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Scarifier Vs Dethatcher For Your Lawn

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Taking care of your lawn is a critical part of owning a home, especially if you want to keep the front yard looking nice for those who visit your house or the dreaded HOAs.

This duty means that you need to know everything that comes with lawn care. Two of the most popular tools include the scarifier and the dethatcher. You might wonder – what’s the difference between the two?

Similarities Between Scarifier and DethatcherDifferences Between Scarifier and Dethatcher
Dethatching techniquesWhat each is used for on a lawn, and to what degree
Where the product is usedOverall look and cost

We can help you distinguish between these two tools and select the one that works best for you. Although they’re similar in many ways, the scarifier and dethatcher are not the same things.

What is a Scarifier?

First, we need to talk about what each of these tools is. Defining the scarifier and the dethatcher is the first step when telling them apart. We’ll talk about the scarifier first. This device has a lot of features that benefit a lawn. It’s the stronger of the two tools, and it has an impact on your grass.

A scarifier is used to pull up tough thatches of grass on a lawn with vertical blades on rotating cylinder. It can remove harsher patches of grass and weeds than the dethatcher. It prepares the growth for what is to come, making room for the lawn to thrive.

Some of the things a scarifier has to include:

  • A rotating cylinder
  • Large, protruding vertical blade

Vertical blades turn on the cylinder to cut into the grass removing excess thatch. Your lawn will look worst after using a scarifier. Be patient as the grass will receive the needed nutrients and comes back to life looking better than ever.

What is a Dethatcher?

The dethatcher is the second tool. Many consider these tools the same, but the truth is that they are different devices. It’s not quite as strong as the scarifier. You might have a tough time utilizing it to rip up strongly-thatched pieces of your lawn.

The dethatcher is typically gentler than the scarifier is on a lawn. Rather than ripping apart tough patches, the dethatcher softly pushes blades into your grass to aerate and remove some thatch.

A dethatcher can be a rake device with curved tines or look like an older manual lawn mower except with long prongs or teeth that are dragged through the lawn to remove thatch.

Differences Between Scarifier and Dethatcher

There are two differences between the scarifier and dethatcher. These are vital to understand, as even the smallest trait can have an impact on your lawn. If you want to give your home the care it deserves, knowing what sets a scarifier apart from a dethatcher is vital.

The two differences between the scarifier and the dethatcher include:

  • Intensity: The scarifier is more intense than the dethatcher is on a lawn. It rips, while the dethatcher typically massages and presses gently.
  • Use: The scarifier comes in handy for ripping apart thick patches, while the dethatcher is a more gentle way to prep your lawn for potential future growth.

They are not the same thing in the slightest, and believing they are could risk lawn damage.

When Should You Scarify and Dethatch Your Lawn?

We’re talked a lot about the differences between a scarifier and a dethatcher, but when do you use them on your lawn? It can be tricky to determine when the best time may be, with so many options out there. Each season holds different challenges for your yard.

The best time to scarify or dethatch your lawn is during the spring or fall because:

  • Growth rate: During this time of the year, the growth rate has increased exponentially and will continue to do so throughout the seasons.
  • Recovery rate: Along with the growth rate increasing, the recovery rate also improves. Your grass is better equipped to handle scarifying and dethatching.

Take on this point in the year for the best results for your backyard.

Typically, the fall starts in September and the spring begins in March, depending on the climate in which you live. Taking care of your lawn during either of these points will make the experience beneficial for your lawn more than any other part of the year.

Best Scarifiers and Dethatcher for Lawns

We’ve discussed the differences between these products and the best time of the year to take care of your lawn with them. There are manual versions of each that will give you a good workout but won’t cause you to spend big money on another machine to maintain.

You could rent the equipment to do it yourself which is way easier than with the manual versions. That would still save you a lot of money since hiring a lawn company can cost between $300-$700 or more depending on the size of your lawn.

But, if you decide you want to purchase your own, the Sun Joe Dethatcher is a great model without a high price tag. The Sun Joe will make your lawn dethatching experience a great one, rather than a stressful one. A quality product means a quality lawn.

It’s vital to have a quality product when you want to take decisive action towards the care of your lawn.


If you want to give your lawn new life, dethatching is a great way to do so. There are two tools you can use for this process – the scarifier and the dethatcher. Even though each of these can seem like they’re the same thing, they’re not.

The main things that set the scarifier apart from the dethatcher are the intensity and the way they are used. One mixes up your lawn with fierce vigor, ripping apart thatches to bring life back into your greenery. The other essentially provides a gentle massage to spur your grass back to life.

Both of these tools are ideal if you want a healthy green lawn that any HOA will be proud of.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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