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Scarifiers (also known as automatic or mechanical lawn rakes) are useful garden tools and pieces of commercial lawn care equipment. This is especially true when it comes to the autumn/early winter season. Scarifiers for lawns can be split into two broad types:

Electric models are more suited to the domestic market. On the other hand petrol scarification units are favoured more by commercial users. This is because electric units are constricted to a smaller area, and so are not as useful to people caring for larger areas of lawn / land. Petrol scarifiers are more mobile and usually pack more power as well. This suits commercial groundcare workers much more.
The purpose of a scarifier is to uplift dead or dying grass known as thatch from a lawn. This allows the lawn to breathe and promotes healthy growth. In addition to lifting up dead grass scarification also helps rid lawns of mosses and weed grasses. This is done either by a deep scarification or a combination of lightly scarifying the lawn and mowing afterwards.

It is advised that you should scarify your lawn no later than the end of October. This is because you need to give the grass time to recover and strengthen before the next spring.

Scarification can be a process of trial and error before you find the level your grass needs. If you are planning on reseeding your lawn then a deep scarification will be necessary. However if you only need a light clean up then not scarifying so close to the soil is better.