The 5 Best Lawn Aerators of 2021

Aerating your lawn is an important part of lawn care that many people overlook. The ground can become compacted over time, which makes it much more difficult for air, water, fertilizer, and the appropriate nutrients to penetrate the soil and to reach the roots of the grass.

This is why knowing how to aerate your lawn properly is so vital for lawn care. In this article, we’ll go over what aeration is, if and when you should aerate, and the best lawn aerators (including reviews for each one).

lawn aerator

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Lawn Aerator Comparison Table

ProductDetailsWhere to Buy

Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator ID-6C

Yard Butler

**Top Pick**

Type of Aerator: Core or Plug
Number of Tines or Spikes: 2 hollow tines
Operation: Manual
Product Dimensions: 1.8 in x 8.8 in x 36.5 in
Plug or Hole Depth: 3.5 in
Product Weight: 3.72 lbs
Product Warranty (yes or no): Yes; lifetime warranty
Check Price on Amazon

Agri-Fab 45-0299 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator

Agri-Fab 45-0299

Type of Aerator: Core or Plug
Number of Tines or Spikes: 32 plug knives
Operation: Tow with tractor or other vehicle
Product Dimensions: 48 in wide
Plug or Hole Depth: 3 in
Product Weight: 92.5 lbs
Product Warranty (yes or no): Yes; 3 year warranty
Check Price on Amazon

Brinly PA-40BH Tow Behind Plug Aerator

Brinly PA-40BH

Type of Aerator: Core or Plug
Number of Tines or Spikes: 24 plug spoons
Operation: Tow with tractor or other vehicle
Product Dimensions: 37 in x 51 in x 28 in
Plug or Hole Depth: 3 in
Product Weight: 64.5 lbs
Product Warranty (yes or no): Yes; contact manufacturer
Check Price on Amazon

Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes Heavy Duty Sandals with Spikes

Lawn Aerator Shoes

Type of Aerator: Spike
Number of Tines or Spikes: 26 spikes
Operation: Manual
Product Dimensions: 12.5 in x 5.7 in x 2.2 in
Plug or Hole Depth: 2.2 in
Product Weight: 1.95 lbs
Check Amazon Price

Best Choice Products 18-inch Rolling Lawn Aerator

CABASAA Lawn Aerator Shoes

Type of Aerator: Spike
Number of Tines or Spikes: 30 spikes
Operation: Manual
Product Dimensions: 17.2 in x 5.5 in x 50.2 in
Plug or Hole Depth: 2 in
Product Weight: 7.94 lbs
Product Warranty (yes or no): Yes; 60 day warranty
Check Amazon Price

Our Top Pick

Best Choice

Yard Butler Lawn Manual Coring Aerator

Yard Butler Lawn Manual Coring Aerator

Best Lawn Aerator

A coring aerator that doesn’t cost the earth and works surprisingly well!

For our top pick, we chose the Lawn Coring Aerator Manual Grass Dethatching Turf Plug Core Aeration Tool from Yard Butler.

The ease of use, coring ability, maneuverability, and price point of this coring lawn aerator simply cannot be beat. If you are the owner of a small to medium typical size lawn who doesn’t need to aerate more than once or twice a year, then this ought to be the lawn aerator for you.

Spike aerators are slightly less effective than core or plug aerators because they may compact the soil in between the spikes or holes which are created. This is why we chose a core or plug aerator for our top pick.

The other core or plug aerators on this list are certainly worthy alternatives, but they require tow operation. That is, they need to be hitched to a tractor or other such vehicle in order for you to aerate your lawn. Such a setup is ideal for larger lawns, but if you don’t have a tractor or an exceptionally large lawn, those plug aerators may be expensive overkill for you.

The Yard Butler lawn aerator is therefore perfect for those of us who want to aerate their lawn in a most effective manner but who don’t need to spend a lot of money on an industrial strength machine meant for ginormous lawns.

What Is Aeration?

what is lawn aeration

The aeration of a lawn is the process of perforating the soil with many small holes in order to enable air, water, and other essential nutrients to reach the grassroots.

This enables the roots to grow more deeply, which allows for a healthier and stronger lawn.

The primary purpose of lawn aeration is to avoid compacted soil, which is the bane of many a lawn’s existence and which prevents the lawn from becoming as thick, lush, and green as it could be.

Should You Aerate?

If your lawn gets frequent use (such as by pets and children who are running around on it), you should aerate it, because the traffic on the lawn will compact the soil. Also, if your lawn feels spongy and seems to dry out easily, it may have a problem regarding excessive thatch and require aeration.

