Power Rake vs Dethatcher is a hot topic on the internet nowadays, and we are here to help you decide which one is for you! Each thatch-removing equipment has unique characteristics that are hard to resist, so we are here to present them to you in our article.

Power Rake vs Dethatcher

Let’s learn more about the differences between the two to help you pick your preferred brand and help you with lawn care.

Features Power Rake  Dethatcher
Aggressiveness Heavy-duty Smaller, less-aggressive
Thatch Removal More than half an inch Not more than half an inch
Efficiency Restores the stressed lawn Less-efficient
Frequency Once during the grass’s growing season Once a year
Price Tag Expensive Less-expensive

The Distinguishing Factors Between Power Rake and a Dethatcher

The main difference between power rake and dethatcher is that the power rake is more aggressive than dethatcher. You would use a dethatcher when the thatch has grown less than an inch, but a power rack when it’s more than half an inch, also, the latter is more expensive.

Maintaining a lawn can be quite a task, especially if you are an amateur. And it is relatable since most of us have just begun trying our hand at this new hobby. But do not worry, as it is achievable with the right tools and knowledge. Most people often confuse the fact that the same machine has two different names. But that is not the case. 

A power-raking machine uses blades similar to a roto-tiller to remove the thatch and the debris build-up on the soil. On the other hand, it is a gentler process compared to dethatching as it only removes debris from the upper layer, while with dethatching, there is a risk of pulling out the roots. The most common power rakes include gas power rakes, pull behind power rakes, and dethatcher rakes.

The one that runs the force is the dethatching blade or metal tines to move across the grass and pull the thatch up to the lawn’s surface. After the machine pulls up the unwanted material, you can either throw it away in a bag or turn it into compost.

Characteristics of a Power Rake 

The power raking process helps to remove the abundant lawn debris that builds up on the lawn. This removal helps with aeration, which reduces soil compaction and enhances grass root development. An example of a commonly used power rake is the Arnold power rake.

The machine scrubs the debris layer on the lawn with the help of high-speed flails. As a result, the machine picks up the loose debris and leaves the surface of the soil more exposed than before.

You can use a power rake when the thatch is more than half an inch thick. You can see if there is thatch by cutting the grass two to three inches deep. If there is something reddish-brown and spongy between the lush green soil and the brown soil, it is thatch. 

A power rake is great for getting rid of dead matter and aeration. It targets the dead grass, specifically allowing the rest of the grass to grow healthy. It is a one-time investment that will benefit you for years to come. 

– Adds Life to Your Lawn

The heavy-duty machine brings your lawn back to life like nothing ever happened. But, for optimal results, it is necessary to use it at the right time and in the right season.

You will see improvements in the overall health of your lawn as it improves the flow of air, ensures that the grassroots get enough water to thrive. Moreover, it would also ensure that the soil absorbs maximum nutrients, because you have aerated it very well and enhanced the working flow. As a result, you get a lush green lawn like never before. 

– Medium to Big Lawns

The rake is more suitable for medium to big-sized lawns and digs up more than half an inch of thatch. It has sharp blades designed to cut thatch and not dig up from the roots; therefore, it is recommended to have some knowledge and skill before you use it. 

Because you will be tackling a big size of a lawn, and you would wish for it to go ahead and cover this area, you must go ahead and take action, but don’t damage it just to use this rake. You can also hire professional help to help you get used to the new change.

Power Rake Properties

– Easy to Use

Now that we have looked at the differences between the two products let’s look at the specifications. One of the commonly used rakes in the market is the billy goat vanguard engine power rake pr551v.

The machines in the power-raking category have different aggressive levels. For example, one of the most aggressive of them has a working width of twenty inches, way more than we mentioned earlier for an average power rake, because this is how it is best used. 

An average rake is forty-two inches tall and taller than a common house lawn mower. This feature helps the gardeners maintain a strong grip on the machine while maintaining their posture simultaneously.

The machine is approximately forty-five and a half inches in length and twenty-six and a half inches in width, which allows it to cover a wide area at a time and makes it the best candidate for commercial-sized lawns. This signifies how the machine’s power is build for bigger lawns, and it would cover with a single go, because of the strength that it holds.

