What is the Best Adjustable Garden Leaf Rake?
The adjustable garden leaf rake is one of the most popular types of gardening tools. They are used by many gardeners because they provide a wide range of options to adjust their plants’ growth rate and shape. Some people use them to grow vegetables or herbs while others use them for flowers, fruits, trees and shrubs. There are several different models available which vary in size, design and features.
There are two main types of adjustable garden rakes: telescoping and retracting. Telescoping rakes have a handle that extends out from the base of the rake.
These rakes usually have a large knob at the top with a series of small holes drilled through it to allow for adjusting the height and angle of your plant’s leaves. Retracting rakes do not have handles. Instead, they have a rod that extends out from the base of the rake. You then insert the rod into a hole in the bottom of the rake and push down on it until it locks into place.
Both types of rakes come in various sizes and shapes, but there are some key differences between them:
TIP: If you’re unsure about what type of rake to buy, try both before making your final decision!
Telescoping rakes typically have a narrower head than retracting rake heads.
Telescoping rakes can be adjusted to various heights while retracting rakes come in only one size. This makes telescoping rakes more versatile and they are preferred by professional gardeners.
Telescoping rakes can be set to different angles while retracting rakes can only be extended out at 90 degree angle from the handle.
Telescoping rakes typically have longer handles than retracting rake heads. This makes telescoping rakes a bit heavier to use, but provides more control over the plant’s growing conditions.
Telescoping rakes are preferred by professional gardeners because they can be used for precise results. Retractable rakes are easier to use and provide a quicker growing environment for your plants.
They are also far less expensive than telescoping rakes.
What is the Best Rake for Cleaning Out Garden Beds?
Most of us have problems getting all the leaves and other yard waste out of the garden beds in the fall. There is always some that just seems to elude you no matter how hard you try to get it. What most people don’t know is that there are special tools for just this purpose and one of those tools is known as a garden rake.
Garden rakes are not the same as the rakes you use on concrete or gravel. Those are known as lumber rakes and have wider teeth to help aid in gathering leaves and such into a pile.
The teeth on a garden rake are much smaller and closer together and are made not of metal, but of some flexible material. There is also a tined version of the garden rake which looks very similar to the common pitchfork. These are used for gathering loose soil and hay.
The main purpose of the garden rake is to gather the leaves and other yard waste into piles to make them easier to gather up and dispose of. The flexible tines allow you to reach into tight spots, such as under shrubs or decks where leaves often gather.
The teeth allow you to pick up the leaves and other yard waste easily. The tined garden rakes can be used to gather soil or hay together – maybe even crop stalks if you’re a farmer!
Making a garden rake part of your gardening tools will make fall cleanup much easier!
What Should be Considered When Buying Rakes?
Now that you know what types of rakes are available, you can decide which one or ones you need. But there is another choice to make, and that’s what material the rake is made of:
Rocks: This type of rake is very sturdy and long-lasting.
Fiberglass: The material of choice for most rakes.
Steel: Heavy duty option that is more commonly used by professionals rather than homeowners.
Portable, powerful, sturdy and long-lasting – what’s not to like?
What Kinds of Rakes Should Be Avoided?
There are certain types of rakes that should be avoided altogether. Here are some of the common ones:
Untempered steel: This type of rake is very heavy and tends to rust quickly.
Uncoated fiberglass: This type of rake can easily shatter and doesn’t stand up well against rocks.
Plastic: Very cheap and tends to break apart after very little use.
What Else Should I Know?
Choose a rake that is the right size and strength for you. Some people may prefer rocks, while others will prefer fiberglass. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference as every grade of rake has its strong points.
If you’re using the rake to gather leaves or other yard waste, choose a rake with smaller tines. This way, you’ll be able to fit into small spaces where leaves like to gather.
Again, personal preference will come into play here.
Rakes can be found in most hardware and home supply stores. They typically range in price from very cheap to very expensive, so it’s best to know what you need before you make a purchasing decision.
Using a rake incorrectly or on the wrong surface can lead to injury. Be sure to read the directions that come with your particular rake and follow all safety guidelines.
If you’re using a rake to clear snow, make sure you’re able to do so safely before attempting it for the first time.
Types of Rakes
There are several different kinds of materials a rake can be made out of. The two most common are metal and fiberglass.
Of course, there are others as well. Let’s take a look at what each material has to offer:
Metal: Strong, sturdy and heavy, the main advantage to a metal rake is that it can last for years and years with no major maintenance required. The tines of a metal rake are often welded together which makes it more difficult to break or bend.
The disadvantage of a metal rake is that it’s very heavy. In fact, most people will not want to use a metal rake as their primary garden tool due to its weight.
Fiberglass: Probably the most common material for making rakes, a fiberglass rake combines durability with lightness. While not as sturdy or strong as a metal rake, it can often do most of the same jobs and is a good medium between the two types.
Most people prefer the fiberglass rake, professional landscapers included.
Wood: While not as popular as it once was, there are still some people who prefer a wooden rake. They’re generally very cheap to buy and easy to find.
The downside is they don’t last very long at all and need to be replaced every couple of years at the most.
The head is the part which does the actual work of removing leaves and other yard waste. Most heads can be adjusted to five different positions, although some are limited to only three.
There are four different kinds of heads:
Metal: A metal head is sturdy and often the most durable head available. The only disadvantage is that they’re also the heaviest of all the heads and will cause the most arm strain when using it for extended periods of time.
Fiberglass: The most popular head, fiberglass heads are strong enough to last for years but still light enough for extended use. The only major disadvantage is they can be bent and damaged if sat upon or run over by a lawnmower.
Poly Proplene: A very lightweight head which makes it easy to use for extended periods of time. The poly proplene is also very durable and can withstand most damage, but it is also the most expensive head available.
Rubber: The cheapest and least durable head, rubber heads need to be replaced every year or so. They’re often used on smaller rakes or children’s rakes.
The width of the head is very important factor when choosing your rake. If the head is too wide, you’ll have difficulty getting in tight spaces, such as between flower beds.
On the other hand, if the head is too narrow, you won’t be able to do your job quickly enough. Most metal and fiberglass rakes are set at four inches as a standard width.
The handle comes in two styles: straight and D-shaped. The straight style tends to be easier on the back due to its even weight distribution.
The D-handle, as you may have guessed, has a curved shape which fits better in your hand and reduces strain. Professional landscapers tend to prefer the D-shaped handle as it is more comfortable to use.
How big is your yard?
If you have a large yard then you’re going to need a longer handle so that you don’t end up with a sore back from constantly having to stoop over to gather up leaves. On the other hand, a short handle will allow you to get in closer to plants and bushes for a closer clean up. Most rakes have handles that are six feet long, but they can range anywhere from four to eight feet in length.
Sources & references used in this article:
Adjustable hand rake by SPL Miller – US Patent 2,855,746, 1958 – Google Patents
Hand rake with guard attachment by GE Winston – US Patent 2,790,297, 1957 – Google Patents
Convertible garden rake and cultivating tool by E Lomberk, EC Rosston – US Patent 4,091,879, 1978 – Google Patents