The Best Pond & Lake Rakes for Weeds, Muck, & Seaweed 2020
Aquatic vegetation is a vital part of a healthy lake or pond ecosystem. However, an excess of unwanted weeds can cause a number of problems. Fortunately, weed rakes are often a direct, easy, and cheap solution that can help keep unwanted vegetation under control. A good weed rake is a valuable part of a lake owners toolbox, and in this article, we’ll compare three popular models on the market today.
Considerations When Buying Aquatic Rakes
There are a variety of weed rakes on the market, and there are several factors to keep in mind when choosing the right rake for you. Below we’ve broken down several key considerations for choosing a lake rake. We’ve also used these considerations as the basis of this article’s product comparisons.
1) Design & Method of Weed Removal
Just about every rake can be used to pull up weeds immediately in front of you while you’re standing in the water, on a dock, or at the shoreline. If that’s your primary goal, you’ll want to prioritize pole length to maximize your reach. Many rakes are equipped with ropes so they can be thrown into deeper waters and then pulled back, bringing weeds with them. In this case, you’ll want a longer rope and possibly a shorter handle, which will help you reach farther distances while keeping throwing as easy as possible.
A very different category of weed-removal rakes is the bottom rolling rake, sometimes called “beach rollers”, which consists of a large, revolving drum studded with teeth and attached to a pole. These rakes are pushed across the lake bottom like old-fashioned push lawnmowers to dig up and remove weeds. Although they have the same general purpose as traditional weed rakes, rolling rakes involve a very different kind of motion that you may or may not prefer.
2) Rake Materials & Durability
A rake’s weight and the materials it’s made out of are also very important. Most rakes are made of steel, aluminum, or a combination of the two; some may include plastic.
The materials a rake is made of determines its durability and weight. Metal rakes — the most common type used for removing lake weeds — are far more durable, but they’re also likely to be heavier. Raking lake weeds is often physically challenging, and the heavier your rake is, the tougher it will be to use. Before buying a rake, make sure that it’s light enough for you to push, pull, and throw (when applicable) without too much strain. Look for words like “stainless,” “galvanized,” or “powder-coated,” which indicate that a metal has been treated to resist corrosion.
3) Sinking Vs Floating Rakes
Your rake’s buoyancy will determine whether it can reach floating or submerged weeds. Some rakes come with attachable floats or weights that allow them to reach both. A rolling rake will naturally only reach bottom weeds, but because of how it stays in contact with the ground, it may do so more efficiently than “classic” rakes. If you’re unsure whether a rake will sink or float before you buy it, you might be able to find out by reading product reviews, watching videos on the seller’s website, or even just calling the manufacturer.
4) Material, Length & Width of Teeth
Rake teeth can vary significantly. Longer teeth can pull up deeper roots, but they may also stir up more sediment. Thin, sharp teeth are best for digging into the lake or pond bottom, while flatter, wider teeth have larger surfaces that help collect pieces of weeds. Some rakes have tapered tines that may bring the best of both worlds; others have teeth with beveled, chisel-like edges meant to tear weeds out of the ground.
When comparing rakes with different teeth, make your decision based on whether you want to rip weeds out from the bottom, collect loosely attached or floating weeds, or both. Also keep in mind that rakes with wider heads and more teeth can generally collect more weeds with every pass, though they may also be heavier and more unwieldy.
5) Additional Features (“Extras”)
Some rakes have special features that improve their functionality. Besides detachable floats, many rakes come with extendable handles or extra lengths of rope that allow you to adjust their reach. Others are foldable in various ways, making them easier to carry and store. Be discerning, though — sometimes, special features bring unnecessarily high prices.
Are Lake Rakes Always Good Choices?
Weed overgrowth can make fishing and boating more difficult, and it can make swimming more dangerous by creating slick surfaces and snags. Additionally, when large quantities of weeds inevitably die and decompose, they consume large amounts of oxygen, which can stifle a lake’s fish population and encourage the growth of foul-smelling, unpleasant muck. Weeds can also crowd out desirable wildlife, create places for mosquitos to breed, and, over very long periods of time, even contribute to a lake becoming shallower by accumulating sediment. When weeds cover 25% or more of your lake or pond’s surface area, you may need to intervene to restore ecological balance.
Compared to other lake weed solutions, rakes are inexpensive, uncomplicated, and well-suited for use in small waterbodies. Unfortunately, they’re not practical in some situations. For one, rakes aren’t as effective in large, deep lakes, where their range is limited. Additionally, when vegetation is very thick, raking may be too physically demanding to be worthwhile — you might wear yourself out before you make any meaningful progress!
Finally, rakes on their own aren’t much use against muck, which is far too waterlogged and amorphous to handle with tines (if you can even reach it). When you’re dealing with a large lake and/or dense weeds and muck, rakes work best in a complementary role alongside other solutions. For example, you could use a muck blower, a bottom groomer, a lake vacuum, or herbicides to dislodge as much as possible and follow up by lightly cleaning shallow spaces with a rake.
