for deeper lawn work. The transport handle also easily raises or lowers the tines, so you can change it to transport mode when storing and maneuvering it over driveways and paths.

In Summary

Now that you know all about dethatchers, what to look for when purchasing one, and the top 8 models on the market, it’s time for you to make a decision. Consider your needs carefully and choose the dethatcher that will work best for your lawn. With proper use, a dethatcher can help keep your lawn healthy and looking great all year long.

So, what’s the best dethatcher for your lawn in 2023? It depends on a variety of factors, including the size and type of lawn, how often you will use it, and your budget. That said, we’ve compiled a list of the top 8 dethatchers, and our first choice and top recommendation is the Greenworks 13 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher And Scarifier.

We hope this article has helped you understand what thatch is, how it affects your lawn, and which dethatcher might be right for you. If you have any questions or need help choosing the best dethatcher for your needs, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks for reading!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.