The lawns of newly built homes also generally need aeration because their topsoil is stripped and/or buried, and the construction traffic compacts the grass that is established on the subsoil. Lawns established by turf or sod that have soil layering should be aerated as well, since the garden composted used in the layering process disrupts the drainage of water and leads to soil compaction, which results in poor development of roots.

If your lawn is exceedingly wet, you should hold off on aerating; wait at least one or two days before aerating. Also, you should never aerate a dormant lawn.

So in short – you should aerate if:

  • your lawn gets frequent traffic or use
  • Your home is newly built
  • Your lawn has been established by turf or sod

When Should You Aerate?

The best time to aerate your lawn is right before or during the growing season, the time when your grass reaches its peak time for natural growth. This allows the grass to heal easily and to fill in the holes and the open areas left by the removed soil plugs. Warm season grass should usually be aerated in the late spring or the early summer months, and cool season grass should usually be aerated in the fall or the early spring, when it has its best chance of thriving.

Remember to time the aeration of your lawn properly:

Typically, a lawn in a region that has clay soil will need to be aerated about once a year, but such a lawn may require aeration more often (two to four times a year) if it gets heavy foot traffic (like frequent barbecues or children or pets running around on it) or if you cut the grass with a riding lawn mower.

Conversely, a lawn which receives almost no foot traffic or pressure from a riding lawnmower and is located in a region that has sandy soil can probably get away with being aerated only once every two to three years.

Read more: The best grass types for sandy soil.

Types of Aerators

There are a few different types of lawn aerators: spike aerators, slicing aerators, and core or plug aerators. 

Spike Aerators

A spike aerator is sometimes shaped like a fork, with about one to five spikes or tines at the end which serve to penetrate the soil to loosen any that has been compacted. 

There are also spike aerator shoes which can be worn strapped to the user’s feet so that he or she can aerate the soil by walking around. 

Slicing Aerators

A slicing aerator possesses one or several rotating blades which serve to slice or cut through the grass and the thatch and down into the soil. 

Like a spike aerator, a slicing aerator also aerates the soil without removing it from the ground. 

Core or Plug Aerators

A core aerator, also known as a plug aerator, which is the kind of aerator that is usually favored by lawn care professionals, utilizes rows of tines which are hollow. 

These hollow tines penetrate into the ground in order to remove plugs or cores of soil from the lawn. The aerator then deposits those plugs on top of the lawn, where the plugs will break down. Different aerator machines will create plugs and holes of different depths and widths (it depends on the model). 

Core or plug aerators may be superior to spike aerators or slicing aerators because they actually remove plugs of soil from your lawn, eliminating the possibility of further soil compaction between the spikes or the slicing. 

The Best Lawn Aerator Reviews

The products we have chosen for you in this article are the best lawn aerators of all the products we have tested. We provide you with more detailed reviews of each one below.

Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator Manual Grass Dethatching Turf Plug Core Aeration Tool ID-6C

yard butler core aerator

Key Specifications

  • Type of Aerator: Core or Plug
  • Number of Tines or Spikes: 2 hollow tines
  • Operation: Manual
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 in x 8.8 in x 36.5 in
  • Plug or Hole Depth: 3.5 in
  • Product Weight: 3.72 lbs
  • Product Warranty (yes or no): yes; lifetime warranty
  • Removes 3 ½ in long by ½ in wide grass lawn plugs, getting rid of compacted soil and unwanted hatch from the lawn while allowing water, air, and fertilizer reach the grass roots.
  • Eliminates runoff and encourages turf growth, requiring less water and less fertilizer for a better looking lawn.
  • This lawn aerator is hand held and possesses a foot bar to allow for added leverage, making it a great garden tool for aerating smaller lawns easily.
  • Encourages vigorous growth of roots, increasing their tolerance to heat stress as well as drought.
  • The sturdy steel construction is durable and is built to last, while the aerator height of 37 inches is intended to eliminate any back pain and strain and make aerating your whole yard an easy task.
  • Rapid charge time of 60 minutes (for 4AH battery)

For our top pick, we chose the Lawn Coring Aerator Manual Grass Dethatching Turf Plug Core Aeration Tool from Yard Butler. The ease of use, coring ability, maneuverability, and price point of this coring lawn aerator simply cannot be beat.

If you are the owner of a small to medium typical size lawn who doesn’t need to aerate more than once or twice a year, then this ought to be the lawn aerator for you.

