Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila
We’ve researched more than 30 leaf rakes to compile the following group for testing. As opposed to “hard” rakes used to spread soil and gravel, a typical yard rake is a more flexible tool with a long handle and a triangular fan-shaped head split into multiple tines. Yard and leaf rakes are designed to gather leaves and other detritus on the lawn, around trees and shrubs, and in flower beds.
We tested the best leaf rake options after narrowing down our initial research and exploring the differences to help you find a quality model to fit your needs. Check out the detailed reviews of these rakes to find the leaf rake you’ve been looking for.
- BEST OVERALL: True Temper 26-Inch Dual-Tine Poly Leaf Rake
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Fiskars Leaf Rake
- BEST METAL: Ames 22-Tine Steel Leaf Rake
- BEST PLASTIC: Bully Tools Lawn/Leaf Rake With Fiberglass Handle
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Razor-Back 51-Inch 24-Tine Steel Rake
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: The Groundskeeper II Professional Landscape Rake
- BEST ADJUSTABLE: Bond 2060 Adjustable Steel Rake
- BEST LEAF SCOOP: Gardzen Large Leaf Scoop Hand Rakes
- BEST HAND RAKE: Garden Depot Gardening Hand Rake
- BEST SHRUB RAKE: Corona 8-Inch Fixed-Tine Shrub Rake
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila
How We Tested the Best Leaf Rakes
It may seem a bit of a stretch to test leaf rakes in the middle of spring, but that’s exactly what we did. Our testers had access to a massive windrow of dried, matted, partially broken-down leaves left from fall; bales of pine straw; and a huge collection of southern magnolia leaves that naturally drop in spring. We used them to assemble a test plot to try out each rake.
The testing area included a wide-open grassy lawn space and a hedge with low, spreading branches. We spread 6 inches of leaves and debris evenly across the area, then used a leaf blower to push the pile under the hedge.
In addition to speed and efficiency, we noted the number of passes each rake required to clear the space as well as any perceived user discomfort, such as hand, arm, or shoulder fatigue. Since collapsible rakes are more limited in use than fixed rakes, we paid special attention to their effectiveness and durability. When reviewing hand rakes, leaf scoops, and other specialty tools, we gave them either a “yes, they worked” or a “not worth the money” rating.
All the rakes on our final list performed according to our requirements. Any of the standard leaf rakes is a reliable pick for consistent, extended use. The others should be considered good picks for their intended design, which, in collapsible rakes, for example, means an occasional seasonal clearing of small areas.
Our Top Picks
Some find the outdoor task of raking leaves calming, while others would rather do almost anything else. No matter what your attitude is, read on to find out how each of these tested rakes performed in our backyard trials and why we consider them some of the best in their categories.
Two of the worst aspects of leaf cleanup season are the time commitment and physical exertion that raking requires. This dual-tine poly leaf rake by True Temper helps get the job done quickly and easily thanks to its lightweight, efficient design. The rake measures 27 inches wide and 71 inches from the tip of the tines to the top of the handle, and it weighs a modest 2.75 pounds. It features an efficient dual-tine design with alternating straight and curved tines, which aggressively collects leaves and debris while resisting clogging.
We awarded the True Temper dual-tine poly leaf rake “Best Overall” because it works as advertised. In our tests, the dual tines really did collect more debris faster, including hard-to-reach pine needles, acorns, and grass thatch, eliminating the need to double rake. We liked that the working edge where the tines meet the ground is relatively flat because it allows the rake to pick up more new material on each stroke regardless of the user’s height. However, the tines are quite stiff, which makes them less suitable for applications where “digging in” is less desirable.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Polyresin head, rubber-coated steel handle
- Tine count: 39
- Dual-tine design works effectively and resists clogging with leaves
- Wide head covers a larger area than typical leaf rakes; gets the job done faster
- Built to last from lightweight, durable materials
- Comfortable design enables extended use with less hand and shoulder strain
- Plastic tines are less flexible and springy than steel tines
- May require assembly (inserting handle into head and securing with a screw)
Get the True Temper leaf rake at Tractor Supply Co., Ace Hardware, or Amazon.
