Raking up leaves is a rite of fall. Sure, it’s great to see them sprout in spring, enjoy their protection in summer, and see all their rich colors as autumn approaches. But then – they fall. Depending on the size of your yard and how many trees you have, it can be anywhere from a mild inconvenience to a major project over several weekends.
To get the job done, you’ll need a quality leaf rake. There are many types of rake, but picking the right one for the job is key.
Form And Function Of A Leaf Rake
When choosing a leaf rake, the most important thing is, well, to choose a leaf rake. Other types of rake aren’t designed for this particular work. You need a rake that’s strong enough to do the job. Its tines should be sturdy and not bend or break even when dealing with piles of heavy, wet leaves.
A leaf rake generally has a fan shape, although some are more squared. The tines are not as thick as a garden (bow) rake. Instead, they’re normally long and thin.
What To Look For In A Leaf Rake
Leaf rakes generally come between 18” and 30” wide. However, it’s probably best to choose something in the middle of that range. If your rake is too narrow, that means extra time to cover the whole lawn. But if it’s too wide, you could be straining yourself trying to pull heavier loads.
Either plastic or metal tines can be durable enough to do the job. Metal tines tend to be more flexible. But if you’re dealing with wet leaves, that’s not a positive. In that case, plastic is the way to go. You could always wait until the leaves dry out, but that’s not always possible.
Metal, wood, and fiberglass handles all work well, too. Be sure to choose a handle that’s long enough for you to work with easily, without resorting to a lot of bending over. Also, many handles have a grip built in – this can make the work more comfortable.
Our Picks for the Best Leaf Rakes
There are a lot of great options, but we’ve looked around for some that stand out in the field. These rakes will hold up over time and get the job done. For most of us, it’s never going to be a fun task, but at least these tools will make it less annoying.
Fiskars is always a leader in garden tools, and they don’t disappoint with this leaf rake.
The tines of this rake are made of polycarbonate while the handle is aluminum. The head of the rake has a fan shape, although it’s not quite as curved as other models. Fiskers owns a patent on the shape of the tines, and they do appear to keep leaves from slipping through better than an average rake.
The head of the rake is 24” wide. The rake is a full 67” inches long. There is a grip at the top of the handle. The handle also has a slight contour to it which Fisker calls a “teardrop shape”. This is supposed to make it more comfortable, although that likely depends on the size of your hands.
The rake is durable and does a great job on the leaves. Fiskars backs it with a lifetime warranty, too.
Razor-back is another provider of quality lawn tools. We definitely like their entry in the 24” inch leaf rake category.
This rake has steel tines and a fiberglass handle. The handle is 51” and the overall length is 68.5”. There’s a comfortable grip on the handle. One of the nicest parts of the grip is that it’s a bit longer than most others, allowing you a bit of range for how you want to hold it.
The head of the rake bolts on so you don’t have to worry about it pulling off as you work. The tines are durable but the head itself is flexible thanks to a spring system on the back of the rake. Still, they’re strong enough that they won’t let leaves escape.
You can get a set of two great rakes for the price of one with this pack from Ames!
One piece is a 26-dual-tine leaf rake. The other is a 22-tine lawn rake. They both have steel handles with a rubber coating for comfort and rust-resistance.
Each piece has a 62-inch handle.
The smaller rake detaches from the back and is useful for reaches under trees, behind downspouts, and into other cramped spaces.
This product has a 15-year warranty.
This fan-shaped rake from Nupla features metal tines and a fiberglass handle. The overall unit measures 70”, which is on par with many other rakes. The handle is only 54”, though, which means the tines are much longer than other rakes. However, the shorter handle and longer tines seem to be common with fan-shaped rakes with metal tines. It doesn’t seem to affect usability at all.
The head of the rake measures 24” wide, right in our ideal range.
This rake seems durable and usable for wet or dry leaves.
Gonicc offers a quality rake. This model has metal tines. The width is adjustable, which means you can do “open yard” raking but also reach into narrow spaces that are otherwise hard to get.
The rake measures 63” inches (5 foot 3 inches) long and is made of metal. The handle can be adjusted to a shorter length as well. There is a handle on the end. Also, the piece in the middle is decorative and can serve as another hand grip.
It is a lightweight rake, and may not be strong enough for wet leaves. However, it does a good job with dry leaves as well as grass clippings or other light work.
A good rake can take most of the trouble out of cleaning up your yard each fall. You need one that is durable and ergonomically designed to help you do the job quickly and without strain. Metal and plastic tines can both work well; it depends on the design and strength in individual models. You can’t go wrong with the choices we’ve looked at here!