Best Type of Lawn Aerators

Best Type of Lawn Aerators


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Best Types of Lawn AeratorsAs you may already know aerating your lawn is a very important job that creates holes in your soil to help lawn grasses to grow and flourish. It should be carried out on a regular basis if you want to keep your lawn healthy throughout the year, especially for us here in the UK.

But which is the best lawn aerator and method for you and your garden?

There are many lawn aerators to choose from and all are built with a particular type of garden in mind. To help you decide I have outlined the different types of lawn aerators below, and explained who they are best suited to. For more tips on Lawn Aeration see my article Lawn Aeration Tips. 

Benefits of Lawn Aeration

Lawn aeration will assist you in the following areas –

  • Reduction of soil compaction (especially suitable for clay soils)
  • Improve your soil drainage
  • Allow nutrients to enter the soil more easily
  • Control lawn thatch
  • Accelerated growth of grass roots

Types of Lawn Aerators

Before you consider what type of Lawn Aerator is best suited for you, you should take into consideration that there are two main methods –

Spike Aerators 

Spike Aerators punch holes in your soil, by pushing the soil sideways. As no soil is removed from the ground, the holes will close quite quickly.

This method is mainly suitable for sandy soils.

Top Selling Spike Aerators

Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hollow Tines Aerators

Hollow Tines Aerators have hollow tines that pull out plugs from your soil. As soil is actually removed from the ground, the holes will stay open for a longer period of time allowing air, fertiliser and water to reach the roots.

The core of the plug will be left on your lawn and you have several options how to deal with them. You can either sweep them up and put them on your compost, or you can let them dry out and go over them with your lawn mower with the grass collection box removed. The latter will break up the plug and spread the soil over the lawn acting as a top dressing.

The process of aerating your lawn using a manual hollow tine tool can be hard work to say the least. Keeping your tool sharp, clean and rust free will help to make this task easier.

This method is mainly suitable for heavy clay soils or soils that have been compacted i.e. around your commonly used areas (exits) or washing lines.

Top Hollow Tine Aerators

Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hand/Manual Lawn Aerators 

These types of aerators are best suited to those with small gardens as they do require a bit of manual work, but are well worth it because they are cheaper than electric/petrol machines. You can either use a normal garden pitch fork or hollow tine pitch fork to make the holes (with the pitch fork you’ll get little spikes in the ground, whereas with the hollow tines you’ll dig up plugs of turf). Hollow tines will open up the soil much more effectively so if your soil is heavily compacted or if you want to do a more thorough job then it is better to go with this option.

The idea is to push the fork into the ground at a depth of about 7 centimetres so that air, water and nutrients can reach the very bottom of the grass roots. If you want to make the holes slightly bigger with the pitch fork then you can rock back and forward when removing it from the ground. You want to space out your spikings about 15 centimetres apart from each other and repeat the process over the entire lawn, or just over the area in need. In saying that, of course they don’t need to be perfect, anywhere between 15 to 20 centimetres is fine.

Make sure you carry manual lawn aerating when the soil is moist, as it will be very difficult to do when the soil is really dry and ineffective when it is waterlogged.

These types of aerators are best suited to those with small gardens, have time for this type of activity and are physically fit.

Lawn Aerator Shoes

Lawn Aerator Shoes

Like above, these are best suited for small gardens as they do require quite a bit of manual work. Similar to the pitch fork, they have spikes placed underneath that pierce the ground while you walk across it. All you do is strap them to your shoes, please wear boots, and walk over the area that needs to be aerated. I would recommend lawn aerator shoes with non-slip platform and heal support for a more secure fit.

The lawn aerator shoes might not be as effective as hollow tines but they are very easy to use. Just remember you need to use a gentle stomping motion instead of your normal walk to get the spikes to properly penetrate the ground.

Even though the penetration isn’t that deep, it will still help the surface drain water and get some air and nutrients to the grass roots. But probably the best feature about lawn aerator shoes is that you achieve very dense spike patterns, which gives you a thorough aeration, and you can carry out another lawn care activity at the same time, like spraying weeds or applying a fertiliser.

