How to choose the best lawn aerator

Aerator weight, blade width, build quality and types of tines are all important factors when choosing the best lawn aerator for your garden.

What makes a good lawn aerator?

Ultimately look for a lawn aerator which can exert the maximum amount of weight, so a robust build quality is a must. Adjustable 5 inch hollow spikes on a wide blade ensure the perfect hole is created quickly and efficiently.

What makes an aerator perform?

The main factor which contributes to a well performing aerator is weight, the heavier the aerator the more the pressure is placed to penetrate the ground to create the correct depth of holes required. However, the design of the spikes should also be taken into account, hollow core spikes extract the soil whereas solid spikes might compact the soil making it less effective. With enough weight 5 inch spikes should be able to create 4 inch holes in the soil.

Should you choose a lawn aerator with spikes or hollow tines?

When pushing solid spikes into the ground the soil might counterproductively be compacted further into the hole because it has nowhere else to escape. A hollow tine plug aerator allows the soil to escape towards the surface when weight is applied, after the tine is removed the soil is pulled with it to form a ‘plug’ which is left on top of the lawn.

Choosing the best lawn aerator

There are several different factors involved when considering getting a lawn aerator unique to your garden and circumstances.


Choose between manual mechanical, powered automatic or tractor pulled lawn aerators. The size of lawn, frequency of use, amount of time and effort you wish to spend will dictate which type to use.


The motor of an automatic aerator is either petrol or electrical, a more powerful the engine means a more effective and easier aeration process.

Gas powered lawn aerators are measured in cc’s or horsepower, higher numbers indicate a more powerful motor however the unit will be heavier as a result.

An electric powered motor on an aerator is measured in amps or watts, when comparing lawn aerators higher amps or watts signifies a more powerful motor. Smaller cheaper electric models might not be as robust, placing themselves under stress in harder soil due to lack of power.

Spike depth

The spike height on automatic or tractor pulled aerators can quickly and accurately be adjust to the desired depth, however manual aerators are typically limited by how much pressure is exerted.

Spike material

Due to the lightweight nature of plastic spikes these are ideal for manual aerators but might be more prone to breaking compared to metal spikes.

Blade width

The blade is the part of the aerator which the spikes are mounted on. Smaller blade widths are ideal for softer and smaller turf, whereas larger blades are more suited for hard soil and will cover larger areas faster.

Build quality

Plastic can potentially last longer because it does not rust, but a metal body is stronger and heavier which adds to the overall weight. Additional weight is an advantage with any aerator but might be cumbersome and harder to use if manually pushing around a lawn.


Dethatching aerators might include a collection bag to speed up removal of waste.


An ergonomic form factor ensures comfortable use for extended periods of time especially with manual aerators.


Unless you are treating multiple lawns an aerator will be sitting in storage for most of the year, ensure that you have adequate storage and look for space saving options such as collapsible handles.

Aerator shoes

Do aerator shoes really work?

Aerator shoes do work, however do not work anywhere near as fast, efficiently, or effectively as a manual or powered aerator due to covering a much smaller area, using shorter spikes with less weight and impact. Aerator shoes are more suited for very small patches of lawn, where storage is limited or those with a tight budget. For a small area that might only be used twice a year purchasing a more expensive type of aerator might not warrant the cost.

Do golf spikes aerate grass?

Due to the shorter spikes on found on golf shoes this will be ineffective and very slow to aerate an area of lawn.

Can you rent an aerator and do it yourself?

Commercial heavy-duty water roller aerators should be available for rent, typically these have fixed tine spikes and you will need to transport these to your property. Evaluate if it is more cost effective to purchase one for a job which is performed twice a year job against the amount to hiring a lawn aerator twice a year for the lifetime of your lawn.


  • getlawnstar.comWhat Is Liquid Lawn Aeration? – Before making the investment of purchasing or renting aerating equipment you should learn about your other option- liquid aeration. 10th April 2019.
  • blog.everythingattachments.comEverything Attachments Blog – What Makes A Good Lawn Aerator? | Everything Attachments Blog. 29th May 2013.
  • Beginner’s Guide To Lawn Aeration – Beginner’s Guide to Aerating Your Lawn contains all the information you’ll need to get your lawn aerated.