Are you seeing bare patches on your lawn and wondering what the problem is? Or maybe your lawn has been subject to too much traffic lately so much so that it doesn’t look as lush and green as it used to?
There is a high chance you’re dealing with soil compaction, which needs proper aeration for grass to take roots and regrow.
The best plug aerator for lawns can help you get the aeration job done. These units feature hollow tines that create holes and gaps in the soil while removing plugs at the same time.
Unlike spike aerators, plug aerators provide long-term soil de-compaction as there’s sufficient spaces for air, water, and nutrient penetration.
In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best plug aerators in the market right now. We’ll look at the features that make them stand out, their pros, as well as what we think could be better.
In a hurry? Here are the top-rated plug aerators to buy:
- How Do Plug Aerators Work?
- Best Plug Aerator for Lawns Reviewed
- 1. Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator
- 2. Brinly PA-40BH Tow Behind Plug Aerator
- 3. Agri-Fab 45-0299 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator
- Frequently Asked Questions on best plug aerator for lawns
- 1. Is a plug aerator better than spike aerator?
- 2. How well do pull behind plug aerators work?
- 3. Should you aerate your lawn?
- 4. Should I overseed after aerating my lawn?
How Do Plug Aerators Work?
Plug aerators are far much better than their spike alternative.
Given that they create holes and gaps for better distribution of nutrients that grass needs to grow, they are far much better than the aerators that feature spikes.
Since plug aerators remove plugs from the soil, they tend to offer long-term soil de-compaction, making it possible for healthy grass to grow over time.
In practice, these aerators feature hollow tines that can remove about an inch of thatch from the core instead of pushing them further down into the ground.
Given the structure of their tines and strength from the applied force, a plug aerator tends to be effective even in an area with hard clay soil.
To get a plug aerator to work:
- Place the hollow tines where you would like to aerate and apply force to push the plugs into the soil
- Depending on the length of the tines, a sizeable core of soil, usually about an inch long and half an inch in diameter will come off the ground.
- In the process, the aerator loosens up the compacted soil, making way for water, air, and essential nutrients to get down to the grass roots
Because our interest is to get the best results, make sure the tines make holes that are anything between 1 and 6 inches deep and not less than 0.5 inches wide.
While the plugs you remove from the ground decompose, they do have essential nutrients from the soil. As such, you don’t necessarily have to remove them from the lawn.
Over time, they’ll break down and add the nutrient back to the soil, which is essential for grass growth.
The good thing about a plug aerator is that you don’t have to use it all the time.
Because it offers long-term de-compaction of soil, it’s best to use it only once every season.
Best Plug Aerator for Lawns Reviewed
1. Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator
Cheap coring aerators are great for yards that are small, but they need some elbow grease.
So if you have a small lawn to aerate and don’t want to hire someone to do the work for you, consider investing in Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator.
With Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator, you can pull plugs of 0.5 inches in diameter, remove thatch, and reduce compaction.
Thanks to the cushioned handle and a long foot bar, this coring aerator should be easy to push further down into the soil.
The two plugs removed from the soil are about three and a half inches long.
One thing about manual plug aerators is that they require maintenance, and this one is not an exception at all.
All you have to do is to clean it after use and store it together with your other gardening tools.
There’s also a spike aerator from the same brand, which is a good deal to consider if you want to aerate a lawn that doesn’t have compaction.
- Made of high quality, premium grade steel for strength and durability
- Ergonomic handle and sizeable foot bar makes it easy to use for an extended period
- It’s 37 inches longer, so you can use without worrying about back aches or strains
- The spike model won’t work well on dry lawns
2. Brinly PA-40BH Tow Behind Plug Aerator
Brinly is yet another brand that impresses us with its PA-40BH lawn aerator. The whole unit is made of strong steel for strength and durability, making PA-40BH the best model to use for heavy-duty jobs.
Unlike a stand-on lawn aerator, this one is quite inexpensive so much so that it doesn’t require financing.
Brinly PA-40BH features 24 heat-treated, 16-gauge steel tines that plug deep into compacted soil to remove up to 3 inches of plugs.
