Rake for most common garden work
The most popular were the so-called universal models – direct versions that look like the letter “T”.
Such a tool may have flat and slightly curved pins, as well as twisted teeth. The first two variants are good for raking garbage and heavy grass. The latter are better for breaking lumps of ground.
The most important in a nutshell
- Rakes are useful garden tools that can be used to loosen hard and dry soil. Rakes are also ideal for adding and mixing manure into the soil.
- Rakes and rakes are two different products that are not always clearly distinguished. While rakes tend to be needed for coarser work, depending on the design, rakes are suitable for haying and sweeping up leaves, branches, and mowed grass.
- Metal rake heads should always be made of steel or stainless steel. Both materials are sturdy and strong enough to withstand the high stresses rakes are subjected to when pounding and raking through solid and dried-out soil.
There are such rakes for the width of the working part:
- With a low grip: 100 – 200 mm.
- With an average: 300 – 500 mm.
- With a large: 500 – 700 mm.
The width of the rake should be selected under the conditions of the treated area. The tool itself can be made of completely different materials, including plastic and wood. On the other hand, variants with flat teeth are made of a solid piece of metal, in fact, as well as twisted. Pin teeth can be both metal and wooden, they are fixed in pre-prepared grooves perpendicular to the working bar. The latter, especially with a wide comb, are excellent for raking hay, as well as dry leaves.
Pros and cons of garden rakes
The advantages of using a garden rake:
- Firstly, it is a versatility rake: putting the order on the site, cleaning the lawn, loosening the soil, raking the roots and weeds from the beds – these are not all types of work that can be done with their help.
- Secondly, if necessary, this equipment can be made by yourself: it is not a complicated and quite a cheap option.
In addition, a garden rake will serve you for a long time, if you initially choose them correctly for your needs.
The disadvantages of the garden equipment:
- If you consider the shortcomings of the garden rake, based on the material, the durability and strength of plastic and metal models will differ in favor of the second. However, plastic – more flexible and lightweight, and easier to work with them.
- If the stalk of the tool is made of wood, be prepared for the fact that after winter storage, it can dry up and hang.
Criteria for selecting a garden rake
When selecting a garden rake, you should pay attention to the following options:
- The height of the garden rake. To determine whether a particular model suits you or not, place the rake vertically: if the height of the cuttings reaches the armpits, take this tool safely.
- Weight of the garden rake. It’s simple: the lighter the rake, the easier it is to work with.
- The material of the garden rake. The strength and durability of the product depend on this criterion.
- The width of the working crossbar garden rake. It varies from 4″ to 30″, however, most rakes have a width of 12-20″. If you need a rake for inaccessible areas, take a tool with a 10-20 cm wide crossbar. The widest rake is usually made of lightweight materials. They are usually designed for raking dry leaves, grass, and lawn cleaning.
A rake made of wood is rather rare. At least the rake head is made of steel or stainless steel in most cases.
Choosing sturdy and robust material should be your top priority. Since the rakes can be subjected to high stress when pounded into dried clay or peat soils and when powerfully ripped or raked through, sturdy metals such as steel or stainless steel are especially recommended for the rake heads. Rakes made of stainless steel are usually relatively expensive, but in contrast to other steels they often have the advantage of being rust-free, so they require little maintenance.
Important: Stainless steel does not necessarily have to meet the requirements of stainless steel. However, in everyday practice, stainless steels are very often assigned to the stainless-steel category.
The working width is equal to the width of the rake head. Hand garden tools with up to five tines (not to be confused with the three-pronged garden hoe) usually have a maximum width of up to ten centimeters, whereas classic rakes for the garden can usually have a span of 12″ to 15″.
Which working width you ultimately choose should depend primarily on your needs, but also on the size of the area to be worked and the planting.
For smaller beds or a dense planting of the area to be worked with crops, on the other hand, you should rather use rakes with a smaller working surface, or even hand rakes if necessary.
Basically, choosing the right handle length is also an important issue. If the chosen handle of your rake is too short, you will end up in a permanently stooped posture, which can cause back pain. On the other hand, if it is significantly too long, the rake can hardly be pulled back effectively because of the long lever.
We, therefore, recommend a length of at least 55″ (rather longer). People with a height of 6’1″ or more, on the other hand, should go for handles with a length of 60″ to 63″.
The rake, like other garden tools, will last you much longer and will perform its functions more efficiently if properly cared for. In addition, it will not take you much time or effort. If we talk about taking care of the rake during the season, the main stages are as follows:
- after work, clean the tool from the ground and dust and rinse with water;
- if there is rust, remove it with a brush. It is better to remove a thick layer of rust with special means;
- dry out all the working parts of the tool and lubricate the metal parts with special care oil;
- keep the rake in a cool, dry room or wooden box.
As for the preparation of the tool for wintering, the following stages can be distinguished here:
- Spotless, rinse, and dry the rake for 2-3 hours in dry sunny weather.
- Miss the metal parts with a special tool or used machine oil.
- Clean the handle from the grass and earth, sand with fine sandpaper, and coat with a layer of varnish so that the wood does not absorb moisture.
- Install vertically, hang, or, if possible, place on a shelf in a dry, ventilated room away from direct sunlight.
- Check the rake handles before the next season starts. If they are dry and dangling – put them in water for a couple of days, then grease all metal parts with a compound against rust.
Many manufacturers specializing in garden accessories also have the garden rake in their range. In your test, you can usually assume that the following brands are high-quality products, as they have been among the market leaders in this segment for years:
Types of Garden Rakes - Video
FAQ - Rakes for Garden
Rakes and other garden tools need to be cleaned regularly to prevent rust from forming in the first place. After use, the dirt can be easily removed with a brush. For thorough cleaning, water, and a sponge can be used. Afterward, however, the garden rake must be carefully dried.
Under no circumstances should you use a wire brush or a steel sponge, as both can lead to scratches, which can subsequently rust. A conditioning oil can then be applied to protect the unit from further rust.
Light rust marks are not a problem when gardening. Only when the garden tool has rusted through and can thus break off is the tool no longer usable.
Leaf rakes are sometimes referred to as lawn rakes or fan rakes. However, they differ from lawn rakes because they have plastic tines which are only designed to move leaves, grass clippings, and other very lightweight materials.
A garden rake is meant for moving soil — you can break up and move clods of dirt and smooth soil with both the tines and the back of the head. Prepping your lawn or vegetable garden this way makes it a more hospitable place for seeds and tiny new plants.