Garden Rakes

Options for Different Scenerios

Written by Daniel Woodley. Reviewed by Elizabeth Smith. Published to Products on 27th March 2023.

Our editors publish helpful guides and insights learnt from years of experience and recent research. They also test, review and suggest plants and products. If you buy something via links, we may earn a commission, but we have a strict editorial process.

Jardineer 160cm Garden Leaf Rake, Telescopic Leaf Rake for Gardening, Garden Rake for Leaves Among Plants, Lawns and Yards. Adjustable Lawn Rake Head from 22cm to 59cm
Jardineer 160cm Garden Leaf Rake, Telescopic Leaf Rake for Gardening, Garden Rake for Leaves Among Plants, Lawns and Yards. Adjustable Lawn Rake Head from 22cm to 59cm
Jardineer 160cm Garden Leaf Rake, Telescopic Leaf Rake for Gardening, Garden Rake for Leaves Among Plants, Lawns and Yards. Adjustable Lawn Rake Head from 22cm to 59cm
Jardineer 160cm Garden Leaf Rake, Telescopic Leaf Rake for Gardening, Garden Rake for Leaves Among Plants, Lawns and Yards. Adjustable Lawn Rake Head from 22cm to 59cm

Not all garden rakes are made equal, and some perform well at certain tasks that others fail miserably at.

I’ve been using garden rakes for over 20 years in a professional and domestic capacity, and here are my favourite three rakes and why I rate them so highly.

I start off with a good all-round leaf rake, a decent tool that picks up all sorts of different lightweight materials without wrecking the garden.

Then I’ll show you a heavy-duty soil rake that’s perfect for levelling soil and pulling out large stones.

Finally, I will show you a landscaping rake that I’ve used thousands of times, mostly to level soil and pull out stones on larger projects.

A Great All-Round Leaf Rake

This is the rake I use the most in my garden at home:

Best garden rake

This rake is fully adjustable, so it meets my needs perfectly.

I have pine trees in my garden and the cones get everywhere, they embed in the lawn and ruin it, and they are uncomfortable to walk on.

In the summer, I rake the lawn once a week and yank them out, so I need a rake that won’t wreck the lawn but gets the job done.

With this rake, I can easily adjust the width of the tines, so they are just wide enough to pick up the cones:

Wire rake

If I need to rake up pine needles, it only takes me a few seconds to adjust the width and make it narrower, that’s handy for getting around my shrubs too:

Wire rake set to narrow width

I can widen it right out so it picks up larger items:

Wire rake at the widest setting

During my years of use and testing, I’ve found the narrow metal spikes are perfect for scratching the soil on the lawn and loosening it up so I can overseed.

This rake by Jardineer is my number leaf rake choice and if I had to choose just one rake to store in my shed, it would be this one.

Key Specs

Handle length: 160cm but a 180cm model is also available too.

Handle closed length: 160cm handle closes to 80cm. 

Handle width: 2.5cm

Head width: Adjustable from 19cm to 59cm.

Number of tines: 15

Construction: Steel head and aluminium handle.

Weight: 0.62kg.

What I Liked

  • I found it to be very lightweight, so it would be perfect for raking leaves, twigs, lawn moss, pine needles and cones.
  • Suitable for the elderly or those with weak arms.
  • I liked how it collapsed to a much smaller size, which is perfect for me as I have limited storage space.
  • The adjustable head is a feature I often use as I switch from picking up larger leaves and twigs to smaller pine needles and cones.
  • I use it as a handheld rake often as well, usually when I’m tidying up around the shrubs.

What I Disliked

  • This is not a heavy-duty rake for lifting heavy stones or working in topsoil. It’s a lightweight rake that I’ve found is best for leaves and general tidying up around the garden.
  • It would be nice if the wire tines were a tiny bit thicker and sturdier.
  • The plastic locking mechanism feels a little flimsy.
Jardineer 160cm Garden Leaf Rake, Telescopic Leaf Rake for Gardening, Garden Rake for Leaves Among Plants, Lawns and Yards. Adjustable Lawn Rake Head from 22cm to 59cm
Jardineer 160cm Garden Leaf Rake, Telescopic Leaf Rake for Gardening, Garden Rake for Leaves Among Plants, Lawns and Yards. Adjustable Lawn Rake Head from 22cm to 59cm
Jardineer 160cm Garden Leaf Rake, Telescopic Leaf Rake for Gardening, Garden Rake for Leaves Among Plants, Lawns and Yards. Adjustable Lawn Rake Head from 22cm to 59cm
Jardineer 160cm Garden Leaf Rake, Telescopic Leaf Rake for Gardening, Garden Rake for Leaves Among Plants, Lawns and Yards. Adjustable Lawn Rake Head from 22cm to 59cm

The Classic Rake

I define a classic rake as one that has:

  • Wooden handle.
  • Steel head.
  • A head that will fit most wooden handles.
  • Solid, thick tines.

