Our Top 3 Best Electric Lawn Dethatchers
- Greenworks 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher [ Best For Quick Setup & Usability ] – OUR TOP PICK
- Sun Joe AJ801E Electric Lawn Dethatcher [ Best For Small To Medium-Sized Yards ]
- Earthwise DT71613 16-Inch Corded Electric Dethatcher [ Best Value ]
What is Thatch?
Thatch is composed of living and lifeless roots stem and leaves. It is naturally part and parcel of the development of turfs.
Just like a lot of plants, the root system of grasses can be found underground, with their green and developing shoots lying above ground. In between, them is a layer where you’ll find the thatch.
Thatches are generally beneficial for lawns, but if it’s too much, it can be unfavorable. If it does not grow more than ¾ of an inch, then it’s a keeper. Here are some ways in which thatches can be a blessing:
- It insulates and protects the soil.
- It keeps the soil hydrated.
- It acts as a shield for turfs against mower and foot traffic.
Steps on How to Dethatch a Lawn
Step 1: See if your lawn needs to be dethatched
Again, as said earlier, when you’re watering your lawn and you see that it is not piercing through the grass, then it’s dethatching time. If the thatch has grown more than half an inch, do the same thing.
Step 2: Dethatch your lawn
When is the best time to dethatch your lawn? When the grass is at its growth peak – usually when summer is about to end or when fall is just beginning. This is true for northern grasses.
As for the southern grasses, it is best to dethatch when spring is almost over.
For lawns with small areas, the thatching rake is usually used. However, hard rakes and leaf rakes may also be used but they may not be as efficient.
When raking the grass, try to dig a bit deeper so you can infiltrate the thatch and tear it apart.
For larger lawns, a thatcher rake will no longer work, but a power dethatcher will. This will not only make the job easier, but it will also offer a more efficient outcome.
Run the power dethatcher in a single pass. But remember to identify where your watering systems are to avoid breakage.
Once you’re done thatching, don’t be surprised to find your lawn in a dreadful state. That’s just normal. There’s no need to panic.
There are power detachers that are being rented if you don’t have any plans of buying one. But if you have the budget to purchase your own, better!
NOTE: Before using a power dethatcher, find it essential to carefully read and follow the operator’s manual.
Step 3: Tidy up and water your lawn
After dethatching, gather up the grass cuttings using a leaf rake and put them in a compost pile or pit. Then water your lawn.
Step 4: Time for aerating, overseeding, and fertilizing
Now it’s time to aerate and overseed your lawn after dethatching it. The process of aeration helps loosen compacted soil and, at the same time, control the growth of thatch.
Step 5: Next step is to fertilize.
Then wait for your newly dethatched lawn to recover, approximately about 3 to 4 weeks. That will also be the time you’ll see new grass growth.
Difference Between the Power Raking and the Best Dethatchers
A lot of you might think that a power raking machine and dethatcher are both the same. Yes, they are both used in maintaining lawns and help with the growth of your lawn grasses, but their purposes are quite different.
A dethatcher is less destructive and it is only tasked to remove a lesser amount of thatch – more often than not, the healthy ones.
The power raking machine has a higher level of aggressiveness. It is usually used in lawns that are largely covered with thatch.
In terms of size, the best dethatcher is smaller since they are intended for residential lawns. It is comparable to a push mower that may be attached to a tiller or a mower.
In the removal of small thatches, the best dethatcher makes use of spring-loaded steel tines. It is able to effectively handle a thatch layer that is measured at less than half an inch.
Power rakes, on the other hand, are generally used in commercial and industrial lawns, that is why they are more durable. This is meant to remove thatches that exist in extra-large lawns.
Unlike a dethatcher, a power rake can pull out more than half an inch of thatch with no problem at all. It is 4x more powerful.
Though the power rake is said to have more power, we shall only stick with the dethatcher since our target is focused only on residential lawns.
What You Need to Know About Dethatchers
For lawn owners, dethatching is a regular chore. Dethatching may seem pretty simple, but it’s actually a tedious process as there are pre and post jobs that need to be performed.
A dethatcher is a lawn owner’s reliable helper. There are several styles and sizes to choose from, wherein your need will generally depend on the situation you have on your lawn.
Professional landscapers can dethatch lawns quickly and easily, but guess what? You can also do this job. Well, not as efficient as them, but they can definitely be learned.
What to Consider When Choosing a Dethatcher
The number 1 factor that you have to remember before purchasing a dethatcher is the size of your lawn. If you have a wide-area lawn, go for the tow-behind model. This model can be attached to a tractor or riding mover.
As for the smaller lawns, which are less than 1 acre, you may use the automatic model. This is similar to the typical push mower.
For even much smaller lawns, the manual rake will do. This may just be time-consuming and energy-draining.
