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The 12 Best Aerator for Lawn to Help Your Grass Breathe


If you think watering and mowing your lawn – and perhaps trimming the edges with a weed eater – is the extent of the maintenance a lawn requires, you might want to rethink that.

Learning why, when, and how to aerate your grass is invaluable. Get this right and you’ll be rewarded with grass that can breathe, and a greener lawn that grows more vigorously.

Luckily, with the best aerator for lawn quite easy to find, you have no excuse not to give your lawn an annual once-over so it can breathe, and so water, seed, and fertilizer can work right down to the roots.

If you have no clue what you’re looking for on the buying trail, keep the following pointers in mind, starting with the type of aerator that makes the best fit.

  • Type of lawn aerator: Lawn aerator spiked shoes are lightweight and easy to use. These work best for much smaller lawns and for anyone that struggles using manual garden tools. While these are fun to use and they are better than not aerating your lawn at all, you won’t achieve a deep aeration using these. Stepping things up, you’ll find manual spike aerators. You push these into your lawn and the spikes remove plugs of soil as you extract them. This helps to aerate your lawn more thoroughly. Tow-behind lawn aerators make a great choice if you have a larger lawn to aerate. These attach to your lawn tractor and allow you to more deeply aerate your lawn without lifting a finger
  • Depth of penetration: If you have a core-style aerator, this will pull out a plug of soil from the ground. This leaves an obvious hole. If you are planting new grass seeds, you can take the opportunity to stuff these holes with fertilizer and seed. Check that the dimensions of the holes are suitable for your lawn as sizes vary considerably. Scarifiers feature blades in place of spikes, delivering a much more disruptive form of aeration
  • Density of blades: Whether your aerator is equipped with hollow tines, knives, or sharpened nails, you should look for how these are distributed. The more spikes per inch, the more effective your garden will be aerated.

OK, as long as you make certain you get the right type of aerator for your yard, you should find it pretty easy to find the right one.

We’ll get right down to business now with our showcase of the 12 best aerator for lawn.

I. The 12 Best Aerator for Lawn

1. Our #1 Pick: Brinley Tow-Behind Plug Aerator



  • Type: Tow-behind plug aerator
  • Weight: 64.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 37 x 51 x 28 inches

First up and our favorite in today’s collection of the best lawn aerators comes from Brinley in the form of this tow-behind plus aerator.

Made from steel throughout, this rugged piece of kit should give you years of faithful service.

Easy to operate, the Brinley comes equipped with 24 plugging spoons made from heat-treated 16-gauge steel. These spoons are designed to penetrate any areas of compacted soil, removing 3-inch plugs as it goes. As you aerate your lawn in this way, you’ll help seed, nutrients, and moisture to work their way easily down to the roots.

Use the simple lever to engage transport mode and then tow this tool behind you on your lawn tractor. A universal hitch means you’ll have no snags attaching and detaching this aerator.

Add weights to the robust tray built in if required. You can add up to 150 pounds of additional weight.

Semi-pneumatic 10-inch tires are designed for smooth going without being prone to punctures.

As an inbuilt bonus, you can service each of the spoons separately, and you can also replace these in the event of any breakage.

Aside from a few reported issues with assembly, this is one of the best lawn aerators you’ll find, penetrating deep into compacted soil and bringing out the very best in your lawn.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 40-inch tow-behind aerator
  • 16-gauge steel plug
  • Ideal for heavily compacted soil
  • Quite awkward to assemble

2. Agri-Fab Tow Plug Aerator



  • Type: Tow-behind plug aerator
  • Weight: 92.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 36 x 60 x 36 inches

Next up is another tow-behind lawn aerator, this time from the highly reputable Agri-Fab. This company is a specialist in this field and has a deep bench of effective lawn aerators to suit all yards.

You benefit from a universal hitch, allowing you to attach this device to any lawn tractor of any brand. You’ll need to take care of some straightforward assembly before you’re ready to hitch up your aerator.

There is a transport handle within easy reach of your tractor seat, and you use this to lower and raise your aerator as you go.