However, it is quite a heavy machine, weighing up to one hundred and sixty-one pounds, so you might need help or experience before using it yourself. Or else, the task will seem more challenging than it already is. 

– Run Systematically

You must make sure that the end result is perfect, and it looks clean, which is why the best thing you should do is to run it systematically. As a result of the latter, you must make sure that more than one-fourth of dead grass covers the soil before you go in with the machine. It is always safe to run a patch test to get a rough idea of how much debris should be removed.

Run Systematically

Be careful not to lower the deck abruptly; take it one step at a time. Run the machine all over your lawn systematically to have a more uniform lawn at the end. For ease, pick up the loose debris side by side with a lawn rake. After you have gone through the whole of your lawn, move the machine over it once again but in the opposite direction.

We understand that spending a fortune on a power raking machine can be overwhelming. To help you decide better, you always have the option of a power rake rental, or you can try searching for a power rake for sale or the nearest home depot power rake available online.

– Wet Soil

Refrain from making the mistake of power-raking when the soil is dry. Power raking dry grass is not recommended as the grass is too brittle. The process will damage the overall wellness of your lawn. This also applies when the soil is wet, as there are chances that the live grass will come out along with its roots.

Always keep it your priority to rake if you are someone that adds grass seeds to your lawn care routine every year. This helps the seeds in sprouting through the thatched soil. The same is the case when you want to top dress your soil, because this is what the machine will work upon, at its utmost potential. Also, you must remember that raking beforehand not only helps with thatch removal but also helps the seeds to absorb the nutrients better.

– Use it in Spring

Now, the next question is when is the right time for power raking your lawn. In colder regions, you should do it in early fall or spring, while in warmer regions, the lawns are better raked in late spring to early summer.

Since a power rake is aggressive, it does cause a little bit of damage to the grass, so it is important to ensure that you do it with a good amount of growing season left behind for the grass. Moreover, this is when the grass won’t be as try nor will it be soggy wet, it is somewhere in the middle, and this is the ideal time.

Power raking wet grass is not recommended. When you attempt to do so, it pulls out the grass plants as the living grass does not hold onto wet soil well. The best time to use the machine is before seeding or adding the final dressing to your soil. 

Characteristics of a Dethatcher

A Dethatcher has the characteristics of giving your soil the nutrients it needs, it adds room for the seeds and is budget friendly. It is a gentle form of core aeration, you must use it whenever the thatch is less than an inch, and be mindful of its health.

Remember that a dethatcher has almost the same benefits as a power rake but obviously on a smaller scale. It is effective in slicing through the thatch in the soil and removing the stubborn, thick, and accumulated organic matter. Most people prefer using this machine with knives and blades over rake-like tines.

The chances of damaging your lawn with a dethatcher are the same as with a regular lawn mower. This device is one that can damage parts of your lawn, giving your space an uneven look if not done right or at the wrong time. 

When you use this device, you do not have to worry much about the right time to use it. Most gardeners suggest you use it every five years to tackle the thatch problem, but the ideal time to do it is once every year or once the thatch is half an inch thick.

– Gives Your Soil the Nutrients It Needs

Since the machine removes debris from your lawn, it allows all the necessities to reach the soil. The fertilizer, for example, will have a better chance of showing its benefits now that it has better access to the soil.

It also allows the water to penetrate through the soil, stimulating the existing roots and promoting new root growth, which is why the new shoots will be growing in a stronger and more enhanced matter. With all the debris lying peacefully on top of the soil, the roots surely acknowledge your efforts, basically, this gives your lawn a further boost in their growth.

Dethatcher Properties

– It Makes Room for the Seeds

Apart from all these benefits, you make room for seeds too. Irrespective of whether you want to reseed or over seed, removing thatch helps create more room for the seeds to have better contact with the soil, leading to a better chance of germinating.

