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Last updated: June 9, 2022
A quality bow can take on more jobs than other rake styles but are best suited for those heavy-duty gardening chores.
If you’ve got gravel to move, dirt to level, or mulch to spread, a bow rake is the tool you want. But not just any bow rake will do.
To assure you finish the job with the least amount of effort and frustration, you will want the best heavy-duty bow rake out there.
We have reviewed five durable garden rakes that fall perfectly into that category. Each of these options is made with quality materials that won’t break or bend and is designed for optimal use in a multitude of situations.
Top 5 Bow Rakes:
|1||Hooyman Metal Bow Rake||Price|
|2||Fiskars Pro Garden Rake||Price|
|3||Bully Tools Bow Rake||Price|
|4||Ashman Heavy Duty Bow Rake||Price|
|5||Hosko Heavy Duty Bow Rake||Price|
Top 5 Bow Rakes
Let’s discuss these five bow rakes in more detail.
1. Hooyman Metal Bow Rake
For super heavy-duty jobs like moving rock and gravel, the Hooyman Metal Bow Rake is one to consider.
This garden rake features an ultra-durable carbon-steel head. The thick, curved tines can do battle with any type of landscaping material without bending or snapping. The low, wide bow design has less give than other models, making it the perfect tool for spreading heavy material.
At 65 inches, this rake has a bit more length than your average model. Paired with dual, no-slip grips that become tacky when wet, that added length gives you extra control and power for moving rocks and other dense debris. The fiberglass handle is lightweight but thick enough to avoid bowing during use.
The durability of this tool is obvious the moment you pick it up. At 4.8 pounds, it weighs a bit more than any of our other choices. For light jobs around the yard, this product might be a bit much, but for those bigger jobs that require power to move and level, this is the only choice worth considering.
The Hooyman Metal Bow Rake comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is priced impressively well for such a reliable, durable piece of equipment.
2. Fiskars Pro Garden Rake
For a premium rake specially designed for leveling jobs, the Fiskars Pro Garden Rake is our top choice.
This 60-inch rake features a lightweight, bow-proof aluminum handle. This design gives the rake a unique weight distribution that puts the weight in the head for added power. At 4.5 pounds, you can feel confident that this tool can take on even the hardest jobs.
The head has a unique, three-connection design that adds stability without restricting the spring action of the high bow. The hardened metal tines are flattened with triangular ends that are perfect for breaking up hardened soil and moving it into place.
But the truly unique aspect of this rake is in the design of the back of the head. It features a raised, beveled straight edge that allows for more precise leveling. If you’re looking for the right tool to help with that new concrete driveway, paver install, or just something to create perfectly level garden beds that’ll make the neighbors jealous, this is the rake you want.
The Fiskars rake is a touch more expensive than others here but comes with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.
3. Bully Tools Bow Rake
In need of a garden rake that can move soil, mulch, and leaves quickly and efficiently? The Bully Tools Bow Rake is a great choice.
At 3.45 pounds, this bow rake is on the lighter side and better suited for long jobs than the two above. The 58-inch fiberglass handle is lightweight but tough, and easy to maneuver.
The head features extra-wide 10-gauge steel tines. The added surface area on these teeth provides more contact to move a greater volume of debris in fewer passes. This design also makes this garden rake more useful for leaf cleanup than your typical model.
One thing this rake can’t do, however, is level. The curved shape of the head gives the rake a unique scooping action but also means the back cannot be used to flatten out soil.
The Bully Tools Bow Rake is competitively priced, made in the USA, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
4. Ashman Heavy Duty Bow Rake
When it comes to the best bow rake for breaking up clumpy soil, the Ashman Heavy Duty Bow Rake has our vote.
Equipped with 16 strong, long metal tines with pointed ends, this rake can break through even the toughest soil. Perfect for loosening up garden beds in the spring or preparing dry soil for a new leveled pathway.
The 54-inch fiberglass handle pairs with the tall head design for a total length of 60 inches, perfect for users of average height. And at 2.84 pounds, this rake is also the lightest on our list, making it a great choice for older and less-able-bodied homeowners.
The Ashman Heavy Duty Bow Rake is competitively priced and has a high user satisfaction rating, but does not come with an advertised warranty.
5. Hosko Heavy Duty Bow Rake
If you’re looking for a bargain brand rake that won’t disappoint or an easily storable solution for small spaces, the Hosko Heavy Duty Bow Rake has you covered on both accounts. This capable rake is priced at nearly half that of most quality bow rakes on the market.
The long, narrowly spaced steel tines are perfect for moving debris, leaves, and soil. The ends are capped to prevent the teeth from piercing leaves and soft debris, but the tines are strong enough to break apart hardened earth.
