Popular mechanics; Courtesy Craftsman
If you have a yard and live in a treed area and the seasons change, leaves are an inescapable reality, which means raking is an unavoidable (and often dreaded) chore. A good leaf rake can help you finish this job quickly and conveniently with minimal back strain.
Best Leaf Rakes
The Expert: I have been involved in building, maintaining and renovating homes for over 30 years. I owned a maintenance and construction business with my husband for nearly 20 years, and we’re both avid do-it-yourselfers as well. I love my home – a repairman built in the 1800s that’s located in a rural mountainous area of Pennsylvania – but it can involve a lot of upkeep and maintenance, especially in the fall when our large yard is covered in an endless avalanche of leaves. Over the years I have used a wide variety of rakes and other tools and equipment to remove leaves. I prefer lightweight rakes with the widest heads available to help me get this task done as quickly as possible without unnecessary pain or strain.
What to consider
Leaf rakes have a series of long, fine tines that are usually constructed in a triangular or fan-shaped arrangement. In some cases these may be lined up in a straight, cohesive row resembling a comb, although rakes with this configuration are often classified as garden rakes.
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You will sometimes see the terms “lawn rake” and “leaf rake” used interchangeably, and some rakes are advertised as a dual purpose combination, but a leaf rake, as the name suggests, is specifically intended for collect leaves and light materials. , as opposed to branches, stones and other garden materials.
When buying leaf rakes, pay attention to the materials. Fiberglass or aluminum rakes tend to weigh less, while steel models offer longer-lasting durability and plastic options won’t rust.
It is also important to consider the size of the rake, including the length of the handle and the width of the fan-shaped end of the rake, called the head. Longer, wider rakes allow you to clear a larger area faster, but these larger rakes are often heavier and require more effort to manage. Rakes with smaller heads – narrower than about 10 inches – are ideal for cleaning hard-to-reach places.
To avoid back pain, make sure the handle is long enough that you don’t bend over to use your rake. As a general rule, the handle should reach at least chin height, and even better if it reaches your eyebrows or forehead. Some rakes have adjustable handles that you can adjust to the height that works best for you. This is especially handy if several people of different heights are sharing the rake.
How We Rated Leaf Rakes
In evaluating a wide variety of leaf rakes, I relied on personal experience. My home sits on over an acre of land which has lots of trees, so I’ve had lots of hands-on time with many different types of leaf rakes. In making these selections, I consulted manufacturers’ listings for relevant specifications related to materials, handle and head size, and weight. I also collected feedback from thousands of reviewers on Lowe’s, The Home Depot, and other retail sites. After reviewing all of this information, I picked these 10 models as recommendations for the best leaf rakes.