A typical yard rake is a sturdy, long-handled tool with a triangular fan-shaped head that’s split into multiple tines. Designed to gather leaves and other detritus on the lawn, around trees and shrubs, and in flower beds, a rake is a timeless tool and a model of form meeting function.
We’ve tested some of the best leaf rake options to explore the differences among the various types of leaf rakes and to learn what to look for in a quality model. Check out our detailed reviews of these rakes to find the leaf rake you’ve been looking for.
- BEST OVERALL: True Temper 26-Inch Dual Tine Poly Leaf Rake
- RUNNER-UP: Ames 22-Tine Steel Leaf Rake
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Fiskars Leaf Rake
- BEST ADJUSTABLE: Bond 2060 Adjustable Steel Rake
- BEST COLLAPSIBLE: Professional EZ Travel Collection Folding Rake
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Bully Tools 30-Inch Poly Leaf Rake
- BEST HAND RAKE: Garden Depot Gardening Hand Rake
- BEST SCOOP STYLE: Gardzen Large Leaf Scoop Hand Rakes
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Leaf Rake
While leaf rakes all serve a similar purpose, they vary widely in weight, length, material, and quality. The best leaf rakes allow the user to comfortably yet firmly grip the handle while performing the repetitive raking motions necessary to gather dry leaves and other yard debris. Also consider the strength and flexibility of the tines, whether the length of the handle is adjustable, and if a heavier or lighter weight rake is desired.
Leaf rakes are not the same as garden rakes, which have a stiff, broad head with short steel tines at a right angle to the handle. Garden rakes can break up dirt clods and dethatch a lawn, but leaf rakes are not suitable for that type of work.
- Standard leaf rakes feature a wide fan-style head with long, slightly flexible tines. Since a wider fan head covers a larger area, it usually can rake up leaves more quickly. The head attaches to a long handle designed to allow the user to rake without bending over.
- Scoop leaf rakes come in two styles: single-headed and double-headed. A single-headed scoop rake resembles a standard leaf rake, but the fan-shaped head folds inward via a twist or pull-type mechanism on the handle. This allows the user to rake, then grab leaves and lift them to a bag or compost pile. The double-headed style is not designed for raking but for lifting the leaves. It features two opposing scoop heads that open and close to grab and lift the leaves.
- Mini/hand scoop leaf rakes typically feature two separate curved rake plates—one for each hand. The user grabs the dry leaves and lifts them to a bag or bin.
Most rakes have tines made of metal, plastic, resin, or bamboo. Not only are the tines splayed, but each one also bends sharply downward at its outer end. These curved tines help grab the fallen leaves. Depending on the rake, the tines usually feature one or more cross braces near the point where they’re attached to the handle for stability.
The more cross braces a leaf rake has, the sturdier the tines and the less they will flex when raking. For raking heavy leaf falls, a sturdier rake head with at least two cross braces is desirable. Each tine material has its own benefits and drawbacks:
- Metal tines are the most durable and suitable option for medium- to heavy-duty yard work. Metal rakes with steel tines typically are heavier and more expensive compared to those made of plastic, bamboo, and resin.
- Plastic tines have the least amount of strength. They’re more appropriate for light-duty tasks since they break more easily. Plastic rakes are lightweight and inexpensive, but they don’t last as long as rakes made from other materials.
- Polyresin tines are a compromise between metal and plastic. This strong polymer combines the durability of metal with the flexibility of plastic to handle heavy-duty jobs.
- Bamboo is sturdy, though less durable than metal and resin. It’s a sustainable material and usually more eco-friendly than other materials (unless the metal, plastic, or resin comes from recycled products). Rakes with bamboo tines are suitable for light- to medium-duty work.
A leaf rake’s ferrule—the part of the rake head that attaches to the handle—is usually made from the same material as the tines and has similar qualities. Examine the ferrule to ensure that the rake head is securely attached.
