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July 23, 2024

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Top 5 Best Tow-Behind Dethatchers Reviewed – (2024 Guide)

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Too much thatch can wreak havoc on the overall health of your lawn and make obtaining a lawn to be proud of nearly impossible. I remember when my family moved down to North Carolina in an area with Bermudagrass, and caring for it required a whole new approach to lawn care. Whether you want to prevent too much thatch or break up a thick layer of thatch – about a 1/2″ or more is too much – then choosing the best tow-behind dethatcher will get the job done.

Tow-behind or pull-behind dethatchers hook right up to your tractor or riding mower similar to a lawn sweeper. The main advantages of using a pull-behind lawn dethatcher over a dethatcher rake are you save your back some trouble, and you cover a lot more ground in less time.

What causes thatch?

Before we take a peek at our top picks, let’s consider several types of grass that commonly form too much thatch and several reasons you may have too much thatch:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Bermudagrass
  • Creeping red fescue
  • Low soil pH (use lime to correct a low soil pH problem)
  • Misuse of pesticides that kill beneficial microorganisms and ward off earthworms
  • Overwatering that drowns your grass and beneficial organisms
  • Overuse of nitrogen fertilizers that cause overly rapid growth of stems and leaves (you may also find that your grass is too green)
  • Sandy or clay-rich soils that compact easily

If you’re facing several of the problems listed above, eliminating those first will reduce your need to dethatch.

Below, you’ll find an overview of our top picks with the key specs to consider for each.

Top 5 Pull-Behind Dethatchers

Product Description
#1) Agri-Fab 48″ 45-0295 Tine De-thatcher
  • Working Width: 48″
  • # of Tines: 24 Heat-Treated Spring Tines
  • Weight Tray Capacity: 70 lbs.
  • Wheels: 7″ x 1.375″ Flat-Free Wheels
  • Model: 45-0295
  • Dimensions: 40″ x 48″ x 41″ (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 37 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Price: $$$$
#2) Brinly 48″ DT-48BH Tow-Behind Dethatcher
  • Working Width: 48″
  • # of Tines: 24 Spring Steel
  • Wheels: 8″ Never-Flat Transport Wheels
  • Model: DT-480BH
  • Dimensions: 38″ x 48″ x 12″ (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 37 lbs
  • Warranty: 2-Year
  • Price: $$$$
#3) Agri-Fab 40″ 45-0294 Tine De-thatcher
  • Working Width: 40″
  • # of Tines: 20
  • Weight Tray Capacity: 70 lbs.
  • Wheels: 7″ x 1.375″ Flat-Free Wheels
  • Model: 45-0294
  • Dimensions: 40″ x 41″ x 41″ (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 30 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Price: $$
#4) Brinly 40″ DT-40BH Pull-Behind Dethatcher
  • Working Width: 40″
  • # of Tines: 20
  • Weight Tray Capacity: 70 lbs.
  • Wheels: 6″ Never-Flat Transport Wheels
  • Model: DT-40BH
  • Dimensions: 40″ x 40″ x 33″ (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 35 lbs
  • Warranty: 2-Year
  • Price: $$$
#5) Craftsman 40″ Tow-Behind Lawn Dethatcher
  • Working Width: 40″
  • # of Tines: 20 Heat-Treated Tines
  • Weight Tray Capacity: 70 lbs.
  • Wheels: 10″
  • Model: CMXGZBF7124315
  • Dimensions: 41″ x 40″ x 41″ (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 31 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Price: $

Tow-Behind Dethatcher Reviews

In the following sections, we share reviews of each model included in the chart above. First, let’s quickly go over the main parts found on a dethatcher:

  • Tines (look for spring steel tines and replaceable tines)
  • Cantilever transport handle for raising and lowering the tines
  • Heavy-duty weight tray for deeper penetration
  • Semi-pneumatic wheels
  • Univeral hitch for mounting to any tractor brand, riding mower, ATV, UTV, or ZTR (Zero Turn Radius Vehicle)

Overall, dethatchers are relatively basic pieces of equipment and easier to assemble than most other lawn care equipment.

Now, let’s get started with the reviews.

#1) Agri-Fab 48″ 45-0295 Tine De-thatcher

Agri-Fab is one of our favorite lawn care equipment brands, so it makes sense that their dethatcher ranks #1 on our list. Model 45-0295 is built with heavy-duty steel and other materials that’ll stand the test of time and the elements. The 48″ working width is perfect for large lawns and pieces of land that need to be dethatched.

Key components you’ll find on this dethatcher are the cantilever handle for raising and lowering the tines, replaceable spring steel tines, flat-free wheels, and a universal hitch. The lever makes it easy to raise and lower the tines without leaving your seat. When loading the tray for deeper penetration, there are connections for securing your blocks or other weighted objects with bungees.

Lastly, Agri-Fab dethatchers are made in the USA, they take about 30 minutes or less to assemble, and the rust-proof tines are nice to have since it’s ideal to dethatch moderately moist soil for optimal results.

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • Replaceable rust-proof spring tines
  • Cantilever handle for easy height adjustments without leaving your seat
  • Built with high-quality and heavy-duty materials
  • Connection points for securing cinder blocks to the weight tray
  • Only requires 20 to 50 lbs on the tray to complete the job
  • Longer warranty than Brinly models

Cons

  • Poorly-written instructions can extend assembly time
  • Not made for ZTR mowers

#2) Brinly 48″ DT-48BH Tow-Behind Dethatcher

Next up is a dethatcher manufactured by another one of our favorite brands, Brinly. All in all, you get mainly the same components featured in the Agri-Fab 48″ model above, though, for some reason, Brinly skipped the cantilever handle on its 48″ model. This is important to consider since you won’t be able to raise the tines from your seat once you finish the job.