This leaf rake by Fiskars maintains the company’s brand reputation for comfortable, quality performance at a budget-friendly price. It offers durable, lightweight construction designed for comfort without sacrificing performance. This Fiskars rake measures 24 inches wide and 67 inches from tine tip to handle top, and it weighs just 1.5 pounds.
We liked the Fiskars leaf rake’s oval-profile handle. In addition to giving the tubular aluminum shaft a bit more resistance to bending, the shape fit in our hands comfortably. The rake’s pliable polyresin tines feature a strong downward curve and somewhat flat working edge that reached among the grass blades to pull out settled debris without tearing up the grass. The soft tine material limits this rake to lightweight leaf cleaning, but it excels in that role. This rake is a good choice for small to medium yards but might not hold up to especially sizable acreage.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Polyresin head, aluminum handle
- Tine count: 29
- Lightweight aluminum and polyresin construction minimizes fatigue
- Oval profile works efficiently to cover more ground with reduced range of motion
- Broad head quickly clears areas with low to moderate leaf cover
- Flexible curved tines resist clogging with twigs and pine cones
- Budget-friendly price for a good-quality rake
- Extra-wide plastic head is not well reinforced and is more susceptible to damage
- Thin aluminum handle can bend with excessive downward pressure
Get the Fiskars leaf rake at The Home Depot or Fiskars.
For its versatility, this old-fashioned spring-tine rake has an enduring place in the yard. Ames’ version of this classic tool is not only a great leaf rake, but it also works really well to pick up small branches, spread gravel and mulch, and prepare bare soil for planting. The rake measures 21.75 inches wide and 64.5 inches from the tip of the tines to the top of the handle, and it weighs 2 pounds. The flat working edge makes it a great choice for all types of yard cleanup projects.
If we had to choose only one yard cleanup tool, this rake would be it. It moves fall leaves at a comparatively slower pace than some of the other rakes we tested, but its compact build and durable materials make it the better tool for year-round tasks like cleaning up after pruning or preparing a new garden bed. However, the Ames 22-tine steel leaf rake has a smallish head, and its 22-inch width isn’t the most efficient for moving bulky dry leaves. Yet its relatively light weight somewhat offsets the compact size and makes the work less physically demanding. Users of smaller stature may find the rake’s size to their advantage. This Ames leaf rake could be an excellent primary rake for small to midsize yards or one used in combination with a leaf blower/vacuum and lawn mower.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Steel head, hardwood handle
- Tine count: 22
- Time-tested design and materials: steel spring-tine head with wood handle
- Durable materials; well adapted to raking leaves on grass, gravel, or soil
- Useful for a wide range of landscaping and gardening chores
- Steel-tine head is more versatile than polyresin
- Steel tines are susceptible to bending if stored improperly
- Head is smaller than many polyresin leaf rakes; covers less area over the same time than other models we tested
Get the Ames leaf rake at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., or The Home Depot.
Heavy or wet leaves and large yards call for a heavy-duty rake. The Bully Tools lawn and leaf rake not only has a rugged fiberglass handle that resists bending, cracking, or breaking, but its smooth surface is easy on users’ hands. The rake measures 30 inches wide and 68 inches from the tips of the tines to the top of the handle, plus it weighs a stout 3.25 pounds. The rake comes disassembled but is easy to put together: Simply insert the handle into the head and secure it with a screw.
