Best Spike Aerator 2018: Buying Guide and Top 5
You’ve heard about lawn sprinklers and how they are essential in keeping your lawn looking lush and green. What you probably don’t realize is that, aside from hydration, your lawn also requires aeration. Just as your lawn also gets thirsty and needs to “drink”, it also needs to breathe. For that, you will need a lawn aerator.
Lawn Aeration and Lawn Aerators
If you notice patches of brown among the greens in your lawn and confirm them to be mostly layers of dead tissues of grass stems, roots and stolons, you may have a lawn thatch problem. Many homeowners think this can be solved just by weeding or “dethatching”; however, in many cases, the problem may actually be more serious. Lawn thatch can lead to the spread of diseases in your lawn and even potentially encourage insect infestation in your garden.
Lawn thatches are formed mainly due to improper care of your lawn. It could be anything, from improper mowing of the lawn, excessive watering of the grass, too much fertilizer or pesticide application, to name a few. Why does this happen? Because the soil is unable to breathe. In short, there isn’t enough aeration being received by the soil at its core.
Dethatching is one solution; the other is core aeration using a lawn aerator. With lawn aeration, the soil is able to breathe more freely, and the roots of the grasses are able to get more oxygen. At the same time, the soil becomes more able to hold water, improving the amount of nutrition it provides to your lawn.
A lawn aerator is a tool that works by “coring”, or pulling plugs of soil out of the ground and, in the process, let air into the soil, thus providing aeration. Plugs pulled out by a lawn aerator are of uniform sizes (or depth), for more efficient aeration.
Why Buy a Lawn Aerator?
Experts suggest that you conduct aeration at least once every five years, and this is one of the main reasons why many homeowners are hesitant to purchase their own lawn aerator outright. Instead, they just call in professional lawn service providers to do it.
However, some experts would disagree, saying that lawn aeration can be done as frequently as the lawn needs it, and this actually makes more sense. Not all soil quality is the same everywhere, so while some areas may require only one aeration every five years, it does not mean that it also applies in other places.
Depending on the problem at hand, you might need to aerate your lawn more than once, or twice, in five years. In the long run, it might prove to be more cost-beneficial if you have your own lawn aerator so you can do it yourself. Besides, why wait to see problems in your lawn when you can prevent them with a regular schedule using your own machine?
Spike Aerator or Plug Aerator?
There are two kinds of lawn aerators: the plug aerator and the spike aerator. These two have the same purpose. What makes them different are their mechanisms.
A plug aerator, also called a “core aerator”, is designed with hollow tines that remove the plugs of soil. A spike aerator, on the other hand, is built with a roller that has spikes solid enough to make punctures on the soil. These punctures are the spaces created for both air and water to go into the soil, providing the aeration that it needs.
Why Choose a Spike Aerator?
Clearly, a spike aerator is not your traditional lawn aerator because, instead of removing plugs of soil, it punctures the soil to aerate it. Does that mean it is less effective than plug aerators? Not necessarily.
Although a spike aerator does not give you holes deep enough to reach into the roots, it does give wider coverage. Spike aerators work best on soil that is a bit loose, or not too compacted. Otherwise, making punctures would be difficult.
The punctures made by a spike aerator will allow air and water to flow through the surface of the soil and into the small holes. When you are doing aeration during the growing season, or when you are placing grass seeds, you won’t have to worry about the seeds being washed away, because the punctures aren’t wide enough for them to be easily swept away.
The key determinant of whether you should go for a spike aerator or a plug aerator is obviously the quality of the soil and the soil surface. More compacted soil will be better off with plug aerators, and using spike aerators will only make it more compacted. Spike aerators, on the other hand, work best on less compacted soil, and in slopes and uneven surfaces.
The Top 5 Spike Aerators 2018
Take your pick among these five top-performing spike aerators.
5 Agri-Fab 45-0525 Tow Spike Aerator
This Agri-Fab 45-0525 Tow Spike Aerator boasts an aeration depth that can reach up to 2.5 feet under the soil surface. Since it has 10 12-gauge steel rotating spike disks, you can be sure that your lawn will get thorough aeration using this tool.
Its 40-inch weight tray can accommodate up to 100 lbs, which is a good thing since you can adjust the weight accordingly, depending on the degree of soil penetration you are aiming for. It comes with a folding hitch so storage is made easy, and with its flat-free tires, you can smoothly move and transport it everywhere.
4 Yard Tuff SE-40 Drum Spike Aerator
Let this spike aerator from Yard Tuff do a quick and easy job of aerating your lawn, with its 78 heavy-duty steel spikes that can work on a 36-inch width in one rolling go. The spikes can penetrate up to 2.5 inches deep into the soil, allowing nutrients to seep in and reach the roots of your lawn grass.
At the same time, this spike aerator also works as a lawn roller, with a 24-gallon capacity drum that can flatten and level your lawn while aerating it at the same time. It is definitely a versatile tool since you can also easily attach and use it with your UTV, ATV, or utility tractors.
3 Brinly SAT-40BH Tow Behind Spike Aerator
This Brinly heavy-duty spike aerator is built with 11 8-inch diameter stars and 132 tine spikes – all made of durable galvanized steel – that can penetrate up to a depth of 2 inches. So you have two mechanisms at work in perforating the soil: the tines or spikes puncture the soil, while the rotating stars loosen compacted soil and continue spinning to increase aeration further.
Even the weight tray is made of durable steel and can hold an extra weight of up to 100 pounds to maximize penetration into the soil.
2 Agri-Fab Turf Shark 40-Inch Curved Tow Spike Aerator 45-0369
What sets this Agri-Fab Spike Aerator apart from other aerators is its Turf Shark design, which effectively combines the best features of a spike aerator and a plug aerator. It features 12 galvanized curved blades, which allow it to cut through the lawn surface without disturbing and damaging its immediate surroundings.
This also makes it work well even on soil that is slightly compacted. The curved aerator blades can then be lowered or raised easily to facilitate transport and storage.
1 Brinly SA-40BH Tow Behind Spike Aerator
This 40-inch spike aerator from Brinly boasts being able to work even on compacted soil, thanks to its 10 galvanized steel stars, with each 8-diameter star able to penetrate and perforate the soil up to 2 inches depth.
The rotating action of these steel stars ensures that the area is aerated thoroughly and completely. Its rigid weight tray is able to hold up to 110 lbs, which is already an impressive number, compared to its peers. It also comes with a steel trailer tongue with a universal hitch pin, so you’d have no trouble attaching it to a lawn tractor when you need to.
A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Spike Aerator
From the reviews of the best spike aerators, you probably have an idea on what to look for and consider when shopping for a spike aerator for your lawn.
The Size of Your Lawn
If you have a large area to cover, you should look for one with a wide coverage, because it means you’d have to do fewer passes over an area to aerate it completely. It will also clue you in on how many tines or spikes the spike aerator should have, because the more tines or spikes there are, the faster you’ll be able to finish the job and the wider area can be covered in a shorter time.
Material and Build
Look for a spike aerator that is durable, heavy-duty and will last you a long time. Galvanized steel spikes, tines, or stars are definitely the way to go, and you’ll be relieved to find that most of the advanced models nowadays use galvanized steel. The weight tray should also be durable enough and be able to hold the capacity it purports to, so you can maximize the aerator’s soil penetration ability.
An Ergonomic Design
You want a spike aerator that will not weigh you down when you are wielding it but, at the same time, compatible with other utility tractors. Many spike aerators now come with universal hitch pins, so they can easily attach to a lawn tractor or other similar garden utility machine. This offers more flexibility and definitely more convenient and efficient.