Spike Aerator Vs Plug Aerator Vs Core Aerator: What Works?

Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by Georgie Smith

Lawn and pitch management requires the best homesteading equipment such as aerators and mowers. And while you can choose from a range of these tools in the stores near you, sometimes the best comes down to having access to dependable information. It is to say; knowledge is the key to buying something befitting.

Basic Comparison:





Agri-Fab 45-0299

Agri Fab 45 0299 48 Inch

Style: Aerator

Weight - 92.5 pounds


Easy to use

Brinly SAT 40BH

Brinly SAT 40BH Tow Behind Spike

3 Year Warranty

Easy assembly

Easy maintenance

Weight - 39.9 pounds

Yard Butler Lawn

Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator

Easy to assemble

Easy to use

Weight - 3.72 pounds

Compacted Soil

With as many lawn aerators as you can wish, it is imperative to take note of the variations that distinguish one tool from the other before choosing something on which you want to spend your money. After all, you want something that will return value for your investment. Thus, one would want to ask; what are the differences among the spike, plug, and core aerators? What works?

Well, taking into account the information aspect in buying decisions, you’ve most likely found this post because of a desire to get an aerator that will serve its purpose for longer. Here, Morninghomestead walks you through a search for the best in the following ways:

  • Helps you understand aeration equipment, a technical but, vital knowledge for buyers who are either looking for walking behind or pulling behind aerators.
  • Functionality-based approach to understanding the structural differences among plug, core, and spike lawn aerators.
  • Guides you on a journey to making a perfect buying decision. It is because the goal is always to endeavor to provide shoppers with reliable, independent, trustworthy, and dependable knowledge of farm tools and equipment.
  • Helps you recommend the best stuff to friends, neighbors, and anyone who wants to own beautiful homesteads
  • Enables you to choose from a range of prices that define different types of equipment so that you don’t have to stretch beyond budget limits when shopping. However, you still acquire your favorite aerating shoes or machines that are affordable.

In the next section, you are going to learn how to spike, core, and plug aerators work. It is not only indispensable knowledge in lawn/sporting pitch management, but also a straightforward approach made easier for those who want to operate their tools without glitches.

How Spike Aerator Works?

Lawn management, and of course with the help of aerators, present homesteaders and sports stadia management staff with a range of aerating options, and spiked tools is one of them. But the question is; do you know how spiking equipment works? There are some reasons to opt for this method as well.

These types of equipment have spikes that create or poke small holes in the soil surface. It could be using a machine that has a rotating drum, a wheel, or shoes. A distinguishing factor here is that no soil comes out of the holes. Also, the pores you have dug are narrow when compared to other methods.

Why Choose Spiking?

The use of a rake or fork to aerate is synonymous with spiking, both in function and outcome. However, here is the catch. Why would one choose this option and forgo others? Well, below are some reasons:

  • You will cover a wider area and with speed.
  • Prevents the wash away of new seeds if you are working on a surface that slants at some angle. It is thus useful for readying your lawn for overseeding.
  • Use this method if you want to facilitate air circulation and water absorption as well as the application of fertilizer.

On the flip side, this method doesn’t suit lawns that see much harsh activity. Not to mention that it won’t present a good outcome in instances where you want to loosen the compact soil.

How Does Plug Aerator Work?

The next method is plug aeration, which has been an excellent option for lawn caretakers. Thus, it is equally crucial that someone who wants to buy the best tool on the market, get to know how it works.

Now, with this method, you will be poking bigger holes into the soil, thanks to the size of the plugs. The holes can measure up to six inches deep and two inches wide. Because of these merits, plugging is an excellent option for those whose home lawns witness heavy play and traffic.

It is indeed a viable option for those working to maintain a perfect sporting pitch. Because it further allows for the trapping of water without a runoff, thanks to the size of the holes. Plugging is ideal for deep seeding and fertilizer application as well.

The downside of this method is that it requires a lot of labor.

How Core Aerator Works?

There are quite striking similarities between the plug and core aerators, if not for the fact that they are sometimes interchangeable terms. Regarding how core equipment works, it is imperative to note that the principle is more or less the same as spikes, except that cores have hollow tubes into which soil moves during poking.

A gaping hole is the outcome of this method, and the removed earth will be on the lawn surface. There are many reasons why it is an excellent option for lawn maintenance, and they include the following:

  • Good for breaking the densely compact soil
  • Facilitate access to nutrients and water
  • Enhances healthy growing roots for lush green vegetation

Every aerator comes with its disadvantages and for those who never want to core aerate their homesteads, it could be because this method leaves on the surface, undesirable soil plugs. However, a rake or a mower will help you clear the lawn from the unsightly deposits.