Our tests revealed several interesting points about the Bully Tools leaf rake. With its thick, strong handle and massive curved head, it can pull large, heavy loads of leaves. The tines feature curved tips that can even pull up saturated, matted debris. The deeply concave head and strongly curved working edge make this rake most practical when heavy-duty efforts are necessary. However, in those conditions, some users may prefer a slightly smaller-headed rake. In average or lightweight conditions, the tool is unnecessarily heavy. This rake could make an ideal secondary rake for those times or locations when the conditions are truly difficult.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Polyresin head, fiberglass handle
- Tine count: 32
- Durable construction with thick-walled fiberglass handle and heavy-duty polyresin head
- Broad head moves lots of leaves quickly, making quick work of leaf cleanup
- Thick handle allows for an easier grip and reduced hand and wrist fatigue
- Nearly twice the weight of other standard leaf rakes; tiring to use for extended periods
- Excessive curve in the working edge where the tines meet the ground
Get the Bully Tools leaf rake at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Bully Tools.
For all-day comfort and reliability year after year, choose a heavy-duty professional quality tool like the Razor-Back steel tine rake. It features a replaceable one-piece head with 24 steel tines that resist bending, separation, and clogging. The steel rake head and flexible coil spring give this leaf rake better durability and smoother raking action than plastic rakes. The 51-inch fiberglass cushioned-grip handle reduces weight while enhancing durability.
We preferred the Razor-Back leaf rake over all others as an all-purpose landscaping rake because of its rugged (but not too heavy) construction. Weighing just over 2.5 pounds, it was light enough to rake leaves for hours at a time, but we also used it to rake gravel and garden soil with excellent results. The steel tines had the perfect balance of rigidity and springiness to clean up the lawn without damaging the grass. It was not as fast at leaf cleanup compared to some of the broad-headed plastic models, but it might be the preferred choice for those who value multitask tools.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Fiberglass handle, steel tines
- Tine count: 24
- Heavy-duty construction with 24 steel tines and a fiberglass handle
- Moderate weight of just 2.52 pounds; compatible with long workdays
- Multitasking design works well for leaves, gravel, and garden soil
- Smaller rake head is not as fast at leaf cleanup as larger plastic rakes
Get the Razor-Back leaf rake at Tractor Supply Co., The Home Depot, or A.M. Leonard.
A rake does not have to be heavy to work hard: The Groundskeeper II is a professional-grade landscaping rake built to take on the rigors of leaf removal, dethatching, leveling soil, spreading mulch, and more. The 21-inch-wide copolymer head features 28 steel tines, each equipped with its own built-in torsion spring. Equipped with a lightweight fiberglass handle, the rake weighs just 1.8 pounds.
Unlike the flat tines on other steel leaf rakes, those on the Groundskeeper II have round profiles that allow them to dig in without down pressure. They are angled so the user stands upright while raking, which eliminates the back pressure common to raking. In addition to raking leaves, our tests indicated that this rake could be a good option for general-purpose lawn and garden maintenance.
The Groundskeeper II felt entirely different from the other standard leaf rakes in our test due to its downward-curved tines. It was so lightweight that its aggressiveness was sort of a surprise. The tines poked right through the grass to the soil surface. For longer leaf raking strokes, we had to use a very light touch. But for dethatching, just a little downward pressure was all it took. Dense turf-type grasses like Bermuda and spreading weeds like crabgrass made the going tougher because the tines gripped the ground-hugging horizontal stems.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Copolymer head and steel head, fiberglass handle
- Tine count: 28
- Lightweight at under 2 pounds, yet durable construction works hard with minimal user fatigue
- Multiuse rake equally adept at leaf removal; dethatching; and leveling soil, mulch, or gravel
- Independently spring-loaded tines resist clogging with leaves and debris
- Digs into the soil more aggressively than other rakes, which can damage grass seedlings
- Tines are attached at a different angle than other rakes; may feel awkward at first
- Curved tines easily snag on horizontal plant stems of warm-season grasses and spreading weeds
Get the Groundskeeper II leaf rake at Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, Acme Tools, or A.M. Leonard.
This adjustable and collapsible leaf rake from Bond fills the roles of two tools: a conventional leaf rake and a shrub rake. It’s 22 inches wide when fully opened, has a 48-inch handle, and weighs 1.69 pounds. At just 7 inches wide when collapsed, it’s one of the easiest rakes to store.