A rake head may have a female screw-type ferrule that can connect to a standard male screw-type handle. Depending on the model, the ferrule also can have a bolt or two that secures it to the rake’s handle. In many cases, a broken handle doesn’t mean the entire rake must be replaced; instead, just the handle often can be replaced.
Rake handles are commonly made of wood, steel, aluminum, or fiberglass. When selecting an appropriate handle, keep the following characteristics in mind.
- Wood is the heaviest option, and while strong, it’s still susceptible to damage. Wood has the least amount of weather resistance and is subject to rot if left outdoors. Additionally, a wooden handle may eventually break if the rake is used for more challenging yard work.
- Steel and aluminum are more durable. Steel is the stronger metal and less likely to bend or dent. On the other hand, stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminum handles resist corrosion and rust. Aluminum also is lighter than steel and often costs less.
- Fiberglass is tougher and lighter than steel, though it weighs more than aluminum. Rakes with a fiberglass handle are more expensive.
A leaf rake’s length determines its reach and how comfortable it is to use; rake handles vary from 36 to 67 inches long or more. Factor in the user’s height when choosing a rake; longer handles usually are better for taller users.
Weight can be a critical factor when shopping for a leaf rake. Heavier rakes can become cumbersome and difficult to use over a long day of raking, while a lightweight rake makes it easier. However, lighter rakes may not be as durable and not able to complete heavy-duty tasks.
A rake can range in weight from less than a pound up to 5 pounds or more. A heavier rake comes in handy for tasks such as spreading mulch. If yard work involves both light-duty and heavy-duty tasks, users can compromise by opting for a medium-weight multipurpose rake of 2 to 3 pounds.
Rakes have various extra features that influence convenience and usability. If the tool will be used frequently, one or more of these features may be worth considering.
- Telescoping handles allow users to adjust the handle length to suit their preference or to accommodate multiple users of varying heights.
- Adjustable rake heads allow users to adjust the spread of the tines for different tasks.
Grabber tools built into the head eliminate the need for bending down to retrieve swept leaves.
- Padded grips, usually made of rubber or foam, provide additional comfort and reduce hand fatigue.
- Collapsible handles save space and make it easier to store the rake in a garage or shed.
Our Top Picks
Some find the outdoor task of raking leaves calming, while others would rather do almost anything else. Read on to find out how each of these tested rakes performed in our backyard trials and why we consider them to be some of the best in their categories.
Two of the worst aspects of leaf cleanup season are the time commitment and physical exertion that raking requires. This dual-tine poly leaf rake by True Temper helps get the job done quickly and easily thanks to its lightweight, efficient design. The rake measures 27 inches wide and 71 inches from the tip of the tines to the top of the handle, and it weighs in at a modest 2.75 pounds. It features an efficient dual tine design, with alternating straight and curved tines, which aggressively collects leaves and debris and resists clogging.
We awarded the True Temper 26-Inch Dual Tine Poly Leaf Rake “best overall” because it works as advertised. In our tests, the dual tines really did collect more debris faster, including hard-to-reach pine needles, acorns, and grass thatch, eliminating the need to double rake. We liked that the working edge where the tines meet the ground is relatively flat, because it allows the rake to pick up more new material on each stroke regardless of the user’s height. However, the tines are quite stiff, which makes them less suitable for those applications in which “digging in” is less desirable.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Polyresin head, rubber-coated aluminum handle
- Tine count: 39
- Dual-tine design works quickly and resists clogging
- Broad head collects large quantities
- Lightweight, durable materials
- Comfortable design for extended use
- Less flexible than steel tines
- May require assembly (insert handle into head and secure with a screw)
Get the True Temper leaf rake at Ace Hardware, Tractor Supply Co., or Amazon.
For its versatility, the old-fashioned spring-tine rake has an enduring place in the yard. Ames’ version of this classic tool is not only a really good leaf rake, but it also works really well to pick up small branches, spread gravel and mulch, and prepare bare soil for planting. The rake measures 22 inches wide and 65 inches from the tip of the tines to the top of the handle, and it weighs 2.52 pounds. The flat working edge makes it a great choice for all types of yard cleanup projects.
