the best lawn dethatchers

A lawn dethatcher is a piece of outdoor equipment for removing thatch from your lawn. In its simplest form, it looks like a garden rake with springy blades called tines, that can be pulled through your lawn, combing through it to remove thatch embedded between the grass line and the soil.

Thatch is the light brown layer that builds up over time between your lawn grasses and the soil. It’s largely made up of decaying organic matter like dead and compressed grass, leaves, stem, runners and roots.

Moderate amounts of it is okay, but when it has built up over a few years without being checked it starts preventing air and vital nutrients needed for your turf to grow properly.

It even harbors insects and pests which further harms and inhibits the growth of your lawn. That’s why you should use a lawn dethatcher to get rid of it.

Signs Your Lawn Needs Dethatching

signs your lawn needs dethatching

Lawn dethatching is not something that should be done regularly like mowing, but if your turf starts showing the following signs, then there’s likely too much thatch that needs to be removed.

  • If it stops growing and starts getting brown and patchy. Thatch build-up inhibits lawn growth because it prevents water and necessary nutrients from getting to the roots. This will in turn stop the grasses from growing and even cause them to die.
  • If it does not respond well to watering and fertilizer application. No matter what you do, a browning turf caused by thatch build-up will not respond well to watering, fertilizer application or even reseeding it, unless the thatch is removed.
  • If your turf is spongy. You can use a trowel to cut out a sample of the turf, making sure you cut deep enough to see the soil. Then you can measure the layer of thatch. If it’s over 3/4 inch thick, then you probably need to get the lawn dethatcher out.

If you notice the signs above, then it’s very likely that it’s too much thatch inhibiting the growth of your turf.

Our Top Picks


Brinly DT-402BH-A


Best Electric

Best Tow-Behind

Best Budget

  • Corded Electric

  • 15 Inch Working Width

  • Height Adjustable

  • 12.5 Amps Motor

  • Type - Tow Behind

  • 40 Inch Working Width

  • Height Adjustable

  • 20 Spring Steel Tines

  • Corded Electric

  • 14 Inch Working Width

  • Height Adjustable

  • 10 Amp Motor

Which Type Of Dethatcher Is Right For You?

There’re two main types of lawn dethatchers available as you can see from the ones listed above. They are:

  • Electric Walk-Behind or Push-Behind and
  • Tow-Behind


electric lawn dethatcher

Electric walk-behind or push dethatchers are the most common you’ll find in most homes or yards. They’re basically like walk-behind lawn mowers, but they’re mostly corded electric and self-propelled to an extent.

You just have push them like a normal mower through your turf to remove the thatch. They have a cylindrical drum underneath from which there are several spring steel tines which rotate and dig into the soil to remove the thatch.

The tines in this type of dethatchers are not very long, so if the grass in your lawn is very long, it’s important to cut or mow it first before dethatching it.

So, if you’re a simple homeowner with a small to medium sized lawn around your property, this is the type you want to go for.



Tow-behind lawn dethatchers are heavy-duty units that come with a drawbar and hitch pin that allows you to attach them to tractors and riding lawn mowers, so they can be dragged through the lawn, removing the thatch in the process.

It’s usually in the form of a flat steel deck, about 40 to 50 cm wide with long spring steel tines attached underneath which help rake out the thatch.

Sometimes, heavy load like concrete blocks can be placed on top of the deck while dragging it through the yard to help the tines penetrate the soil better.

Depending on the hardness of the soil, you may not need to add the load. Only the weight of the equipment might just be enough to penetrate the soil to the appropriate extent to remove the thatch.

Tow-behind lawn dethatchers are usually ideal for very large lawns of several acres due to their wider size and efficiency.

How you prevent thatch from building up too fast

You can do that by always removing excess grass clippings from the lawn after mowing. You can use a lawn sweeper or a leaf blower to blow them off and gather them for disposal.

Leaving excess clippings on the surface of the turf does not help, but can cause cause thatch to build up faster than it should.

However, no matter how careful you are and how much you maintain your yard, thatch is eventually going to build up as the years roll by.

When this happens, you can either hire a professional to help you get rid of it or you can buy a lawn dethatcher equipment and get the job done yourself.

We’ve reviewed several lawn dethatchers and have listed 7 of the best here (both walk-behind and tow-behind models) so you can choose the right one for your project.

