3 Best Walk Behind Core Aerator

Are you looking for the best walk behind core aerator but don’t know where to start? This guide is for you. Whether you have a small lawn or you want to work on a large yard, you’ll find the right recommendation here.

The best walk behind core aerator uses tines to dig into the soil, remove plugs, and create holes and spaces for air, water, and nutrients to the grassroots.

With a core aerator, you can create holes of more than 0.5 inches in diameter.

And unlike spike aeration, core aeration doesn’t push soil further down into the ground. Instead, it removes the plugs, thus reducing soil compaction that often hinders grass growth. In fact, with holes as wide as 0.5 inches and as deep as 1 to 6 inches, you can expect a much consistent flow of water, oxygen, and nutrients into the soil.

There are many benefits of using a pull behind core aerator for lawn care. Not only does it reduce soil compaction, but it also ensures the right nutrients get deep into the soil so that grass can grow a lot more efficiently.

With compaction fully controlled, even on lawn areas that have been subject to too much foot traffic, thatch can easily break up, fertilizer can get to the roots, and water can soak in the soil very well.

Billy Goat PL1800V Vanguard Powered Reciprocating Aerator, 205 cc, 18"
Step 'N Tilt Core Lawn Aerator Version 3 (with Container)
Goplus 18-Inch Rolling Lawn Aerator, Garden Yard Rotary Push Tine Spike Soil Aeration, Heavy Duty...
Billy Goat PL1800V Vanguard Powered Reciprocating Aerator, 205 cc, 18"
Step 'N Tilt Core Lawn Aerator Version 3 (with Container)
Goplus 18-Inch Rolling Lawn Aerator, Garden Yard Rotary Push Tine Spike Soil Aeration, Heavy Duty...
Billy Goat PL1800V Vanguard Powered Reciprocating Aerator, 205 cc, 18"
Billy Goat PL1800V Vanguard Powered Reciprocating Aerator, 205 cc, 18"
Step 'N Tilt Core Lawn Aerator Version 3 (with Container)
Step 'N Tilt Core Lawn Aerator Version 3 (with Container)
Goplus 18-Inch Rolling Lawn Aerator, Garden Yard Rotary Push Tine Spike Soil Aeration, Heavy Duty...
Goplus 18-Inch Rolling Lawn Aerator, Garden Yard Rotary Push Tine Spike Soil Aeration, Heavy Duty...

How Do Walk Behind Core Aerators Work

Pull behind core aerators may not be as effective as stand-on models. But they work better than aerator shoes and handheld models. Since they come at a reasonable price point, they do make the best option for homeowners on a tight budget. But how exactly do these walk behind core aerators work?

Walk behind core aerators work by means of push. As you push the device, it will engage the hollow tines, which dig deep into the soil and remove plugs. The cores come out from the other end of the plugs and fall on the turf. The holes and gaps created, allow air, water, and essential nutrients into the grass roots. 

Lawn aerating shoes

These machines work so well because of two major components:

  • Weight and
  • Plugs (not spikes)

Walk behind core aerator have just enough weight to penetrate into the compacted soil. The weight presses down the plugs as you move the machine, making it easy to create holes and remove cores.

The plugs themselves are sharp enough to penetrate into the soil. Not to mention that they are strong enough to penetrate deep even into severely compacted soil.

From what we understand, walk behind core aerators are great for small and medium-sized lawns. However, if you have more time to spend on lawn care, you just might want to use these to care for large lawns as well. 

When it comes to overall performance, core aerators will always work better than the spike models.

Best Walk Behind Core Aerator Reviews

1. Billy Goat PL1800V

With a working width of 18 inches, Billy GoatPL1800V is an ideal core aerator for those who have small or medium-sized lawns.

It includes reciprocating cam tines that not only drive the machine forward but also dig about 7 cm deep into compacted soil. With Billy GoatPL1800V, you can aerate field as large as 2,000 meters square in an hour.

One thing that stands out about Billy GoatPL1800V is that it doesn’t need additional weight. The cam tines already work to great depth to give you better results.

Billy GoatPL1800V is easy to store away when it’s not in use. Simply fold the handles to turn it into a compact machine and store it away.

