What Is A Harley Rake?

A name like Harley immediately brings to mind a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. A Harley Rake, however, though a much less glamorous machine, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in practicality in agriculture. 

A Harley Rake, also known as a “power box rake”, is a tractor mounted rake that is used in the preparation of seedbeds, grading dirt/gravel roads, cutting grades, or adding the finishing touches to residential/commercial lot grading sites. 

In this article, we’ll address topics relating to the Harley Rake, including how it works, their practical applications, and purchase vs renting options. We’ve also included a handy FAQ section, so if you need to know more about Harley rakes (that’s why you’re here, right?), read on!

power rake on a skid steer

How Does A Harley Rake Work? 

As mentioned, a Harley Rake is usually tractor mounted. There are two options when mounting a Harley Rake to a tractor, which is dependent on which way you want to drive the tractor. A Harley Rake can either be a pull-behind-unit or a front-mounted skid steer attachment. 

When the Harley Rake is mounted on the front of the tractor as a skid steer attachment, it works similarly to a box blade in that it has big caster wheels and a power drum for turning up dirt. As the drum spins, it breaks down the soil into fine dirt. At the same time, the loose dirt is pushed back into the box. 

The drum has rows of teeth on it and is located behind the caster wheels at the rear of the box. As the box moves across the soil, any low spots in the terrain are filled in. Any rocks uncovered by the box are pushed to one side where they can be picked up. The typical depth of a Harley Rake is roughly 4 inches. 

Renting Vs Purchasing A Harley Rake

Deciding whether to rent or purchase is dependent on a number of factors. One such factor is your yard space.  If you are looking to rejuvenate your back yard, the biggest hurdle you might face is manoeuvring the tractor mounted Harley Rake.

If you have a wide open lawn, a tractor mounted Harley Rake could be used with little difficulty. On the other hand, if your lawn space is limited, it would be worth considering a skid steer with a Harley Rake attachment. This could lead to a high outgoing cost to rent both the skid steer and the Harley Rake, but the benefits of using these on your lawn will be worth it. 

Another factor to consider would be if you already own a tractor. Ideally, a Harley Rake should be mounted onto a 25-30 horsepower tractor to get the maximum use out of it.

If you don’t have access to a tractor off the bat, it would be less expensive to rent both the tractor and the Harley Rake in one shot. 

Harley Rake Troubleshooting/Best Practices

Many people encounter a similar problem when using a Harley Rake, caused by the ground being too hard when using a Harley Rake. The best practice to avoid damaging the rake or the ground is to run a tractor-mounted tiller over the ground first, then go over the area with the Harley Rake, similar to how a diesel mechanic carefully tends to an engine before fine-tuning its performance.

Despite being an excellent piece of kit, there may be instances where you need to run a hand rake around certain areas once you have used the Harley Rake. Areas surrounding sidewalks, porches, decks, or machinery tracks might need to be neatened up with a hand rake. 

The best approach when using a Harley rake is to go over the lawn in one direction and make a pass at roughly 90 degrees in the opposite direction. However, the space you’re working with will determine if this is possible. 


Will a Harley Rake Remove Grass? 

Yes. A Harley Rake will enable you to remove grass and prepare soil in one course. 

Can You Harley Rake Wet Soil? 

It’s strongly recommended that you Harley Rake only dry ground. If dirt and soil stick to the rotor of the Harley Rake, the ground is too wet. 

Can You Use a Harley Rake on a Gravel Driveway?

Yes, you can use a Harley Rake to resurface a gravel driveway. 

Will A Harley Rake Remove Roots? 

Given that roots generally grow below the first 4 inches of soil, a Harley Rake most likely fail to reach root depth. There is also a risk of the roots getting tangled up in the rake. 


In this article, we’ve covered the main aspects of what a Harley Rake is, what it’s used for, and renting vs purchasing. 

If you’re thinking of using a hand tiller, and you have a great deal of ground to cover, this could be time-consuming. Using a Harley Rake enables you to cover large areas that need tilling quickly and effectively. It also evens out the ground it goes over, which gets the soil ready for seeding. 

Ryan Genkin
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