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Buying an Aerator

A lawn aerator

Aerating is part of a good
lawn care program

Aerators let air into the soil to encourage deep root growth and improve drainage. If you are after a lush healthy green lawn it is recommended that you aerate once a year.

Most websites seem to have a single section called Aerators & Scarifiers as most powered aerators come with scarifying options.

This guide looks at how aerators work, the manual and powered options, where to buy from and what you should consider.

Hollow tines vs. Spikes

The idea behind aeration is to loosen up compacted soil under a lawn and to improve drainage. Both hollow tined aerators and aerators with solid spikes do this by leaving holes in your lawn, the difference being in the type of holes left.

Aerating your lawn is much easier with the right tools

The hollow tined aerators remove small cores of soil leaving holes in your lawn and cores of soil on top of your lawn. The spiked aerators leave holes in the ground by pushing the soil down and to the side.

Experts tend to favour hollow tined aerators because they argue the cores of soil removed leave real room for water and air to circulate. As a spike just pushes the soil aside to create a hole it is compacting the soil and not helping with drainage as much.

Hollow tined aerator

A manual hollow tined aerator from Yeoman

We recommend the Yeoman Hollow Tine Aerator, which greenfingers sell for a very cheap £18. However, there are some considerations before you follow our suggestion -

- you need to push the hollow tines into the ground by exerting force with your foot on a crossbar and this is not easy if you have a bad back or have a large lawn.

- you are left with hundreds of unsightly cores of soil all over your lawn and aesthetics alone would suggest that you put the effort into raking these cores away rather than let them breakdown themselves.

- a minor consideration, but a consideration none the less, is that the hollow tines can get clogged with soil and need cleaning several times while you make your way around the lawn.

When to choose a mechanical wheeled aerator or an electric aerator?

Mechanical aerator

A mechanical wheeled aerator

Both mechanical wheeled aerators and electric aerators will be much less effort to push around your lawn on their wheels. So, if a manual hollow tined aerator is too much effort then you are left with the wheeled options.

However, it is worth noting that most have the solid spikes and in fact we couldn't find a single hollow tined mechanical or electric model in the shops we reviewed above.

Mechanical aerators are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than an electric model. Electrical aerators can be easier to push around your lawn as long as the cable doesn't get in your way.

A cheap mechanical aerator will set you back £35-£40 and our shop section lets you compare products and prices on manual aerators from various websites.

An electric aerator & scarifier

An electric aerator & scarifier

Most electric models on the market come with interchangeable scarifying and aerating drums. You can read about how scarifying helps maintain a healthy lawn in our guide to scarifiers.

An electric combi aerator and scarifier will set you back around £150 and we list many choices for electric scarifiers from around the internet.

What do the professionals use?

If you call in a professional company to aerate your lawn they will turn up with a big heavy mechanical aerator or a specialist petrol aerator. None of the shops we reviewed above sell single function petrol aerators but some do stock petrol scarifiers that aerate as well. They cost upwards of £300 and can be compared here.


Can I aerate with a fork?

Aerating a lawn with a fork

Spiking your lawn with a fork

If you have a small lawn or a small budget you can get away with aerating your lawn by poking your fork in at regular intervals, this is called spiking.

Spiking can be back breaking and time consuming work and really isn't recommended on anything other than a small lawn.

Lawnmowing aerators

If you already have one of the fancier cylinder electric lawnmowers or cylinder petrol lawnmowers from makers like Atco check to see if you can buy a aerating cylinder for your model.

Cultivating aerators

If you already have a garden cultivator from makers like Mantis check to see if you can buy a aerating attachment for your model.

Where to buy aerators

Websites selling aerators online
What we think

Greenfingers have a small selection of mechanical aerators. They sell the hollow tined yeoman aerator recommended here.

Standard delivery is £4.95.

Visit Greenfingers
Mow Direct

Mow direct offer some of the lowest prices we've seen on the internet. They stock agri-fab towed aerators, a single mechanical aerator, and the MTD electric and petrol aerators.

They offer free delivery.

Visit Mow direct

Top products

These products have been popular with our community. If you are the thorough type, browse and compare all Aerators from loads of different merchants.

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