A pair of 9-inch flat-free tires give you the confidence to keep going on more challenging terrain without being menaced by punctures.

This is a supersized 48-inch aerator and it works best in larger outdoor areas.

The aerator is loaded with 32 plug aerator knives that are self-sharpening to improve performance while minimizing maintenance.

These knives are arrayed over 3 separate knife section that all rotate independently to intensify aeration, helping you get more done in less time.

Not only is this aerator efficient and highly effective, it’s also easy to use and very beginner-friendly, so don’t be put off if you have never aerated your lawn before.

With a heavy-gauge steel deck and precision engineering throughout, you should get years of use from this aerator if properly maintained. Let us know what you think in the comments below if you own this model.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 32 sharp galvanized knives
  • Ergonomic handle
  • 3-year warranty
  • Quality control concerns

3. Yard Butler Multi-Spike Lawn Aerator



  • Type: Manual spike aerator
  • Weight: 4.39 pounds
  • Dimensions: 1.75 x 8.25 x 36.25 inches

You may have looked at the two aerators above and decided you have no need for something that large and ambitious. This is understandable if you have a smaller yard and a tow-behind model is overkill.

This simple manual aerator is made of a heavy-gauge steel that should return years of aerating with next to no maintenance.

Lightweight and easy to store, this tool makes a great choice if you have a crowded shed and you just need something small and maneuverable for light aerating duties.

The Yard Butler aerator is equipped with four 3-inch spikes, so you’ll manually aerate your lawn, helping water, seed, and any fertilizer you’re using to work all the way down to the roots of the grass.

The design of the spikes makes this model a neat fit if you are working with clay or stickier soil in your outdoor space.

If you aerate your lawn as part of an overarching lawn care campaign, you’ll promote superior root growth, and you’ll help your grass to look lusher and more vibrant.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Multiple 3-inch spikes
  • Works well with sticky soil
  • Stimulates root growth
  • Could be sturdier

4. Agri-Fab Spike Aerator



  • Type: Tow-behind spike aerator
  • Weight: 40.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 31 x 48 x 18 inches

Next up is another aerator from the Agri-Fab stable, this time a tow-behind spike aerator ideal for larger yards.

You’ll have no snags with compatibility issues here thanks to the universal hitch. Once you’ve got this aerator assembled – and you won’t need hardcore DIY skills for this – you can attach the aerator to your lawn tractor and you’re in business. The spike comes pre-assembled, saving you at least some time out the box.

There is a weight tray allowing you to load on an extra 100 pounds if you require a more thorough aeration on challenging soil.

You’ll benefit from 10 discs made of galvanized steel that will penetrate deep into your lawn, allowing more water and garden products like fertilizer to work right down into the roots.

You can easily lower and raise the knives using the transport handle. This is neatly designed to be within easy reach as you edge along on your lawn tractor.

Riding on flat-free tires, you’ll enjoy a seamless experience when you’re aerating your lawn with this tow-behind tool.

Almost all user reviews of this model are positive. The few gripes we could find concern slack quality control standards, so we would suggest you check the contents of your delivery closely to be on the safe side.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Puncture-resistant tires
  • Add up to 100 pounds to weight tray
  • Arrives pre-assembled
  • Some complaints about quality control

5. Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator



  • Type: Manual spike aerator
  • Weight: 3.72 pounds
  • Dimensions: 1.75 x 8.75 x 36.5 inches

Yard Butler enters the fray once more with this manual aerator that makes a great choice if you have a smaller lawn that needs aerating. For many residential yards, a tow-behind aerator is over the top. As long as you don’t mind putting in a little physical effort, this manual model is well worth popping on your shortlist.

By aerating your lawn at least once a year, you’ll help to keep thatching away, and you’ll also remedy any areas of heavily compacted soil, whether from foot traffic or vehicle traffic. Get this right and your lawn will breathe more easily while looking lusher and greener.

As you attend to any areas of your lawn that need work, this aerator removes two grass plug core, one 0.5 inches wide, and the other 0.75 inches wide.

