Lawn maintenance is one of the necessary activities required from a homeowner. In order for us to enjoy a great looking lawn, we need to use the right tools to promote proper grass coverage and growth. One of the things that hamper this process is yard debris. This is where the best lawn sweeper and an electric dethatcher can come into play.
A yard sweeper uses brushes or tines to pick up loose grass clippings and fallen leaves from the lawn. It is also capable of lifting material that is matted into the soil. The best lawn sweeper will offer features that make this process effective and fast.
Thatch is essentially decaying organic matter, a dense mat of moss, grass clippings, stems, clumps, overcrowded grass roots and lateral weed growth, or debris that accumulate on lawns over time, blocking the flow of water, oxygen, fertilizers and vital nutrients.
It is important to periodically remove thatch in order to keep your lawn green and healthy. This is where an electric dethatcher can help and make growing a healthy lawn a less of a manual job.
Scarification or de-thatching of lawns or turf is a mechanical process whereby the surface and subsurface of the lawn, green or sports pitch is rigorously abraded by penetrating metal blades, tines or prongs (source).
In case of a serious moss buildup on your lawn, it’s a good idea to use a good quality moss killer a few days before running through it with a lawn sweeper or electric dethatcher.
These tools allow us to maintain our yards without having to over-work ourselves with traditional hand tools like a leaf rake. What follows is a closer look at these devices, highlighting design elements and product features that make these tools a worthwhile investment. Five product reviews follow afterward.
A lawn sweeper is used to collect debris from a lawn. Grass clippings, fallen leaves, and even pine needles or small twigs can prevent sunlight from shining on the lawn as well as blocking oxygen and water. This can cause the grass to become discolored. Worst case, it can also cause the grass to die eventually, leaving a yard with bald spots.
A lawn sweeper collects the debris and prevents these issues from happening in the first place. The brushes that a lawn sweeper uses to collect materials is also safer to use on a lawn. A leaf rake can damage the grass as its prongs are dragged through the lawn. A lawn sweeper uses brushes that rotate at an even height and their bristles do not damage the roots on blades of grass.
A leaf sweeper is able to collect materials into a hopper. Even a mower that collects trimmings leaves behind tiny clippings that must be raked and bagged.
The advantages a lawn sweeper has over a leaf rake boils down to convenience and ease of use. A rake requires a lot of work to use effectively, especially one heavy or matted debris. A power dethatcher or lawn sweeper can clear the same materials without overworking arms and shoulders. Raking a lawn requires a minimum level of physical ability and fitness to use, while almost anyone that can walk is able to push a leaf sweeper.
Generally, the best leaf sweepers are effective, as they can collect debris faster than a leaf rake is able to. A rake may be able to collect dry clippings and leaves, but it takes multiple passes to gather these materials when they are wet. A leaf sweeper or dethatcher uses brushes to dig into the grass, allowing it to collect debris that is matted into the ground. It will often take more than one pass from a leaf rake to remove this same material.
There are a few distinct ways in which a lawn sweeper is more advantageous than a leaf blower is. The first category is in a lawn sweeper’s ability to pick up debris. While a leaf blower works well on lifting or moving around dry materials, it can struggle when attempting to lift or move wet organic matter and debris. The best lawn sweeper for leaves, on the other hand, is able to do both with wet grass clippings and those nasty leaves.
They are a great choice for use on smaller residential properties found in most urban settings. They can be used on medium-sized properties if the operator is capable of walking the entire are needing to be swept.
This style of lawn sweeper requires a ZTR mower, lawn tractor or a riding mower to use. It is attached to the back of these motorized tools and then pulled across the yard. They are capable of covering a larger swath with each pass and are capable of collecting more debris than a push sweeper is capable of before it needs to be emptied. As the tow-behind sweeper must be towed by a heavy tractor or mower, it is not as quiet as a manual or electric dethatcher model is.
These units are more costly than the push variety and are heavier as well. They are ideal for property owners who have larger front and back-yards. The tow-behind is often used in commercial settings with a lot of grass that needs to be swept.
Tires are an important feature, especially with push sweepers.
Height adjustments are important as well. Tine depth or cutting depth can usually be adjusted in steps which gives greater control in removing light or more serious thatch layers.
The size of the collection bin or bag can be a deciding factor between two models with similar design features. Stopping all the time to empty an undersized bag could be frustrating, while on the other hand, pushing an electric dethatcher with a huge heavy container full of debris might be too much for some.
Storage is always lacking, therefore only choose a tow-behind lawn sweeper if you have the space for the increased storage needs. A push behind lawn sweeper is not bigger than a traditional mower and some has folding handles or similar storage saver.
This corded electric dethatcher weighs 29.5 pounds and provides a 14-inch wide coverage with each pass. It uses padded grips to provide an ergonomic hold during use. The handle is adjustable, which is a nice feature for family members who vary in their height.
A 10-amp motor provides power and is turned on and off with the push of a button. The tines are made of stainless steel that will provide longevity. It can be adjusted to a height of one, three, and 10 mm from the ground. The manufacturer offers a four-year warranty on this product.
The first feature that stands out on this product is its minimal 23-pound weight. Shedding unneeded pounds will make this unit easier to push. The height of the tines (the “teeth of the dethatcher) is adjustable with five settings, offering more versatility than other models. The ability to change from a dethatcher to a scarifier allows for cutting at the root level.
A nice safety feature that is incorporated into the design is the safety switch, which may be important for users with younger children. It has four wheels that provide level control.
A nice feature about this manual lawn sweeper unit is that it not tied down to an outlet, allowing a user to operate it anywhere on the property. The 26-inch wide path covers more grass with each pass. Another good feature is that the sweeper folds up, allowing it to be stored easily.
This product requires some assembly but it is simple to use and empty. The collection bag lifts from the body for easy dumping. The poly material used for construction helps to keep weight down.
The Agri-Fab 45-0492 provides a 44-inch sweeper path, a nice design element for those looking to save time on larger properties. The brush system height is easy to adjust with a pull button. A dump lever allows the user to activate this feature without having to climb off of their riding mower or tractor.
This product is collapsible, a feature that requires less storage space. The collection bag can hold up to 25-cubic feet of debris before it needs to be emptied. It has large 12-inch wheels that travel over terrain well.
This John Deere tow-behind lawn sweeper product weights a solid 120 pounds and is easy to assemble after purchase. It performs well, partially due to the pneumatic tires that provide good ground contact across various terrain. The bin is capable of holding up to 24 square-feet of debris before it requires dumping.
The 11-inch diameter brushes are capable of picking up a variety of materials, including pine cones and needles. John Deere offers a one-year warranty to their customers on this lawn sweeper.
So, what do we consider the best lawn sweeper out there? This will depend upon what features are required by the homeowner’s current equipment and lawn. If a potential buyer does not currently have an ATV, ZTM, riding mower, or lawn tractor to ride on then a towed lawn sweeper will not be a reasonable purchase. Small and medium-sized yards can be maintained with a push lawn sweeper with minimal physical requirements.
The best lawn sweeper will provide features that make operation easy and efficient. Height adjustment is crucial, as you an operator wants to match the height with the grass length. The width of the sweeping brushes will ultimately determine how many passes are needed to cover a yard. One advantage of thinner brushes is their ability to reach less-accessible areas.
Ultimately, a customer’s needs and price-range will determine which lawn sweeper is right for them.