Best Pond & Lake Rake Reviews & Comparison 2020
If you’re looking for a practical, unfussy lake rake, Outdoor Water Solutions’ model is one of your best options. Weighing only 7 lbs. and made of rustproof, powder-coated aluminum, this rake should prove both durable and fairly easy to use. Its 36-in head is wide enough for raking efficiently, and its rectangular teeth have beveled lips that are perfect for digging up roots. While the rake sinks naturally, it comes with a removable float that allows it to gather weeds floating on the surface as well as rooted at the bottom.
With an 11-ft handle, Outdoor Water Solution’s rake has an excellent reach. For easier storage, the handle comes apart in two pieces (the manufacturer’s website also recommends removing one piece of the handle to turn the rake into a beach-grooming tool). On the other hand, if you need something longer, you can increase the rake’s range by 50% with a 5.5-ft handle extension that’s available for an extra cost. The rake also comes with 50 feet of plastic rope, which makes it an excellent choice for throwing out into deeper waters when you consider its relatively light weight.
As well as this, the Lake & Beach Rake from Outdoor Water Solutions is a comparatively inexpensive product with a high upside. Its two-piece handle, long rope, and detachable float make it a flexible tool, and the quality materials it’s made of suggest a long lifespan. Whether you need to rake weeds far or near, on the surface or at the bottom, this model should prove very valuable.
- Materials: Rust-proof, powder coated aluminum
- Head Width: 36 inches
- Handle Length: 11 feet (two pieces)
- Sinking/Floating: Sinks naturally, detachable float
- Rope: 50 feet
- Weight: 7 lbs.
- Extras: 66-inch/5.5-ft handle extension
The Razer Rake by Jenlis has a few similarities to the rake from Outdoor Water Solutions. Both have 36-in aluminum heads, and both have sharp-lipped, chisel-like teeth. They also weigh nearly the same (the Razer Rake is 6 lbs., while the Outdoor Water Solutions rake is 7 lbs.) and have handles that are almost the same length (at 9 feet, the Razer Rake’s handle is slightly shorter, and it consists of one piece rather than two). Like similar rakes of this design, the Razer Rake can be used to either dig up plants from the bottom or skim surface vegetation, as it comes with two Velcro-lined attachable floats. Finally, the product has long ropes that can be used to throw the rake quite a distance across the water (the Razer Rake’s rope length isn’t explicitly stated, but Jenlis’ website lists a replacement rope as 43 feet). It’s fair to assume that these rakes are comparably flexible and easy to use.
The Razer Rake does stand out in a couple of ways, though. Most notably, its head is collapsible — by holding down a button and pulling back a panel, you can fold the head into two halves that lay flat along the handle. This is a unique feature that makes the Razer Rake exceptionally easy to store and carry. Of course, this handy detail also makes the Razer Rake a slightly more expensive option, but not by much, so you’ll have to decide for yourself whether a foldable head (and the small extra assembly required) is worth the additional cost. If you decide that it is, you can expect the Razer Rake to be a durable, multipurpose weed-removal tool that’s a little easier to put away when you’re done.
- Materials: Aluminum and galvanized steel
- Head Width: 36 inches
- Handle Length: 9 feet
- Sinking/Floating: Sinks naturally, two detachable floats
- Rope: 43 feet
- Weight: 6 lbs.
- Extras: 43-ft replacement rope
As the only bottom rolling rake on this list, Jenlis’ Muck Razer is significantly different from the other two products. The Muck Razer’s teeth protrude from a rotating PVC drum that’s 6 inches in diameter. That drum is in turn connected to an 11.5-ft aluminum handle that should allow you to easily reach bottom weeds in the immediate vicinity of a dock. The handle can also be disassembled into 3 pieces for storage.
There are several benefits to choosing a rolling rake like the Muck Razer. At 15 lbs., the Muck Razer is easily the heaviest product on this list. However, because you’ll just be pushing it back and forth along the ground, you may find it less labor intensive and more efficient for removing bottom weeds than a traditional rake. The several rows of hooked galvanized steel teeth are offset from each other to ensure there are no gaps in coverage. And while the Muck Razer probably won’t actually remove any muck, its teeth are designed to agitate the sediment and mix in oxygen while it uproots weeds. If you use the Muck Razer regularly, this might help to slow the growth of muck over time by encouraging the growth of the bacteria that break it down.
Unfortunately, like other rolling rakes, the Muck Razer has a few limitations. Because it can only be used on the bottom, the Muck Razer can’t combat floating weeds and debris. In fact, the Muck Razer can actually make this problem worse, as it doesn’t actually retrieve any of the vegetation it removes. To prevent a buildup of dead, decaying plant matter, you’ll need to use another device (like a traditional rake) to collect whatever the Muck Razer digs up. The Muck Razer also can’t be thrown out and retrieved like other rakes, which would further inhibit your flexibility. If you need to remove both surface and bottom weeds, as well as weeds that are far from shore, this product may be best-suited to a complementary role alongside another tool. With a relatively high price, though, you’ll have to carefully decide whether the Muck Razer is worthwhile if it’s going to be your only weed-removal device.
- Materials: Galvanized steel teeth, aluminum handle, PVC drum
- Drum Diameter: 36 inches
- Handle Length: 11.5 feet
- Sinking/Floating: Sinks only
- Weight: 15 lbs.
- Extras: N/A
- Note: Assembly may require a power drill