I owned this rake by Draper for a number of years, and at my previous property, where I had larger flowerbeds, I used it several times each year:

Classic garden rake

This is a really good rake for working the soil and pulling out stones and other objects.

The head isn’t too wide and I found it perfect for general soil use around shrubs, in borders and also when preparing the soil for grass seed.

The tines are nice and thick and the head was heavy enough that it dug into the soil sufficiently.

In my opinion, it’s a good all-round soil rake.

Key Specs

Handle length: 155cm.

Head width: Adjustable from 28cm.

Number of tines: 12

Construction: Carbon steel head and wooden handle.

Weight: 1.06kg.

What I Liked

  • The head is universal, so it will fit onto any wooden handle – unlike many other brands that I’ve found only fit their handles.
  • It’s just the right size to fit around my shrubs but not so small that it takes a lot of effort to work the soil.
  • When I tested it, I found the tines were just the right size to hook out larger stones.

What I Disliked

  • A longer handle would be nice as I’m quite tall and I found it a bit short.
  • The handle was straight and not very ergonomic and I did get a few blisters when I first started using it.
Draper 14306 Carbon Steel Garden Rake with Ash Handle
Draper 14306 Carbon Steel Garden Rake with Ash Handle
Draper 14306 Carbon Steel Garden Rake with Ash Handle
Draper 14306 Carbon Steel Garden Rake with Ash Handle

Pro Rake

If you’re looking for the best rake to pull out stones from the soil over a wide area, I think your best bet is to go with a Carters rake.

I used to work for a landscape gardening firm and we always had several of these in the work van, the company owner would only ever buy Carters rakes as the quality was so good.

There are plenty to choose from but for finishing off the soil and yanking out stones when prepping the surface, we always used the 32 tine Carters:

Carters rake

I found that this professional-grade rake was light enough to be used all day and every day, but was sturdy enough to withstand the rigours of professional use.

Whenever we were prepping the soil for a new lawn or similar, this would be our go-to rake.

Key Specs

Handle length: 137cm.

Head width: 640mm.

Number of tines: 32

Construction: lightweight polypropylene and wooden handle.

Weight: 1.3kg.

What I Liked

  • This rake is perfect for finishing off the soil and getting it nice and level, and stone-free.
  • It’s lightweight, given its size.
  • Professional grade and suitable for use in large areas.
  • Compatible with any wooden handle.
  • I’ve used Carters rakes many times, and they are top quality.

What I Disliked

  • It’s not a general garden rake, but rather a tool for a specific task.
  • Not everyone will like the fact that the tines are made from plastic.

Carters doesn’t sell rakes to the general public directly, but you can contact them here and ask where their nearest retailer partner is.

Meet The Author: Daniel Woodley

Daniel has over 18 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, and landscape garden industries.

He previously worked as a project manager and has experience in managing teams of tradespeople and landscape gardeners on both small and medium sized projects.

Daniel is also a keen gardener and enjoys growing unusual plants and tending to his lawn.

More About Daniel Woodley.

Daniel Woodley

Why You Can Trust Us: Our Experience, Backed by a Qualified Horticulturist

We follow a detailed, rigorous process to create content that is helpful, factually correct and meets the highest standard of integrity.

Our 5-step process is:

1) We select a topic that we feel will help our readers.

2) The author creates the content based on their knowledge and experience of the subject. In this case, Daniel Woodley tested the wire rake over the course of an entire year and also wrote about his past experience with garden rakes.

3) We then ask an expert with qualifications in the relevant area to fact-check and review the content, which we update accordingly, if applicable.

4) The content is checked by the site owners and published.

5) We review the content yearly to ensure it’s still correct and relevant.

This guide was reviewed and fact-checked by Elizabeth Smith, who is a qualified horticulturist.

Explore: Elizabeth’s profile and qualifications.

Explore More of Our Content Below:

Our Lawn Care Guides

Let us help you grow the perfect garden lawn. We have over a dozen detailed guides for lawn care including many with step-by-step instructions. Start Here

Best Lawn Weed Killers

These lawn weed killers work, I know because I tested them on my lawn. Get rid of weeds and let your lawn thrive with our suggestions Start Here

Grass Seed For Shade

Grass needs sunlight to thrive but these varieties cope well in shade. Got a north facing garden? You should try these grass seeds. Start Here

This guide to garden rakes was published by DIY Gardening

About Us