When shopping for the best lawn aerators, the most important factors to think about are their type, material, and mobility, among other features. I have summarized my favorite products based on these considerations. Below is a detailed review and explanation, so you can better understand why they might matter to you.
When I think about maintaining a lawn, the first thought on my mind is how demanding the task is. If you want your grass to remain lush and verdant, you need to water, mow, and remove weeds regularly. Sometimes, though, compacted soil can prevent the plant from growing despite your best efforts.
Fortunately, there is a handy tool called a lawn aerator that can reduce the chances of compacted soil. Below, I will discuss the best lawn aerators on the market today. Each item includes a detailed review with pros and cons, so you can easily compare one product to another.
I will also discuss the factors you need to consider when buying a lawn aeration tool. This section is handy for those who are first-time buyers or those who want to ensure that they are getting their money’s worth.
And to sum things up, I will answer some of your frequently asked questions about lawn maintenance in general.
Let us jump right into the article!
What Is A Lawn Aerator?
Before getting into my top picks, I would first like to discuss what is a lawn aerator.
Simply put, a lawn aerator is a special garden tool that allows you to create holes in the soil.
You are probably thinking about how this capability benefits you. Well, it can prevent compacted soil and ultimately promote the growth of lawn grasses. If you are not aware, soil compaction restricts air, water, and other essential nutrients from circulating around the plant roots. With a lawn aeration tool, you can create space for air and water to reach your lawn’s roots.
In general, a lawn aerator uses three different methods to penetrate the soil.
The first one involves spiking. As its name suggests, this model features solid spikes that can poke a hole in the ground. These spikes are often a couple of millimeters wide and several centimeters deep to let air and water into the soil. However, spike aerators can still leave loam behind and can make compaction worse in some cases.
Slicing aerators are similar to spike aerators because they also leave the soil in the ground. However, they can reduce the risk of compaction, owing to the rotating blades. These can effectively cut or slice through grass and turf to create space for air, water, and other essential nutrients.
Finally, the third type of lawn aerator takes advantage of hollow tining. These go into the ground to remove turf and deposit them on top to break down. The size of the hole can vary in width and depth, depending on the machine you use.
What Are The Benefits of a Lawn Aerator?
A lawn aerator offers several benefits.
First, it can strengthen the roots of your plants by preventing soil compaction and creating room for air, water, and nutrients.
And since it promotes root development and growth, a lawn aerator can ensure a thicker lawn. It can ultimately enhance seed to soil contact, which is essential for successful germination.
A lawn aeration tool can also prevent the accumulation of thatch or dead grass on your lawn. When left untreated, this layer of dead grass can keep your plants from getting the necessary moisture and nutrients.
Furthermore, aeration can reduce water runoff and puddling. It is handy for those who live in an area that often experiences rainfalls.
Last but not least, a lawn aerator can prepare your grass for winter dormancy. It can help the plant soak in nutrients from fertilizers more effectively. Hence, it can protect the grass from the harsh winter frost.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
|Editor’s Pick||VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier & Aerator||Material: Steel|
Weight: 32.5 pounds
Dimensions: 24 x 18 x 13.5 inches
|Best Tow-Behind Aerator||Brinly PA-40BH Tow-Behind Plug Aerator||Material: Steel|
Weight: 64.5 pounds
Dimensions: 37 x 51 x 28 inches
|Best Handheld Aerator||Yard Butler ID-6C Manual Lawn Coring Aerator||Material: Steel|
Weight: 3.72 pounds
Dimensions: 1.75 x 8.75 x 36.5 inches
|Best Aerator Shoes||PLANTNOMICS Lawn Aerator Shoes with Hook-and-Loop Straps||Material: Polypropylene Plastic, Steel|
Weight: 1.9 pounds
Dimensions: 12.6 x 5.79 x 4.49 inches
|Gardzen Spike Aeration Heavy Duty Aerator||Material: Steel|
Weight: 3.95 pounds
Dimensions: 16.77 x 15.67 x 2.4 inches
|AMES 2917400 4-Spike Lawn Aerator with Stirrup Handle||Material: Steel|
Weight: 3.14 pounds
Dimensions: 7.76 x 1.25 x 36.02 inches
|Yard Butler IM-7C Multi Spike Lawn Aerator||Material: Steel|
Weight: 4.22 pounds
Dimensions: 1.75 x 8.25 x 36.25 inches
7 Best Lawn Aerators to Achieve a Healthy Garden
Below are my top recommendations for the best lawn aerators. Each product features a sturdy construction that can puncture a hole in the soil to promote plant growth.
1. VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier & Aerator – Editor’s Pick
The VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier & Aerator is one of the best lawn aerators available on the market today.
As its name suggests, it offers two tools in one. These include a separate dethatcher and aerator drums. The former features sharp blades that allow you to cut and remove thatch on the topsoil. Meanwhile, the latter can penetrate the ground to promote healthy grass growth.
Additionally, this electric lawn aerator has a 15-inch working width. It can fit both small and mid-sized lawns.
Moreover, the VonHaus Scarifier and Aerator comes with a large collection bag. There is no need to rake the grass or loose soil manually. The box automatically gathers the lawn debris, so you can easily dispose of them.
Plus, this best lawn aerator offers a soft-grip handle to ensure comfortable use. It also folds for convenient storage.
There is even a manual lever that allows you to choose between five operational heights. It can provide versatility for all-season lawn care.
On top of all these benefits, this right lawn aerator has a thermal cut-out and a two-stage safety start. Both these features can ensure safe and effective operation.
It is no wonder most lawn aerator reviews for this particular product were positive. If there is any critique, it would be the single storage space. Some users said that it would be better if the aerator includes a dual storage space for the two blades. A few customers also had difficulty assembling the product.
The pros far outweigh the cons, though. For this reason, I deemed the VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier & Aerator as the best lawn aerator today.
- A multifunctional tool features a separate dethatcher and aerator drums to promote grass growth
- A 15-inch working width is ideal for both small lawns and mid-sized green spaces
- It includes a thermal cut-out and a two-stage safety start for safe operation
- The collection box conveniently gathers and disposes of lawn debris
- A folding soft-grip handle ensures a compact size for storage
- It does not include storage space for the other blade
- The instructions were a little bit unclear, which made it difficult to assemble the product
2. Brinly PA-40BH Tow-Behind Plug Aerator – Best Tow-Behind Aerator
Those who have a large lawn or want to fix heavily compacted soil can consider getting the Brinly PA-40BH Tow-Behind Plug Aerator.
It features 24 heat-treated steel core plug spoons. Each one can pull out soil plugs that are three inches deep to the surface. Hence, it can effectively decompress the soil to allow air, water, and essential nutrients to reach the plant roots.
Additionally, this tow-behind aerator comes with three independently rotating plug-tine sections. They make it easier to operate on uneven ground and help the tractor in turning.
What’s more, the Brinly Lawn Aerator has a fully enclosed tray design. It uses sturdy steel material to ensure durability and maximum support if you wish to add extra tray weights.
Plus, the single transport lever and large treaded wheels deliver smooth traction on driveways and walkways.
Finally, this tow-behind plug aerator offers a built-in universal hitch. It allows you to attach the aerator to lawn tractors, so you can comfortable aerate your yard from the tractor seat.
But before buying this product, it is best to know its downsides. First, this plug aerator is expensive and heavy. Second, a few users wished they could lower or raise the handle from the tractor seat without the need to get off.
Nevertheless, the Brinly PA-40BH Tow-Behind Plug Aerator is still worth considering. It is my top recommendation if you have a large lawn.
- Multiple core plug spoons remove compacted ground and soil plugs to let essential nutrients reach your plant roots
- Three rotating tine sections are ideal for uneven ground passes
- A sturdy and fully enclosed steel tray provides durability
- The built-in universal hitch can conveniently attach to lawn tractors
- A single transport lever and large treaded wheels allow you to cross driveways easily
- The product was heavy and expensive
- You have to get off the towing vehicle if you wish to lower or raise the handle
3. Yard Butler ID-6C Manual Lawn Coring Aerator – Best Handheld Aerator
The Yard Butler ID-6C Manual Lawn Coring Aerator is another high-quality lawn aerator to consider for your lawn maintenance needs.
It features two 3 ½-inch cores that allow you to puncture the ground and ensure maximum soil penetration. These can allow air, fertilizer, and water deep into the roots to promote plant growth. At the same time, they reduce water runoff and strengthen tolerance to drought and extreme heat.
The cores can also ensure durability and rust resistance, owing to the powder-coated steel construction. Hence, they can last you for a long time.
Meanwhile, this lawn coring aerator has a fixed height of 37 inches. It reduces back strain when driving the tool down into your lawn.