If we had to choose only one yard cleanup tool, this rake would be it. It moves fall leaves at a slower pace, but its compact build and durable materials make it the better tool for year-round tasks like cleaning up after pruning or preparing a new garden bed. However, the Ames 22-Tine Steel Leaf Rake has a smallish head, and its 22-inch width is less efficient for moving bulky dry leaves. But its relatively light weight somewhat offsets the compact size, making the work less physically demanding. Users of smaller stature may find the size to their advantage. This rake could be an excellent primary leaf rake for small to midsize yards or when the rake is used in combination with a leaf blower/vacuum and lawn mower.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Steel head, hardwood handle
- Tine count: 22
- Time-tested design: steel spring-tine head with wood handle
- Durable materials
- Useful for a wide range of landscaping and gardening chores
- Steel tine head is more versatile than polyresin
- Steel tines are susceptible to bending
- Head is smaller than many polyresin leaf rakes
Get the Ames leaf rake on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
The Fiskars Leaf Rake maintains its brand reputation for comfortable, quality performance at a wallet-friendly price. It offers durable lightweight construction designed for comfort without sacrificing performance. This rake measures 24 inches wide and 67 inches from tine tip to handle top, and it weighs just 1.75 pounds.
We liked the Fiskars Leaf Rake’s oval-profile handle. In addition to giving the tubular aluminum shaft a bit more resistance to bending, the shape filled our hands comfortably. The soft, pliable polyresin tines featured a strong downward curve and somewhat flat working edge that reached among the grass blades to pull out settled debris without tearing up the grass. The soft tine material limits this rake to lightweight leaf cleaning, but it excels in that role. This rake is a good choice for all but the largest yards.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Polyresin head, aluminum handle
- Tine count: 29
- Durable, lightweight construction
- Comfortable oval-profile aluminum handle
- Broad head clears large areas quickly
- Flexible curved tines resist clogging
- Budget-friendly price
- Extra-wide head is more susceptible to damage
- Handle is susceptible to bending sideways
Get the Fiskars leaf rake at Amazon, Ace Hardware or The Home Depot.
This adjustable leaf rake from Bond Manufacturing fills the roles of two tools, a conventional leaf rake and shrub rake, and it collapses for storage. When fully opened, it measures 22 inches wide and 60 inches from tine tip to handle, and it weighs 1.69 pounds. At just 7.5 inches wide when collapsed, it’s one of the easiest rakes to store.
This was the first time we had used a collapsible rake, and it was a revelation. The tine spread was easy to adjust and the rake easy to store. Overall, the Bond 2060 Adjustable Steel Rake was surprisingly effective at taking on many of the same tasks that a spring-tine rake is used for. However, the widely spaced tines sometimes speared the leaves and became clogged, and the round steel handle was too thin for comfortable extended use. For most users, this would not be a great pick for regular year-round yard work. However, for those with small yards and only a few seasonal leaves to pick up, it does the job well and stays conveniently out of the way when not in use.
- Type: Adjustable
- Materials: Steel head and handle
- Tine count: 15
- Easily adjusts to widths from 7.5 to 22 inches
- Can clear both narrow spaces and open areas
- Durable steel construction
- Saves space in storage
- Tines were more likely to spear leaves and become clogged
- Narrow tubular steel handle is less comfortable than others
Get the Bond steel rake on Amazon or at Ace Hardware.
A portable leaf rake, such as the Professional EZ Travel folding rake, comes in handy for picnics and camping. It has durable steel tines that adjust from 7.5 inches wide for storage to 24 inches wide for raking larger areas as well as a telescoping handle that extends the length from 37 to 63 inches. When fully extended, the rake measures 24 inches wide and 63 inches from tine tip to handle, and it weighs 2.31 pounds.
