The Best Leaf Rakes for Fall Yard Work
Find the rake that’s the right size and style for all your autumn outdoor chores.
With falling temperatures comes falling leaves. Fortunately, one of the most pleasurable outdoor chores is gathering dropped foliage from your yard—as long as you have the right rake, that is. A rake is a sturdy implement with a triangular fan-shaped head, split into multiple tines (or prongs, like a fork), and a long handle designed to scrape up leaves and other detritus lying on the lawn, around trees and shrubs, and cluttering flower beds.
Rakes are simple, old-fashioned tools, though thanks to stronger construction and more comfortable handles, today’s models are much improved. Read on to collect must-know info on material, weight, handle length, and functionality to ensure you get the best leaf rake for your yard duty.
- BEST OVERALL: TRG Inc Rake The Groundskeeper II
- BEST ADJUSTABLE HEAD: Gardenite Adjustable Leaf Rake
- BEST HEAVYWEIGHT: Bully Tools Bow Rake
- MOST COMFORTABLE: Fiskars Leaf Rake
- BEST MULTITASKER: Professional EZ Travel Telescopic Garden Rake
What Type of Tines?
Most rakes have tines made of either metal or plastic. Metal tines, usually steel, tend to be more durable and allow for more features, such as expandability (helpful when clearing out flower beds). They tend to be heavier and pricier than plastic rakes. Cheaper plastic-tined rakes are lighter—a plus if you’ve got hours of yard work ahead of you—but they generally don’t last as long as metal. Plastic tines are also less eco-friendly; when the rake breaks, the plastic will take a long time to decompose. You’ll also find tines made of resin, a strong synthetic polymer with the durability of steel and the flexibility of plastic.
How Long a Handle?
Rake handles can be made of wood, metal (steel or aluminum), or fiberglass. Wooden handles add weight, so lighter aluminum and fiberglass are preferred for leaf-raking. Fiberglass and metal handles are also less subject to rotting and breakage. Perhaps more important than the material is the length of the handle, which determines how far your rake will reach and how comfortable it is to use. Rake handles vary in length from 36 inches to 67 inches. When deciding what length to buy, consider your height; generally speaking, the faller you are, the longer the rake handle for optimum comfort and efficiency. You can now also find rakes with telescoping handles, so you can adjust the length to suit who’s doing the work.
What Should It Weigh?
A rake can weigh in at less than a pound or be as heavy as four pounds, depending on the material and size. Lighter rakes are perfect for a long day of gathering dry leaves, which aren’t heavy but are often numerous—you won’t tire out as easily with a lighter tool. A heavier rake comes in handy for such tasks as spreading mulch. If you’ve got a variety of yard work ahead of you, opt for a medium-weight, multipurpose rake of two to three pounds that can sweep up dry leaves as well as wet leaves, twigs, and other yard detritus.
Five Best Rakes for Fall
Check out our picks for the greatest leaf rakes around!
1. BEST OVERALL: TRG Inc Rake The Groundskeeper II
In addition to efficiently gathering leaves, this rugged (and rather expensive) rake can collect sticks, bark, and even gravel, thanks to strong steel tines that are rounded and stiff, unlike the flat, flexible tines of many other rakes. The fiberglass handle is 55 inches long, making it a good size for most people and purposes (note that the head and handle come separately, requiring a hammer to attach). Despite its tough composition, the Groundskeeper II weighs a mere 1.3 pounds. Its quality and customer service impress; to quote one happy customer, it’s “the best rake I’ve used.”
2. BEST ADJUSTABLE HEAD: Gardenite Adjustable Leaf Rake
You want options? You’ve got ‘em with the Gardenite Adjustable Leaf Rake. Its adjustable head shrinks to seven inches for tight spaces and expands to a full 22 inches for gathering leaves and grass clippings. The zinc-plated steel handle is 63 inches long, and the rake weighs in at 2.13 pounds. While it’s not designed for rocks, gravel, and other heavy garden supplies, it’s ideal for leaves, lawns, and flower beds. The Gardenite provides a 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee.
3. BEST HEAVYWEIGHT: Bully Tools Bow Rake
Bow rakes—which have shorter, straight tines arranged in a row, rather than a fan-shape–are typically used for spreading soil and mulch and leveling a yard. But this Bully Tools model is also great for leaves, so consider it two tools for the price of one. The extra-thick 10-gauge steel tines and fiberglass handle are welded together for added reinforcement. At 3.45 pounds, the rake is strong enough to handle rocks and compost, but won’t overtax you when raking leaves. It boasts a limited lifetime warranty.
4. MOST COMFORTABLE: Fiskars Leaf Rake
Incredibly light at only 5.9 ounces yet virtually indestructible, the Fiskars Leaf Rake is designed with your comfort in mind, even if you have back pain or limited mobility. Its resin tines, stronger than plastic and lighter than metal, flex without breaking and are curved to prevent clogging and enhance leaf collecting. The extra-long aluminum handle (67 inches) reduces fatigue by improving posture while raking. And the extra-wide 24-inch head moves large quantities of leaves quickly and painlessly. Fiskars provides a lifetime warranty.
5. BEST MULTITASKER: Professional EZ Travel Telescopic Garden Rake
What a workhorse! The Professional EZ Telescopic Garden Rake features a steel head that expands from 7.5 inches to 21.75 inches and a handle that telescopes from 37 to 68 inches quickly and easily. The smaller head and shorter handle are ideal under hedges and in flower beds, allowing you to rake between plants without damaging leaves and flowers. Then extend it for leaf gathering and general yard upkeep. Made of aluminum alloy, the Profession EZ rake is strong and, at just two pounds, light and maneuverable. A rubberized handle provides a firm, comfortable, no-slip grip.