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?".
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.