This is a lawn aerator that can be used by pretty much everyone to aerate his or her lawn (and to do so extremely effectively, resulting in a greener, more lush, healthier looking lawn). That is why this model by Yard Butler was chosen as our top pick for lawn aerator.

yard butler core aerator in use

The Lawn Coring Aerator from Yard Butler is simple yet exceedingly effective. It uses the core or plug technique of aeration, which our editors have found to be slightly superior to that of spike or slicing aeration.

Not only that, but it is also extremely accessible and easy to use. The tool itself is not at all heavy (weighing in at a mere 3.72 lbs), and it includes a foot bar that you can step down on as you aerate. Also, the height of this model allows you to aerate your lawn easily without straining your back.

This lawn aerator is something that pretty much everyone can use to achieve excellent results (you don’t need a tractor or anything like that). And it will work for most household lawns. The combination of its usability, effectiveness, and price makes it our top pick.

Agri-Fab 45-0299 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator

Agri-Fab 45-0299 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator

Key Specifications

  • Type of Aerator: Core or Plug
  • Number of Tines or Spikes: 32 plug knives
  • Operation: Tow with tractor or other vehicle
  • Product Dimensions: 48 in wide
  • Plug or Hole Depth: 3 in
  • Product Weight: 92.5 lbs
  • Product Warranty (yes or no): yes; 3-year warranty
  • It loosens the compacted soil in your lawn by using 32 plug aerator knives which sharpen themselves and deposit the cores or plugs on the surface of the yard, freeing up room for the air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the soil and allowing the roots to grow in more thickly.
  • It includes a weight tray that is able to hold up to a maximum weight of 175 lbs; this allows for a greater degree of the penetration of the soil, ensuring maximum efficacy of your lawn aeration.
  • It is made in the USA using certain imported materials
  • This product features a cantilever transport handle that is very simple to use and which allows for easy lowering and raising.

This Tow Plug Aerator from Agri-Fab is simply fabulous. It is great for aerating large yards or lawns in a very short time. And because it is a core or plug aerator, the soil plugs are actually removed, and there is no chance of worsening the soil compaction. If you are looking for an industrial strength lawn aerator, this very well may be the one for you.

This model features 32 “plug aerator knives” which cut into the ground and cut out several long, slender chunks of soil 3 inches in length. Furthermore, it has a weight tray that is able to hold up to a maximum weight of 175 lbs. Putting weight on the weight tray will allow for a greater degree of the penetration of the soil by pressing the aerator down further, ensuring maximum efficacy of your lawn aeration.

Agri-Fab 45-0299 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator

Best of all, it’s made in the USA, so you know that you are getting a high quality, durable product that will last you a long time and provide you with many years of service. If you are looking for a commercial lawn aerator or you have an extremely large lawn to aerate, you should strongly consider this model.

Its one major disadvantage (besides its high price) is that it is not so maneuverable in small areas. So it’s definitely overkill for those with small lawns.

Brinly PA-40BH Tow Behind Plug Aerator

Brinly PA-40BH

Key Specifications

  • Type of Aerator: Core or Plug
  • Number of Tines or Spikes: 24 plug spoons
  • Operation: tow with tractor or other vehicle
  • Product Dimensions: 37 in x 51 in x 28 in
  • Plug or Hole Depth: 3 in
  • Product Weight: 64.5 lbs
  • Product Warranty (yes or no): yes; contact manufacturer
  • This model aerates and relieves compacted soil using 24 16 gauge Steel plugging spoons that have been heat treated to penetrate soil that is compacted and to remove soil plugs, allowing water, fertilizer, and seed to get down to the grass roots; the plug design is narrow and has sharper ends to enable easier penetration of the soil while requiring less weight.
  • It includes a weight tray that is able to hold up to a maximum weight of 150 lbs; this allows for a greater degree of the penetration of the soil, ensuring maximum efficacy of your lawn aeration.
  • Its universal single pin hitch attaches easily to every tractor for lawns and to most ATVs and ztrs.
  • Each of the plugging spoons can be serviced individually, enabling quick and easy repair and replacement if a tine breaks; thus, the maintenance is easy.
  • The assembly is relatively simple, including a break down of the parts and full pictorial instructions.

This tow behind plug aerator from Brinly is another excellent entry in terms of heavy duty, industrial strength lawn aerators. It features 24 steel plugging spoons which dig into the soil and remove plugs of up to 3 inches in length, allowing for deep aeration and penetration of the soil.

Brinly PA-40BH

The proprietary Brinly plug design is narrower than the usual, with a sharper end that allows the soil to be penetrated more easily while requiring less weight.