But what really sets this rake apart is the 60-inch aluminum handle. This sectioned handle breaks into sections for easy storage in tight spaces. You can even remove sections to customize the height to your size and the task at hand.
At 3.41 pounds fully constructed, the Hosko Heavy Duty Bow Rake is a great choice for everyday use. It comes with a 3-year quality assurance warranty and certainly won’t break the bank.
Bow rakes come in a surprising assortment of designs. To help you pick the right rake to meet your needs, we put together this helpful buying guide.
Below are all the different aspects you will need to consider before you can find the best rake for you.
Let’s discuss the following deciding factors:
- What Is a Bow Rake?
- Handle Material
- Handle Length
- Head and Tines Setup
1. What Is a Bow Rake?
A bow rake, also known as a garden rake, has a metal head with about 14 to 16 tines arranged on a flat plane. These tines can be straight or slightly curved and are much shorter than those on your typical leaf rake. These rakes are built to be durable and tend to be heavier than other types.
These rakes get their name from the bow-like shape of the head. The wide, curved connections between the tines and handle provide a slight spring-like action during use. Some models have narrower builds with less springiness than others.
Bow rakes can be used on a variety of tasks from raking leaves to leveling pathways. However, the sturdy, narrowly spaced, pointed tines tend to collect and pierce plant debris, making the job of raking the lawn more work than it should be.
Where these durable rakes truly shine is in taking on tougher jobs, such as raking dirt, gravel, and rock. The thick, pointed tines are perfect for piercing and breaking apart dirt clods. Meanwhile, the flat backs found on most bow rake heads can be used to level dirt and sand.
Ideally, you’d have a number of different rake types at your disposal for everyday yard work. But if you only have room or the budget for one type, the versatility of the bow rake makes for the best investment.
2. Handle Material
Rake handles can be made of a number of different materials, for example:
The most common you’ll find on bow rakes is fiberglass. This synthetic material is highly durable and very lightweight. It is also naturally resistant to water and UV and tends to last longer than other options.
Aluminum is the second most common handle material used on bow rakes. Like fiberglass, aluminum is strong and lightweight, but it is more prone to denting and damage during heavy use.
Wood handles are most common on leaf rakes, but can be found on some bow rake models. If finished properly, this material is very durable. However, quality wood handles tend to be heavier than aluminum and fiberglass.
Steel handles are reserved for the hardest working landscape tools and generally preferred by commercial outfits. These are the most durable rakes available but are also very heavy and costly.
3. Handle Length
Most garden rakes stand between 55 inches and 65 inches, with handle lengths slightly smaller to accommodate the height of the rake head.
During heavy-duty jobs, the rake is often used with one hand on the end and the other in the center to provide more torque. Because of this, the total height is important to how comfortable the tool will be to use.
In addition to shorter handles being better suited for shorter people due to the grip location, these tools also tend to be a little lighter.
Some models, such as the Hosko Heavy Duty Bow Rake, feature sectional handles that can be taken apart for storage. Sections can also be removed to change the total height of the rake to accommodate shorter users.
4. Head and Tines Setup
The most variable aspect of bow rakes is in the head and tine design.
Quality bow rake heads are made of metal, with steel and carbon steel being the preferred material for extra durability. The connection to the handle is equally important in determining if the tool will last. Look for double bolted necks and strong welds on the bows.
The bow itself can be tall or narrow, with the latter providing less spring movement during use. These types are better suited for heavy jobs, such as moving gravel or rock. Heads with taller bows are much springier and work well for raking leaves and mulch.
The shape of the tines also varies greatly by model. Flat, wide tines are perfect for moving soil and gravel. Narrower tines, especially those with pointed ends, are good for breaking up and sifting dirt.
Most rakes will feature a pad at the end of the handle. This is nice for light-duty jobs, but hefty jobs will require a lower grip as well.
The Hooyman Metal Bow Rake is one of the few we found that featured a second grip halfway down the handle for optimal comfort. Weight is also something to consider, as some heavy-duty bow rakes are indeed quite heavy.
Some less expensive products will feature an end cap to protect the handle end but no real hand grips. These work well enough for small jobs but can get uncomfortable to use during those longer jobs.
A bow rake is a great investment whether you have some heavy-duty landscaping to complete or just want an all-around versatile rake to help you around the yard.
For the former, we highly recommend the Hooyman Metal Bow Rake. This durable product has a carbon-steel head with strong, powerful tines. It is the perfect companion for moving rock, leveling dirt, and helping out with all your tough yard projects.
For a more versatile garden rake that can take on a long list of jobs, the Bully Tools Bow Rake is a great choice. The broad tines and lighter weight make this bow rake better suited for lightweight jobs like moving leaves and mulch. But it’s still durable and functional enough to take on some of those tougher jobs as well.
Whatever tasks you have in mind, you’re sure to find the right bow rake for the job featured in our list above.