Holes that deep allow water, air, seed, fertilizers, and other nutrients to reach the grass roots and thrive easily.
There’s an enclosed weight tray that holds an extra weight of up to 150 pounds.
So if you want full penetration of the tines, you might want to consider adding more weight to the equipment.
Add to this the no-flat wheels for easy movement and what you get for the price is a device that makes it easy for you to aerate your lawn.
Also read: How to keep lawn aerator from clogging
- Steel construction for strength and durability
- A 40-inch wide frame means you can cover more ground with one pass
- Allows addition of extra weight for more ground penetration
- Doesn’t seem to support more weight compared to other types of aerators from the same brand
Related: Walk behind core aerator
3. Agri-Fab 45-0299 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator
Agri-Fab has been in the lawn and gardening tools space for a long time. And when it comes to building the best plug aerator for lawns, this company never disappoints.
One of the best models in their collection is the Agri-Fab 45-0299, a good option for homeowners who have gardening tractors, UTVs, ATVs and need a tow-behind aerator for lawns.
One thing that makes Agri-Fab 45-0299 stand out from many models in the market is the robust construction. Made of heavy-gauge steel, this is one of the strongest machines for aerating a lawn.
It even features a cantilever handle that makes it easy to use.
Agri-Fab 45-0299 uses plugs to remove soil plugs of soil from the ground. The holes and gaps created by the machine’s 32 galvanized knives allow air, water, and nutrients to get to the grass roots and facilitate proper growth.
It has a working width of 48-inches, which makes it suitable for the medium as well as large-sized lawns.
Weight is an important factor to consider when choosing a pull behind plug aerator. Luckily, Agri-Fab doesn’t disappoint.
They’ve made sure this model can support up to 140 pounds, which is good enough to fore the hollow tines to penetrate into the ground and create holes and gaps into the compacted soil.
Also read: How do you sharpen hollow tine aerators?
You will have to add the weight to the tray. Doing so makes it easy for the tines to penetrate the lawn to a certain depth.
- Works well for heavy, compacted soil
- 48-inch working width makes it ideal for large lawns
- Includes a universal hitch
- Can’t work without a lawn tractor
Also read: How to grow grass in shade
Frequently Asked Questions on best plug aerator for lawns
1. Is a plug aerator better than spike aerator?
A plug aerator is better than spike aerator because its long, hollow tines remove chunks of soul from the ground, creating the space required for nutrients to penetrate to the grass root.
Spike aerators don’t have the strength to break and penetrate tough soil, and that makes them suitable only for areas that don’t have compacted soil yet.
2. How well do pull behind plug aerators work?
While pull behind plug aerators aren’t as effective as stand-on aerators, they still work very well and get you good results.
Not only are they effective in removing thatch plugs from the soil. They also reduce soil compaction to make it possible for grass roots to take off and thrive.
Again, pull behind plug aerators are handy for heavy-duty jobs as they can aerate a larger of the yard in a very short time.
Also read: Is liquid aeration as good as core aeration?
3. Should you aerate your lawn?
Well, it depends. If your lawn tends to receive too much foot traffic aeration may be necessary.
That’s because such lawns eventually get heavy soil compaction, which can make it difficult for grass to grow.
Also, if your lawn has excessive thatch or you have grass grown on heavy soil, you should consider aerating.
Also read: How do you keep lawn aerator shoes from slipping?
4. Should I overseed after aerating my lawn?
You should overseed your law 48 hours after aeration.
Doing so will give seed, water, and fertilizer the best chance to get into the holes created with a plug aerator.
The best plug aerator for lawns comes in different shapes and sizes. Not to mention that they have different price points.
Thanks to their long, hollow tines, they can easily remove chunks of soil during ground penetration, hence creating more room for the right nutrients to get to the grass roots.
We recommend plug aerators for lawn over spike models because they offer long-term results. In fact, by removing plugs of dirt rather than pushing it down further into the ground, plug aerators create more space necessary for air, water, and light. With this, you should even see better results after overseeding your lawn.