The Golden Gark Rake: Product Review
Featherweight, multi-use garden tool that might be the finest leaf rake I’ve used
Ah, The Netherlands, home of windmills, tulips, wooden shoes,…and the Golden Gark rake. If you’re like me, you want to know what the hashtag is a gark? Urban dictionary informed me that a gark is “a universal word that can be substituted to mean anything you want it to be” and can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, etc. Perhaps that’s why The Golden Gark (distributed by The Root Assassin—“Unique Garden Tools That Work”) is promoted as a 3-in-1 tool: rake, shovel, and sifter. In other words, the Golden Gark can be anything you want it to be. But does it live up to its hip hype?
|Shipping Weight:||3.75 pounds|
|Materials:||20 polycarbonate tines; plastic D handle; powder-coated aluminum shaft.|
|Tine dimensions:||8 ½” long, 14 ¼” wide|
|Warranty:||1 year free-of-charge replacement (not refund)|
MINIMAL ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Lifting the BIG cardboard box from my front door, I thought the shipping company had inadvertently mailed me an empty box! For the size of the box, it was shockingly lightweight.
When I opened it, my amusement continued. Here’s this featherweight product next to a shipping label with such menacing words: ROOT ASSASSIN.
I spent more time looking for a screwdriver than I did assembling the tool. Within 3 minutes, tool in hand, I headed outside to put it through some paces.
A GARK BY ANY OTHER NAME…
While the Golden Gark claims to serve as a rake, shovel, and sifter, I got hung up on just the word “rake.” When I think of a rake, I think of three very different tools in my shed that I use each year: a leaf rake, a steel rake (aka, bow, common, or garden variety), and a dethatching rake. Let me say upfront that I will not be able to replace all three of these rakes with the Golden Gark. The polycarbonate tines lack the weight and rigidity to dethatch your grass. Nor will I use this in the place of a single shovel. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Besides, even given those limitations, I couldn’t help but love this little tool. Read why.
I tested the Golden Gark to see how it would perform 4 functions:
- A leaf rake
- A garden rake
- A shovel
- A sifter
Test 1: A leaf rake
North Carolina might proclaim First in Flight on its license plates, but I think it could also be called the Most Leafy state. I could rake leaves from October until May and still not get them all.
My traditional leaf rake with molded-plastic tines covers 32” of ground with each sweep. The problem is, that big size tempts me to overload it until the spine joining the tines to the head cracks. I go through at least two of these rakes each season. Those spineless tines lack the strength to clear away half of the leaves in their path. The straight shaft of the old-fashioned leaf rake presents a second problem: it encourages over-reaching and unnecessary bending. I already have back pain; I’m not looking for more.
How would the Golden Gark stand up to the leaves in my yard? And how would my back hold up? I held it tine-side down like a conventional leaf rake. The slightly bent angle of the shaft exerts natural pressure on the ground from the 20 tines. A couple of gentle pulls across the ground, and the ground became leaf-free.
The Golden Gark covers less than half of the ground of my traditional plastic rake, around 14”. That smaller head size, coupled with the polycarbonate tines, creates great flexibility and strength. And the bent shaft allowed me to work from an upright position, meaning no back strain.
As a leaf rake, I loved it! Best leaf rake I’ve ever used.
Test 2: A garden rake
I often use my leaf and garden rakes to clear hedge clippings. The oversized head on leaf rakes snags on still-attached branches, and it can’t fit between the hedges to clear away clippings. While metal garden rakes don’t get snagged, they tend to displace mulch on the ground that I want to stay put.
Having recently trimmed my hedges, I put the rake on task to clear cut branches from the hedges and surrounding ground. The light weight made it easy to lift my arms above my head to clear away cut segments from the tops of the hedges, and the small head size made it easy to maneuver between hedges.
Flipping the tool like a scoop (which is a better description than “shovel”), I pushed it along the ground where it had no problem getting under pine cones, needles, twigs, Sweet Gum balls, etc. Normally, I use a garden rake to take on this sort of debris. The strong, metal tines stand up to anything I’m strong enough to pull; however, the short tines mean it clogs up quickly and has to be cleaned out.
In no time, I created a neat pile. Like with my metal rake, the tines became clogged with pine cones and Sweet Gum balls, but not as quickly.
One thing I can’t do with the Golden Gark that I can do with my metal garden rake is feed a fire. A couple of times each year, I burn twigs and branches in my fire pit. Sticking the polycarbonate head of the rake into the fire would be bad for the rake…and the environment.
Even though this tool can’t stand the heat of a fire, I really liked it as a garden rake.
Test 3: A shovel
Golden Gark claims it’s a 3:1 tool, doing the work of a rake, shovel, and sifter. As I mentioned earlier, I like the term “scoop” instead of “shovel.” Why? You will not be digging holes in your yard or loading gravel into a wheelbarrow using the Golden Gark as a shovel. It’s not that kind of shovel. But you can push leaves, pine cones, and debris into a pile with ease. That’s a scoop. From there, you can scoop debris into a trash can or wheelbarrow. I’ll bet you could use this as a snow scoop, too.
Standing upright, I pushed the pile of material 5 feet away to the edge of the woods. I’ve broken quite a few plastic leaf rakes doing this same thing. But this time, nothing broke! And because of its light weight, I cleared a large patch of ground quickly and with no fatigue.
Eying the pile of double-ground mulch in my backyard, I wondered how it would hold up to something heavier. Using a combination of pushing like a shovel and pulling like a rake, I quickly spread two yards. The light weight came in handy again. I didn’t get tired. No, you can’t lift up a scoopful of mulch with the Golden Gark, but the design makes it easy to push it along the ground to dump it into place.
As an added bonus, running the tool along the ground as a scoop pulled short-rooted spring weeds up like magic.
As a shovel (again, scoop!) tasked with moving piles of garden debris, I liked the Golden Gark.
Test 4: A sifter
My wife recently hoed and turned our raised garden beds. Flipping the rake around as a shovel, I scooped up a section of earth and shook it from side-to-side. Sure enough, the non-compacted soil fell through the tines, and I was left with a scoop of balled up dirt and rocks. It reminded me of cleaning out a litter box, something I have too much experience doing.
A few days later, I tried the Golden Gark as a pond skimmer. Full-disclosure: I haven’t cleaned my pond for a couple of years, ever since the pump died. Or maybe that’s why the pump died. Either way, my pond held equal parts of scum and water. To get it running again, I needed to clean out the muck. Skimming the top of the pond, I quickly filtered off the layer of floating debris. Then I flipped it around to scoop from the bottom.
Did I mention it’s been a few years since I cleaned out my pond? Several inches of sludge sat at the bottom. The tines sagged and bent under the weight of filth. Instead of lifting it out, I slid the scoop across the bottom of the pond—without damaging the liner—and slipped the full rake out. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “Why lift when you can slide?” The Garden Gark proved much more efficient than my little net skimmer and much safer on the liner than a shovel!
As a sifter/strainer/pond cleaner, I loved the Golden Gark.
WARRANTYRoot Assassin LLC stands by every product they sell. If for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase, they will replace the item free of charge within 1 year of purchase.
The Golden Gark costs more than your ordinary plastic leaf rake ($19 to $33), your garden variety—pun intended—metal garden rake ($20 to $45), or your typical pond skimmer ($18 to $30). But having tested it rigorously, my search for a leaf (and medium duty garden rake) and pond skimmer that will last longer than one season is over!
WHERE TO BUY
You can purchase the Golden Gark for $44.99 directly from Root Assassin or $49.99 with Amazon Prime membership with free next day shipping.
And now over to you – Do you have a rake you recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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