ISSUE 39  |  Fall Foliage

10 Easy Pieces: Leaf and Garden Rakes

September 29, 2015 1:30 PM

BY Janet Hall

When it comes to garden rakes, we’re biased. We look for rakes that are built to last. That might require a larger up-front investment, but it pays off in performance (and, we think, in the long term cost). And, no plastic, please.  Here’s our line up of hard-working cleaning and cultivating rakes to last a lifetime. 

Leaf Rakes

Leaf Rakes require strong tensile tines that gather rather than stab leaves. Flexibility is key. Tines that flex and then don’t return to their place, staying bent, are useless. 


Above: This could be the Rolls Royce of garden rakes. The Sneeboer Leaf Rake has an ash handle that’s just the right diameter to grip comfortably, laid on a stainless steel core and secured with two brass rivets. It’s $62.64 from Garden Tool Co. 

Above: Inspired by the design of a traditional hay rake, a large Wooden Rake has tines that work equally as well on leaves and gravel; £16 from Garden Trading.


Above: The Burgon & Ball Leaf Rake with close set round tines has a long FSC Ash handle and a stainless steel head is £29.95.

Above: The Wolf-Garten Tine Leaf Rake has 22 hardened-steel tines fashioned in a barrel shape to capture all leaves in its path; $28.49 from BlueStone Gardens.

Above: A good alternative choice for tight budgets is a Flexrake Classic 24-in Leaf Rake with a 48-inch oak handle; $15.98 from Amazon.

Garden Rakes

Garden rakes feature fixed rather than flexible tines and are made for heavy duty use to remove debris and rocks from soil, to level garden beds, and to prepare soil for plants. The best garden rakes have tines that don’t bend and heads that don’t fly off the handle when being put to work. 

Above: Sneeboer’s 10-Tine Garden Rake is hand-forged of stainless steel with sharp but tough tines and fitted with an ash hardwood handle. Backed by a lifetime guarantee, it’s $88.39 at the Garden Tool Co. 

Above: The head of the DeWit Tools Bow Rake is forged of burnished carbon steel and bolted through the 63.5-inch long Ash hardwood handle. Handmade in Holland, it is $79.90 from Gordon’s Garden Tools.

Above: The gold standard? Not only is the copper head of the Perseus Long Handled Rake stunning, it is also naturally rust-proof and stays sharp over time. Crafted in Austria with a Lime wood handle, it’s on sale for $149.95 (marked down from $198) at Terrain. 

Above: The stainless steel head of the Burgon & Ball Ground Rake has bow shaped supports that add spring and give a flexible action; £29.95 at Burgon & Ball.

Above:  The Fiskars Aluminum Garden Rake features 14 hardened steel tines and a lightweight aluminum shaft with a soft grip handle. It comes with a lifetime warranty and is $34.99 at Amazon.

Above: Our budget choice is the Corona Bow Head Rake with a tempered head and an ash wood handle; $28.56 at Corona Tools. 

Before getting to work, be sure to don a Good Garden Glove. Wondering what do to with those piles of leaves? See Gardening 101: How to Use Fallen Leaves.