The Billy GoatPL1800V lawn aerator has just four hollow tines. Even with such a small number, you can expect the machine to perform quite well. The holes and gaps created are deep and wide enough to allow air, water, and other essential nutrients to easily get to the grass roots.


  • Self-propelled unit that works well all the time
  • Weighs 240 lbs, so it doesn’t need more additional weight
  • Comes with replacement parts and even allows optional tines


  • A bit pricey

2. Step ‘N Tilt Core Lawn Aerator

Don’t worry if you can’t afford an expensive pull behind core aerator. You can go for a cost-effective model such as the Step ‘N Tilt Core Lawn Aerator, which goes for under $100. Keep in mind that given its size, this model is only suitable for small lawns.

If you have a medium-sized lawn, you should consider getting the Billy Goat PL1800V core aerator.

The Step ‘N Tilt Core Aerator is made of tough steel for strength and durability. So, no matter how much force you place on it, it will stand up to the task and offer the best performance.

The hollow tines of this aerator had a diameter of 0.79 inches, which is more sizeable than what we’ve seen with other models. Also, the tines can penetrate up to 3.5 inches deep, and pull the plugs out of the core just as easily.


  • This core aerator is cheap, a good option for those on tight budget
  • Consider this if you have a small lawn
  • Creates deeper holes for air, water, and other essential nutrients to get to the grass roots 


  • Only ideal for small lawns
  • May require a lot of force in areas with severe compacted soil

Plug aerator for yard

3. Goplus 18-inch Rolling Lawn Aerator

Goplus 18-inch Rolling Lawn Aerator is another push aerator to consider if you wish to work on a small lawn. It’s a first-of-its-kind roller tool made of strong steel for strength, performance, and durability.

With a diameter of 6 inches and a length of 50, this unit has just the right size to get work done in a short time.

We’ve included Goplus Rolling lawn as a recommendation in this guide because this unit can aerate lawns of any type of soil, thanks to the multiple rows of strong steel spikes. 

From a performance standpoint, we strongly suggest that you use this unit only for deep watering lawns. It will help to loosen up the soil and improve aeration so that water, air, and nutrients can get deep into the grass roots.


  • This unit is easy to assemble; required hardware included
  • Made of steel for strength and durability 
  • It’s easy to use


  • Needs some force for better results
  • Not heavy enough to penetrate deeper  into the soil 

Also read: Which grass seed can grow in poor soil?

plug aerator walk-behind

Walk Behind Core Aerator FAQ’S

1. What is core aerator used for?

A core aerator is used to create holes and gaps in a lawn to allow air, water, seed, and fertilizer to easily get to the grass roots deep in the soil.

The equipment features hollow tines, which remove plugs and thatch from the lawn.

Also read: Can a lawn aerator fit in a car, for transport?

2. Which is better core or spike aerator?

A core aerator is better than a spike aerator because it can break up severe soil compaction.

Instead of just scratching the surface of the soil, the hollow tines of a core aerator penetrate deep into the soil, remove the core, and make way for nutrients to get deep into the soil. 

One issue with core aeration is that it leaves a scattering of soil plugs on the lawn.

But that isn’t exactly a deal-breaker because the dirt cores contain nutrients that can go back into the soil. Still, you should consider adding the thatch into a decomposer if they’re too much.

Also read: How do you Clean a Lawn Aerator

3. What is the best time to core aerate a lawn?

You should core aerate your lawn in the early fall if it has cool-season grass. If your lawn has warm-season grass, the best time to core aerate would be in the early summer or mid-spring.

4. Is core aeration good for your lawn?

Core aeration is good for your lawn because it creates holes and gaps that allow nutrients to get deep into the soil. This helps the grass to grow, leading to a healthy, lush lawn.

Also read: Is liquid aeration as good as core aeration?

Final Thoughts on Walk Behind Core Aerators

It doesn’t matter whether you have a small or large yard, you will deal with compacted soil from time to time.

But when you have the best push behind core aerator, you can easily control soil compaction and maintain the lush, green look of your lawn.

Renting an aerator can be quite expensive and using hand core aerators can go hard on your arms. It’s not so with push behind units. It’s a one-time investment with long-term benefits.

With regular aeration, you’ll be able to improve air movement, reduce soil compaction, and enhance drainage and saturation of water into the soil.


  • Ricky

    Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care.

    bwambugi@gmail.com K Beatrice

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