This was the first time we had used a collapsible rake, and it was a revelation. The tine spread was easy to adjust, and the rake was easy to store. Overall, the Bond 2060 adjustable steel rake was surprisingly effective at taking on many of the same tasks that a spring-tine rake is used for. However, the widely spaced tines sometimes speared the leaves and became clogged, and the round steel handle was too thin for comfortable extended use. For most users, this would not be a great pick for regular year-round yard work. But for those with small yards and only a few seasonal leaves to pick up, it does the job well and stays conveniently out of the way when not in use.
- Type: Adjustable
- Materials: Steel head and handle
- Tine count: 15
- Easily adjusts width from 7 to 22 inches for different gardening tasks
- Rigid round tines work more aggressively than flat spring tines
- Built to last with sturdy steel body and adjustment lever
- Lightweight space-saving design for easy storage or transport
- Tines were more likely to spear leaves and become clogged
- Narrow tubular steel handle is less comfortable than others
Get the Bond leaf rake at Amazon, Greenhouse Megastore, or Gemplers.
When the leaves are all piled up, they still must be loaded for disposal. Using the Gardzen leaf scoop hand rakes, you can grab more leaves than ever and make quick work of loading them into bags or bins. Each leaf scoop measures 17 inches long by 13 inches wide, and the pair weighs 2.42 pounds. The scoops are made from molded polyresin in an ergonomic shape that’s just right for picking up oodles of dry leaves. In addition to the leaf scoops with removable wrist pads, the kit includes a pair of work gloves, protective hand padding, and a 72-gallon reusable leaf bag.
We tested the Gardzen leaf scoop hand rakes on magnolia leaves thoroughly infused with chunky, dried-up magnolia fruit. One of our testers wears men’s extra-large gloves, and the other wears women’s medium—yet the scoops fit both testers perfectly. They were easy to use, picked up nearly a bushel of leaves at a time, and caused no wrist or hand fatigue issues. However, consider where and how to store these items when not in use, as the scoops are single-task tools that will usually be in storage. For those who spend a long time picking up leaves after raking, these hand scoops could be a solution.
- Type: Scoop
- Materials: Polyresin
- Tine count: 0
- Scoops quickly; securely collect a large amount of leaves and debris
- No awkwardly protruding rake in the way; convenient to handle while picking up leaves
- Easy on/off design comfortably fits all hand sizes
- Protects hands from thorny, prickly yard debris; no need for heavy gloves
- Specialized tool for a single job
- No convenient, compact way to store them
- Does not reduce bending and stooping
Get the Gardzen leaf rakes at Amazon or Gardzen.
A hand rake comes in handy when attending to details and cleaning up smaller spaces, and the Garden Depot gardening hand rake features a densely spaced set of steel tines and an ergonomic handle for comfortable, efficient work. This hand rake measures 6.25 inches wide and 16.5 inches long, and it weighs under a half pound.
In our tests, the Garden Depot hand rake reminded us of a larger spring-tine steel rake. It uses the same sort of steel tines, closely spaced at about 0.5 inch apart, for a springy flexibility that works as well at creating a smooth seedbed as it does at gently removing fallen debris from a recently pruned topiary. We also used it to collect the weeds we pulled in a raised bed and to even out a mulch surface after weeding. However, although we liked a lot about this rake, we didn’t love the handle. Its dimensions are good, but the surface texture was slippery when wet. Still, this hand rake came in handy for a variety of up-close gardening tasks.
- Type: Hand rake
- Materials: Steel head and handle, plastic grip
- Tine count: 11
- Sturdy yet inexpensive steel and plastic construction
- Tines are densely spaced and quite springy; compatible with the same tasks as full-size steel-tine rakes
- Well proportioned for up-close work in garden beds and large containers
- Inconsistent tine spacing: Some tines are too close or slightly overlap
- Smooth plastic handle becomes slippery when wet
Get the Garden Depot leaf rake at Amazon or Walmart.