Furthermore, the Yard Butler Manual Aerator comes with a foot bar. It makes it easier to aerate your lawn.
Finally, the cushioned handles provide additional grip. They are handy for those with sweaty palms or those who need extra support.
Despite these benefits, there are a few downsides to consider before finalizing your purchasing decision. First, some users said that the aerator easily got clogged, especially when cutting through grass blades, so they need to clean it regularly. Second, a few customers noticed that the aerator would not work properly on hard clay soil or wet terrain.
Overall, though, the Yard Butler ID-6C Manual Lawn Coring Aerator is still worth considering. It is my top pick for the best manual lawn aerator, owing to its straightforward and effective design.
- Two powdered steel cores remove plugs from soil to reduce water runoff
- It can puncture the ground to ensure a healthy lawn with essential nutrients
- A fixed height of 37 inches can reduce back strain
- It comes with a foot bar for convenient lawn aeration
- The cushioned handles offer additional grip
- Some users said that the aerator kept clogging
- A few customers noticed that the aerator would not let them puncture hard soil or wet ground
4. PLANTNOMICS Lawn Aerator Shoes with Hook-and-Loop Straps – Best Aerator Shoes
If you prefer a budget aerator, consider checking out a pair of aerator shoes like the PLANTNOMICS Lawn Aerator Shoes with Hook-and-Loop Straps.
It features 13 sturdy steel spikes in each shoe, giving you a total of 26 pre-assembled spikes. These let you pierce tiny holes up to two inches deep in the ground. Hence, they allow air, water, and other essential nutrients to enrich the soil and promote plant growth.
Additionally, these lawn aerator shoes measure around 12 inches long and five inches wide. They can fit most men and women, but they will take some time to become fully comfortable. It is best to start with small steps or use a walking stick for additional support until you get used to walking with these aerator shoes. Meanwhile, this pair of best lawn aerator shoes has a maximum weight limit of 220 pounds.
Moreover, the three included maroon straps ensure a secure fit. Simply crisscross them and pull tight with the hook-and-loop fasteners.
Plus, the package includes a wrench. This tool further allows you to tighten each spike nut.
Finally, this pair of lawn aerator shoes can work on any soil type, whether dry or wet.
But before purchasing this item, it is best to consider the downsides of this type of lawn aerator. First, it is not suitable for large yards. Second, some users had trouble moving and walking with these shoes on.
Nevertheless, the PLANTNOMICS Lawn Aerator Shoes with Hook-and-Loop Straps is still among the best lawn aerators today.
- The shoes arrive pre-assembled with 26 two-inch spikes
- They can pierce tiny holes in the ground to promote root growth
- The three maroon straps ensure an adjustable yet secure fit
- The package includes a wrench to tighten each spike nut easily
- Affordable and easy to store aerator
- The lawn aerator shoes are not ideal for large lawns or very compacted soils
- Several users had trouble moving and walking with these shoes on
5. Gardzen Spike Aeration Heavy Duty Aerator
The Gardzen Spike Aeration Heavy Duty Aerator is another high-quality product to consider for your lawn maintenance needs.
It features four sharp spikes that can easily penetrate into the ground. These hollow tines can create space for air, water, and other essential nutrients to reach the plant root system.
Additionally, this manual spike aerator for your lawn uses a sturdy steel frame. When paired with a black powder-coated finish, it can effectively resist rust and water damage. Hence, it can last you for a long time as long as you properly store it after use.
What’s more, the Gardzen Spike Aeration Heavy Duty Aerator comes with two comfortable handles. These make it easier to handle and pull out of the ground.
There is even a free socket wrench. This tool makes it easier to assemble the product.
Finally, Gardzen offers reliable customer support. So if you had a problem with the product, you could easily ask for a return or refund.
However, there are still a few downsides to this manual lawn aerator. First, the spike aerator might be too short for tall individuals. Second, some users said the product got stuck in the ground easily.
With that said, the Gardzen Spike Aeration Heavy Duty Aerator is still among the best lawn aerators on the market today.
- A multi-spike aerator can puncture holes into the ground for a healthy root system and proper lawn care
- The powder-coated steel frame offers durability that can last you for a long time
- The included socket wrench makes it easy to assemble the manual aerator
- The manufacturer provides a reliable customer support
- A compact and lightweight manual aeration garden equipment
- The aerator might be too small for tall individuals
- Some users said the product got stuck in the ground, especially loamy soil, easily
6. AMES 2917400 4-Spike Lawn Aerator with Stirrup Handle
If you want a longer manual aerator, then the AMES 2917400 4-Spike Lawn Aerator with Stirrup Handle might meet your needs.
