There are three types of hand lawn aerators, these include manual core, large hole and rotating spike. Manual core and large holes aerators are the best. (Spiked typically do not work a well.) Hand aerators are great for doing perimeter, hard, yellowing spots or for small lawns. Even people who often hire a company to aerate for them, will often have a hand corer to help them go over trouble spots again or do a touch up aeration later on.
It will take a bit of time to go over your whole lawn sufficiently to produce a good result with them, so don’t get in over your head. We suggest two prong aerators that produce cores. You should be able to use your foot to push the hand aerator into the soil.
There are many different types of manual aerators. The best hand-held ones will have some way to hold them, and a bar to put your foot on to be able to push it down into the soil. These hand held aerators work better than aeration shoes or sandal because they produce longer lasting cores.
The hand held core aerators, are far superior to hand spike ones. A quick note about spike aerators versus plug/core aerators: Dr. Robert Carrow is a turf expert at the University of Georgia. He compared the effectiveness of a core/plug lawn to a spike aerator. He found that core & plug ones increase deep rooting and water extraction by 25% while the spike ones had no effects.
A manual core or plug aerator will work just the same as a mechanical one. It will pull plugs of earth from your lawn allowing the grass root system to deepen and expand, finding more nutrients and water in the process.
Aeration is crucial for healthy grass. Whatever type you choose, be sure to use it often for a healthy happy lawn!