When raking up leaves in tight quarters, a long handle and a small head make all the difference. The Corona 8-inch shrub rake is equipped with 11 tempered steel tines and a 54-inch wooden handle to easily rake beneath and between closely spaced plants. The plane of the head is slightly curved, and the tines bend downward at the ends to provide even pressure that pulls out the debris but doesn’t disturb shallow roots.
This specialty leaf rake is an ideal choice for hedgerows, foundation plants, shrub borders, perennial gardens, and shrub collections. We used it to remove old daylily foliage between individual plants within a mass planting and to pull fallen leaves and excess mulch away from the stems of an azalea collection. The height was just right for both our testers, and the small head worked perfectly. We also considered cutting off the handle for use in our elevated beds but haven’t yet done so. The build quality was not as refined as a typical spring steel leaf rake, with a skinny broom handle, crimped tines, and the head riveted to the handle, but everything fit tightly together, and it performed well all around.
- Type: Shrub rake
- Materials: Steel head, wood handle
- Tine count: 11
- Sturdy steel head and hardwood handle balance cost and durability
- Long handle and narrow head easily reach beneath and between shrubbery
- Curved head applies even pressure to collect debris without damaging shallow roots
- Wood handle can easily be cut shorter for portability or up-close work in raised beds
- Size is a better match for light- and medium-duty construction
- Handle is not replaceable
Get the Corona leaf rake at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or DK Hardware.
What to Consider When Choosing a Leaf Rake
While leaf rakes all serve a similar purpose, they vary widely in weight, length, materials, and quality. The best leaf rakes allow you to comfortably yet firmly grip the handle while performing the repetitive raking motions necessary to gather dry leaves and other yard debris. To find the best option, you’ll also want to consider the strength and flexibility of the tines, whether the length of the handle is adjustable, and whether you’d prefer a heavier or lighter rake.
Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila
Leaf rakes are not the same as garden rakes, which have a stiff, broad head with short steel tines at a right angle to the handle. Garden rakes can break up dirt clods and dethatch a lawn, but leaf rakes are not suitable for that type of work.
- Standard leaf rakes feature a wide fan-style head with long, slightly flexible tines. Since a wider fan head covers a larger area, it usually can rake up leaves more quickly. The head attaches to a long handle to allow you to rake without bending over.
- Scoop leaf rakes come in two styles: single headed and double headed. A single-headed scoop rake resembles a standard leaf rake, but the fan-shaped head folds inward via a twist or pull-type mechanism on the handle. This allows the user to rake the leaves and then grab and lift them to a bag or compost pile. The double-headed style is not designed for raking but for lifting the leaves. It features two opposing scoop heads that open and close to grab and lift the leaves.
- Mini/hand scoop leaf rakes typically feature two separate curved rake plates—one for each hand. The user grabs the dry leaves and lifts them to a bag or bin.
Most rakes have tines made of metal, plastic, resin, or bamboo. Not only are the tines splayed, but each bends sharply downward at its outer end. These curved tines help grab the fallen leaves. Depending on the rake, the tines usually feature one or more cross braces near where they’re attached to the handle for stability.
The more cross braces a leaf rake has, the sturdier the tines and the less they will flex when raking. For raking heavy leaf falls, a sturdier rake head with at least two cross braces is desirable. Each tine material has its own benefits and drawbacks:
- Metal tines are the most durable and suitable option for medium- to heavy-duty yard work. Metal rakes with steel tines typically are heavier and more expensive compared to those made of plastic, bamboo, and resin.
- Plastic tines have the least amount of strength. They’re more appropriate for light-duty tasks since they break more easily. Plastic rakes are lightweight and inexpensive, but they don’t last as long as rakes made from other materials.
- Polyresin tines are a compromise between metal and plastic. This strong polymer combines the durability of metal with the flexibility of plastic to handle heavy-duty jobs.