So, here are some of the best lawn dethatchers that can help you decide on what to buy.
Electric Lawn Dethatcher Reviews
Best For Easy To Use & Setup – Our Top Pick
This is ideal for medium-sized lawns.
This Greenworks dethatcher demands minimal effort. It is very easy to use. Just push to button to start, and you’re ready to dethatch! It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
Equipped with a 14-inch power cord, this will allow you to move around your lawn easily without the hassle of losing battery supply or fuel. This is also perfect for lawn owners who don’t have a big storage space because it is has a foldable handle.
What’s also good about this product is that it has padded grips, which makes it comfortable to handle and easy to maneuver. It has 3-point positions that will allow you to adjust the dethatcher according to your height.
Best For Small to Medium Yards
This Sun Joe model is ideal for small to medium-sized lawns. Its minimum cutting height is 0.12 inches.
The scarifiers are equipped with knife blades that are attached to the cylinders. The power of these scarifier blades is capable of getting rid of thatch as well as moss. When set to the lowest setting, the Sun Joe scarifiers can also be used to aerate the soil.
It boasts Airboost technology. Such technology has enhanced the raking ability of the Sun Joe dethatcher because of its 24-spring steel tines. It is maintenance-free. No need for oil, gas, and tune-up.
It has a 5-position depth control, which makes it very versatile. You can freely choose a height you’re comfortable at. It has a detachable collection bag for easier disposal. This omits the raking job. A safety switch can be found in this Sun Joe dethatcher model.
It has a foldable handle making it easy to store. Its runtime is unlimited. However, its cutting width is quite narrower as compared to most dethatchers.
This is ideal for small to large-sized lawns and is a reliable product. This Earthwise electric dethatcher also functions as an aerator.
Its 16” grass and debris catcher can gather up to 4 gallons. This push dethatcher requires low maintenance. It only needs electricity to keep it going.
Easy and safe to operate because of its 13-ampere motor with a bail wire switch. Its scarifier is equally as powerful as a gas garden tiller.
If you want a reliable and versatile dethatcher that is, at the same time, affordable, then the Earthwise DT71613 is right for you.
Ways to Determine if Your Lawn Needs Dethatching
There are tests that need to be performed to know whether it’s already time to dethatch your lawn thatch.
- If you feel you’re already a bit bouncy when walking on your lawn, it only means 2 things – that the thatch layer is now very thick, and that you finally need to dethatch.
- Once you’ve realized that your lawn already has a thick thatch, find it mandatory to assess your lawn thoroughly. If the soil isn’t visible anymore, then what you’re probably seeing is already inches of thatch buildup.
Also, if you try shaving the lawn with your fingers and it can hardly be penetrated, then you might want to get your electric dethatcher and begin thinning it.
- Examine the thatch further by taking a sample.
- Get a small portion of the lawn using a spade or a trowel.
- Pull out about 3 inches from the top.
What you’re looking for is the thatch layer that’s lounging at the soil’s surface. If the layer is already more than half an inch thick, then it’s time to find a quality dethatcher.
When the thatch thickens considerably, it will yield an unhealthy lawn. Here’s what a thatch can do to your good lawn care:
- Having an excess thatch layer can make the soil invulnerable. This prevents it from absorbing water, insecticides, and fertilizers.
- Blocks the rays of the sun from penetrating into the lower portion of the grass.
- It holds moisture, which can cause the grass to wither.
- The grass won’t reach full development as the roots remain shallow.
- It creates a bumpy lawn.
Causes of Thatch
- Supplying the soil with excessive nitrogen.
- Watering the lawn every so often.
- Mowing the soil extremely high.
- The clay soil is too dense.
There is some type of grass that has the tendency to grow a thicker layer of thatch. For instance, creeping turfs that stretch on the surface and with their stems crawling underneath the soil are the types that make the thatch develop precipitously.
The Zoysiagrass, Bentgrass, Bermuda grass, Kentucky Bluegrass, and the St. Augustine grass are examples of these creeping turfs. If you are planning to on growing grass from seeds, check this before you buy.
Thatch quickly forms especially if the soil is squashed and that it has not been well-fertilized over the years.
If you’re using a mulching mower to dethatch your lawn, you need to mow amply. Leaving your grass clippings on your lawn will not trigger thatch growth as they almost decompose instantly.
So there you go! Any of these three can be your best electric lawn thatcher, our personal favorite is the Greenworks 10 Amp 14-Inch Corded Dethatcher. Simple to use and gets the job done quickly.
However, if you have a particularly large yard the Earthwise 16-Inch Corded Electric is a great timer saver with the 4-gallon debris catcher that just keeps going.
The Sun Joe AJ801E Electric Lawn Dethatcher is good for small to mid-sized yards and is a versatile option given its 5 position depth controls.