The long days of summer are starting to draw in, the trees taking on the warm, earthy tones of autumn, and the prospect of crisp mornings and cozy nights in front of the fire lie ahead.
I love fall decor. I think about decorating the table with an Instagram-worthy rustic centerpiece of flickering candles, and festooning the deck with my pumpkin harvest, lit up with carefully placed fairy lights.
Carved jack-o’-lanterns and mulled wine, bronze-gold tones adorning my porch, and bringing in the last of the summer harvest – I love autumn!
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Unfortunately, at this time of year my yard takes on its own version of “fall decor.” Leaves. Lots and lots of leaves billowing in the wind and finding their way into just about every crevice of my garden.
And that’s one chore we gardeners can’t avoid: raking leaves. And you may not want to listen to the whine of a leaf blower and they often don’t work very well when the ground outside stays wet for a prolonged period of time.
In the interests of efficiency and – dare I say – laziness, I’ve tried a number of leaf rakes in an effort to find the best tool for the job.
Join me as we take a look at the best leaf rakes so we can get the job done quickly and go back to mulling wine and carving pumpkins!
7 of the Best Leaf Rakes
1. Top Pick Up Front: Razor-Back 24-Tine Steel
One of my favorites is the RazorBack 24-Tine Steel Rake, available at Tractor Supply. It’s a solid and durable choice for weekend gardeners with lots of leaves to collect.
The steel head offers a flexible coil spring mechanism for smooth and responsive raking action, which is easier on the arms and upper body. The 24-inch-wide head is also bolted to the handle with double bolts for a secure connection.
Its fiberglass handle is lightweight and durable, weighing two and a half pounds, and the cushioned grip is comfortable for the hands, which can become weary after raking up pile after pile.
The rake’s 68-inch length (51 inches of which is handle) offers plenty of reach, so it’s ideal for taller folk, too.
I’ve had problems in the past with individual tines falling out of other rakes, so I appreciate the one-piece head on this model, which prevents that from happening.
And it won’t just make short work of your autumn leaves, either. This versatile rake is sturdy enough to cope with small stones, twigs, and lawn thatch.
The manufacturer provides a lifetime warranty for your peace of mind.
Sturdy, versatile, lightweight, and comfortable to use, the Razor-Back is my go-to leaf rake. Will it be yours?
2. Ames 22-Tine Steel
With a hardwood handle and a robust steel head that’ll make light work of your fall cleanup, check out the Ames 22-Tine Steel Rake, available at Home Depot.
It features a 22-inch, one-piece head with flexible steel tines, bolted to the wooden handle for a secure connection.
The coil spring mechanism allows for comfortable raking action. The handle features a six-inch cushioned grip for extra comfort.
This model is lightweight, at two and a half pounds, but the tines are sturdy enough to handle wet debris, twigs, and small stones. Thanks to the one-piece head construction, the tines won’t pull loose.
Made in the USA, this product comes with a 15-year warranty for peace of mind.
3. Bully Tools 30-Inch
If you’re looking for a professional-grade, jumbo rake that’s lightweight, check out the Bully Tools 30-inch Leaf Rake, available from Amazon.
The wide polypropylene head is curved to allow for even pressure across all the tines, which have angled teeth to make short work of leaves and cut grass.
As the name suggests, the tines fan out to a massive 30 inches wide, and are particularly effective at cleaning up wet leaf material. The reinforced ridges on both sides of the tines prevent them from breaking, even during heavy use.
Cleaning it is a breeze. It seldom gets clogged up and a quick spray with the hose will have it looking good as new.
And here’s a tip for you: Spray plastic tines with silicone spray for easy-release debris. You can find silicone spray from Sprayway on Amazon.
The 68-inch long handle is constructed from fiberglass and coated with polyester to make it more durable and comfortable to use. A short cushioned section of the handle adds to the overall comfort.
This model stands 72 inches tall, with 68 inches of that being the length of the fiberglass handle, and weighs three pounds.
The rake ships in two parts and minor assembly is required – all you need is a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.
If you are raking a large area or have a lot of wet, soggy debris, the Bully Tools should be top of your list.
Made in the USA, the Bully Tools 30-inch leaf rake comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
4. Bully Tools 8-Inch Shrub Rake
If your landscape cleanup calls for a shrub rake, which features a narrow head for getting into tight spots, consider this model from Bully Tools, available via Amazon.
The eight-inch-wide head is perfect for getting in and around plants without risking damage to the foliage. As any seasoned gardener knows, those pesky leaves can find their way into pretty much any spot!