The efforts that you put in might take a bit of time to give fruitful results, but it helps your grass thrive again and prepares it better for the next time to fight weeds. As if gives more room, this means that you have a better chance to grow more and extend your luscious lawn

– Budget-Friendly

The machine is less expensive as compared to a power rake. It is smaller in size and fits about just anywhere and everywhere. Gardeners feel more at ease with a dethatcher since they do not fear losing it. When it can be used properly to do the job well, and it is a cheap option, this is why most people opt to go for this device. One of the most popular dethatchers is the Greenworks 10 amp corded 27022.

– Gentler Form of Core Aeration

A dethatcher is a device you must have seen mounted on a lawn mower. It is covered with metallic tines that penetrate through the thatch layer on the soil. 

Gentler Form of Core Aeration

It can be distinguished from the fact that this device removes the dead organic matter from the soil, whereas core aeration pulls out two-inch deep soil plugs that include the soil and thatch. Aeration ins a necessary aspect that your grass and soil require in order to grow well and extensively, this means that when you use this, it will create a safe space for your soil. 

– Use When Growth is Less than Half an Inch

Before we get into the correct way of dethatching a lawn, let’s quickly look at the right time. Please do not attempt to remove the thatch when the grass is not in its growing season. Which means that the ideal size is when it is less than half an inch tall.

To begin the process, mow your lawn to about half its normal height. Cutting back the grass will make the debris. Or thatch, more prominent and easy to get rid of. Next, you need to attach your Dethatcher to a garden tractor so that it does most of the work for you. The sharp metal tines dig deep into the soil and remove any thatch that comes in its way. 

To make this process a lot easier and smoother, gather the collected thatch. It is quite common for the bare patches to show up after you are done with the process, but it is not something to stress over as you can always over-seed the area. By now, your soil has gone through a lot, and the best thing you can do is fertilize it to help it recover.

– Two Types

Dethatchers can be divided into two main categories depending on their efficiency. These types work equally well on small-sized common households or similar lawns. Nonetheless, both will do the job well, and will aerate your soil. 

A manual Dethatcher is a super light machine on the pocket. It can be easily confused with a regular rake. This type of Dethatcher works best in areas not easily accessible by heavy lawnmowers.

The second kind is the tow-behind type of machine. It has been specially designed to be used behind a tractor or a riding lawnmower. The machine is a great value for money as it covers more area than a manual one. However, you can also go for a dethatcher rental if you want to try it first and see more about how it works.

– Be Mindful of Your Lawn’s Health

You might be intrigued to get up and dethatch without wasting a second, but we suggest you would invest in it for different reasons. Dethatching too often increases the risk of damaging your grass type by eliminating its roots. So, before you go ahead and make sure you release the thatch, as it would aerate your soil and keep the nutrient levels in check. This step also reduces the need for dethatching frequently and helps the root to develop, giving you a healthy lawn over time.

The machine also helps with weed control or pre-emergent weed. It should only be put into action when the grass or weeds need to be replaced. Do not use this type of device when you have newly seeded your lawn unless you have sown them first to allow them enough time to germinate. If you attempt to dethatch early, all your efforts seeding your lawn will go to waste.

It is necessary to keep the machine’s manual in hand. Make sure your soil is moist and not soggy, as rock-hard soil is difficult to work with. Go at least once over your lawn, but for better and more noticeable results, we suggest you go twice but in the opposite direction.

Most importantly, whatever you do, thatch builds up yearly and almost to the same amount. So, you do not need to dethatch every year, and as we mentioned earlier, plan on dethatching your soil once every few years, and that too only when your lawn needs it. To satisfy your inner gardener, you can give your lawn a brief and quick check to see how much thatch has gathered up.


This Power Rake vs Dethatcher review shows that the two machines have their due similarities and differences. The main difference between the two is Power Rake is more suitable for commercial landscapes while Dethatcher is fit for households. The former is more expensive than the latter.

So, whether you need a Power Rake or a Dethatcher depends on the area that needs to be catered to. You can opt for a Dethatcher for your homes and a Power Rake if you have industrial or bigger landscapes. However, we suggest you do a patch test with both of them, weigh the pros and cons, and decide which suits you the most.

5/5 - (5 votes)
Evergreen Seeds