Standing 37 inches high, you should find you can use this aerator without stooping or bending, allowing you to give your lawn a treat without hurting your back.

If you aerate your lawn using this neat tool as part of a comprehensive lawn care regime, you’ll notice the results are well worthwhile.

Made from hardwearing steel, you’ll not only get a tool that efficiently aerates your lawn, but it will also last for years with next to no maintenance.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Helps with thatching and compaction
  • Rugged steel build
  • Promotes more vigorous turf growth
  • Welding could be stronger

6. Craftsman Spike Aerator



  • Type: Tow-behind spike aerator
  • Weight: 19 pounds
  • Dimensions: 36.25 x 37 x 14 inches

Craftsman serves up a tow-behind spike aerator that makes a wise bet if you have a larger yard with a more substantial law that needs aerating. Many of the manual tools and spiked shoes we review today work well with smaller lawns, but they’ll be too much hard work if you have a sprawling area to take care of.

The aerator fits neatly onto just about any make and model of lawn tractor thanks to the universal hitch bundled.

This is a 36-inch aerator, so it’s one of the smaller models in this class, and it’s super-maneuverable. That said, you’ll still confidently cover large areas using this aerator without eating up your whole afternoon.

There are nine spikes shaped like stars that penetrate deeply into your lawn, promoting growth while also allowing your lawn to breathe. By aerating the lawn, water, seed, and any fertilizer you’re using will all more easily work down to the roots, too.

The weight tray built in can be loaded with an additional 80 pounds of weight for deeper compaction.

For anyone always crunched for time and looking to aerate a larger lawn in a hurry, this is one of the very best options at your disposal.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • Works with all mowers and tractors
  • Durable 10-gauge steel frame
  • Can’t back up tractor with this attached

7. Agri-Fab Tow Spiker, Seeder, and Spreader



  • Type: Tow-behind spike aerator and spreader
  • Weight: 46 pounds
  • Dimensions: 36 x 42 x 20 inches

Agri-Fab has another entry up next in our showcase of the best lawn aerators. This might not be the cheapest option up for grabs, but it’s one of the most versatile pieces of kit we review today.

This is a tow-behind model, but in addition to an aerator you also get a seeder and spreader, giving you a faithful and multipurpose addition to your arsenal.

The 32-inch working width of this model makes it one of the smaller aerators in this class, but you’ll still cover much more work than trying to attempt the task with a manual aerator.

With this model, you get 8 galvanized steel discs that will penetrate your lawn and help the water, seed, and fertilizer more effectively get all the way down to the roots.

The agitator is also made of galvanized steel, with impressive build quality extending throughout.

Rustproof to improve lifespan, you should get years of service from this thing if properly maintained. Let is know what you think if you treat yourself to this adaptable workhorse.

The only reported gripes with this lawn aerator concerns the drive mechanism. Several disgruntled users talk about rusting in this area.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Drop spreading functionality
  • 8 galvanized spike discs
  • 100-pound capacity
  • Drive mechanism rusts out

8. Plantnomics Lawn Aerator Shoes



  • Type: Aerator spiked shoes
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.52 x 5.91 x 4.29 inches

Next up comes the first of a couple of sets of lawn aerator shoes. These things polarize opinion, with many claiming they work well in smaller yards, while others feeling they are nothing but a gimmick. You should do your due diligence before committing to purchase.

Made with simple hook-and-loop closures, you won’t be fiddling around trying to get these shoes on or off. You fit them over the top of your shoes or boots and then walk all over your lawn to aerate it manually.

If you find it hard to use garden tools like manual aerators and you don’t have a large enough area to use a tow-behind aerator, these shoes make a neat workaround.

As you’ll only be relying on the penetration you can get using the weight of your body, you can’t expect the same kind of deep aeration you’ll get with a tow-behind aerator. That said, you should still get noticeable results using these shoes, and you’ll get a workout, too, as an inbuilt bonus!