It features a multi-spike design made of steel material. This tool creates space, so air, fertilizer, and water can easily access grassroots. Meanwhile, the construction can offer durability that lasts you for a long time.
Additionally, this lawn aerator has a unique stirrup handle. It allows you to penetrate the ground, including hard soils, easily and without straining your back.
Moreover, the AMES 4-Spike Aerator is convenient to store when not in use. The one-piece design is also lightweight enough to carry around when maintaining your yard.
But before finalizing your purchasing decision, it is best to consider the cons of this product. First, some customers said that the four built-in prongs might be too short for your needs. Second, a few users were disappointed that the aerator was easily bent.
Nevertheless, the AMES 2917400 4-Spike Lawn Aerator is worth considering if you intend to take care of small gardens.
- The sturdy one-piece design makes it easy to carry and store when not in use
- Multiple steel spikes allow air, fertilizer, and water to reach the plant root system
- A unique stirrup handle ensures a strong grip and reduces strain on your back
- It is ideal for small gardens
- The prongs might be too short for your needs
- Some users said that the aerator was easily bent
7. Yard Butler IM-7C Multi Spike Lawn Aerator
The last product on this list of the best lawn aerator is the Yard Butler IM-7C Multi Spike Lawn Aerator.
It features powder-coated steel construction. It can effectively resist rust and water damage to ensure long-lasting operation.
Additionally, this Yard Butler lawn coring aerator tool boasts four three-inch spikes. These can penetrate the ground and loosen any compacted soil. The spike aeration method can also stimulate plant growth by letting air, water, and other nutrients down to the roots.
Furthermore, the manual lawn aerator stands at around 36 inches. It allows you to tend to your lawn without experiencing back strain.
There is even a foot bar that offers extra leverage to ensure ease of use.
Despite these benefits, it is still essential to consider the downsides of this product. First, some users said that this aeration tool was difficult to use on firm soil. Second, a few customers commented that the spikes might be too short for your needs.
It is hard to beat the Yard Butler IM-7C Multi Spike Lawn Aerator, though, for its price point. For this reason, I included this particular item on this list of the best lawn aerators available today.
- It includes four three-inch spikes to create tiny holes on the ground and promote plant growth
- The powder-coated steel material is rust-resistant to last you for a long time
- The 36-inch fixed height reduces the chances of back strain
- It comes with a foot bar for ease of use
- It is difficult to use unless the soil is soft, according to several users
- The spikes for aeration might be too small for your needs
How to Choose the Best Lawn Aerator for Your Needs
If you are still unsure of which best lawn aerator to buy for your needs, fret not. Below, I will talk about the factors you need to look into to ensure you will get the most out of your money.
Type of Lawn Aerator
When shopping for a lawn aerator, you will encounter four common types. Each one includes its own pros and cons.
The first type of lawn aerator is a manual model. It involves punching holes into the lawn repeatedly, so air and water can get to the plant roots. However, it requires a lot of effort and can get tiring. It is ideal if you are only working in a small garden.
The manual rolling drum is another type of lawn aerator. It saves you time and effort in labor because you simply walk across the lawn while pushing the roller. The weight of the drum does all the work for you to ensure the grass is properly maintained.
A powered or electric aerator is also labor-saving like the manual rolling drum. Most models are a combination of an aerator and scarifier, which ultimately give you dual benefits for the price of one item. However, this type of lawn aerator uses metal blades instead of spikes or tines. Hence, it can only create shallow slits rather than deep holes. Nevertheless, a mechanical aerator can still allow air, water, and other nutrients to move through the top layer of soil.
Finally, spike shoes are another type of lawn aerator. They are cheap and easy to use because they only require you to wear them to create a hole in the ground. The only downside is that they only work on soft ground in small yards.
It is also essential to consider your lawn size before buying a lawn aerator. The free space in your garden will determine what type of lawn aerator you should buy.
If you have a small garden or an irregularly-shaped green space, it is best to choose a push aerator. You might also want to get a handheld model or a pair of aerator shoes. However, when using these types of lawn aerators, you have to be aware that they will take a lot of effort to puncture a hole into the lawn. The manual labor involved might be tolerable for small yards, but you have to consider a powered model for bigger gardens.