In our tests, the EZ Travel Folding Rake’s adjustment features worked smoothly and locked securely. The rake performed well while clearing leaves, sticks, pine cones, and other debris from a 200-square-foot area for a backyard bonfire. However, a few issues keep it from being a go-to tool for regular yard work. The handle is too thin and slightly wobbly while in use. The widely spaced tines often miss some debris and get clogged at other times. But, for occasional use, the rake’s usefulness probably outweighs the kinks. Those looking for a compact tool that’s portable may want to give it a look.
- Type: Adjustable
- Materials: Steel head and handle
- Tine count: 15
- Collapsible head with telescoping handle
- Easy-to-use head and handle adjustments
- Stores easily in a car trunk or behind a truck seat
- Great design for camping, picnicking, and other on-the-go needs
- Thin tubular steel handle is less comfortable than other rakes
- Tines are spaced a bit too widely when fully extended
- Not designed for daily heavy-duty work
Get the Professional EZ Travel Collection leaf rake on Amazon.
Heavy or wet leaves and large yards call for a heavy-duty rake. The Bully Tools Poly Leaf Rake not only has a rugged fiberglass handle that resists bending, cracking, or breaking, but its smooth surface is easy on hands. The rake measures 30 inches wide and 72 inches from the tips of the tines to the top of the handle, and it weighs a stout 3.4 pounds. The rake comes disassembled but is easy to put together: Simply insert the handle into the head and secure it with a screw.
Our tests revealed several interesting points about the Bully Tools leaf rake. With its thick, strong handle and massive curved head, it can pull large, heavy loads of leaves. The tines feature curved tips that can even pull up saturated, matted debris. The deeply concave head and strongly curved working edge make this rake most practical when heavy-duty construction is absolutely necessary. However, in those conditions, some users may prefer a slightly smaller headed rake. In average or lightweight conditions, the tool is unnecessarily heavy. This rake could make an ideal secondary rake for those times or locations when the conditions are truly difficult.
- Type: Standard
- Materials: Polyresin head, fiberglass handle
- Tine count: 32
- Durable construction
- Broad head moves lots of leaves quickly
- Thick, comfortable handle
- Nearly twice the weight of other standard leaf rakes
- Excessive curve in the working edge where the tines meet the ground
Get the Bully Tools leaf rake on Amazon or at Lowe’s.
A hand rake comes in handy when attending to details and cleaning up smaller spaces. The Garden Depot Gardening Hand Rake features a densely spaced set of steel tines and an ergonomic handle for comfortable, efficient work. It measures 6.25 inches wide and 16.5 inches long, and it weighs 0.32 pound.
In our tests, the Garden Depot Hand Rake reminded us of a larger spring-tine steel rake. It uses the same sort of steel tines, closely spaced at about ½ inch apart, for a springy flexibility that works as well at creating a smooth seed bed as it does at gently removing fallen debris from a recently pruned topiary. We also used it to collect the weeds we pulled in a raised bed and to smooth out a mulch surface after weeding. However, even though we liked a lot about this rake, we didn’t love the handle. Its dimensions are good, but the surface texture was slippery when wet. Still, this hand rake came in handy for a variety of up-close gardening tasks.
- Type: Hand rake
- Materials: Steel head and handle, plastic grip
- Tine count: 11
- Sturdy construction
- Tines are densely spaced and quite springy
- Well proportioned for up-close work in garden beds and large containers
- Comfortable handle
- Inconsistent tine spacing
- Handle becomes slippery when wet
Get the Garden Depot leaf rake on Amazon.
When the leaves are all piled up, they still must be loaded for disposal. Grab more leaves than ever with this set of Gardzen Large Leaf Scoop Hand Rakes that make quick work of loading leaves into bags or bins. Each leaf scoop measures 17 inches long by 13 inches wide, and the pair weighs 1.38 pounds. The scoops are made from molded polyresin in an ergonomic shape that’s just right for picking up oodles of dry leaves. In addition to the leaf scoops with removable wrist pads, the kit includes a pair of work gloves and a 72-gallon reusable leaf bag.
