I’m a huge fan of using plastic leaf rakes to dial in lips and landings. Years ago Shawn Shoener showed me the black art of doing so. I’ve seriously watched him not only dial in the shapes of jumps with a leaf rake but also somehow pack them in with one. He’s definitely the Jedi Master of using these things and though I’ll never be on his level, I have gotten pretty good with using them. One day I happened to be in a Lowes and decided to check out what their tool selection looked like. Home Depot’s dominate where I live so a visit to Lowes is a pretty rare thing. While perusing the tool aisle this True Temper 26″ Leaf Rake caught my eye. Something about the design of the head reminded me of Cobra’s logo! I pulled it down and it seemed pretty dialed, so I figured I’d give it a go. The $15 price tag also helped aid in that decision! So how did this bad boy perform? Read on to find out.
Lowes (Also available at Home Depot branded as the “Ames Collector Leaf Rake”)
$14.98 plus tax
Take a look at those pictures up there. Notice something weird? The trails are usually in the background when I take pictures of tools I’m reviewing. Not this time though! I took the rake out to the trails as soon as I got it but it quickly made its way back to my house. The reason being is that is sucked! Well sucked for the purpose that I got it for at least. It’s fine for raking leaves but shaping jumps or even raking anything other than fine loose dirt is out of the question. The combination of the tines being kind of long (6″) and very flexy make it all but useless for those applications. The tines may as well be made from wet linguini. One of the first things I wanted to use it for was raking away some rocks and bigger clumps of dirt off of a landing I was finishing. That was a no go! The tines just flexed and went over them rather than actually moving anything. I figured I’d try turning the rake over to see if I had better luck pushing them out of the way. That was also a failure. At that point I had already grown frustrated with the thing, so I tossed it in the woods and grabbed my trusty “traditionally shaped” leaf rake.
It works perfectly fine for raking leaves. Actually it works really well since it has those flexy tines. They make it really easy to remove shit that’s gotten jammed between them. It does also have a lifetime warranty which I guess is nice.
It’s not the rake you want to use if you plan on using it to shape jumps or smooth out dirt. The tines are just way to flexy for either of those things. I gave it a second chance when I was leveling and smoothing out a flat bottom, but it also failed at that.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
If you’re only going to be raking leaves then by all means give this a go. If you want a rake that you can use to do other things other than raking leaves then your better off with a more traditional plastic rake. It wasn’t doing much for me at the trails which is why I brought it back home. It’s fine for raking up stuff in my yard but I highly doubt it will ever see action at the trails again.