Buyer’s Guide: Rakes
Material composition, handle length, adjustability—there's a lot to consider when choosing a rake. For tips of making the right selection, read our guide to differentiating between and choosing among the many options.
A rake is a sturdy, long-handled implement with a triangular, fan-shaped head that’s split into multiple tines. Designed to scrape up leaves and other detritus on the lawn, around trees and shrubs, and in flower beds, the rake is a timeless tool and a model of form meeting function.
Today’s best rake options are well-constructed yard companions that are lightweight, long lasting, and effective in their purpose. To learn more about the differences between rakes and what to look for in a quality model, continue reading below—and don’t miss our tip picks!
- BEST OVERALL: TRG Inc The Groundskeeper II Rake
- RUNNER-UP: Jardineer 63 inch Adjustable Garden Rake Leaf
- MOST VERSATILE: Professional EZ Travel Telescopic Garden Rake
Weigh the following factors when navigating the wide and varied world of rakes.
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). That said, rakes with metal tines tend to be heavier and pricier than plastic rakes with plastic tines. Also, plastic rakes tend not to last as long as their metal counterparts. Rakes with resin tines are a compromise between the two. This strong polymer combines the durability of metal with 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; metal and fiberglass are lighter and may be preferred by some people for that reason. Metal and fiberglass handles are also less subject to rotting and breakage.
Perhaps more important than the handle’s material is its length. The length of the handle 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 choosing between rakes of different handle lengths, be sure to factor in your height. Generally speaking, longer handles are better for taller people, and vice versa.
Rakes with telescoping handles enable you to adjust the handle length to suit your preference.
What Should It Weigh?
A rake can weigh in at less than a pound or be as heavy as four pounds (or heavier), depending on the material and size. Lighter rakes are perfect for a long day of gathering dry leaves. A heavier rake comes in handy for such tasks as spreading mulch. If your yard work involves both light-duty and heavier-duty tasks, a compromise is to opt for a medium-weight, multipurpose rake of two to three pounds.
Our Top Picks
1. BEST OVERALL: TRG Inc The Groundskeeper II Rake
In addition to efficiently gathering leaves, this rugged rake can collect sticks, bark, and even gravel, thanks to strong steel tines that are rounded and stiff. The fiberglass handle is 55 inches long, making it a good size for most people and purposes. Despite its durable build, the Groundskeeper II weighs a mere 1.3 pounds.
2. RUNNER-UP: Jardineer 63 inch Adjustable Garden Rake
The Jardineer 63 inch Adjustable Garden Rake features an adjustable head that shrinks to seven inches for tight spaces and expands to a full 22 inches when needed 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.
3. MOST VERSATILE: Professional EZ Travel Collection Telescopic Rake
The Professional EZ Telescopic Garden Rake is a workhorse that features a telescoping handle as well as an expanding steel head. Make the head smaller and handle shorter when raking under hedges or in flower beds. Expand the head and lengthen handle when gathering leaves or collecting debris over a larger area. Made of aluminum alloy, this rake is strong and at just two pounds, it’s also light. A rubberized handle provides a firm, comfortable, no-slip grip.