8 Best Lawn Aerators in 2023

Lawn aerators can turn a dying lawn into a thriving one. Learn about how aerators work and shop our top recommendations.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these affiliate links.
July 31, 2023

The Best Lawn Aerators

If the grass on your lawn isn’t growing — whether it’s one problem area or the whole thing — and you’ve been watering it or have received sufficient rain this summer, you might need a simple tool to help it flourish. The best lawn aerators can help your soil drain properly, allowing it to finally get the water and nutrients it needs to support the growth of new grass. An aerator works by punching holes, generally a few inches deep, into the soil in order to loosen it and provide opportunities for the roots to grow deeper, which will help it become tougher and more durable in instances of drought, as well.

I spoke to Portia Cozzolino, owner of the landscaping, greenhouse and gardening business Mike’s Hothouse in Modena, New York. She noted why some consumers could need a lawn aerator: “Soil can become compacted over time for different reasons, perhaps you had heavy foot traffic or clay soil. In either case, using a lawn aerator would be beneficial to help the new grass seed create a healthy root system and thrive along the patio. The same method can help a patchy lawn which might have a thatch buildup.” If this sounds like your lawn, we’ve rounded up some of the best options for that very job.

What to Look for in a Lawn Aerator

It’s important to understand if a lawn aerator will work for the type of issue you have. Generally, it’s not made for soil that’s already incredibly dry — like in desert climates — but rather for soil that has had thriving and beautiful grass on it at one point. You also need to consider what time of year you use a lawn aerator: If the soil is already stressed, like in the summer or winter time when it doesn’t grow that well to begin with, aerating is likely not going to work. However, Cozzolino notes: “If you desire a thick lush lawn, plan on trying this in the fall, and at the same time, fertilize, re-seed (if necessary) and water. This should help existing roots grow stronger and allow any new grass seed applied to thrive.” The start of fall and spring are generally the best times to try aerating your lawn.

Additionally, you’ll need to figure out what kind of lawn aerator will work best for your soil. While there are a few different models of lawn aerators — like those that can be connected to tractors or used manually — the largest specification to consider is the type of tines the aerator has. There are two types of tines: A spike aerator pokes small holes into the soil without removing them, and is generally best for soil that’s lightly compacted or for small lawns. Core aerators, however, feature hollow tines that completely remove small plugs of soil from the ground. This is best for larger lawns or areas that are deeply compacted.

Finally, there are a few tips to remember once you’ve purchased the best lawn aerator for you. You should always aerate your lawn when it’s not too dry or too wet: The ideal time to aerate is about one day after rainfall. Once you’re done aerating, you can immediately fertilize or plant grass seed on the soil. And finally, you want to aerate your lawn once every few years to keep it as healthy as possible. If you have heavily impacted soil, you might need to do it annually. Shop our top picks for lawn aerators below.

Best Plug Aerator for Tractors

This plug aerator from Agri-Fab has a universal hitch that ensures it will latch onto any tractor, regardless of brand or model. It features 32 galvanized steel hollow tines, perfect for lawns that are incredibly compacted. The tines will aerate the ground two inches deep.

Best Spike Aerator for Tractors

Lawn aerators that are made for tractors typically have a weight tray that allows users to add cinder blocks or other heavy objects on top for deeper penetration. This one from Agri Fab has the option to add an additional 100 pounds. There are 10 galvanized spike discs, which can penetrate as deep as 2.5 inches. It also features a folding hitch for easier storage.

Best Manual Spike Aerator

A manual spike aerator is the best option for a small area of lawn that's not incredibly impacted, as it does require some elbow grease. This one has four spikes that can go 3.5 inches deep into the ground. It's rust-resistant stainless steel and features a sturdy rubberized grip to prevent slipping. It's 38 inches tall as well, so users won't have to strain their backs to do the job.

Best Manual Plug Aerator

Perfect for smaller areas that have been deeply impacted, this manual plug lawn aerator has three tines that will completely remove the soil with its hollow construction. Use it when you suspect a patch on your lawn needs deeper grass roots in order to survive drought or other weather issues. It's powder-coated steel, too.

Best Multipurpose Aerator

This multipurpose machine is not for those who have severe patches of grass that won't grow on their lawn: Truth be told, this one functions better as a lawn maintenance tool. Its primary purpose is essentially an electric rake, made to remove sticks, branches and other debris from your lawn. However, the aerator attachment will lightly aerate the lawn, which should help if you're looking to do some fertilizing in the early spring or fall. It's a good tool for someone who has a nice lawn but wants to keep it maintained and looking lush.

Best Push Aerator

This is the perfect option for smaller or mid-sized lawns that need thicker lawn growth. Because it's electric, it's incredibly easy to use, too. It has 24 spiked tines to penetrate the lawn up to .4 inches, with five depth options, too. And you won't need gas or oil for this, either.

Best Rolling Aerator

This rolling lawn aerator has five circular spike wheels that are 7 inches long to give you 2.5 inches of possible penetration. It also has an area to place a cinder block to allow for deeper lawn aerating. However, this one would be best for a smaller area since it's harder to push.

Best Spike Shoes

This pick is likely the most fun option on the list. Just strap these spikes on your boots with the Velcro and begin to walk around — voila, instant lawn aeration! They have 2.1-inch spikes and are a fine pick for small areas and lawn maintenance. Use these if you're experiencing grass that's not flourishing as much as the year before but you aren't sure you're ready to splurge on a more expensive model.

Next Up

How to Overseed a Lawn in 4 Steps

Reinvigorate your thinning grass by learning how to overseed your lawn. See the steps below.

The Best Lawn Mowers Under $750 for Every Yard

Tackle your yard in a snap with these top-rated gas and electric mowers.

The Best Crabgrass Killers, According to a Gardening Pro

Choose from organic and chemical options alike.

The 8 Best Shade Sails for Your Backyard in 2023

Give your porch or patio a cool(ing) update with these top-rated shade sails.

The 9 Best Outdoor Patio Umbrellas for Your Backyard

Shop our shady patio umbrella picks and get your outdoor space ready for warm weather.

13 Tips for Fertilizing Your Lawn

Keep your grass healthy and beautiful. Find tips from the experts on everything from when to fertilize and how to choose the right spreader.

How to Winterize Your Lawn

Learn what to do to prepare your lawn for winter. Taking the right steps in fall prepares your grass for quick spring greening.

The Best Pressure Washers Under $500 for Every Job

Narrow your search with these top-rated pressure washer picks.

The Best Leaf Blowers in 2022

Keep your yard and walkways clean and clear with these top-rated tools.

10 Garden Starter Kits Perfect for Beginners

Get your grow on with these easy-to-follow gardening kits for beginners.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.


Home Town

12pm | 11c

Home Town

1pm | 12c

Home Town

2pm | 1c

Home Town

3pm | 2c

Home Town

4pm | 3c

Home Town

5pm | 4c

Home Town

6pm | 5c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

House Hunters

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

8:30pm | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

House Hunters

12am | 11c

House Hunters

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

House Hunters

1:30am | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

House Hunters

3:30am | 2:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.