- Bamboo is sturdy, though less durable than metal and resin. It’s a sustainable material and usually more eco-friendly than other materials (unless the metal, plastic, or resin comes from recycled products). Rakes with bamboo tines are suitable for light- to medium-duty work.
A leaf rake’s ferrule—the part of the rake head that attaches to the handle—is usually made from the same material as the tines and has similar qualities. Examine the ferrule to ensure that the rake head is securely attached.
A rake head may have a female screw-type ferrule that can connect to a standard male screw-type handle. Depending on the model, the ferrule also can have a bolt or two that secures it to the rake’s handle. In many cases, a broken handle doesn’t mean the entire rake must be replaced; instead, just the handle can often be replaced.
Rake handles are commonly made of wood, steel, aluminum, or fiberglass. When selecting an appropriate handle, keep the following characteristics in mind.
- Wood is the heaviest option, and while strong, it’s still susceptible to damage. Wood has the least amount of weather resistance and is subject to rot if left outdoors. Additionally, a wooden handle may eventually break if the rake is used for more challenging yard work.
- Steel and aluminum are more durable. Steel is the stronger metal and less likely to bend or dent. On the other hand, stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminum handles resist corrosion and rust. Aluminum also is lighter than steel and often costs less.
- Fiberglass is tougher and lighter than steel, though it weighs more than aluminum. Rakes with a fiberglass handle are more expensive.
A leaf rake’s length determines its reach and how comfortable it is to use, and rake handles vary from 36 to 67 inches long or more. When choosing a rake, factor in the user’s height; longer handles are usually better for taller users.
Weight can be a critical factor when shopping for a leaf rake. Heavier rakes can become cumbersome and difficult to use over a long day of raking, while a lightweight rake makes it easier. However, lighter rakes may not be as durable or as able to complete heavy-duty tasks.
A rake can range in weight from less than a pound up to 5 pounds or more. A heavier rake comes in handy for tasks such as spreading mulch. If yard work involves both light-duty and heavy-duty tasks, you can compromise by opting for a medium-weight multipurpose rake of 2 to 3 pounds.
Rakes have various extra features that influence convenience and usability. If the tool will be used frequently, one or more of these features may be worth considering.
- Telescoping handles allow you to adjust the handle length to suit your preference or to accommodate multiple users of varying heights.
- Adjustable rake heads allow users to adjust the spread of the tines for different tasks.
- Grabber tools built into the head eliminate the need for bending down to retrieve swept leaves.
- Padded grips, usually made of rubber or foam, provide additional comfort and reduce hand fatigue.
- Collapsible handles save space and make it easier to store the rake in a garage or shed.
An annual pastime in many communities after trees lose their leaves, raking can be a more enjoyable task. The right leaf rake speeds up the chore and simplifies the work. Those new to choosing a leaf rake are likely to have some questions. Answers to some common questions about these tools appear next.
Q. Is raking good for your lawn?
While a few leaves here or there might not harm anything, a thick layer of autumn leaves can become damp and soggy, blocking sun and air circulation from the lawn and increasing the risk of fungal diseases. Raking the leaves helps remove excess coverage that could damage the grass.
Q. What is a leaf rake used for?
A leaf rake is lightweight and specially designed to gather dry leaves from the surface of the yard. Some are well suited for additional yard tasks like removing twigs and sticks after pruning or smoothing out a seedbed for planting.
Q. How long is a leaf rake?
Handheld leaf rakes (for raised beds) can be as short as 15 inches, while full-size leaf rakes may be 72 inches long or longer.
Q. Is a metal rake or a plastic rake better for leaves?
Both metal and plastic rakes expedite leaf raking, but metal usually lasts longer. However, the new polyresin in many of today’s plastic-type rakes is more durable than the plastic of yesteryear.
Q. What do you do with raked leaves?
Add raked leaves to a compost pile or layer them around the base of trees and other plants for a bit of thermal protection during winter. Alternatively, bag them and contact the local waste authority for curbside pickup.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years, he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now, he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.
Additional research provided by Andreana Lefton and Glenda Taylor.