Updated: Oct 12, 2016

Rake Reviews:

If you happen to live in an area of the United States with lots of trees like the Northwest or Northeast, picking up leaves in the Fall can be a daunting task. As summer comes to an end, the leaves start coming down and in some cases it can be overwhelming to keep up. Hiring a landscaper/gardener can get expensive when you ask them to do leaf pickup. As a homeowner you want the best tool for the job so you can spend more time doing things you really want to do. Sure, leaf blowers are a great solution in some areas of your yard, but often using an old fashioned rake is your best solution. Even if you do use a leaf blower, you eventually have to rake up the leaves a bit and put them into a garbage can or haul them off. There are expensive machines like the Cyclone Rake which is a lawn vacuum that cleans up leaves in a hurry but it may not be the answer for everyone at almost $1500. The real question is, "Which rake does the best job?".
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Buying Guide - Firstly, you need to determine just how much raking will be necessary to clean up your yard. No need to spend $40 on a professional grade rake if you only have a small amount of leaves to clean up. We say don't spend more than $25 on a rake as most will work just fine. Secondly, find out if you want a rake with plastic or metal tines for raking up leaves. Plastic will break easier, but metal rake tines can damage some lawns if you have a powerful raking motion. Look for a rake with a wide enough span (20 to 30 inches wide) for optimal raking so you can get the job done faster. Some rakes definitely clog up with leaves and twigs, although there are newer models on the market that claim to be clog-free. Adjustable rakes are those with either handles that become longer or shorter allowing for easy storage or those with adjustable heads for raking at different angles. So far the feedback on adjustalbe head rakes is not that impressive compared to traditional models. If you plan on raking between shrubs and bushes, go with a good quality rake that has steel tines. I've tried using plastic rakes on hard to reach areas of my yard and found that the tines crack and break off too easily. You'll want a handle that is comfortable and allows for a solid grip throughout the raking motion. I live in Oregon where the rain is plentiful and when all the leaves fall and get wet they can be harder to rake up. I use my leaf blower to get whatever I can that way and do the rest with a rake. Beyond my knowledge of rakes, I visited my local Home Depot to pick their brains on the best selling models and why each performs better than another. I also found an article in the Wall Street Journal on rakes that tested 5 of the current models to see which rated the best. Amazon.com and Epinions also carry consumer reviews on rakes as an alternative source of feedback which is non-biased. Below we have tried to give you the top ranking rakes by performance, value, and ease of use. Most of these models can be found online at Amazon.com or in home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes for around $20. You can browse their top selling rakes online here.

Best Leaf Rake:

One of the best selling rakes is the Midwest Rake ProGrade Spring Brace Lawn Rake on Gemplers.com website. This commercial grade rake has a great price at only $19.95 and should last many seasons with it's steel tines and 24" head that is attached securely to the handle. Some consumers claim the rake is a touch heavy, but for durability and performance, this rake can't be beat. The tines on this rake are spread out enough and flexible enough that they don't eat into your lawn as easily as other models do. It also does an excellent job at picking up the vast majority of leaves in your path in one motion. RECOMMENDED - #1 seller on Amazon is the Fiskars 24-Inch Leaf Rake - it's perfect for larger yards, has a 24-inch rake head with extra wide tines. Most owners agree that the design of this leaf rake is what makes it stand out. It's ergonomic and very comfortable even after 30 minutes or so of raking.

Clog Resistant Rake:

How often do you try raking up leaves only to find that 1/2 of them end up getting clogged in the tines? The Ames True Temper Clog-Free Rake for ($18) is one of the best at keeping those clogs from happening on your rake. The "wave-shaped" tooth design is what sets this rake apart from the competition and it comes in both a 24-inch and 30-inch head width. Although the rake does a good job at not getting clogged up with leaves, it doesn't pick up all the leaves in it's path either. We saw it available on Backyardstyle.com in stock and ready to ship. You can browse all the clog free rakes online here.

Cyclone Rake - Lawn Vacuum:

If you have a large lawn area in your yard - say 1/2 acre of lawn or larger, definitely consider buying a lawn vacuum. I have a leaf blower from Black and Decker that not only blows leaves around, but the motor also doubles as a leaf vacuum. The vacuum is adequate at picking up leaves, but for large jobs it's not good. I prefer to just rake the leaves into a larger pile and then load them into my trash can. The larger leaf vacuums like the Cyclone Rake (Cyclonerake.com) are made for homeowners with expansive lawns that get covered with leaves in the fall season. You literally drive the Cyclone Rake around your lawn and clean up the leaves in one fell swoop. Some riding lawn mowers have a mulching feature which allows a similar process without purchasing the more expensive Cyclone Rake. Check the specs on your lawn mower to see what it can do and try to tame your leaf problem with the proper machine. Check out the lawn vacuums for leaves here