Spike AeratorPlug AeratorCore Aerator
Features spikes for aeratingFeatures plug for aerationFeatures plugs(same as plugs)
Good for loose soilGood for compacted soilGood for compacted soil
Does not create deep holesCreates deep holesCreates deep holes
Prevents wash away of seeds on inclined lawnsWorks best for deep seedingFeatures spike for aerating

Combining These Three Aerators

You must be wondering whether it is possible to connect all three lawn aerators and still get perfect results. Well, given the different outcomes each brings and the functionality of each method, there is no limit to how much you can do with an all-in-one combination of spikes, plugs, and core. [1]

Perhaps you would want to customize your tool to suit this end, but again, you would probably find a combination of the three for the money.

Plugs and cores in a single tool will befit hardened surfaces such as football pitches by creating more depth for watering and air circulation. At the same time, spikes will work to achieve short-term goals in soccer pitches and homesteads.

Factors that Determine the Type of Aerator to Use

Before settling on any equipment, you would probably want to weigh a few options. It is because each tool is suited to serve different kinds of lawns at a given point in time, except for instances where you want to combine spikes with plugs and cores. But in all these, are factors that will guide your decision, and they include the following:

The Condition of the Soil

A wet or waterlogged surface makes it difficult to use a plug because dirt will get lodged inside the hollow tubes. You will also have problems doing the same on dry soils as build-up soil crumbles will make it difficult to do a good job. The rule here is to use plugs/cores on a wet lawn for the best results.

Impact on Lawn

Another important consideration is the impact an aerator would have on the soil. Because plugs will dig up to root zones, it is a recommendation for soil structure improvement. Also, it is an excellent option for the seeding season. When aerating during spring or fall, plugs work best with grass types such as ryegrass, bluegrass, and fescue.

In case you want to use plugs during warm seasons, grass types like buffalo and Bermuda are ideal for the practice. You can use spikes at any time of the year without having to worry about their impact on the health of the grass.

The Composition of the Soil

Clay soil is prone to compaction, and you can be sure spikes won’t do a great job in such conditions. Therefore, plugs or core aeration come through as a handy option for compact soil. [2]

Top 3 Best Lawn Aerators for the Money

In this section, it is all about helping you, the buyer, spend money wisely on an item that will fulfill its purpose both in the short term and long run. There is, of course, plenty of this equipment on the market today, which often confuses buyers. And with substandard products flooding the market, chances of ending up with something you didn’t intend to buy are hard to overrule.

We looked around, compared the best of the best, and finally put together a compelling list of the top best lawn aerators brands on which you will never regret spending your money. It is to say; we took care of your questions, needs, concerns, and worries to provide you with reliable and dependable information on the following top-of-the-range products.

Brinly SAT 40BH Tow-Behind Spike Aerator with Transport Wheels 40-Inch


There are a variety of products out there for the money but when it comes to choosing the best; you sometimes must consider the manufacturer. It is why this item from Brinly makes it to the top of this list. It, however, doesn’t end there. You are probably wondering why?

Well, there are a host of reasons that should sway your selection towards Brinly SAT 40BH Tow behind Spike aerating tool, and they include the following:

  • It has tines stars that have been galvanized with steel to prevent rusting even when it penetrates the soil to deeper levels.
  • It digs up to a depth of 2 Inches.
  • You should also be able to notice a steel stray where you can accumulate more weight of up to 100 pounds for deeper spiking
  • It is durable, thanks to a steel body.
  • Simple use and the wheels make it movable with ease across work pathways.

Agri-Fab 45-0299 48-Inch Tow Plug Aerator


Every time you go shopping for the best farm equipment, and in this regard, aerating gadget, you always want to ensure a product warranty. Well, it is what one gets with Agri-Fab 45-0299. A 3-year buyer warranty but, what’s more?

  • It is an item that traces its roots to the U.S. A and features supreme quality imported material for manufacturing.
  • There is a cantilevered handle for levering when in use, thus one of the best products you will ever find out there for the money.

Yard Butler Lawn Coring Aerator Manual Grass Dethatching Turf Plug Core Aeration Tool ID-6C


Cheers to Yard Butler Lawn coring manual tool for aerating and dethatching. Being one of the best, you will enjoy using this product for as long as its viability lasts. But why do you need to get one from Amazon today?

  • It is ideal for loosening the compact soil in lawns as well as dethatching to let in more water, air, and fertilizer, all thanks to its ability to remove between 2.5 and 3.5 inches of the plug.
  • If you want to enhance the growth of grass while reducing water runoff, this is the best item for the money
  • It has a foot bar to provide additional leverage when in use and experience says it is an ideal option for smaller areas.
  • Anything that lasts longer makes it to the League of the Best. Yard Butler lawn coring and dethatcher is a gadget that will serve you for many years, thanks to a steel body.
  • It measures up to 37 inches in height, a useful feature that makes it a top brand among those who want to avoid back strain and sprains during work.
  • It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means, if it doesn’t fulfill your wishes, you can request for refund or a new replacement. How good is that? Amazing!.


