Are you looking for the best petrol scarifier? Read my reviews, my opinions and the guide to choosing.

When the warm season arrives, and the need to care for and keep your lawn healthy, the aerator becomes a very precious resource for the turf. It is in fact a tool that, as its name explains, is used to aerate the lawn, thus allowing the seedlings to receive sun, water, oxygen and nutrients. Although often underestimated, scarifiers play a vital role in the growth and development of your new lawn. And those with petrol engines, in particular, become very useful when it comes to aerating very large plots of land.

When to choose a petrol scarifier?

Generally, gasoline scarifiers are chosen when the lawn exceeds a surface area of ​​500 square meters, up to a maximum of 1,400 square meters. Below this measure, it is often worthwhile to opt for a electric scarifier, although depending on the power the latter can also be suitable for lawns up to 1,000 square meters. Below 200 square meters, on the other hand, a simple one might suffice manual scarifier rake, as long as you feel like getting some exercise and shedding a few healthy drops of sweat.

Furthermore, in most cases, the petrol models have an interchangeable rotor: this means that you can replace the spring cutting unit with the blade one and vice versa, in order to scarify the soil instead of aerating. In summary, the springs will act by “scraping” the ground and removing all the felt and moss accumulated on the surface, so as to favor the development of new grass. The blades, on the other hand, are used to “prick” the skeleton and to allow the soil to breathe (aeration), filling up with oxygen, UV rays, water and nutrients such as nitrogen.

Characteristics of petrol-powered aerators

Returning to the motor models, the latter win especially when considering the power and the cutting width. In summary, they are able to work for a long time without fatigue, and have the ability to cover larger portions of land with each pass. The engine of a scarifier of this type is almost always 4-stroke, so it has a separate petrol tank from the oil one. Generally their power is expressed in HP or CV (horsepower), or alternatively in Watts.

Often these devices are equipped with a Briggs & Stratton engine, by far one of the best and most reliable on the market. The power of the engine counts for a reason: being superior to electric models, it is able to work for a long time without having to always run at full speed. In summary, it won’t run the risk of overheating, giving you the chance to work in peace, and of course protecting your financial investment.

It is clear, however, that, as with all petrol-powered appliances, even the aerators require a lot of care and maintenance, emit fumes and are quite noisy. On the other hand, they are much more robust due to the steel body: consequently they are not afraid of shocks and you can even take them … to war, without fearing for their health. Finally, remember that gasoline scarifiers do not require the presence of an electrical outlet nearby, as they obviously work wirelessly.

It means that they allow ample freedom of maneuver, that they can also be driven on large terrain and that they can bypass obstacles without “twisting” the cable.

Best petrol scarifiers

1. AL-KO Combi Care 38 P Comfort

Probably one of the best petrol aerators as regards the relationship between quality and price, remaining in a range of economic products. It does not have a steel body but a plastic one, and the lower price is mainly due to this feature. As for the technical features, it is a 3-in-1 model: it means that it can work both as an aerator and as a scarifier, and includes the basket for collecting the grass clippings, with a capacity of 55 liters.

  • Motor: 2 HP
  • Functions: aeration, scarification
  • Collection bag: 55 liters
  • Working width: 38 cm
  • Weight: 22 kilograms

In the package you will find the rotor with the blades (14) and the one with the needle springs (24). Know that the rollers can be assembled and disassembled quickly, as no tools are needed to do this. Secondly, this AL-KO model is equipped with an F144 4-stroke internal combustion engine with a nominal power of 2 HP and a displacement of 53 cubic centimeters. In light of the data in question, it is a model with limited power and therefore suitable for land with a surface area of ​​around 500 square meters.

Of course, you can use it without the fabric basket, if you want to deposit the freshly cut grass on the ground. Furthermore, the AL-Ko Combi Care 38 P Comfort is quite light (22 kilograms) and very handy, has a folding handle, a working width of 38 centimeters but does not have an easy electric start. In summary, it is a product for undemanding jobs, for land of limited and not complex dimensions. On the other hand, it removes a lot of “straw” and fully performs its task.

2. FUXTEC 3 in 1 FX-BV140 5.44 HP

Also in this case we are faced with a 3 in 1 model, therefore equipped with a roller to aerate the soil equipped with blades, and a rotor for scarifying. Specifically, the FUXTEC features an interchangeable rotor with 18 blades and a second rotor with 24 claws. Consider that it has a really powerful 4-stroke engine, 5.44 horsepower with a displacement of 212 cc, and that the body has been entirely made of steel. Consequently, despite its low cost, it is a very, very robust and durable petrol scarifier.

  • Motor: 5.4 HP
  • Functions: aeration, scarification
  • Collection bag: 45 liters
  • Working width: 40 cm
  • Weight: 37 kilograms

As for the other technical data, it has the function of collecting the grass clippings due to the presence of the rear 45-liter bag, and has a working width of 40 centimeters. It also allows you to adjust the working height by choosing from 6 different depth levels, from a minimum of -15 to a maximum of+5 mm. It is not the lightest in circulation, but its 37 kilograms depend precisely on the strength guaranteed by the steel body. Finally, it has wheels that are wider than the average ones and really collects a lot of waste material.

