A premium lawn aerator can produce deep holes in the soil that facilitate the penetration of air, water, and nutrients to the grass roots, leading to a healthier, nourished, and visually appealing lawn.
Determining when and how to aerate your lawn is contingent on the type of soil and grass you have (warm or cold-season), lawn size, and the extent of foot traffic. To aid you in selecting the ideal lawn aerator for your requirements, we extensively researched numerous options, assessing ease of use, functionality, features, and overall value.
Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator
- Compact design for easy storage
- Suitable for use in small spaces
- Requires physical exertion
- Only covers a small area at a time
For those with small yards, a handheld aerator can be an excellent and cost-effective option. This type of tool is much easier to store and can access tight spaces where a tow-behind aerator may not fit. The Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator is a great choice due to its lightweight and durable construction. Although it requires physical effort and only covers a small area at a time, it can effectively loosen compacted soil and remove thatch, allowing vital nutrients to penetrate.
Yard Butler also offers a spike handheld aerator that is more suitable for sandy or loamy soil. The plug type has two tines that can penetrate up to 3.5 inches, while the spike aerator has four 3-inch spikes. Both aerators are constructed of rust-resistant powder-coated steel, measure 37 inches in height, and weigh approximately 4 pounds. They each feature rubber-padded handles and a footrest for easier insertion into the soil.
As of publishing time, the Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator retails for $44. Its aeration method is handheld, and it is a plug-type aerator with a spike length of 3.5 inches. Its width is 8.75 inches, and it is manually powered with dimensions of 1.75 x 8.75 x 36.5 inches. The weight capacity is not applicable, and the plug size is 0.50 x 3.50 inches.
Corona YardBreather Aerator
For those with a small area of yard to aerate, the Corona YardBreather handheld aerator is a cost-effective and easy-to-store option. Measuring 40 inches in height, with plugging spikes spaced 8 inches apart, this rugged tool weighs just over 3.5 pounds.
Using a simple stepping motion, the YardBreather removes two 3.5-inch soil plugs at a time, ejecting them from the top of the hollow spikes with each step. The footplate and plugging spikes are made of heat-treated steel, ensuring a long working life, while thick padded handles and a wide nonslip footplate reduce user fatigue and stress points.
During testing, we found that with a little practice, the YardBreather could remove an average of 100 plugs per minute. It worked more effectively in heavily compacted and dry soils than any of the tow-behind aerators tested because the user’s entire weight bears down on just two spikes instead of six or eight spikes at a time. In average soil conditions, the spikes consistently penetrated to the full depth of 3.5 inches.
While it may not be ideal for treating even the smallest whole yard, this tool would make an excellent purchase for those who regularly deal with pet paths around the property border or a worn pathway from the house to the toolshed.
- Spike length: 3.5 inches
- Spikes per square foot: 2
- Weight tray included: N/A
- Comfortable grip
- Broad, slip-resistant step
- Sharp edges for easy plugging
- Easy to store
- Only suitable for small areas
Agri-Fab 16-Inch Push Spike Aerator
POSITIVES Constructed from durable heavy-gauge steel Lightweight design suitable for smaller individuals
NEGATIVES Tine depth is relatively shallow
If you have a smaller lawn but still need to cover a significant area, the 16-inch push aerator may be the perfect solution for you. This model is versatile enough to be pushed or pulled, and its compact size is ideal for narrow or challenging landscaping areas.
The steel tray can accommodate up to 35 pounds of weight, but since it needs to be tipped forward or backward during use, you’ll need to secure that weight with tie-downs or bungee cords.
KEY SPECIFICATIONS Aeration Method: Push Type: Spike Number of Spikes: 40 Width: 16 inches Weight: 15 pounds
Yard Butler Lawn Aerator
The Yard Butler Lawn Aerator is a highly recommended tool for those looking to rejuvenate old lawns. Its 3.5-inch grass plugs penetrate deep into compact soil, promoting the flow of air, water, and fertilizer to the root zone. This process strengthens heat and drought tolerance in your lawn. We suggest using this manual plug aerator and dethatcher if you have a small to medium lawn, as it is more cost-effective than renting a large machine. Before using the Yard Butler Lawn Aerator, we advise watering your lawn, especially if it has not rained in a while and you do not use a sprinkler system. Once you have finished using the aerator, it is recommended to soak the coring tips in water to prevent soil from drying out inside the tips and causing clogs. With a lifetime of use guaranteed, this top-quality aerator is our number one choice. PROS Stimulates root growth by pruning roots Removed cores deposit valuable microorganisms Cushioned handle grips provide comfort CONS Requires both hands on handles, which can be inconvenient.