1. Brinly DT-402BH-A 40-Inch Tow Behind Lawn Dethatcher

Brinly DT-402BH-A tow-behind lawn dethatcher

Key Specs:

  • Type – Tow-Behind
  • Working Width – 40 Inches
  • Number of Tines – 20
  • Grass Box / Sweeper Not Included

If thatch has taken over your lawn, and you’re looking to get rid of it, then one of the best lawn dethatchers you can use for this is this highly effective one from the folks at Brinly.

It’s the Brinly DT-402BH-A. When you buy it, you get a 40-inch equipment with 2 rows laid with 10 spring steel tines (20 total) that flex independently as they’re dragged through your turf grass, combing through it and removing the unwanted thatch efficiently.

With the thatch exposed above the turf surface, you can go ahead to sweep them off using a lawn sweeper, or you can just mulch it down.

When using the Brinly DT-402BH-A, you can set it to work at 3 different modes depending on what you’re trying to do.

First of all, you can place it in transport mode when you’re crossing driveways or walkways by simply lowering the no-flat tires it has.

Then when you’re on the turf you can raise the wheels so that the tines penetrate the surface, and then you can simply pull it through the lawn to remove the thatch.

To make it work better, you can add weights on top of the dethatcher plate so that it penetrates more into the soil to remove the thatch thoroughly and even scarify the lawn. This should come in handy when you’re trying to seed your lawn.

The Brinly DT-402BH-A comes equipped with an engagement lever which makes it possible for you to raise and lower the transport wheels right from the driver’s seat.

As for the part that does the dirty work, the tines. They’re 3/16 inches in diameter, made of spring steel and stay flexible as long as long as you want.

The tines come pre-assembled to the dethatcher plate, so you don’t really have much assembling to do when you get the equipment.

The whole construction is made of quality heavy-duty steel, with the plate having the capacity to hold up to 70 lbs of additional weight for a more aggressive dethatching.

Overall, the Brinly DT-402BH-A is one of the best tow-behind dethatcher you can get your hands on, to get rid of the thatch in your lawn.

What we like about it:

  • Works with any lawn tractor or riding mower
  • Ideal for large acres of land
  • Very sturdy – high quality all still construction
  • Moves through the soil easily

Where it can be improved:

  • Assembly can be difficult and takes time
  • It’s big and takes a lot of storage space

2. Greenworks 14 Inch Corded Electric Push Dethatcher

Greenworks 14 inch 10 Amps Corded Dethatcher

Key Specs:

  • Type – Corded Electric Walk-Behind
  • 14-Inch Working Width
  • 18 Spring Steel Tines
  • Grass Box / Sweeper Not Included

At first thought, looking at the size and the price, I thought the Greenworks 14 inch electric dethatcher wouldn’t really work properly or be effective due to the type of job in question i.e. pulling out thatch from lawns.

However, the incredible reviews it’s garnered made us check it out, and it turns out, it ain’t no joke to laugh about.

Turns out, it’s a top-notch electric tool you can rely on to get rid of the thatch in your lawn. It’s a corded electric dethatcher, so you don’t have to buy fuel to get it work. It’s efficient, and does the job of removing thatch from your lawn effectively.

All, you have to do is plug it in to an electric power outlet, push the start button, and push it around your lawn like you’re mowing the grass. It’s even self-propelling so you don’t have to exact too much force to get it going.

Even more surprising is the relatively low price it retails for. Just a little over the price for renting one at your local hardware store.

It comes equipped with a 10 amp motor which provides the mechanical power that drives 18 sharp tines spread over a 14 inch width as you push it through your lawn.

The tines can be moved or adjusted in 3 different position or depth depending on how much thatch you want to remove.

Also included when you purchase it is a full set of replacement tines for the 18 tines already installed in it.

Take care not to stay in one position when the machine is working as it can damage the grass when left running in the same position for long.

For optimum performance, try to make use of a heavy duty extension cord when connecting it to a power outlet.

To be specific, for an extension cord that is 50 feet or less in length, the wire gauge size (A.W.S) needs to be 14. Anything less than that can result in voltage drop and loss of power, which can cause the motor to overheat, and possibly breakdown.

Overall, the Greenworks 14 inch corded electric lawn dethatcher is definitely one of the best equipment you can get if you’re looking for something effective but inexpensive to get rid of the thatch inhibiting the growth of your lawn.

