How to choose an aerator, tips for choosing and reviews
Verticutter (knife) — an aerator equipped with sharp vertical knives. Such a device pierces the soil, which facilitates the entry of air, sunlight, fertilizers, moisture to the roots of plants. The verticutter makes cuts on the root system — this has a positive effect on grass growth. The best choice for deformed lawns.
Scarifier (rake) — aerator equipped with spring teeth. Such an aggregate clears the soil of old grass, moss, lichens, weeds and other debris. As a result, the appearance of the lawn improves. Designed for lawns maintained in good condition.
Important: in practice, you can remove debris with a verticutter, and make cuts in the soil with a scarifier. In some cases, a verticutter will be even more effective than a scarifier, for example, when cleaning solid waste (wood chips, cones, acorns). But the scarifier copes worse with making cuts in the ground due to the small depth of processing (up to 5 mm).
Universal aerator – equipped with knives and spring teeth. Such a tool combines the functionality of a verticutter and a scarifier. Minus — high price.
Important: verticulation is recommended to be carried out twice a year — in autumn and spring, while aeration is performed constantly throughout the summer (1 time in 2 weeks). Aeration is especially useful before watering and fertilizing the soil for better absorption of moisture and fertilizers.
- Universal aerator
Source of power
Electrical — are relatively inexpensive, have a simple design and low noise level during use, do not emit toxic exhaust. The engines do not require complex maintenance, and the cost of electricity is much lower than that of gasoline. Minus: low power, fast overheating. Equipment with an electric motor is designed for processing lawns of a small and medium area.
Electric aerators are presented in two versions.
- Powered Models from the mains 220 V — the mobility of such units is limited by the length of the power cord, the presence of an outlet and the inconvenience associated with them (the cable gets tangled underfoot). Suitable for work close to home.
- Models with battery — do not need a wire and an outlet, but are more expensive and heavier than network aerators. Compared to network counterparts, this technique has less power, and the time of its use depends on the capacity and charge level of the battery. It is worth considering the long battery charging time.
Petrol — characterized by high power, independence from the mains, advanced functionality, long service life. Disadvantages: high cost of fuel and the aerator itself, complex design, high weight, loud noise and toxic exhaust during operation. These devices are difficult to maintain (you need to prepare a gasoline mixture, periodically clean and lubricate the engine).
Models with a gasoline engine are designed for processing spacious and neglected areas.
Important: when choosing a gasoline unit, find out the maximum information about the internal combustion engine model installed on it (technical specifications, expert reviews, user reviews). This information will help evaluate the capabilities of the tool.
Mechanical (manual) — the cheapest and simplest, as they do not have a motor. This category includes roller rakes, spiked sandals, conventional aerator rakes and forks.
Handheld devices are environmentally friendly, compact, silent, do not need electricity or gasoline. Cons: limited capabilities, low efficiency, the need to exert physical effort when working. Mechanical devices are suitable for working on small lawns.
This parameter affects the performance of the aerator. It is measured in kilowatts (kW) or horsepower (hp). Most aerators are equipped with 1-3 kW motors. Model with a power of 1.3-1.5 kW is able to process a plot of 700-800 m2.
The higher the engine power, the greater the working width, the working depth and the longer the service life of the unit. Also, a more powerful device will quickly complete the required amount of work and heat up less.
At the same time, with an increase in this parameter, the cost, weight and dimensions of the aerator, as well as the consumption of electricity or gasoline, increase.
The optimal power of the device is determined by the area of the treated lawn and the complexity of the work.
Horsepower shown is for petrol models only. When converting one unit to another, use the ratio: 1 l. With. approximately equal to 735 watts.
Important: engine power is affected by its volume: the larger the engine, the more powerful it is.
The operating time of the electric (battery) / gasoline engine depends on the battery capacity / fuel tank capacity. In the latter case, it is worth paying attention to fuel consumption.
Determines the performance of the aerator. Depending on the model, the working width is 25-45 cm or more. The higher this parameter, the faster the aerator will cope with the processing of the territory. True, the large capture width does not allow the use of the device in hard-to-reach areas. Therefore, a model with a very wide working part is only useful for a spacious lawn.
For example, to process an area of 800 m2 you will need an aerator with a working width of 32-35 cm.
Affects the functionality of the aerator. The larger this value, the deeper the working part of the unit will penetrate into the soil. In different models, the processing depth is in the range of 3-30 mm or more.
In aerators, the processing depth is controlled by selecting the depth positions (modes). A verticutter with a large number of modes allows you to fine-tune the processing depth for a specific task. True, such a technique has a complicated design, which negatively affects reliability. It is worth paying attention to models in which 3-5 positions are provided.
