When it comes to raking up fall leaves, you undoubtedly want to get this chore over and done with as quickly as possible, so you can get back inside to watch football or figure skating.
Of course, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place like the small New Jersey town where my dear friend Catherine lives, you simply push your leaves off your lawn and into the street near the curb, and the city comes and picks them up for you. But that’s another story.
Whether you corral your leaves into lawn bags or dump them at the curb, it’s important that you use the right tools for the job.
And though my beloved Monterrey oaks shed their leaves in late winter instead of exhibiting the prototypical New England and Mid-Atlantic autumn defoliation, the leaves still need to be gathered up.
In the interest of efficiency and — dare I say — laziness, I’ve tried a number of rakes in an effort to find the best tool for the job.
1. Our Top Pick Up Front: Razor-Back 24-Tine Steel
One of my favorites is the Razor-Back 24-Tine Steel Rake, available on Amazon. It’s a solid and durable choice for weekend gardeners with lots of leaves to collect.
I’ve had problems with individual tines falling out of other rakes, so I appreciate this rake’s one-piece head, which prevents that.
The steel head also offers a flexible coil spring 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 for a secure connection.
Its fiberglass handle is lightweight and durable, 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.
2. Just You and the Pandas: Flexrake 24-Inch
Many gardeners swear by bamboo for its flexibility and durability. Rakes made from this material can be tricky to find, but we like this Flexrake 24-inch model, available on Amazon. Its 26 tines are secured by a rust-proof spreader band.
This tool is lightweight at 1.5 pounds, and has a 48-inch handle. It comes with a limited 5-year manufacture defect warranty. Verified customers are very happy with its ease of use and light weight.
3. A Whopper Option: Ace 30-Inch
If you’re looking for a jumbo rake with poly tines, check out the Ace 30-inch Leaf Rake, available from Ace hardware. As the name suggests, the tines fan out to a massive 30 inches wide.
The plastic tines on this tool are particularly effective at cleaning up wet leaf material.
This model stands 60 inches tall, with 48 inches of that being the length of the fiberglass handle.
A short cushioned section of the handle adds comfort.
Customers like the sturdiness of this rake, and its affordability.
4. Tight Spots Are No Match: Truper 48-Inch Plastic
If your landscape cleanup calls for a shrub rake, which features a narrow head for tight spots, consider this model from Truper, available via Amazon.
This tool’s 8-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!
Its 4-foot North American ash handle is sturdy, strong, and long enough to reach into tight spots between bushes. A variety of additional styles and sizes are also available from Truper, and you can explore their product line on Amazon.
Its plastic tines are easy to clean with a garden hose, and here’s a tip for you: Spray plastic tines with silicone spray for easy-release leaves. You can find silicone spray from DuPont on Amazon.
Read customer reviews and check prices now for the Truper 48-inch plastic rake on Amazon.
5. One Size Fits Most: Gardenite Adjustable
If storage space is tight, you might consider this model from Gardenite, available via Amazon. Its 15-tine head expands from 7 inches to 22 inches when fully extended.
Open a plastic lever to adjust the width of the head and then close the lever to lock the head at the desired width.
At 63 inches long, this sturdy tool works well for tall users. This lightweight rake features a ¾-inch zinc-plated steel handle that is rust -resistant.
Time to Shop!
With a myriad of alternatives available, choosing a leaf rake can be tricky. But with luck you’ll find the perfect implement(s) from the options we’ve provided, whether you need plain jane, jumbo, tiny, or flexible.
Now, the hard part: convincing yourself to brave brisk fall temperatures and get those leaves cleaned up!
Product photos via Razor-Back, Flexrake, Ace Hardware Truper, DuPont, Gardenite. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
About Gretchen Heber
A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. She’s never met a succulent she didn’t like and gets really irritated every 3-4 years when Austin actually has a freeze cold enough to kill them. To Gretchen, nothing is more rewarding than a quick dash to the garden to pluck herbs to season the evening meal. And it’s definitely time for a happy dance when she’s able to beat the squirrels to the peaches, figs, or loquats.