Outside of that nuisance, we like that this dethatcher is built with 14-gauge steel and triple-coil strength spring tines for maximum durability. Another nifty feature is the inline wheel design for a level ride and evener dethatching overall. One reason you may want to choose this model over Agri-Fab’s 48″ dethatcher is that this model is made for use with zero-turn mowers (ZTR).

Finally, this model does not feature a weight tray and is made to use without adding weight. You might prefer this convenience tradeoff for no option to raise the tines. However, the solution to this problem is to use a 3-point hitch and adjust the wheel height. Regardless, it’s not as convenient as a cantilever handle.

Pros

  • No need to add weight
  • Built with heavy-duty 14 ga. steel
  • Height-adjustable wheels
  • Made in the USA
  • Compatible with ZTRs
  • QR code supplied in the instructions for easier assembly

Cons

  • No handle for raising the tines
  • Shorter warranty period than Agri-Fab
  • You’ll need to sort the nuts and bolts before assembling it

#3) Agri-Fab 40″ 45-0294 Tine De-thatcher

For smaller lawns about a half-acre in size, Agri-Fab’s 40″ dethatcher is the perfect tool. Comparatively, it’s built with the same materials as the 48″, yet it’s smaller in size and weight since it features a 40″ working width. You’ll find that this model is easier to maneuver and more easily pulled by smaller riding mowers and tractors. However, the weight tray handles up to 70 lbs, which matches the 48″ model.

For convenience, the 40″ model also features a cantilever handle for raising the tines from your seat. Also, the wheels are the same size as model 45-0295, and there are only four fewer tines despite the dethatcher being 8″ shorter.

Lastly, model 45-0294 comes backed by the same 3-year warranty, it’s more affordable than model 45-0295 at the time of this writing, and it’s made in the USA. Also, be sure to consider that this model is not compatible with every zero-turn lawnmower.

Pros

  • Same warranty as model 45-0295
  • Built with the same heavy-duty materials as model 45-0295
  • More affordable than Brinly’s 40″ model at the time of this writing
  • Made in the USA
  • Good for half-acre lawns
  • Cantilever handle for conveniently raising the tines while you work

Cons

  • Compatibility with ZTRs is hit and miss
  • Assembly instructions need improvement

#4) Brinly 40″ DT-40BH Pull-Behind Dethatcher

If you had your heart set on Brinly’s 48″ dethatcher but didn’t like the fact that it’s missing a handle for height adjustments, then Brinly’s 40″ model is for you. While it covers less area in the same period, it features the same heavy-duty components as the larger 48″ model.

Additionally, this model features a tray with a max capacity of 70 lbs if you didn’t like that the 48″ is missing a tray. Next, if you own a ZTR, Brinly’s 40″ dethatcher is built for use with most zero-turn mowers, while Agri-Fab dethatchers are not. Be sure to consider this if you already own a ZTR or plan to purchase one in the future. Dethatchers are built to last, so it’s not a bad idea to look ahead.

In total, with the tray fully loaded, the max tow weight is 105 lbs to give you an idea of whether your vehicle can handle it. Finally, by using the lever, you get three working modes with this dethatcher: dethatching, scarifying, and crossing.

Pros

  • The lever makes it easy to switch between dethatching, scarifying, and crossing over walks or pavement
  • Compatible with zero-turn lawnmowers
  • Features a weight tray for added penetration
  • Same tines and materials used to build the 48″ model
  • Made in the USA
  • Tines arrive pre-assembled

Cons

  • Smaller wheels than Agri-Fab’s 40″ dethatcher
  • Instructions could be better

#5) Craftsman 40″ Tow-Behind Lawn Dethatcher

Last up is the lone Craftsman model featured here. At the time of this writing, this is the most affordable dethatcher in our guide. For people with smaller lawns and dethatching jobs, this Craftsman model is all the tool you need. It features all the essential dethatching elements including a universal hitch, cantilever transport handle for raising & lowering the tines, and durable heat-treated tines.

Also, you may have noticed that this Craftsman dethatcher features the largest wheels in this guide for a smoother ride. As far as weight tray capacity, it matches what Agri-Fab’s and Brinly’s 40″ dethatcher offer, and it has the same number of tines.

You may be wondering, why not purchase this model instead of the Agri-Fab and Brinly dethatchers since most of the specs are the same? The reason we recommend Agri-Fab and Brinly over this Craftsman model is durability and overall quality. While this model is good for lighter occasional use, Agri-Fab and Brinly models are more likely to give you many seasons of use.

Pros

  • Features all the most important dethatching components, including a lever
  • A good budget dethatcher for occasional use and small lawns
  • The most affordable model in this guide at the time of this writing
  • Good for removing crabgrass
  • Made in the USA (with global materials)

Cons

  • Not as heavy-duty or durable as Agri-Fab and Brinly models
  • Assembly may require two people with patience
  • You may find that the tines sit too high when connected to some mower brands

Bottom Line

Be sure to consider your acreage, grass type, and overall needs before choosing the best tow-behind dethatcher for your property. If you want a dethatcher that consistently gets the job done and won’t rust, then stick with Agri-Fab’s and Brinly’s American-made models.

If you’re torn between the two brands, go back over the reviews above to get an idea of what each model offers/doesn’t offer. Lastly, if you have a light-duty dethatching job and a small lawn, you can more than likely get away with using the Craftsman model and save yourself some bucks in the long run.

Plus, it’s important to remember that manufacturers are all lacking in the instructions department, so be prepared with a bit of extra patience when it comes time to assemble.

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