Also determines the functionality of the aerator. The higher this indicator, the higher the working part of the device will rise above the soil surface. The processing height is taken into account when choosing a scarifier (necessary information if you need to remove debris from a fertilized lawn). For a verticutter, the working height is less important: a device with a higher working height is easier to transport.
Number of knives / spring teeth
This parameter is related to the working width (the “higher is more” principle). In universal models, this characteristic is indicated for both working elements, for example, 14 knives / 24 spring teeth.
Important: when choosing an aerator, pay attention to the quality of the steel from which the knives / spring teeth are made. This factor directly affects the service life of the working elements. A good option would be stainless steel — a durable material that rarely needs sharpening.
When working on a site where there is solid debris (stones, etc.), it is advisable to use an aerator with floating knives. Otherwise, the knives will fail. Better yet, remove these hard objects before working the area.
An important parameter for a verticutter. The unit of measure is revolution per minute (rpm). The lower the shaft rotation speed, the higher the tractive effort (at the same engine power). This model works effectively in difficult conditions (dense soil, thick roots).
At the same time, increased shaft speed gives higher productivity. A similar solution is relevant for «simple» sites.
Depth / height adjustment
Manual — found in simple and relatively cheap aerators. The inconvenience of manual adjustment lies in the impossibility of simultaneously adjusting the height of all wheels. As a result, the operator will have to deal with each wheel separately.
Synchronous — typical for more expensive models. This solution allows you to instantly change the height of all wheels using a switch.
Soft – light, compact and easy to store / transport, but sensitive to sharp branches, splinters and other similar objects. It is more difficult to unload the contents from such a bag than from a rigid grass bag.
Hard — strong and durable, but heavy. Yes, and it is more difficult to track the filling level of the bag than the soft one: a special indicator is required.
Missing — in this case, after processing the lawn, you will have to comb out all the debris with a rake.
Volume – influences the frequency of emptying the grass catcher. The voluminous bag (50 liters or more) holds a lot of debris and does not require frequent cleaning. True, such a container is heavy and bulky, and when filled, it increases the weight of the aerator. Such a solution is typical for professional equipment. But low-power units are equipped with a small container.
The larger the area of the cultivated area, the larger the container should be.
Fill indicator – displays the level of filling of the grass catcher for its timely emptying. As a result, the probability of overfilling the bag, which can damage the aerator, is reduced.
Self-propelled design — automatically moves during operation, which facilitates the operation of the unit. This option is useful for powerful and heavy aerators. The self-propelled design increases the cost, electricity / gasoline consumption, and also reduces the reliability and power of the device. The best choice for women, teenagers and seniors.
Folding handle – simplifies transportation and cleaning of the aerator.
Handle height adjustment — allows you to adjust the height of the handle to the height of the worker, which will increase the comfort of operation and delay the onset of fatigue.
With battery — allows you to start working after removing from the box. This set is the most common.
With two batteries – increases the time of continuous operation of the device.
Without battery — allows you to choose the right battery yourself. Another option is to use a universal battery from another tool and not pay for another battery.
Plastic — light and cheap material. Such a case is inferior in strength to metal counterparts. Suitable for small and medium power models.
Metal (steel, aluminum) — favorably differs from plastic in high strength. Powerful and productive aerators are equipped with a metal case. However, steel is heavier and more expensive than plastic. A good choice would be an aluminum case, which combines some of the advantages of the previous options — light weight and high reliability. True, aluminum will still cost more than plastic.
This parameter allows you to evaluate how loud the aerator is. Noise level is measured in decibels (dB). To correctly select a device for this indicator, compare the value indicated by the manufacturer with the following values:
- 70 dB — loud conversation of several people;
- 85 dB — motorcycle engine with a silencer;
- 100 dB — production shop.
This parameter indicates the area of \u200b\u200bthe site for which the aerator is designed. Allows you to evaluate the capabilities of the device and select the desired model based on the size of the area intended for processing.
Most universal aerators cope with lawns up to 800 m2. Some verticutters are capable of processing lawns with an area of 1600-2000 m2. But for scarifiers, the recommended area is smaller and rarely exceeds 300-800 m2.
The choice of equipment according to the power source depends on the area of the treated area.
- manual – up to 20 m2;
- electrical – up to 1500 m2;
- gasoline — from 1500 m2.
This characteristic affects the convenience of working with the aerator. A lightweight verticutter/scarifier is easier to use. This model has good maneuverability. But a model that is too light will not penetrate deep enough into the ground, which will degrade the quality of processing.
Massive equipment makes deep cuts, but it is more difficult to manage and will not suit people with a weak physical form (the exception is a self-propelled unit). A very heavy aerator creates additional pressure on the lawn and greatly deforms it. Find a reasonable balance between the comfort of use, the tasks set and the weight of the aerator.