The Best Lawn Aerators

Have you ever seen your neighbor’s green grass or a perfect lawn in Central Park? And when you look at your own, you realize, it’s time to aerate your lawn. Lawn aerators are either electrical or mechanical tools for proper lawn care. The job of a lawn aerator is simple – to make way for air in the lawn’s deeper parts and loosen up compacted soil and improve aeration.

Comparison Table

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What Is a Lawn Aerator?

Lawn aerator works very simply – they have a spike that goes into the soil surface and later, through these holes, it gets in air, water, and nutrients. The main reason for aerating is to alleviate soil compaction. It helps plants and grass to grow because the roots have more air, and water, and nutrients even at the deeper levels. There are some rumors that lawn aerator shoes are pointless, however, there is a lot of research that shows a positive signal for grassroots growth using these.

I suggest you use a lawn aerator twice per season; in early spring and late fall. And after aeration, apply lawn fertilizers. For lawn care in winter, please read more here.

Why do you need to loosen up the compacted soil under the tomato or potato bushes? This allows the roots to get more air so the potatoes or tomatoes can grow bigger. For the lawn, it’s almost the same, and there is only one difference: on the lawn, a simple hoe will not help because the lawn will look terrible after that kind of aeration. After aerating your lawn, you must water it a lot.

Signs That You Need a Lawn Aerator

  • Your lawn is full of water after the rain
  • You are driving on the lawn quite often with a car or other transport
  • If it’s hard to stick a pencil or something else into the soil surface
  • It’s clay soil hard.
  • Bare grass
  • Soil compaction

How To Choose Lawn Aerator

  1. The more power your lawn aerator has, the longer it will live and the harder soil it can aerate. This is important because I have seen some smaller electric aerators which are dead after a couple of uses.
  2. Look at the width of the blades. The wider the aerator, the less amount of time you need to spend on lawn aeration. But remember, if you have quite a hard garden with a lot of bushes and other things, reconsider the width of the aerator. The bigger the aerator, the harder it is to get everywhere with it.
  3. The body material – it can be a plastic or metal. On the one hand, the plastic aerator weighs less, and corrosion is not a problem, but on the other hand, the strength of plastic is significantly less than metal.
  4. Is there a bag for collecting the grass and how big is it? Some gardeners suggest getting all the grass from aeration in a bag and putting them in compost, but again other gardeners suggest leaving the grass because it will help make the soil richer. Personally, I put all the grass in a compost.
  5. What kind of knives does the lawn aerator have? Some aerators have spikes or needles that are just piercing the ground, while others are equipped with special knives with which a lawn is cleaned from old grass and weed. The other type is what you call lawn scarifiers.
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Basically, these are all you need to pay attention to before choosing a lawn aerator. As you can see, it’s not so hard.

When To Use Lawn Aerator?

  1. I suggest removing all the weeds before using a lawn aerator because if you use a lawn aerator over weeds, you will chop them and spread them all over the lawn.
  2. If you have a new lawn – don’t aerate it for at least a year. Best time is to aerate your lawn after 1.5 years, right before using fertilizers.
  3. One of the best times for aerating your lawn is before reseeding or fertilizing it because the aerator will open the ground for nutrients and seeds. And, don’t worry about pre-emergent herbicide if you apply it in your lawn in the spring. Aerating your lawn will not destroy the herbicide “barrier” as there is no evidence to support this claim.
  4. Don’t use lawn aerators if you have dry and hot weather. You will just make it drier, and the grass will be brown in a month.
  5. Use a lawn aerator when the soil is moist but not too saturated

Tips And Tricks

  • Remember that a lawn aerator has spikes which go into the soil at least 0.3ft (10 cm) So, mark the places where you have something under the ground. Most importantly, remember where the electrical cables are in the ground for the lights and other household applications if you have them.
  • If your soil is light, or if it contains a lot of sand, or you just aerated it a few months ago, then do only one pass when aerating. Remember, if you are making only one pass, then use the same pattern like when you are mowing.
  • If your soil is hard, then make two passes. The first one, the as same as the one said above, and the second one in 45 degrees. Your goal is to create at least 30-40 holes per square foot.
  • Water a lot after aeration.

Lawn Aerator Types

Best Lawn Plug-In Aerator Machine

There are many types of lawn aerators, each for every situation, lawn size, and grass type. But you can divide them into two big groups: mechanical lawn aerators and lawn aerators with motors – electrical or gas (petrol). The best option for a small lawn or just for private use is an electrical lawn aerator because all you need is a power plug.