With powder-coated, tempered steel tines, and a 54-inch polyester-coated fiberglass handle, it’s sturdy, strong, and long enough to reach into narrow and awkward areas.
This is a heavy-duty model, weighs just over two pounds and is built to last.
It is also available with a short, 32-inch handle, weighing just two pounds.
The steel tines are easy to clean, and the durable, powder-coated finish prevents rusting.
Made in the USA, Bully Tools provides a limited lifetime warranty for your peace of mind.
5. Emsco Cavex Series 22.5-Inch Poly
If you want a lightweight, economical model to take care of dry leaves the Emsco Cavex 22.5-inch, available from Home Depot, is ideal for light garden duty.
It features 23 flexible polyresin tines on a very slightly curved head, and a 48-inch hardwood handle, with an overall length of 61.5 inches.
This model isn’t suitable for raking wet leaves or heavier garden debris. At 22.5 inches wide, the compact head is ideal for smaller yards that require a light fall cleanup.
For a basic rake to take care of autumn leaves, the Emsco is an economical choice, and it ships with a one year warranty.
6. Flexrake 30-Inch Bamboo
Many gardeners swear by bamboo for its flexibility. A bamboo rake will undertake light garden tasks, and as it is made from natural products, it’s an eco-friendly option.
Rakes made from this material can be tricky to find, but we like this Flexrake 30-inch model, available on Amazon. Its 30 bamboo tines are secured by a rust-proof spreader band.
It’s mostly suitable for raking dry leaves from the lawn, and will not handle heavy-duty yard waste such as gravel, twigs, or wet debris.
This tool is lightweight at just under two pounds, and has a 48-inch handle. It comes with a limited five-year manufacture-defect warranty.
7. Gardenite Adjustable
If storage space is tight, you might consider this adjustable model from Gardenite, available via Amazon.
Its 15-tine zinc-plated steel head expands from seven inches wide to 22 inches when fully extended.
You simply open a plastic lever to adjust the width of the head and then close the lever to lock the head at the desired width. It’s worth noting that when the head is adjusted to a narrow setting, this shortens the handle.
This product is ideal if you have hard to reach areas of the garden but don’t wish to purchase a separate shrub rake.
When the rake is adjusted to a wide width, the handle is 63 inches long.
This lightweight rake features a 3/4-inch zinc-plated steel handle that is rust-resistant. The downside to a metal handle is that it will be quite cold on chilly days, so you may want to wear gloves!
Weighing in at just over two pounds, this is a light-duty rake and is not suitable for rocks, wet leaves, or lawn thatch.
If you need a versatile rake that won’t take up lots of room in your shed, then check out the Gardenite Adjustable. The manufacturer provides a “100 percent satisfaction guarantee.”
Rake ‘Em In
Raking leaves isn’t the most glamorous of garden chores, but it’s a necessity. Having the right implement(s) for the job will make it less tiring and tedious.
The Razor-Back 24-Tine is an effective all-rounder, the metal tines are robust enough to handle wet leaves and the lightweight fiberglass handle is easy to manage.
For those with large backyards in need of the “big guns,” the Bully Tools 30-inch would be my top choice. The plastic tines will make short work of wet, claggy leaves.
And what to do with those leaves? Chuck them on the compost pile of course – or use them as mulch. We’ve got a complete guide to that, right here.
Now, the hard part: convincing yourself to brave brisk fall temperatures and get those leaves cleaned up!
What’s your favorite leaf rake type? Are you content with just one or do you have a variety of rakes in your shed? Let us know in the comments section below!
And for more gardening gear to add to your collection, check out these buying guides next:
- How to Pick the Best Splitting Maul for the Job
- Your Must-Have Tool this Winter: 7 Top-Rated Snow Shovels
- 5 Snow Blowers that Get the Job Done Right
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Ames, Bully Tools, Emsco, Flexrake, Gardenite, and Razor-Back. Originally published on October 20, 2017. Last updated September 17, 2020. Revised and expanded from an original article by Gretchen Heber. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
About Clare Groom
Clare Groom’s gardening experience ranges from tropical East Africa – where common crop pests included elephants as well as aphids – to growing a cottage garden in the Cotswolds, England. A writer from London, Clare retired from the high-octane world of professional financial futures trading to live a peaceful life in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand – and to pursue her love of words. When she's not writing and editing, she's chasing possums off her zucchini and renovating an old house in a small town – slowly, and not very surely.