Lawn Aerator — Rent Or Buy?

Last Updated on August 4, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

Lawn aeration is an important process that helps you achieve a healthy, happy, and lush yard.

Just like your car, where there are certain upkeep requirements such as oil changes, rotating tires, lawns require upkeep too, due to heavy foot traffic, and soil compaction.

There are several tools you can use to aerate your lawn such as a plug aerator also known as a core aerator for core aeration, or a spike aerator, most models that attach to the rear of your lawn tractor or mower.

But given that lawn aeration is a task that should be performed every two years to maintain an average small size lawn to a large lawn, the big question is should you buy or rent a lawn aerator.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Aerate a Lawn?

There are myriad different factors that influence the cost to aerate even a very small lawn, most notably:

Preparation For Lawn Aeration

Although there are no monetary costs involved with preparing your yard for lawn aeration, there’s a fair amount of time and elbow grease involved.

Since there’s quite a bit of effort involved with preparing for lawn aeration, especially if you have a large size lawn, many homeowners call a professional aeration service.

The tasks involved in preparing your lawn for aeration include removing the dead grass and thatch, dead grass roots, mowing your lawn to a certain height, marking obstacles such as valve box covers, irrigation heads, and drainage pipes to prevent damage to them from the metal tines of the aerator.

The cost to hire a lawn care company to aerate your lawn depends on the state you live in and lawn size in square feet.

You will have to provide the lawn care company with a few important details such as a valid zip code, the type of grass you currently have, and the type of aeration you prefer such as spike aeration or core aeration.

TruGreen is a leading lawn care service provider that provides aeration services as well. Simply, fill out the form on their website to get an approximate cost to aerate your lawn.


The biggest cost of aerating your yard regardless of the lawn size is the equipment needed for the job. For core aeration, you will need a core aerator and a spike aerator for spike aeration.

If you don’t have access to lawn aerators, you can consider asking your neighbors, buying new aeration equipment, or renting equipment.

The cost of buying new aeration equipment has skyrocketed in the past few years, but this investment has many benefits to it including the fact that you won’t have to bother with renting equipment ever.

In terms of numbers, the prices of lawn aerators that attach with your riding lawn mower or tractor vary across models, but to give you a rough idea, tow behind core aerators start at $300 and from approximately $200 for a Brinly spike aerator.

You can also buy smaller size aerators or even lawn aerator shoes, but these are only suited for smaller lawns.

Speaking of which, and regardless of what you’ve been told, spike aerator shoes do more harm than good to your lawn, because they make the compaction of your soil even worse.

When Should I Rent a Lawn Aerator?

The decision to rent or buy lawn aeration equipment boils down to a personal choice, and here are several factors to consider, which will hopefully ease your decision.

There are many instances where the rental cost of a lawn aerator may be more cost-efficient for you. You can buy a new core aerator for under $200, which is a cost that’s easy to justify compared to renting.

You can use it two or three times, and it will easily pay for itself. But buying those expensive $2000+ walk-behind models may not be a wise option.

If you have a lawn with a low level of compaction, you will probably only aerate it every couple of years, so it will take a lifetime to recoup the costs.

But if you have clay soil or a large size lawn that can benefit from aeration two or three times per year, then the math makes more sense.

Most lawn aeration tools are bulky and needless to say, heavy to move around. If you don’t have a large garage to store a lawn aerator, then it makes sense to visit your nearest rental center.

Additionally, if you are renting your current home or office, buying a new lawn aerator is not really a good investment, as it may be a daunting task to move it around in the future, for which an aerator rental is a good option.

Further, and as mentioned earlier, aerating your lawn does require a fair bit of expertise to get the job done right, therefore is a task that usually requires professional help.

You should also consider the costs of renting a pickup truck or trailer to pick up the lawn aerator from the rental center when deciding whether to rent or buy a core aerator or spike aerator.

While most very small yards can get by with an inexpensive, store-bought lawn aerator, most DIYers prefer to rent an electric or gas-powered lawn aerator.

Lastly, consider the distance from your home to the aerator renting center, depending on which, buying may be a better option for you.

What Type of Lawn Aerator to Rent?

First, you have to choose between core aerators or spike aerators, and to decide between the two, consider the current state of your lawn, and how you use it.

Spike aerators are a great choice for soil that’s not extremely compacted, because they don’t do a good job at loosening the soil, and can sometimes make compaction worse, given that they simply push the soil out of the way to create the holes.

A core aerator is a great choice for breaking up severely compacted soil. Additionally, the holes made with a core aerator encourage healthy root growth and improve access to key nutrients and water for the grass.

When renting an aerator, you have three options to choose from:

Pull-behind aerators

Pull-behind aerators are an inexpensive option than an electric or gas-powered aerator, and a great choice if you already own a riding lawn mower.

A pull-behind aerator attaches via a bracket to your riding lawnmower, so you can cut the lawn or make an aeration run or both at the same time. Adding to this, pull-behind aerators are great to aerate a large lawn, and can be rented from lawn tool rental stores or a few big box stores.

Gas-powered aerators

You should rent a gas-powered aerator only if you have a very large lawn. This type of aerator looks similar to a snowblower or push mower, and can be a bit difficult to control.

Even though they can be difficult to transport, gas driven aerators are a great choice for those who don’t own a riding lawnmower.

Electric aerators

Electric aerators are either powered by a battery or an electrical outlet, are lightweight, and often less expensive to rent than gas aerators.

How Much Do Lawn Aerators Cost to Rent?

The cost to rent aerators can vary across locations, and also greatly depend on the type of aerator you’re looking to rent.

But the average cost of renting a gas-powered aerator is $60 for half a day or around $100 for 24 hours. Pull-behind and electric models are cheaper to rent than gas aerators with prices ranging between $30 to $60 for a half a day, and $80 to $100 for a full day.

It’s a good idea to call local rental centers to get the best prices for aerator rentals and to ensure that the model you want is available.

What Companies Have the Best Prices for Aeration Machine Rental?

There are several companies that offer great prices on lawn aerator rentals such as big box stores like the Home Depot and Lowe’s. There are a plethora of benefits of renting from these leading brands such as the convenience of choosing from several locations, and competitive pricing.

Other places to check out are nurseries and garden centers in your area. Again, regardless of the location you’re going to rent from, it’s best to call ahead to reserve your rental.

Final Thoughts

All in all, renting an aerator is a good option if you aren’t going to aerate your lawn often, and buying an aerating machine if you have a small size lawn.

There are three different types of aerators to choose from, where electric and pull-behind and electric aerators are cheaper to rent than gas models.