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Should You Aerate?
If you are looking up aerators, chances are your yard ticks any of the following boxes:
The soil is compacted
The grass and/or plants are yellowing and dry
Grass growth is sparse
One solution is aeration.
Aeration involves punching small holes into the surface of the ground to allow nutrients and water to get into the soil. If you have a large tract of land, you'd need a power aerator. You can rent one from an equipment shop. For a small plot of land like a normal back yard, a manual aerator that you can buy online or from the hardware store will do.
Pro-tip: I made a rookie mistake of attempting to aerate on dry soil. Make sure to aerate after a good rainfall or else soak the ground with water to make the job much much easier.
We've rounded up the top five best manual lawn aerators so you can choose the one that would best work for your garden.
The 5 Best Manual Lawn Aerators - Reviews
#5 - Sun Life Lawn Aerator Spike Sandals
Spiked shoes are a good choice for loamy soil as the solid tines push down into the soil to make shallow vertical holes. They're also very easy to use as you only need to walk (or march) purposely across your yard and make holes methodically.
These sandals are made from 100% recycled plastic which is a win if you're trying to minimize your carbon footprint. The tines are made out of a durable steel.
When I'm aerating the lawn I bring out my bluetooth headphones and play some pump-up music. I get done in no time at all and I also got a good workout from all the exertion.
The only thing I didn't like about these shoes is the fact that each spike has to be installed by hand. The free wrench makes it easy but if you're the impatient type, this may be a deal breaker.
Easy to put together
Get exercise in as you aerate the lawn
Made from 100% recycled plastic
Have to install every spike by hand
The nuts and spike screws can be easily stripped
Strap ends fray
#4 - Garden Weasel Core Aerator
While some gardeners like the spike shoes, others prefer this type of core aerator. Instead of simply compacting dirt to make holes like the solid tine aerators do, these pull up plugs of dirt and the move them over into the newly-created holes.
Just in case I didn't explain that very well, here's a short clip of a core aerator. Notice how plugs of dirt are being pulled up and cast to the side. A mild rain melts these easily.
Coring aerators are good for clay soils.
The Garden Weasel has a no-slip grip top which helps you get a good hold but I personally find it easier to hold with a T-bar which this model doesn't have.
Made out of durable carbon steel
Has a foot stirrup for leverage
Easy to store
Tines may clog
Grip is hard rubber
Tines may dull rapidly
No T-bar handle
#3 - Blissun Lawn Aerator Shoes
Spiked sandals are a cheaper alternative to core aerators. For a fraction of the price of core aerators, you can test aerating your lawn and seeing if it will respond.
These Blissun aerators come in a universal size, and they're designed to strap onto your shoes quickly and easily. They come with four durable metal buckles and four adjustable straps. These allow you to get a snug fit that anchors the aerators to your shoes.
The bottom of the platforms has twenty-six 2.5-inch aeration spikes that sink into the ground with every step. It comes with a free wrench to install the spikes. You'll also get a slight curve on the back of the platform that hugs your heel when you walk.
If you're a big guy with regular-sized feet, you'll fit these sandals just right. If you're a small person though with very small feet, you may have a problem with the universal sizing.
Comes with a universal fit
Buckles are made with a durable metal
Product comes with a lifetime warranty
Have to install the spikes one at at time
May be too long for smaller feet
Might have to re-tighten the straps mid-use
#2 - Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes
These Ohuhu sandals are the last aerator shoes on our list. They are made out of a thick and durable plastic. They have extra straps for added support as well. You get 13 thick and durable spikes per platform, and the end of the platform curves up to cradle your heel.
While the Sun Life spike shoes came with 3 bands and the Blissuns came with 4, these Ohuhu shoes have 3 straps on the front plus a heel elastic band that wraps around your ankle.
Has a newly improved design
Get four straps per platform
Comes with 13 thick spikes per platform
May wear in the front of the platform
Have to install each spike
Ends of the straps tend to fray
May be delivered sans an assembly sheet
#1 - Yard Butler Spike Aerator
You can choose from two different aerator types with this product. It comes with four three-inch spikes that are designed to dig deep into the soil. You also get a wide foot stirrup that allows you to put your weight onto the aerator to drive it into the ground.
This Yard Butler aerator comes with the T-bar which I like on my tools. It gives me a great grip when working the lawn. The aerator is made out of a rugged and durable steel that stands up to corrosion and rust as well as wear and tear.
This is Amazon's Choice for spike aerators.
Foot stirrup is very wide
Aerator is made out of steel
Rubber grips are comfortable
Metal spikes tend to dull quickly
May clog after repeated use