Unlike others, the cutting height is adjusted via a comfortable ergonomic knob, and has a very large 3.6-liter fuel tank. Secondly, the FUXTEC offers excellent performance: it clears the lawn from moss and so-called “straw” without problems, and performs well even on medium-sized stretches of land. Know that it is easy to assemble, although the instructions are not the clearest of all, and that changing the rollers is very quick and simple.

3. Eurosystems SC 42 B&S 450 E-Series

In my opinion one of the best aerators with internal combustion engine, especially if you consider the economic convenience and the technical data it offers. It is a 3-in-1 device, which allows the soil to be aerated and scarified as needed, by mounting one of the two interchangeable rotors available. It has a power of 3.5 HP and is equipped with a 4-stroke Briggs & Stratton engine with 125 cc displacement. In addition, it is suitable for working soils with a maximum size of up to 1,200 square meters, although it is not one of the most powerful around.

  • Motor: 3.5 HP
  • Functions: aeration, scarification
  • Collection bag: 45 liters
  • Working width: 42 cm
  • Weight: 30 kilograms

Any other technical data? It is equipped with a bag with a capacity of 45 liters, and has a working width of 42 centimeters. In addition, the engine can be started with the primer and can also work without the basket, thanks to the presence of a rear deflector. Also consider that this Eurosystems model has an OHV engine with overhead valves, which favors cooling, while the body is made of solid steel, and this is a further advantage to be emphasized.

There are other peculiarities to specify, such as the handlebars with ergonomic grip, the foldable and detachable handle and a weight of Approximately 30 kilos, which makes it quite handy and easy to drive. The knives have been made of enamelled steel, and the performances are excellent, both as regards the surface scarification and as regards the actual aeration. Finally, it removes a lot of material from the ground and allows you to adjust the working height.

4. Einhell 3420019 GC-SC 4240 P

Another lap, another race, another excellent level petrol scarifier. This Einhell model only has a rotor with 18 steel blades, so it was designed for soil aeration. As for the engine, it is a 5.6 HP 4-stroke with a displacement of 212 cc, while the collection bag supplied has a total capacity of 45 liters. In light of the good engine power, this product can be used on surfaces with a maximum size of around 1,200 square meters.

  • Motor: 5.6 HP
  • Functions: aeration
  • Collection bag: 45 liters
  • Working width: 40 cm
  • Weight: 31 kilograms

The steel blades are 18 in total and ensure an excellent quality cut, capable of eliminating moss and weeds, as well as the roots on the surface. There are some goodies such as the speed regulator, and the wheels with ball bearings are able to proceed even on average barren and uneven terrain (but without exaggerating). Being a semi-professional device, it has an all-steel shell, while the handle can be folded to reduce bulk before storing it.

There is the possibility of adjusting the working depth, with 8 levels available, and there is also the parking position that raises the roller from the ground. It is not very heavy (31 kilos), while the working width is on average and corresponds exactly to 40 centimeters. In my opinion the final performance is above expectations, since Einhell is able to collect a lot of straw from the ground. However, I advise you not to exaggerate too much and not to over-strain the engine, because we are not dealing with a professional scarifier.

5. Wolf-Garten 16AHHJ0H650 VA 389 B

It has a high cost and in my opinion it is not the absolute top, but it must be said that it has qualities that on paper are remarkable. I’m talking about the Briggs & Stratton 4-stroke engine with a nominal power of 5.5 HP and a displacement of 163 cubic centimeters, together with the possibility of adjusting the working height on 6 different levels. The body is made of steel, therefore it is very sturdy, and it is a 3 in 1 product: it means that it is equipped with two interchangeable rotors with blades and springs, for aeration and for scarifying the soil.

  • Motor: 5.5 HP
  • Functions: aeration, scarification
  • Collection bag: 50 liters
  • Working width: 37 cm
  • Weight: 37 kilograms

The working width is 37 centimeters, and there is also a bag for the collection of cutting debris in canvas, with a total capacity of 50 liters. Back to the engine, the Briggs & Stratton has OHV overhead valves and automatic decompression, which provides superior performance while protecting it from overheating. Another feature that I want to emphasize is the presence of automatic fuel priming, together with the rapid blade lifting system (park position).

The advancement on the ground is rapid and does not produce many vibrations, thanks to the presence of wheels with a diameter of 20 centimeters and mounted on a system of ball bearings. By removing the bag you will have the possibility to use it by depositing the clippings directly on the ground, due to the rear deflector. I would also like to emphasize the quick change of the rotors and the immediate start of the engine, together with the strength of the steel blades.

How to choose a petrol scarifier

1. Engine power

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main advantages of petrol-powered aerators is the possibility of being able to count on the performance of a much more powerful engine. Although it is clear that, depending on the price and your needs, you will be able to find models with a more or less high power. Hobby products have a power of around 1.8 HP, but can also go up to 5 HP.

