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The Best Lawn Aerators

By Callie Barber ; Updated September 21, 2017

A lush, green lawn creates a beautiful and inviting landscape, and aeration is key to achieving this. There are many varieties of lawn aerators. Some are best for aerating small spaces; others are ideal for large lawns. The prices vary, and you can rent some types of aerators. So keep in mind your budget and lawn-care needs when deciding which aerator is best suited for you.

Machine core aerator

For the quickest visible results, use an easy-to-operate, engine-powered mechanical core aerator. Such aerators are maneuverable and reliable. These machine core aerators are typically more costly but do an exceptional job at aerating the lawn, especially larger-size lawns. With this type of aerator, the soil plugs are 1/4 to 3/4 inch in diameter and, depending upon the condition of the soil, 3 inches long. You can keep the costs down by renting the machine: Prices ranges from $50 to $100 per day. Split the costs with your neighbor if you're on a budget, and both can have a nicely aerated lawn for a fraction of the price.

Hand aerator

Hand aerators are ideal when aerating and reseeding a small to medium-size lawn. Hold the extremely light aerator by the handle and use your foot to push the spikes into the ground. The best hand aerators have two coring spikes, which can penetrate the soil better. Benefits include affordability and ease of use. If you have rock-hard soil, however, hand aerators can be hard to operate, so keep this in mind. With an economical price range between $10 and $50, you can purchase your own and use it any time.

Liquid aerator

Liquid aerator is applied and used to break up extremely hard soil. Not as fast-acting as other aerators, the liquid does not show complete results for 60 to 90 days, depending on soil type. Results last approximately 3 to 5 months. Combine the liquid aeration method with a machine core aerator for the best results; the roots will have plenty of breathing room to expand and grow. The benefit of combining both methods is the machine works instantly and opens the soil, while the liquid is applied and keeps working for months. The best liquid aerators contain humic acid, which can help break down toxins in the soil like herbicides and fungicides, making them environmentally friendly.

Lawn aerator shoes

To revitalize compacted soil in a very small area, use lawn aerator shoes. The holes are smaller than most other aerator types, but shoes are very affordable and ideal for small lawns as well as turf grass. The shoes use your body weight to penetrate the soil as you walk. These shoes are ideal for those who cannot carry or operate heavy machinery.


About the Author


Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on Travels.com and GardenGuides.com. Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.