We tested the Gardzen Large Leaf Scoop kit on magnolia leaves that were thoroughly infused with chunky, dried-up magnolia fruit. One of our testers wears men’s extra-large gloves, and the other wears women’s medium. The scoops fit both testers perfectly. They were easy to use, picked up nearly a bushel of leaves at a time, and caused no wrist or hand fatigue issues. However, consider where and how to store these items when not in use, as the scoops are single-task tools that will usually be in storage. For those who spend a long time picking up leaves after raking, this could be a solution.
- Type: Scoop
- Materials: Polyresin
- Tine count: 0
- Collects a large amount of leaves and debris per scoop
- Eliminates an awkwardly protruding rake handle
- Fits different hand sizes
- Protects hands from thorny, prickly yard debris
- Specialized tool for a single job
- No convenient, compact way to store them
- Does not reduce bending and stooping
Get the Gardzen hand rakes on Amazon or Gardzen.
Collecting leaves doesn’t have to be a backbreaking chore that takes up the whole weekend. To do the job quickly and efficiently, we recommend the True Temper leaf rake. Its unique tine design and lightweight, durable construction helps users rake quickly with minimal effort. Those looking for a versatile tool to keep the yard looking great year-round may appreciate the Ames leaf rake. It’s a multitasker that is just as capable of working the soil as it is at cleaning up fallen leaves and branches.
How We Tested the Best Leaf Rakes
It may seem a bit of a stretch to test leaf rakes in the middle of spring, but that’s exactly what we did. Our testers had access to a massive windrow of dried, matted, partially broken-down leaves from the prior fall, bales of pine straw, and a huge collection of southern magnolia leaves that naturally drop in spring. We used them to assemble a test plot to try out each of the rakes.
The testing area included a wide open grassy lawn space and a hedge with low, spreading branches. We spread 6 inches of leaves and debris evenly across the area, then used a leaf blower to push the pile under the hedge.
In addition to speed and efficiency, we noted the number of passes each rake required to clear the space as well as any noticeable user discomfort, such as hand, arm, or shoulder fatigue. For the collapsible rakes, we gauged the tool’s effectiveness and perceived durability, since we viewed them as limited-use tools. We reviewed the hand rake and leaf scoops as specialty tools with either a “yes, they worked,” or a “not worth the money” rating.
All the rakes on this list performed according to our requirements. Any of the standard leaf rakes is a reliable pick for consistent, extended use. The others should be considered good picks for their intended design, which, in collapsible rakes, means an occasional seasonal clearing of small areas.
An annual pastime in many communities after trees lose their leaves, raking can be a more enjoyable task. The right leaf rake speeds the chore and simplifies the work. Those new to choosing a leaf rake are likely to have some questions. Answers to some common questions about these tools appear next.
Q. Is raking good for your lawn?
While a few leaves here or there might not harm anything, a thick layer of autumn leaves can become damp and soggy, blocking sun and air circulation from the lawn and increasing the risk of fungal diseases. Raking the leaves helps remove excess coverage that could damage the grass.
Q. What is a leaf rake used for?
A leaf rake is lightweight and specially designed to gather dry leaves from the surface of the yard. Some are well suited for additional yard tasks like removing twigs and sticks after pruning or smoothing out a seed bed for planting.
Q. How long is a leaf rake?
Handheld leaf rakes (for raised beds) can be as short as 15 inches, while full-size leaf rakes may be 72 inches long or longer.
Q. Is a metal rake or a plastic rake better for leaves?
Both metal and plastic rakes expedite leaf raking, but metal usually lasts longer. However, the new polyresin in many of today’s plastic-type rakes is more durable than the plastic of yesteryear.
Q. What do you do with raked leaves?
Add raked leaves to a compost pile or layer them around the base of trees and other plants for a bit of thermal protection during winter. Alternatively, bag them and contact the local waste authority for curbside pickup.