A Close Look at Using a Metal or Plastic Rake

Rakes are the must-have of every yard garden. Whether it’s for gathering leaves or twigs, or whatever other debris lies across the grass, a sturdy rake should last you for a very long time, provided you know how to pick the right one. Aside from wood, metal and plastic rakes are the most common choices available. While they’re both viable, they each have a list of pros and cons that we’re going to examine, so that every reader can figure out which of the two is the best choice.

Metal vs Plastic Rakes Comparison

Metal Rakes ​​​Plastic Rakes
Gardenite Adjustable Leaf Rake
Truper 30456 Plastic Leaf Rake
  • Design: More features such as telescopic adjustment
  • Cost: mid-high range
  • Durability: far more durable than plastic and lasts longer
  • Design: simple and limited
  • Cost: low-mid range
  • Durability: not as durable as metal

Metal Rakes

When it comes to gardening tools most people are huge fans of metal. But in terms of rakes, what does this particular construction have to offer?

Durability

People prefer metal rakes because of the durability factor. Steel rakes are obviously made from the most durable materials out there, which significantly increases their lifespan.

Of course, the most solid rake is the one that has a metal handle, but also metal tines. This combo is more resistant, as the metal tines won’t easily break under pressure, as we sometimes end up raking small stones and twigs. A rake that has metallic tines is bound to last longer, as they are more flexible compared to plastic tines.

Design

Rake with a telescopic handle on top of a flat surface rock.

A lot of metal rakes now have telescopic handles, which are operated via a small lever. This allows people of all heights to use the rake without having to put a strain on their bodies. People that are tall and forced to use a rake with a short handle may have to bend over, which could, in turn, cause back pain. On the other hand, short people that have to operate a rake with a long handle will also have difficulties in maneuvering it properly.

In terms of the weight, a rake that’s made entirely from steel is typically heavier compared to a plastic rake. This could lead to difficulty in maneuvering the rake, especially if you plan on assigning this yard chore to your children. Because of the weight, a metal rake can put a lot of strain on one’s arms, so always keep in mind who will be using the rake before choosing one made from a particular material.

Earth-Friendliness

Because of the long lifespan of a metallic rake, it automatically has a lower negative impact on the environment.

Year-round Use

Young woman raking leaves autumn pile garden veranda housework sweeping

If you’re raking your yard in the colder season, you may experience some discomfort caused by the temperature of the handle. However, raking in the warmer seasons could cause your hands to sweat and slide off the shiny and smooth metal handle. Best solution when operating a rake with a metallic handle is to use gloves, especially during the winter.

Cost

Of course, when you’re dealing with a durable product, you are also expected to pay more. Metal rakes are amongst the most expensive ones of their kind, and definitely more expensive than plastic rakes.

Plastic Rakes

Pile of dead fall leaves swept and dumped into plastic bin with fan rake resting on it

While not as sturdy, plastic rakes do have a couple of qualities that might tempt some people into purchasing them.

Durability

The plastic rate is not as sturdy and durable as a metallic rake. Plastic rakes are lighter, but they are also more prone to breaking, especially if the tines are made from plastic.

Design

Boy and girl with two rakes standing in beautiful autumn park during day time

Plastic rakes are a lot more lightweight compared to metallic ones. Because of that, they are also easier to handle. If you’re the kind of person that likes to prance around in the yard while raking and you treat your rake like Freddie Mercury treated the mic, plastic is definitely the way to go.

If you have any children and you plan on passing along the chore to them, a plastic rake is way easier to use compared to a metal or a wooden one. Since they come in all shapes and sizes, considering choosing a plastic rake with a shorter handle, so your kid can rake away without difficulties. Of course, the most solid rake is the one that has a metal handle, but also metal tines. This combo is more resistant, as the metal tines won’t easily break under pressure, as we sometimes end up raking small stones and twigs.

Earth Friendliness

If you’re very environmentally conscious, you definitely want to steer clear of plastic rakes. They take a really long time to decompose, not to mention the fact that they can become brittle over time.

Year-round Use

Once the handle or the tines on a plastic rake break, there’s really no way to re-purpose them. If you have a rake with a wooden handle, for instance, the handle could be used for something else if the head of the rake were to break.

Cost

First off, there’s the price. Unless your yard or garden is filled with trees that leave a brown carpet as fall, there’s really no point in investing in a very expensive metal rake. If you need a tool for occasional raking, a plastic one may be more suitable for your budget.

Bottom Line

Cleaning of autumn leaves on a green lawnorange rake

As always, whether metal or plastic rake, choosing the best one can only be done after prioritizing. Do you want a durable product that can withstand the test of time, but won’t break when finding a rotted twig in its path? Or do you want something that cheap, lightweight, and which the kids can use any given day? The answers to these questions will guide you towards the rake that’s best suited for your situation. Even if we analyzed both metal and plastic rakes, you shouldn’t overlook the possibility of buying a wooden rake, as they can be comfortable to use, have an above average lifespan and are easier to re-purpose in case they break.

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