The Gas (Petrol) Lawn Aerator

This is more suitable for large businesses or companies who are taking care of lawns. Alternatively, you can pay a little bit more and buy an electric lawn plug aerator that has batteries. You can aerate your lawn for a couple of minutes, and they don’t use up a lot of power.

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Manual Lawn Aerators

These are almost the same as manual lawnmowers, but they are just for aerating. You just simply walk with this through your lawn and let the spikes do their job. For instance, a manual lawn aerator does not include adjustable settings which an electric one has.

There Also Some Lawn Aerators Which Are Cheap But Otherwise Hard To Use.

Lawn Aerator Rake

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This is one of the cheapest types of a lawn aerator. Working with this rake is hard, but I know some people who like to work with this tool because it’s like a workout. The major con of this tool is that the wooden handle can easily detach from the head. However, with a drill, this can be fixed.

Lawn Aerator Shoe

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There are many opinions about these shoes because some people say they are useless because they don’t go deeper than 5-6cm (you need at least 10cm), while others say that for a small lawn, they are pretty good and they are good at killing grubs. The shoes are quite simple, it’s like a sandal but with spikes. You can wear them while you’re gardening.

When choosing a lawn aerator, don’t look at the price. Look at your lawn soil, the size of the yard, and how hard is the soil. Then choose a lawn aerator based on that information. Because there is no point to buying a gas-powered lawn aerator for a small garden when maybe it does not need aerating at all. And also, there is no sense in the purchase of an aerator rake if you have a big lawn.

  • Big lawn and hard soil – gas-powered lawn aerator.
  • Big lawn but light soil –  electric lawn plug aerator.
  • Small lawn but hard soil – manual aerator with wheels.
  • Small lawn but light soil – lawn aerator rake.

Best Lawn Aerator For The Money

Agri-Fab 45-0472 Electric Plug-in Dethatcher

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For its price, it is one of the best lawn aerators. If you have a big lawn, then a thatch bag provided will be useless, because it’s small and will get full pretty fast.  This lawn aerator has a very powerful motor and a great blade-changing system. It also has a great mechanism in breaking up compacted soil and removing the thatch layer from the turf. It’s easy to use and does not leave a big footprint. And for its price, it’s perfect. Otherwise, it has a small thatch bag, does not have a core aerator, and gets dirty so fast.  But if you need to rent a lawn aerator which will cost you every time you use it, then why not buy your own for almost the same amount of money.

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Best Lawn Aerator Shoes

Premium Nylon ( Not Plastic ) Heavy Duty Lawn Aerator Shoes

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You can put on these shoes when walking in the yard. But remember, don’t walk with them on pavement or other hard surfaces because you will break the nails. It’s easy to walk with these lawn aerator sandals, and you will not get tired very fast.  The nails go into the lawn very easily, and you won’t feel awkward when walking on them. Sometimes I would have problems with straps because they did can loosen up. Great lawn aerator sandals for a great price while the quality is pretty decent. It’s a good deal.

Best Electric Lawn Aerator

Sun Joe AJ801E 12 Amp lawn aerator

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This is one of the best lawn aerators on Amazon. Its 12 AMP motor is almost unkillable and really powerful. This aerator comes with a scraper/scarifier which makes it easier to reset scraped areas. It’s really easy to assemble and takes only a few minutes. The hatch bag could be larger because if you have a larger area, you will need to clean it really often.


  • Easy to assemble.
  • Picks up thatch really efficiently.
  • There is a safety switch, so it’s safe to leave it near children.
  • Dethatcher and Scarifier are easy to swap and also fast.
  • Powerful engine.
  • Great support from SunJoe.


  • Catch bag is really small.
  • That safety switch sometimes is annoying if you need to stop often.
  • Assembly takes some force.
  • Changing the Dethatcher for the Scarifier requires a 10mm wrench.

Final Thoughts on The Best Lawn Aerator

Looking for the best lawn aerator can be confusing because of the many types that you can buy. And since you want a healthy lawn, it’s reasonable to invest in a lawn scarifier and aerator or try to find the best plug aerators for lawns. The question is, do you need one with all the stops and fancy features?

While it’s nice to think about having the best lawn aerator in town, you have to be honest and think about what you need and if you need something that is expensive and fancy. The truth is, the best lawn aerator for you is one that is well-suited to you and your garden’s needs.

Aeration is a beneficial practice toward achieving a beautiful lawn, but most people don’t realize it or understand the process. It is essential to identify what type of lawn you are going to aerate before purchasing one. We hope that this guide has helped you learn more about lawn aeration and informed you about the different types of aerators so that you can pick the one that best fits your needs.

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