Buyers often ask a lot of questions before they can finally settle on a brand of choice. While it is essential to do so before walking into a gardening store, do you always find the right answers to product features?

Below, Morninghomestead sampled some of the most common questions and the answers thereof, we hope, will deliver meaningful solutions to your dilemma when it comes to buying, using, and maintaining your tool.

Q: What is the best time to aerate my lawn?

A: We wouldn’t disagree that homeowners and sporting pitch caretakers want to tend healthy and attractive lawns, something which makes them want to aerate all the time. However, that’s far from it. Lawn care professionals recommend a maximum of two aerations per year, especially during the spring and fall seasons.

You will, of course, want to ask why? Well, planting new grass or lawn vegetation takes place during these seasons. Thus aerating allows for efficient air circulation, nutrient reach, and water penetration to the roots of the tender plants. It means your grass vegetation will be growing stronger and healthier, thankfully, to supply enough primary necessities.

Q: Is it okay to mow after aerating?

A: This is a question many people always ask because they are not sure if it is advisable in the first place. Well, worry no more. Mowing your lawn immediately after aerating is perfectly okay. In fact, it helps in the recovery of the area such as removing the core from the surface and filling up holes that have been created by spikes and plugs so that the soil profile is intact once again.

Closely related to this question is the period during which the core from plugs remains on the surface. Well, mowing and rainfall will rid the surface of dirt in about one or two weeks.

Q: What are some of the things I can do after aerating?

A: The excitement that comes with successfully perforating soil to remove the plug is immeasurable. And usually, you will want to do more. Aside from mowing, many ask, what else can I do on my lawn? Well, we found some answers, and they include the following:

  • Watering
  • Application of fertilizers
  • Overseeding

While you should take a look at specific instructions for applying fertilizers, watering has many benefits such as breaking down soil core and boosting the health of roots and other vegetation. In areas where the lawn looks thin, overseeding will help bring everything up to speed and enhance the uniformity of plants across the field.

Q: How much will it cost me to do it alone?

A: The Truth is; aerating is a pretty fun activity. But while at it, it is crucial to take caution not to cause unprecedented damage to vegetation. It is why sometimes hiring lawn care professionals to do the job is the way to go. If you decide to do it alone, the cost is sometimes a cause for worry.

From buying aerators, and renting one to acquiring all other necessities, you need to do your homework on a reasonable budget. We believe after reading this post; it will no longer be something to worry you. You can very well opt to purchase the best equipment for the job and save on costs that come with hiring one. It is because those who rent these tools charge on an hourly basis, albeit, it can be a cheaper option at times.

Q: Should I stop aerating if I see my lawn progressing well?

A: While it should be a means to healthy and lush green vegetation, spiking or plugging your lawn shouldn’t be an end in itself.  It can be tempting to stop when everything looks great, but just like other lawn care programs; mowing, seeding, watering, and fertilizer application, aeration of turf should be an ongoing activity.

Q:  What are some of the precautionary aeration measures?

A: Many things can go wrong, and before you know it, one will be counting losses and budgeting for replacements. For instance, you can damage a sprinkler system or dog fence in the process. It is thus necessary to mark such installations so that they are in clear view. Also, wear protective gear during lawn aeration for personal safety.

Q: How to know if a lawn requires spiking or plugging?

A: Running a few tests on the surface such as determining the depth of thatch and soil compactness will help you unravel many things. It is a requirement to aerate if thatch is two inches thick or more. As for the soil, sports activities are a cause for compaction, thus the need to ventilate every fall and spring.

However, in cases where it has not taken place in the past year, aeration becomes a vital necessity.

Aeration companies near me

Final Thoughts

Wrong decisions can have far-reaching consequences. First, you will regret spending money on something that does not fulfill its purpose, and secondly, you will have no choice but to seek alternative lawn care solutions, if not to hire professionals.

While these can happen to anyone, the lack of information related to lawn aerators is something that has been dimming the hopes of many gardening enthusiasts in recent years.

But after reading thus far, we believe such challenges should be long gone. And together with our review of the top spike, plug, and core aerators, there is no better way to help our readers acquire something for the money from Amazon or nearby homesteading store.

It is always inspiring to help a friend, right? Well, pass on this vital piece of information so that it can reach as many who love to keep their lawns lush green and attractive all year round. Also, for those who look for a reliable buyer guide.

All they need is top-of-the-range aerating tools to keep their lawns looking strong and healthy. Also, feel free to post your views in the comment section below.

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