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Have you heard the saying, “too much of anything is a bad thing”?
Well, it holds true in most cases, even when it comes to the thatch layer on your lawn.
While a slight layer of organic matter can be beneficial for the grass, protecting it from the sun and other environmental factors, too thick a layer can prevent adequate sunlight and air from reaching the grass.
To maintain a healthy yard, you need to remove excessive thatch buildup with the help of a good dethatcher.
Choosing the right dethatcher from the plethora of options available in the market becomes significantly difficult.
Not to worry, though, as you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for the best dethatcher for your lawn.
Winner – Sun Joe AJ801E
- Power: 12 Amp
- Size: 21” x 23” x 41”
- Depth control: 5 – position depth adjustment
- Dethatching path size – 13”
The Sun Joe AJ 801E Dethatcher allows you to keep your lawn in optimal condition all year round.
Powered by a 12 Amp motor, the AJ801E cuts through thatch in a single pass, leaving behind a 13-inch thatch-free path.
The machine provides ultimate depth control with its 5 position depth adjustment settings.
You can cut through growth around 0.4 inches below and above the soil.
It also comes with a rear bag for you to collect the material the machine pulls out.
The only significant disadvantage of the Sun Joe AJ 801 E is that the collection bag is small in size and needs to be emptied quite frequently.
Your choice of wire gauge will depend upon the cord length, which, if chosen incorrectly, can cause significant problems.
The machine features a collapsible handle, which makes the dethatching experience comfortable regardless of how lengthy and labor-intensive it becomes.
The all-terrain rugged wheels keep the dethatcher stable on even the thickest of patches.
The most important feature of the Sun Joe Aj801E is that it does not produce any toxic greenhouse gas emissions.
It is a piece of green equipment to keep your lawn green. With its instant start technology and air boost technology, it keeps all maintenance work hassle-free.
If you’re looking for a dethatcher that’s the best value for money, then the Sun Joe 801E is the dethatcher for you.
It is not only environmentally friendly but is also low maintenance and easy to use.
It does not require any tune-ups or oil or gas changes and comes with a 2-year warranty.
It is genuinely the best lawn dethatcher that can boost growth for a thicker and healthier turf.
Runner Up – GreenWorks 27022
- Power: 10 Amp
- Size: 25.3” x 18” x 12.5”
- Depth control: 3 – position depth adjustment
- Dethatching path size: 14”
The GreenWorks 27022 is our runner up but is still an outstanding dethatcher second only to Sun Joe Aj801E.
It features a powerful 10 Amp motor that can cut through thatches like a hot knife through butter.
Its exceptionally sharp stainless steel tines aid the process, making yard maintenance look like a breeze.
The machine has a 3-position depth attachment that allows you greater control over depth invasion.
This is particularly beneficial as you do not want to end up ruining the grass in an attempt to remove thatch.
A significant drawback of the GreenWorks 27022 is that it is only suitable for use with a 120 volts AC connection because it is powered by a precision-built electric motor.
You run the risk of burning the motor if connected to any other power source.
The GreenWorks 27022 is an eco-friendly lawn dethatcher that leaves behind no carbon footprint.
It features foldable handles that make it easy to store even in compact spaces.
It comes with a four-year warranty, which is double what is offered in the industry.
Low noise generation is another beneficial feature of the GreenWorks 27022.
You no longer have to worry about noise pollution when clearing your yard of unwanted growth.
With its 150-feet cord, you can dethatch uninterrupted for a long time.
If you’re looking for a compact, easy to use, low maintenance and eco-friendly lawn dethatcher, then the GreenWorks 27022 is the one for you.
It requires no tune-ups or gas top-ups and makes yard cleaning almost effortless.
It also comes with 18 complimentary replacement tines, which provides good value for money.
It is a reliable machine that will deliver outstanding performance for years.
Alternative – WORX WG850
- Power: 12 Amp
- Size: 39” x 22.88” x 43.25”
- Depth control: 3 – position depth adjustment
- Dethatching path size: 14”
The WORX WG850 is powered by a strong 12 Amp motor that makes it easy to maneuver the machine through thickest of thatches.
With its 3-position depth adjustment feature, you can control how invasive a dethatching procedure you want it to be.
Depending upon lawn type and thatch buildup, you can choose from -9, -3, and +3 mm for the most effortless yard maintenance process.
The machine is not only powerful but is also lightweight for optimal comfort.
It can clear a 14” wide patch in a single pass and collects dead grass, roots, and stems in an attached bag for added ease.
A significant drawback, though, is that the bag size is smaller than we would prefer.
It also poses an inconvenience during the dethatching process as it keeps riding up.
Another disadvantage is that the machine is not eco-friendly and can possibly expose the user to harmful chemicals.
Additional care is important when using it, so make sure you wear a mask and gloves when making use of the dethatcher.
