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Aerator / Dethatcher combo or stand alone aerator???

13722 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  mikeinri
Hi guys, just need some advice on the best bang for your buck aerator?

I live in the north and have cool season grass that likely hasn't been aerated for at least 4 years since i've lived there and likely never before then. I figured its about time. I have approximately 3/4th of an acre. I've heard fall is the best time for cool season grass.

I've researched from other threads that the John deere 48" one is really nice but at $450 its just a bit too pricey for me for only once every other year thing.

I was going to rent a stand alone one but for $100 for the day plus picking it up and dropping it off, the pull behind one should pay for itself in a few years, right? I am concerned about damaging my sprinkler heads with the tow behind, is the stand alone ones easier?

I found this one at lowes:
Shop John Deere 40-in Plug Lawn Aerator at

Its a combo aerator and dethatcher. Its 40" wide and only $350. Is that one worth it? When do I need to dethatch or is this just a marketing gimmick?

I found a nice Agri Fab 48" tow behind for about $200-$220
Agri-Fab 48 In. Plug Aerator - Mills Fleet Farm

Or should I just splurge and get the real John Deere one for $450 or so?

I looked on craigslist for a used JD but the one I found sold already. Nothing else on sale at the moment.

Thanks for the thoughts and help!
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I have the 48 AgriFab. It is Sears labeled. Works great without the Green paint.:hide:
I bought an Ohio Steel Aerator new from eBay for $149 shipped in the Spring and I am quite happy with it. The engage handle irritates me though as it doesn't stay in the up position when you are moving it around the shed. It needs a hole for a pin to lock it in the up position in my opinion and will get one someday.

Ohio Steel Industries

A beast to move around for something you only use twice a year but nice to have it!

I have a separate 42"(?) Brinly dethatcher for a few years now.

If I had not had separate attachments already I would look at the Agri-Fab Smartlink system, pricey but less floor space for individual attachments.

Products > SmartLINK? Master Platform

I have "Yellow" tractors so green is not my color but I have no problem towing any color attachment if it does the job! :hide:
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Maybe try Craigslist first? From what I have seen in my area you could score an aerator and a dethatcher for $40-$80 each. That's a much easier price to handle for implements that you use maybe twice a year- at least easier for me because I am pretty cheap lol.

Point of advice- make sure you get units with a decent working width. My dethatcher was only 30" wide and it took FOREVER to get my 1/3 of an acre done. I actually just posted an article about adding wings to mine in the homemade section because of this problem. My 42" aerator/spreader seems to be a good size, although I also pull that faster than the dethatcher.
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I have the 48" Agra-fab and it works quite well, just the ground needs a bit of moisture for full penetration.
Adding some pics of my Ohio Steel core aerator, have to work on a weight rack for next season.

I'm also giving some thought to making a hitch setup to fit my 3 point lift and doing away with the wheels and pin hitch. I can then pick it up and set it down as needed and lock-out the lift float and use the weight of the tractor rear and hydraulics for down pressure.

Going to keep my eyes open for a slit style aerator with the over seeder bin on top on Craigslist and set that up that way.

One can never have to many attachments! :fing32:


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I have a "Brinley" 40 inch and have used it for 15 years. Used every year for 3 or 4 yards. only repair was replacing worn out Tines for about $30. I have sprinkler heads also and just put little flags at each one and drive around them. The supply lines should be deep enough so just worry about the heads. I built a weight box for it that I fill with water - easy to get any weight up to about 250 lbs. I also added a winch to raise and lower it for sidewalks and driveways. See this thread about it - Aerator lift using winch

Vehicle Cart Wagon Wheel Automotive wheel system


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I have both a pull de thatcher and plugger by AgriFab. Both work great. Found the plugger on CL for $40 and bought the dethatcher new.
A word of warning: if you buy either piece used, make sure to clean them throughly especially the plugger otherwise you'll likely end up introducing weeds and undesirable plants. My lack of sanitation resulted in the introduction of annual bluegrass which is nearly impossible to get rid of.

Dave Burley
Sent from my tractor seat.
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The Lowe's unit isn't really a "combined " unit (i.e. you don't get to have both functions at the same time, which would save time and be a great feature). As others have mentioned, CL is a great source of cheap used equipment, often in great shape (especially since most of these attachments are only used once or twice a year).

I have a core aerator and a dethatcher, both bought new.

Definitely get a core aerator (not a spike one). Dethatching is also a good practice, some lawns need it more than others (there's lots of online reading on that subject).

FWIW, my irrigation guy told me not to worry about the heads and except when using a core aerator.

BTW, no tow-behind aerator will do the same job as one of those monster rentals. But, with enough weight and moist soil, you'll get acceptable results.

I'd love to try a sweeper with dethatching tines to see if it helps with acorn removal.

I'd also love a core aerator/spreader combination for over seeding.

Hope this helps.

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