Of course everything is not rosy when it comes to using this equipment. You’re limited by the length of power cord you use for it, and the position of your power outlet.

You can only go as far as your extension cord will allow. Though this is one limitation that cannot be avoided when it comes to corded electric tools.

What we like about it:

  • Easy assembly
  • Removes thatch efficiently
  • It’s not difficult to push – self propels
  • It’s easy to maintain – no engine parts to service

Where it can be improved:

  • It does not come with a grass box for collecting the thatch

3. ​Agri Fab 45-0295 Tow-Behind Lawn Dethatcher

Agri Fab 45-0295 48 inch tow behind lawn dethatcher

Key Specs:

  • 48-Inch Working Width
  • Tow-Behind
  • 24 Spring Steel Tines
  • Grass Box / Sweeper Not Included

Agri-Fab produces different sizes of tow-behind tine dethatchers with different tray sizes, from 40 inches to 48 inches.

The longer the tray size, the wider the area you can dethatch in one pass, allowing you to cover more ground in less time.

This Agri-Fab 45-0295 is the 48-inch size which is the widest you’ll find in their lineup, and it’s also the ideal one for a very big yard.

The 48-inch tray is capable of holding up to 70 lbs. of extra weight for more efficient penetration of the tines through the soil, a more aggressive and effective dislodging of the bedded grass and highly packed roots that make up the thatch.

The 24 spring tines below the weight-carrying tray are heat-treated to protect them against rust and keep them working in good condition for years.

You can be rest assured it will be compatible with the tractor you have as it’s equipped with a universal hitch that attaches to any brand and type of tractor.

Also included are 7-inch no-flat wheels which comes in handy for transporting the equipment especially when pulling it over driveways and walkways.

Right from the driver’s seat, you can use a cantilever transport handle it comes with to raise and lower the trail and tines on and off the lawn. This also comes in handy for raising the whole equipment and riding on the wheels when you have to drive over a hard surface like your driveway.

Rest assured, the Agri Fab 45-0295 will definitely stand the test of time because it’s made with heavy-gauge steel material.

What we like about it:

  • Very sturdy – made with heavy-duty gauge steel
  • Penetrates the soil and removes thatch properly
  • Can be installed on any type of riding lawn mower or tractor
  • Moves around easily

Where it can be improved:

  • Assembly is quite difficult and takes time

4. Sun Joe AJ801E

Sun Joe AJ801E Lawn Dethatcher

Key Specs:

  • Corded Electric Walk-Behind
  • 13-Inch Working Width
  • Adjustable Tine Depth
  • Grass Box / Sweeper Included

Another effective electric lawn dethatcher you can use on your turf and promote healthy grass growth is the Sun Joe AJ801E.

It’s the ideal equipment you need if you’re working on an average or midsized lawn.

It covers a 13-inch wide path in every pass, which is not the widest you’ll find, but with this you can cover some ground quickly if the yard is not very large.

A powerful 12 amp motor provides the power required to make everything work. To start working with it, all you have to do is push a button, and push it forward.

Sun Joe employs their AirBoost technology which enhances the equipment by engaging spring the steel tines for maximum thatch remover.

The Sun Joe AJ801E comes equipped with a 5 position depth control knob which you can use to control how much the tines penetrate the turf. You can raise and lower the tines from -0.4 inches below the soil to 0.4 inches above the soil.

It also features an adjustable handle you can set to whatever height you’re comfortable with.

sun joe aj801e dethather

The Sun Joe AJ801E 12 Amp electric lawn dethatcher is not the biggest one you’re going to find out there, but it’s definitely one of the most effective and ergonomic thatch removing equipment and machine you can get your hands on today.

It even comes with a thatch bag that helps sweep the turf as you push it through.

Although the catch bag is a bit small, that means you’ll have to remove and empty it frequently. Getting it installed again is also very easy.

Overall, this Sun Joe AJ801E is definitely one of the best outdoor power equipment for removing lawn thatch. So, feel free to go with Joe on this one.

What we like about it:

  • Very easy to maneuver
  • It works efficiently
  • No much assembly needed
  • Requires very little maintenance
  • It’s not noisy and will not disturb the neighbors

Where it can be improved:

  • Small 13 inch cutting capacity means you have to make several passes if you have a large lawn.

