If your lawn isn’t as healthy as it once was, it may be because of a lack of water and fertilizer reaching the soil. Soil can easily get too compacted, which damages the grass’s ability to absorb nutrients from the soil and generally to grow in a healthy way. Aeration reduces the soil’s density and allows nutrients to more readily get into the soil. Depending on your soil type, aeration could become part of your annual lawn maintenance.
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A lawn aerator is a tool designed to place holes in a lawn to allow water to more freely permeate the soil. These come in a variety of different styles, from ones that are towed behind a tractor, to spikes you place on the bottom of your shoes.
Aeration is particularly useful if you have dense, compact soil, such as clay, or if you have a lot of foot traffic over your lawn that compacts it down. In this case, an aerator is a must-have accessory to keep your lawn as healthy as possible. Aeration is a non-labor intensive way to ensure your lawn is healthy and (arguably more importantly) looks healthy.
In order to pick our top five, we reviewed the many different aerators available online. We considered the following criteria when filtering the best options: Build quality, spike length, weight, maneuverability, path size, price, effectiveness, and design (plug or spike).
Our top five consists, therefore, of those that best fulfilled the above measures. All five are high-quality items that will do an excellent job of aerating your lawn. However, we also selected a variety of models within those five so that you can find the model that best fits your specific needs. For more information on your needs, see our Lawn Aerator Buyers’ Guide section at the end of this guide. This section will describe which type of aerator will fit with different types of grasses, whether it’s better to rent or buy, and what you can do to get the most out of your aerator.
The Brinly model is designed for the serious user of a lawn aerator. It’s designed to be towed behind a tractor, suggesting it’s a better model for someone with a larger lawn. Moreover, its robust build and large size mean that it is an industry-level piece of equipment.
The price is not as high as it could be given the quality involved, making this an extremely high-value option. This was really the stand-out pick for our best model on the market.
Lawn aeration is rarely anyone’s priority. In fact, it’s unlikely that it’s at the forefront of anyone’s mind for long periods of time. It makes sense, therefore, that most people would be unwilling to shell out $100+ for a lawn aerator. However, for those who are budget-conscious, spending less money on a tool that doesn’t work is also a false economy.
That’s where the Yard Butler model comes in. At $37.00 this is a price that won’t hurt your pocket, but it still maintains the quality of a more expensive model. It hits a nice sweet spot.
Agri-Fab is a brand well-known in the lawn care market for creating high-quality pieces of equipment and this is no exception. What makes this our luxury pick is not only the fact that it is built to an extremely high standard, but also that it comes as a multi-function model, combining aerating with dethatching or lawn sweeping.
You’ll pay a real premium for these models ($500 or more) but the ease of use and the durable build will mean it’s worthwhile.
The second Agri-Fab model on our list is a totally different type than the first – this one is a walk-behind model, far more sedate than our leviathan Luxury Pick. However, don’t let the style confuse you, for a push aerator, this one is a seriously good piece of equipment. It’s built like a tow model in terms of components, yet isn’t too heavy to be difficult to use. All in all, this is a really solid (and still relatively budget) option.
If using machines to aerate your lawn isn’t for you, there’s always the chemical option. The Liquid Aerating soil conditioner is designed to be sprayed over your soil, decreasing compaction and therefore doing the same job as a mechanical aerator. If you’re not in a position to use a manual aerator or your lawn is simply in need of a minor adjustment, then this product will save you time, money, and a great deal of effort.
This is a crucial question – it really depends on what type of soil you have. If you have warm-season grass, such as Bermuda grass, then spring is the best time to aerate it. If you live in a cold area, then you need to wait until the soil has thawed before aerating. If you have cool-season grasses such as bluegrass, then you are probably better waiting until fall to aerate. This allows you to seed and aerate the grass at the same time, promoting overall lawn health.
The two techniques of lawn aeration are ‘plugging’ and ‘spiking’. A spike aerator places a spike into the lawn, whereas a plug aerator will remove a small plug of soil and deposit it on your lawn.
A spike aerator is a simpler (and neater) piece of technology. However, the spike aerator doesn’t impact your soil’s density, it simply creates additional space.
A plug aerator will reduce the density of the soil, although it does leave the plugs on your lawn. Generally, a plug aerator is a better option because of this, particularly if your soil is extremely compacted.