You must also wash your hands after use and change your clothes as a precautionary measure.
The Worx WG850 comes with a 3-year warranty, which is a year more than what is normal by industry standards.
It sports a lightweight, compact design with foldable handles that allow for easy storage.
The machine also features a lock-off switch that can halt the engine almost immediately.
If you are looking for a compact and lightweight lawn dethatcher, then the WORX WG850 is the ideal choice for you.
Its fold-down handles not only make it more convenient to use but also make storing it so much easier.
It is a powerful, lightweight, low maintenance machine that is the perfect choice for you if you aren’t as particular about exposure to harmful gases like lead.
If you aren’t too keen on buying an eco-friendly lawn dethatcher, then the WORX WG850 is an excellent piece of equipment that you should definitely consider.
Best Dethatcher Attachment – MANTIS 5222
- Power: Not applicable
- Size: 15” x 8” x 9”
- Depth control: None
- Dethatching path size: 15”
The Mantis 5222 is a tiller/cultivator attachment that provides a 15” wide dethatching patch coverage.
It features 60 steel picks that can cut through extremely dense patches of organic matter growth effortlessly.
It is easily attachable to all mantis tillers or cultivators and can pull up thatch and weeds in a single pass.
Despite its durability and benefits, the Mantis 5222 has some significant drawbacks.
Firstly it is only compatible with Mantis Tillers and cultivators, meaning it cannot be used with machinery from any other brand.
Secondly, it does not provide depth adjustment at all, which limits its usage.
It also makes maintenance more tedious and is better suited for scarifying than it is for dethatching.
The Mantis 5222 features durable steel pins, which makes it more reliable and user-friendly.
If you have to cut through really dense patches of overgrowth, then this is the ideal attachment for you, provided you already own a Mantis Tiller/Cultivator.
If you have wildly overgrown weeds and insects ruining your lawn, then this attachment is what you should get.
Best Manual Dethatcher – YARD BUTLER LAWN CORING AERATOR
- Power: Not applicable
- Size: 1.8” x 8.8” x 36.5”
- Depth control: Manual
- Dethatching path size: 2.5” x 3.5”
The Yard Butler Lawn Core Aerator is the best manual dethatcher in the market.
It allows you to loosen up the soil, allowing air and water to seep into the ground.
It simultaneously breaks the connection between thick thatches, which breaks it down into easily rake-able pieces.
The tool is 37 inches tall, which reduces back strain when using it.
With electric dethatchers, you only have three to five-depth adjustment settings, which makes optimizing the process according to thatch size significantly challenging.
With the Yard Butler Lawn Core Aerator, you have the ultimate control and can decide where to exert more pressure and dig deeper and where to remain close to the surface.
Even though it does provide more control, it also warrants greater physical exertion on your end.
It is not suitable for bigger yards as the dethatching patch size is considerably smaller than that provided by other electrical pieces of dethatching equipment.
It is made with durable steel, which makes it a long term investment. It also features a handle and a foot bar for ease of use.
If you are looking for something that will get you a more hands-on dethatching experience, then the Yard Butler Core Aerator is the one for you.
It cuts through dense overgrowth allowing, air, water, sunlight, and fertilizer to reach the soil, promoting a healthier turf.
It is a simple tool that promotes vigorous growth root, which subsequently builds resilience to droughts and other stressful conditions.
It is the best manual dethatcher that is not only easy to use but genuinely provides good value for money.
Tips for Dethatching the Lawn
As essential as it is to have the right equipment for proper dethatching, it is just as important to follow the right steps to get the desired result.
Here’s what you can do to ensure you aren’t overraking or under raking your lawn.
- Examine the lawn first – dethatching becomes absolutely critical for the yard when overgrowth crosses the 0.75-inch mark. You can effortlessly identify when the grass needs mowing by its appearance. If it looks bouncy fresh, then your yard is thriving. To be sure, you can insert two fingers into the ground and feel how thick the thatch has grown. For extra assurance, you can cut out a piece from the ground and measure the overgrowth manually before proceeding with dethatching.
- Use a thatching rake for smaller lawns – for smaller yards, investing in a professional electric dethatcher seems excessive. You can easily manage to clean the yard with a rake or with a manual dethatcher.
- Dethatch when you witness vigorous grass growth – If the grass in your yard is growing vigorously and is starting to get out of control, then you need to dethatch it. Under that seemingly healthy-looking grass lies a thick layer of weeds and dead grass that is destroying the soil in your garden.
- Give the lawn some additional love and care – Dethatching is like scraping off dead peeling skin from your garden. You cannot leave the new skin exposed to the environment without any additional support. It is essential that you fertilize your lawn after you dethatch it. It helps promote new growth and simultaneously prevents weeds from establishing ground in the freshly prepared soil.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dethatching
What does Dethatching Do?
Over time, a layer of dead grass tissue develops over new growth, covering it and preventing nutrients from reaching the roots.