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Shoes come pre-assembled
  • Give your soil more nutrients
  • Easy to use
  • Not the most effective aeration solution

9. Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes



  • Type: Aerator spiked shoes
  • Weight: 64.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 37 x 51 x 28 inches

Ohuhu serve up a similar set of lawn aerator shoes, so how do these shape up?

Well, the same proviso applies here, and you should keep your expectations reasonable. You will help your lawn to breathe if you walk over it wearing these spiked shoes, but you shouldn’t expect the deeper penetration and longer-lasting results you can achieve using a tow-behind lawn aerator.

Unlike some competing models, these shoes are not too uncomfortable to wear. You should always proceed with caution when you’re wearing this type of spiked shoes. Getting too exuberant could easily end up with a broken ankle and a trip to ER.

You’ll be in and out of these shoes in a flash thanks to the hook-and-loop fasteners.

You don’t need to worry about sizing as these shoes are highly adjustable. Unless you have unusually large or small feet, you’ll find these slot neatly into place under your boots or shoes. Tweak the fit using a Velcro strap.

Solidly built, all you need to do is keep these lawn aerator shoes clean and they should last for years.

The spikes are designed to stay in place as you move around manually aerating your garden. As well as giving your lawn some more room to breathe, you’ll also benefit from a cardio workout as you aerate your grass. What’s not to love?

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Hook-and-loop fasteners
  • Rugged and long-lasting
  • Won’t deeply aerate your lawn

10. Yard Butler Manual Lawn Aerator



  • Type: Manual spike aerator
  • Weight: 2.12 pounds
  • Dimensions: 38 x 11 x 2 inches

To round out our collection of the best aerator for lawn, we have another manual model from the ever-reliable Yard Butler.

As with all spike aerators in this class, you’ll need to put in some physical effort, but you’ll be rewarded with surprisingly deep and effective aeration.

If you aerate your lawn annually alongside all other elements of lawn care, you should find the roots become stronger and grow more vigorously. Your lawn will be able to breathe, and it will also grow more rapidly.

The two self-ejected tips drive down deeply into your lawn and then pull out plugs of soil to allow moisture, nutrients, and chemicals to get right down into the roots of the grass.

Not only does this aerator make a smart solution for smaller yards, but it’s also a great portable solution that doesn’t take up too much storage space.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Helps promote strong root growth
  • Easy to use
  • Portable aeration solution
  • Build quality could be improved

11. Gardzen Plug Hollow Tine Lawn Aerator



  • Type: Manual spike aerator
  • Weight: 3.63 pounds
  • Dimensions: 14.9 x 11.9 x 2.5 inches

Next up comes a highly effective manual lawn aerator from Gardzen Plug, so how does it stack up?

The primary benefit of this aerator is its lightweight nature. If you find it hard to carry heavy tools when you’re putting the finishing touches on your lawn, you won’t find this aerator weighing you down.

The steel frame is coated with a weather-resistant powder coating, and you can expect years of faithful service from this aerator if you look after it properly.

If you have a smaller grassed area, this aerator will help you thoroughly aerate it. If you have a larger lawn, you may find this unit comes in handy for the spot aeration of any problematic patches.

According to some users, this aerator is prone to clogging when it drives deeper into the soil, so do your due diligence here.

In addition to positive reviews of the aerator, we also found a great deal of praise for the high quality of customer care offered by this brand.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Great for small lawns
  • Responsive customer care
  • Some clogging issues reported

12. Truly Holey Lawn Aerator



  • Type: Manual spike aerator
  • Weight: 7.04 pounds
  • Dimensions: 41 x 10.5 x 2 inches

The Truly Holey lawn aerator is an extremely robust and capable manual model that won’t cause any clogging in use.

You’ll need to be prepared to wield a fairly hefty weight, as this thing tips the scale at over 7 pounds. In return, though, you’ll get an aerator that copes just as well with tough commercial projects as aerating your lawn at home.

The rugged frame is near-unbreakable, and you won’t find the soil starts clogging when you deeply aerate your lawn.