Consider a tow-behind aerator or an electric model if you own a large lawn. These lawn aerators are convenient to use because they can create a hole in the ground with less time and labor. With that said, they can be relatively difficult to assemble and set up. They are also more expensive than manual lawn aerators.
The durability of the material is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best lawn aerator for your needs.
Look for models that use stainless, galvanized, or heat-treated steel for the spikes or tines. These construction materials can effectively resist rust and rough terrains.
You might also want to consider the framework of tow-behind aerators. Powder-coated frames, trays, and other components can withstand weather damage. Hence, they can help aerate your lawn for years to come.
Weight and Mobility
When choosing a lawn aerator, you have to choose the right balance between weight and mobility. You need to ensure the garden tool is heavy enough to get into the soil. At the same time, you must guarantee that it is not too bulky, which restricts you from using and operating the aerator properly.
It is also best to consider the type of lawn aerator you intend to purchase.
For large tow-behind models, you should not buy a unit that weighs more than 90 pounds. Any heavier and you might have difficulty maneuvering the aerator around garden beds. You might also find that the assembly or setup time is not worth it.
If you are buying a manual lawn aerator, you should choose one that weighs less than five pounds. You need to ensure that they are light and mobile enough, so you can easily lift them out of the soil.
Ease of Assembly
You also have to ask yourself how much time and effort you are willing to spend before buying the best lawn aerator.
If you cannot be bothered with any complicated assembly, go with manual models. You can use them right out of the box to create holes in the ground and promote a healthier lawn.
Those who want to buy powered models or tow-behind aerators can expect to spend some time setting up the tool. Just make sure to read customer reviews to have a basic idea about the ease and clarity of instructions given by the manufacturer.
Finally, do not forget to think about the other features you might need during the aeration process of your garden.
For instance, when shopping for manual models, you might want to get one with an ergonomic handle design. It ensures ease of use when operating the aerator.
Another feature to look into is an aerator or spreader comb. It can help distribute grass seeds while the spikes aerate the soil.
The knife or spike length is also an important factor to consider. The longer the spikes, the deeper they can allow you to drive the aerator into the soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better: spike or plug aerator?
The answer would depend on your needs.
Spike aerators feature sharp spikes that can effectively penetrate into the ground. Meanwhile, plug aerators take advantage of hollow tines to remove plugs of thatch or soil when you push them into the ground.
The former offers short-term soil decompaction since you do not remove any turf. Hence, spike aeration is only ideal for small lawns, which suffer from mild compaction.
On the other hand, plug aeration provides long-term results because it removes loam from the core to create air spaces. It is suitable for fixing severe soil compaction in large gardens.
How often should I aerate the lawn?
How often you should aerate your lawn will depend on several factors, the most important one being the soil conditions where you live. That is because different soil types require aerating more often than other kinds of soil.
If you live in a place where heavy clay soil is prominent, it is best to aerate your lawn once a year because this soil type can easily compact.
Those who have sandier soils can get away with aerating once every two years. You do not have to do it regularly since this kind of soil does not compact as quickly.
Besides the soil type, you also have to consider the foot traffic on your lawn. If you tend to have lots of people running around the garden during the summer, you need to aerate more often.
Will aerating my lawn help grass grow?
Aeration can enhance grass growth by relieving soil compaction. It creates space that allows air, water, and other essential nutrients to reach the root of the plants.
Can I use a garden fork to aerate my lawn?
Yes, you can use a garden fork to aerate your lawn, given that it is a small space. Simply insert the spikes at least four or five inches deep into the ground, then pull back the fork. You can expect the grass to lift a little. Repeat the previous steps until you have successfully aerated your garden.
That sums up this article about the best lawn aerators on the market today! Each one features sturdy steel material that can penetrate the ground and allow nutrients to reach your plant.
But if I can only recommend one, it would be the VonHaus 2 in 1 Electric Lawn Dethatcher Scarifier & Aerator. It offers two tools in one, namely a separate dethatcher and aerator drums. Hence, it lets you remove thatch on the topsoil and create holes in the ground to promote healthy grass growth. There is also a large collection bag that automatically gathers lawn debris for easy disposal. Plus, the manual lever allows you to choose between five operational heights. Finally, the thermal cut-out and a two-stage safety start can guarantee safe operation.