Best Choice Products 18-Inch Rolling Lawn Aerator
- Type of Aerator: Spike
- Number of Tines or Spikes: 30 spikes
- Operation: Manual
- Product Dimensions: 17.2 in x 5.5 in x 50.2 in
- Plug or Hole Depth: 2 in
- Product Weight: 7.94 lbs
- Product Warranty: Yes; 60-day warranty
Improve the health of your lawn with the Best Choice Products Rolling Lawn Aerator, which enhances air exchange and uptake of water and fertilizer, and reduces puddles. The rolling mechanism and 50-inch handle make it effortless to care for any grassy area, while the sturdy plastic and steel wheels ensure a smooth and durable gardening experience for years to come.
This tool is ideal for both personal and commercial use due to its efficiency and simplicity. It requires minimal effort since you just roll it around on your lawn and let the 2-inch spikes do the aerating work, without the need for a tractor or foot pressure. The 30 rotating spikes enable quick aeration of a large area, while the long handle helps prevent back strain or injury.
Overall, the Best Choice Products Rolling Lawn Aerator is a great option for those who want an effective lawn aerator that is easy to use, covers a lot of ground, and is suitable for both personal and commercial use. Plus, it comes with a 60-day warranty for added peace of mind.
What to know before you buy a lawn aerator
The primary objective of lawn aeration is to facilitate the growth of healthy and robust grass by breaking up the compacted soil. When soil becomes compressed over time due to heavy objects, such as lawn mowers or playhouses, or high foot traffic, it hinders the essential resources, such as water, oxygen, and nutrients, from reaching the grass roots. This results in patchy, thin, and discolored grass, and in some cases, grass death. Lawn aerators help solve this problem by loosening the soil, allowing essential resources to reach the roots, and making it easier for fertilizers and plant foods to enhance growth. You can tell if your lawn needs aeration by observing patchy, thin areas in the grass, the appearance of standing water in some locations, difficulty in breaking up the soil using your finger or small shovel, failure of grass to grow after seeding or application of fertilizers, or if your home is newly constructed, the soil might be compacted. There are different types of aerators that use hollow tines or rows of spikes to loosen the soil and cut through thatch to improve lawn health. Lawn dethatchers, on the other hand, remove the accumulation of organic matter on top of the soil, such as dead cells, stems, grass blades, leaves, and roots, known as thatch. While a 1/2 inch of thatch can protect your lawn from excessive heat and serve as a natural fertilizer system, excessive thatch can block essential resources from reaching the roots. Therefore, both dethatching and aeration are crucial aspects of lawn maintenance, and it is recommended to dethatch before aerating for optimum results.
When is the best time to aerate my lawn?
Most lawns will benefit from being aerated on an annual basis, although those that are used heavily may require an additional aeration. New lawns will need to be aerated more often.
There are two ideal times in the year for aerating the lawn: the first is in the spring and the second is in autumn.
During the spring and autumn months, the soil is moist which makes it easier to aerate. Spring coincides with the growing season of the grass, so aerating your lawn in the spring tends to produce better results.
It’s worth keeping an eye on the weather when deciding to aerate. If it’s too wet, the holes will seal quickly so aerating has very little benefit. However, most of the time the problem is that the ground is too dry – it can be necessary to water the soil before aerating.
Should I pick up plugs after aerating?
It’s best to leave the plugs on your lawn if you’ve used a plug aerator. They are full of nutrients and will be broken down on their own after a couple of weeks. If you’re concerned about your lawn looking messy, watering the plugs can help them break them down a little faster.
Which is better: a spike or plug aerator?
Spike aerators have sharp tines that penetrate the ground, while plug aerators remove a plug of grass from the soil.
In terms of which is better, this depends on the size of your garden and the soil. Spike aerators provide short term soil decompaction. They are suitable for small gardens and they don’t create any mess on your lawn.
Plug aerators remove small plugs of soil. This means they do a better job aerating, and they provide a more long term decompaction as air spaces are created around your lawn. Plug aerators are suitable for larger lawns with a lot of soil compaction, although they do create more mess than spike aerators – as the plugs are left scattered around the lawn.
Can I mow my lawn after aerating?
It’s important not to mow immediately after lawn aeration. Instead, you should seed and fertilise to make the most of the holes you have created in the lawn. I recommend leaving the lawn mower alone for at least 2 weeks following aerating and overseeding.
If your lawn desperately needs a mow, you’re better off mowing before you aerate.
How big should the holes be when aerating?
The holes in your lawn should be between 1.5 – 3 cm deep, although some electric aerators have adjustable depths. Ideally the holes should be around 1 cm in diameter.