The T-bar handle design helps you to work more comfortably and efficiently when you’re introducing some air into your grassed area. You’ll be able to create cores in your lawn of around the size of your index finger, even in high-traffic areas or on hard, compacted areas.

This brand has been in business since the early 80s producing great garden gear like this manual aerator, so you can buy with complete confidence.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Won’t cause clogging
  • Ideal for business or home use
  • Impressive soil penetration
  • Not the cheapest lawn aerator


1) How do lawn aerators work?

Lawn aerators are simple but effective. These tools pierce small holes in the soil of your grass. Aerators can be manual or towed behind a lawn tractor. Regardless of the type, the process is the same. These holes in the lawn allow water, oxygen, seeds, and nutrients to fall right down to the roots. Aerating the lawn can also prevent the upper layers of soil from becoming too heavily compacted.

2) What is the difference between an aerator and a scarifier?

An aerator, as outlined above, penetrates the soil to promote growth through increased exposure of the roots to air, moisture, and nutrients. A scarifier, by contrast, rakes away thatch and moss from the grass.

3) What are the benefits of aerating my lawn?

Gras roots need water and air along with nutrients in order to grown deep, thick, and strong. If your soil becomes impacted, even if only to a small degree, this will significantly impair the flow of these nutrients. Resultantly, you’ll find your lawn struggles to grow as it should do. Even if this compacted layer of soil is as little as ¼-inch deep, this can be enough to spoil the health and appearance of your lawn. In times of heat or minimal rainfall, lawns struggle to maintain their usual color. Grass will get thinner and die out, unable to access the air, water, and nutrients just inches out of reach. By aerating your lawn even once, this can open up the channels for these vital elements to reach the roots of your grass.

4) How can I tell if my lawn needs aeration?

You may think your lawn is safe from becoming compacted if you don’t drive vehicles on the grass. How about foot traffic, though? Whether it’s kids running all over the grass wheeling toys, or adults relaxing at your BBQ, you may find your soil getting compacted. While aerating and dethatching are separate jobs, they often go hand-in-glove. Thatch is the rotting organic matter on the surface of your lawn. Thatch forms between the soil and the grass. If the thatch gets more than 0.5 inches thick, this will stifle the flow of water, oxygen, and nutrients essential for all grasses. Any aggressively-spreading grasses like Bermudagrass and Kentucky bluegrass are prone to thatch more. When you aerate your lawn, you should find this penetrates the thatch and reduces further buildup. If you notice that your grass is starting to look stressed, and you feel the soil is hard to the touch, you might have compaction issue developing with your lawn. You can confirm this by applying the screwdriver test. Stick a screwdriver into your soil. If there is no problem with compaction, the screwdriver should slide in quite easily. If you feel it meeting any kind or resistance, it’s time to aerate your lawn.

5) When should I aerate my lawn?

You should aim to aerate your lawn as your grass is reaching its peak growth. While aeration can yield impressive results, it can stress your lawn if you get the timing wrong. Under no circumstances aerate a lawn when it’s dormant. You’ll find it’s easier going on you and your equipment if you aerate your lawn when the soil is moist, either from rainfall or irrigation. If you attempt to aerate excessively dry soil, you’ll find it much harder to work with. In northern states with cool-season grasses, you should ideally aerate your lawn in late spring or at the very beginning of summer. In southern states with warm-season grasses, late spring or early summer makes the best time for aeration. If you get the timing right, you’ll coincide aerating your lawn with active growth. This will help the grass to recover more rapidly from the invasive process of aeration, and you should also find any areas with exposed soil fill in quickly.

III. Conclusion

We trust you now know all you need to in order to choose the most suitable lawn aerator.

While you don’t need to take care of this task more than once a year – spring is the best time – you should make sure you give your lawn the breathing room it needs, and you’ll be rewarded with lusher and brighter grass.

We have a busy content calendar here at Wild River Country as summer gives way to fall, so make sure you bookmark our blog. We add new guides daily, so pop back soon and don’t miss out!

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