Note: even if it is often not indicated in the data sheet, the real value to be taken into consideration is the actual power, and not the nominal one. To give you an example, a 7 HP rated scarifier usually has 5.6 HP effective power.

From 6 HP upwards, on the other hand, you enter the sector of semi-professional scarifiers, with a Briggs & Stratton engine and a displacement greater than 200 cubic centimeters (CC). Staying on the engine theme, know that some models are equipped with an OHV valve system, which makes it more compact and therefore allows it to take up less space on the cylinder head, as well as favoring cooling. Secondly, the most advanced engines reduce the necessary maintenance operations, allowing you to replace gaskets and other components, without the need to disassemble the transmission as well.

2. Interchangeable rotor (blades and springs)

In my opinion it is essential to deal with this topic, because often the petrol-powered aerators offer another advantage: they have a rotor that allows you to mount a different cutting unit, according to the needs of the moment. I’m obviously talking about the blade or spring system.

Blade system

The blade rotor houses a series of knives, which have the task of piercing the skeleton of the ground by pushing up to a certain depth. This is the system commonly used to aerate the lawn, therefore to allow oxygen, water and nutrients to reach the roots of the new plants. One of the main advantages, compared to simple springs, is represented by the thinning of the roots: a practice that allows the seedlings to conquer their own living space.

Note: usually the blades are fixed and in stainless or hardened steel, but there are some models with movable or floating blade system. The latter improve the yield of the aeration, and allow the device to be used even on uneven, stony ground or with many clods.

The blades also allow for a soil eradication operation. As the knives push deep, they allow to penetrate the turf, effectively removing moss, brushwood and felt. All with the aim of oxygenating the soil, and favoring the penetration of nitrogen and water (drainage). As for the number of blades, it can change from model to model: there are usually 17 double knives, with a diameter of around 15 centimeters.

Spring system

The spring rotor, not being equipped with blades, is limited to a superficial scarification of the soil. In other words, scratch the surface of the skeleton by removing the felt and other brushwood, along with the moss. Even if it can’t go deep, this system manages to guarantee a level of precision otherwise lacking with the blade rotor, so it is equally valuable for the health of the turf to come. The springs, in fact, are “narrower” than the position of the blades.

Secondly, it acts more gently and is great for removing dry residue left by the old lawn, precisely because it brushes the surfaces.

The spring system may or may not be included in the package, depending on the model. If you are buying an aerator scarifier it is very likely that you will find it in the bundle, while in common petrol aerators it often needs to be purchased separately. As for the structure, the rotor in question generally houses about 25 springs, which work like this: they comb the soil by pinching it as it passes, and in this way they tear the moss and the felt, preventing them from growing again.

3. Working depth

Know that, when we talk about working depth, we refer to the blade system and therefore to the mechanism that makes aeration of the soil possible. Conversely, the spring-loaded rotor does not have a great working depth, since it only scratches the ground on the surface, pushing it to a maximum of 2 or 3 millimeters (scarifying). In advanced petrol models, if we are talking about the blades, the latter can even go down to 15 millimeters.

Also consider that the best petrol scarifier models allow you to adjust the cutting depth, giving you the possibility to choose between different settings (generally from a minimum of 3 up to a maximum of 8 positions in total). The adjustment operations are very simple, since you just need to use the knob or the special lever, located on the side of the appliance.

4. Working width

The discussion on the working width is quite simple to deal with: in summary, the larger the rotor, the greater the surface of the soil that you will be able to aerate or scarify with a single pass of the device. Usually the working width is between a minimum of 30 cm up to a maximum of over 45 cm. Naturally, a wider working width makes the aerator less agile, especially when it comes to moving it in narrow spaces or areas full of obstacles, such as flower beds and walls.

5. Collection capacity

The collection capacity indicates the size of the bag that will house the mowing and the “straw” collected by the spring or blade system. It is usually made of fabric and is semi-transparent, in such a way as to give you the possibility to visually evaluate its filling level. As for the capacity, in the petrol-powered aerators this fluctuates around 40 or 55 liters. It is important that it is large, as you will be using the appliance to aerate or scarify large areas. If there is a small basket, you should take several breaks to empty it, thus interrupting the work.

6. Handlebar and controls

Do not forget that comfort is very important, as you will most likely use your petrol aerator for an extended time and with few breaks. From this point of view, the presence of a handlebar with adjustable height can make all the difference in the world, since you can adapt it exactly to your height. Furthermore, it is good that the handles are ergonomic, to guarantee you a firm and secure grip at all times. Also consider that there are often screws, which allow you to disassemble the upper part of the handlebar, to store it while taking up less space.

Returning to the handlebar, this is where you will find the various controls. I refer for example to the throttle lever, and to the safety lever and the engine brake. The lever is important for a protection issue: if present, the only way to activate the aerator is to keep it pressed. In case you have any problems, just leave it to stop the appliance immediately by switching off the engine. Finally, the ignition of the petrol-assisted aerators takes place using the classic pull cord.


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