It increases the water and nutrient runoff rate, which is unhealthy for your yard’s overall health.
If you neglect the overgrowth for an extended period, it may also end up harboring insects like fleas and centipedes, which will eventually make their way into your home in search of food sources. All these side effects make preventing thatch growth an essential part of yard maintenance.
Dethatching is primarily removing dead grass tissue overgrowth from your yard, which is a critical step in yard maintenance.
It not only removes residue but also aerates the core, which promotes vigorous root growth that helps maintain a healthier turf.
Is Dethatching Bad for your Lawn?
Even though regular dethatching is beneficial, there can be times when it generates the opposite effect, especially during spring.
The lawn undergoes significant amounts of stress during winters.
Exposure to icy cold and snow mold leaves the turf in a precarious condition. At a time like this, if you uproot the lawn, it can end up doing more damage than it does good.
Secondly, spring dethatching can bring to the surface deeply embedded weed seeds, which means you essentially end up setting your lawn for a future weed infestation.
Dethatching lawns that have a thin layer of new grass growth can leave it destroyed, unable to recover from the upheaval for a long time.
You should only carry out the procedure when the overgrowth layer exceeds 0.5 inches. Anything less than that should be left as is.
How Often Should You Dethatch Your Lawn?
As mentioned earlier, your yard only warrants dethatching when the growth reaches around 0.5 inches in thickness.
However, you won’t go around with a measuring tape every month or so, to measure the amount of thatch that has accumulated.
Ideally, you should dethatch twice a year. To get rid of debris, decaying leaves, and dead grass tissue collected during the cold season in fall. Similarly, for the thatch accumulated during arm seasons, you can lightly dethatch your lawn in early spring.
Throughout the year, if you feel like the overgrowth is growing out of control, then just insert two fingers into the grass to determine the thickness of the thatch.
If you find it exceeding 0.5 inches, then you can go ahead and dethatch the lawn. Just make sure you do not end up obsessively dethatching your yard every few days or so.
Should I Mow before Dethatching?
If you take a closer look at your lawn, there is probably a layer of thatch present above the soil.
It is silently tucked away under the grass, but it is present even when not visible.
To be able to effectively get to the thatch in a single pass, you should mow your grass short before you target what lies underneath.
Should I Fertilize my Lawn after Dethatching?
To promote grass growth and give it an edge over weeds, you should always fertilize your lawn after dethatching. We suggest you opt for a slow-release granulated fertilizer.
It provides the grass with essential nutrients over an extended period.
Your choice of fertilizer will depend upon the season and desired result. Right after dethatching, you should use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer as it will help you get the grass going on the right foot.
You should switch to a phosphorous rich fertilizer after summers to stunt new growth in fall, which will then last you into winters as well.
Promoting new growth during fall can leave your lawn vulnerable during winters with a pile-up of dead shrubbery.
With fertilization, you must ensure that your yard is well hydrated as nitrogen can burn the grass if it’s dehydrated.
If you want to avoid ending up with a brown lawn, then keep your yard well-maintained and well-hydrated at all times but especially after dethatching and fertilization.
Conclusion On The 5 Best Dethatchers For Your Lawn
A well-maintained yard leaves a great impression on others.
It is not only visually pleasing but is also essential in maintaining hygienic living conditions in the long run.
Regular dethatching has multiple benefits. It not only removes excessive growth and dead tissue pile up but also leaves the soil well aerated.
Aeration is critical in preventing mold and fungi buildup in your yard.
Mold and fungi become food sources for various insects like gnats, centipedes, and spiders, etc. in the long run, these insects may end up in your home in search of food sources.
An insect infestation is really hard to curb and will eventually warrant the use of a professional exterminator.
The harmful gases and chemicals that the extermination process exposes you to can prove unhealthy for one’s overall health.
To prevent such disastrous situations from developing, you should invest in a dethatcher to help you maintain a healthy yard.
We’ve tried to simplify your search for the best dethatcher for your lawn by listing down our favorites.
The Sun Joe Aj810E is the best electric-corded dethatcher. It is a green/eco-friendly option to help you maintain a green yard.
It features a 12 Amp powered motor that delivers unbeatable performance.
Our runner up is the GreenWorks 27022, which features a 10 Amp powered motor. It is also a green option but has slightly fewer features than the Sun Joe AJ810E.
While our winner features five-position depth adjustment, our runner up has three.
However, they both provide excellent value for money.
If you are looking for the best manual dethatcher for your yard, then the Yard Butler Lawn Core Aerator is ideal for you.
It helps break the bond between the thatches, which makes it easier to rake up the dead remains.
It also aerates the core, promoting root growth and preventing mold and fungi buildup.
We hope our guide helps you find the best dethatcher for your lawn. Just ensure that you do not end up overusing the machine of your choice as that can have an adverse effect on your lawn’s health.