5. VonHaus 15 Inch 2 in 1 Lawn Dethatcher And Aerator

VonHaus 2-in-1 lawn dethatcher

Key Specs:

  • Type – Corded Electric Walk-Behind
  • 15-Inch Working Width
  • Motor Speed – 3600 RPM
  • Adjustable Tine Depth
  • Grass Box Included

The VonHaus 15 inch 2 in 1 lawn dethatcher and aerator allows you to not only rid your lawn of the unhealthy thatch inhibiting its growth, but also helps the grasses start growing quickly by aerating it at the same time.

With a working width of just 15 inches, this VonHaus unit allows you to work on small to mid-size lawns comfortably.

It’s a walk or push behind model, which means you have to push it along the lawn to get it to work.

Although, you won’t have to exert much force on your part, as the movement of the tines underneath it also propels the machine forward.

The 12.5 Amps motor it comes with produces up to 3600 RPM of speed which ensures that the tines penetrate the turf without getting stuck.

Using a simple hand lever, the depth of the tines can be adjusted between 5 operational heights depending on the condition on the turf.

To make cleanup easier, a 47QT grass box is included to collect the thatches removed as the tines comb through the turf.

What we like about it:

  • Requires very little maintenance
  • Super lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Doesn’t require much assembly work
  • It works efficiently – pulls out lots of thatch

Where it can be improve:

  • The grass bag is very small, fills up easily, and it’s almost unnecessary

6. Earthwise DT71613

Earthwise DT71613

Key Specs:

  • Corded Electric Work-Behind
  • 16-Inch Working Width
  • 45 Spring Tines
  • 10 Gallon Grass Catcher Present
  • Adjustable Depth
  • Adjustable Handle Height

If you’re looking for a corded electric dethatcher that you can use to get your lawn growing healthily again, then one of the best ones I recommend on is this Earthwise DT71613 shown above.

All you need to get it running is electricity from a nearby power outlet close to your lawn and a long enough extension cord for a wide reach.

With a working width of 16 inches and 45 spring tines made of zinc-plated piano wires spread over the 16 inch width, you can cover a wide area in just one pass.

The Earthwise DT71613 comes equipped with a 13 Amp motor which delivers enough power to help comb through your turf with ease, removing every harmful growth-inhibiting thatch from the soil.

A very good feature of this Earthwise DT71613 is the adjustable working depth. You can adjust how far the tines plunge into the grass and soil to remove the thatch.

The depth can be adjusted from -0.4 inches to 0.4 inches to either scratch the grass surface or comb through the roots for deep dethatching, depending on the severity or the amount of thatch accumulation.

Equipped with a 10 gallon grass catcher at the rear, this Earthwise DT71613 leaves nothing behind as you walk it through the turf, making cleanup later much easier.

What we like about it:

  • Easy maintenance
  • Very little assembly needed
  • It’s works really well, removing lots of thatch.
  • Self-propels, requiring very little effort to push

Where it can be improved:

  • No grass bag included

7. Goplus 2-in-1 Corded Electric Lawn Dethatcher and Scarifier

Goplus 2-in-1 Corded Electric Lawn Dethatcher

Key Specs:

  • Type – Electric Walk-Behind
  • Working Width – 15 Inch
  • Motor Speed – 3500 RPM
  • Grass Box / Sweeper – Present
  • Adjustable Depth
  • Adjustable Handle Height

This Goplus electric dethatcher is very similar to the Rock&Rocker I already mentioned above. The difference is that this has a width capacity of 15-inch while the RockY&Rocker has width of 16-inch. Just a 1-inch difference.

The Goplus comes equipped with a 13-amp motor which produces a 3500 RPM speed. That produces enough power to cut through thick lawns and pull out thatches with ease.

It also has 5 depth settings which allows you to adjust it depending on the type of grass and soil you’re working on.

Also included is a 50L grass box that helps collect all the thatch removed from the soil during use.

The handle can be adjusted according to the height of the user and the slope of the ground for easy and comfortable operation. After use, the handle can be folded in without using additional tools and the grass box can be removed for easy storage.

What we like about it:

  • It’s self-propelled and don’t need much efforts to push.
  • Works efficiently and removes lots of thatch in one pass.
  • It’s not noisy since it’s electric.
  • It’s easy to maintain.
  • It’s easy to assemble.

Where it can be improved:

  • Assembly manual is not straightforward

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    1. Hello Phil. Thanks for your feedback. Please know that you can click through the “Check Price’ button under each of the dethatcher images to check their prices and compare them.

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