This type of aerator is best suited for those with small gardens, willing to do some manual work but also want to make full use of their time.

Below is a list of the top selling Lawn Shoe Aerators-

Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rolling Lawn Aerator 

Rolling Lawn Aerator This type of lawn aerator makes for quick operation which makes it ideal for small to medium lawns, but remember if your lawn is very dry the light weight of this roller will make it difficult for it to penetrate the lawn.

Simply push the rolling aerator up and down your lawn in a similar pattern you would with a manual lawn mower, you won’t achieve as dense spikes as you would with aerator shoes but you can cover the lawn a second time if you want to be more thorough.

The rolling aerator is best suited for larger lawns that have a few slopes. The shoe aerator would not be able to cope with slopes as well as the roller.

Powered Lawn Aerators 

Powered aerators can aerate a large lawn in a relatively short time, with minimal effort from your side.

You can choose from two options available –

Walk Behind Powered Aerators

Walk Behind Powered Aerators

In relation to walk behind aeration you have two options available to you. The first is to purchase a domestic lawn scarifier/aerator. These will come fitted with either steel spring tines and/or metal blades. Some electric/petrol domestic models will allow you to switch between tines and blades as the drum is a cassette than can be swapped around. Please note that these are domestic scarifiers as opposed to spike or hollow tine aerators. The spring tines will rake and scarify only the top layer of the turf, removing moss and dead grass. The blades will go deeper, cutting into the top layer of your soil, allowing for air and nutrients to penetrate deeper.


Second option is to hire a commercial aerator. These are normally, petrol operated and much heavier compared to their domestic counterparts. These heavy duty machines will allow you to hollow tine your lawn extremely quickly with minimal effort. They are also more effective, powerful and will therefore penetrate the lawn to a depth of up to 10 cm (much deeper than the above options). The core of the hollow tine is discharged to the rear of the machine and can be used on slopes up to 20 degrees (always aerate across the slope).

Both the domestic and commercial aerators are designed for medium to large sized gardens.

Top Electric Powered Aerators and Scarifiers are listed below-

Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ride-on Aerators and Attachments

Ride-on Aerators Attachment

If you have a ride-on lawn mower, there is always the option of purchasing an aerator that is attached to your ride-on lawn mower and pulled along behind. Weights can be added for increased soil penetration.

The depth of the penetration is normally around 8 centimetres.

These are designed for large lawns and fields and are cost effective if you already have a lawn tractor with the ability to hook up a tailor.

Both commercial and ride-on aerators come with hollow tines so you’ll be pulling up plugs of soil instead of just spiking, which promotes more effective aeration and health of your grass. This is why you see them used on golf courses and other sporting fields.

If you found this post interesting and would like to see some of my other lawn care articles or reviews relating to best gardening tools I have reviewed visit

If you have any questions or would like to share your own experience with our readers please use the comment box below.

4 thoughts on “Best Type of Lawn Aerators

  1. Thanks for the info. I had always used the power aerator and thought that was the only way. However, you give us up who don’t want to plunk down the money to rent or buy one of these things.

    I really like the shoes, because you can benefit from your weight and know that the spikes will get maximum depth (not a good reason to be overweight).

    It seems like you wouldn’t be able to get enough weight behind the roller aerator and as a result, you are more or less just pushing it around the lawn.

    1. Glad to be of help Warren! Actually if you hold the roller correctly it can be very effective, just check out the video at the bottom of the post to find out how ;-)

  2. Lawn aerating is very important! I have seen extremely unhealthy grass do a 180 flip after getting aerated. I also love all the different tools that you provide for the different purposes. Some of them I didn’t know even existed! Very informative post. When I decide to purchase, I know exactly what to get per my specific need.

    1. Great to hear Ellen! Yes it’s very important and I’m not surprised that you’ve seen such dramatic effects on unhealthy lawns, that’s just how powerful aeration is!

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