Speaking of weight, it features a weight tray that can hold up to 150 pounds enabling a greater degree of the penetration of the soil and ensuring maximum efficacy of your lawn aeration. It can attach universally to every single type of lawn tractor and fits many other towing vehicles as well. Also, the maintenance and repair is easy, since each of the plugging spoons can be replaced individually.

Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes Heavy Duty Sandals With Spikes

Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes

Key Specifications

  • Type of Aerator: Spike
  • Number of Tines or Spikes: 26 spikes
  • Operation: Manual
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 in x 5.7 in x 2.2 in
  • Plug or Hole Depth: 2.2 in
  • Product Weight: 1.88 lbs
  • Product Warranty (yes or no): money back guarantee

With its 13 sharp steel spikes on each shoe, each spike being a length of 2.2 inches, the Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes enable water, air, fertilizer, and other needed nutrients to penetrate to the roots of your grass in order to make the lawn healthier and greener and improving your lawn’s ecological cycle.

Its environmentally friendly design allows manual operation, without the use of any tractors or other such vehicles which produce carbon emissions and cause further damage to the environment.

Its durable and sturdy construction consists of a sole made out of a heavy duty plastic; the steel spikes and adjustable straps with their durable metal buckles can easily penetrate any soil, sand, dirt, or clay in order to loosen it and provide water, air, and nutrients for your lawn.

These shoes are one size fits all; they will fit any size shoe for both genders.

The Ohuhu is the best spike lawn aerator shoe we have found. IF you want to be able to aerate your lawn as you are walking around and doing your other gardening tasks, then this is the aerator for you.

ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes

The 26 spikes (13 per shoe sandal) each make 2.2 inch holes in the ground, allowing air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots.

The use of these shoes is pretty self explanatory. It’s a great, efficient, and fast way to aerate your lawn while using the minimum amount of effort possible.

The Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes Heavy Duty Sandals with Spikes is available in Amazon.

Best Choice Products 18-Inch Rolling Lawn Aerator

Best Choice Products 18-Inch Rolling Lawn Aerator

Key Specifications

  • Type of Aerator: Spike
  • Number of Tines or Spikes: 30 spikes
  • Operation: Manual
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 in x 5.5 in x 50.2 in
  • Plug or Hole Depth: 2 in
  • Product Weight: 7.94 lbs
  • Product Warranty (yes or no): yes; 60 day warranty
  • Perforating the lawn will make it healthier by improving the exchange of air, by enhancing the uptake of water and fertilizer, and by reducing puddles
  • The 50 inch handle and the rolling mechanism make it very easy to care for and maintain any grassy area
  • The strong plastic and steel wheels are stable and durable and are designed to offer a smooth, carefree gardening experience for many years
  • The efficiency and simplicity of this tool renders it suitable for taking care of lawns for both personal and commercial use

This Rolling Lawn Aerator from Best Choice Products is another excellent lawn aerator that can be used with a minimum amount of effort. You simply roll it around on your lawn, and the 2 inch spikes do the rest of the aerating work. No tractor or foot pressure required!

Best Choice Products 18-Inch Rolling Lawn Aerator

The fact that the handle is 50 inches long allows you to aerate your lawn without hurting or straining your back, and the 30 spikes which rotate as you roll the aerator allow you to aerate a large area at a fairly quick pace.

The fact that this lawn aerator can be used manually (without requiring a tractor) but can also cover a great deal of ground in a short amount of time makes it ideal for both personal as well as commercial use.

The Best Choice Products 18-inch Rolling Lawn Aerator is available in Amazon.

The Wrap Up

All of the lawn aerators reviewed in this article will aerate your lawn effectively, producing a greener, healthier, and thicker lawn.

However, we have found that core or plug aerators are slightly better than other kinds of lawn aerators, so our top pick, our highest recommendation, goes to the Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator Manual Grass Dethatching Turf Plug Core Aeration Tool ID-6C. This core lawn aerator pulls out 3 ½ inch plugs, allowing air, water, and nutrients to penetrate into the depths of your lawn.

Also, it won’t break the bank, and it is super easy to maneuver and to use in small to medium lawns or the lawns of typical householders. It may not be as suitable for commercial use, though. For that (or for much larger lawns), you can go with the Agri-Fab 45-0299 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator or the Brinly PA-40BH Tow Behind Plug Aerator.

But honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the aerators on this list. We hope this article has been informative in terms of teaching you about lawn aeration, whether you need it, when to do it, and which one you should buy. You’ve just taken your first steps toward a greener, thicker, healthier lawn.

Happy Aerating!

About The Author

Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.

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