Most Durable: RanchWorx SB - Least Durable: LandPride AR2150
After running our tests, we found that most of the aerators were unable to hold up to a full days work consistently throughout a season. Repairs were needed often when working in soils that were not ideal. Many of the aerators were unable to work in rocky soils or on uneven ground. Only one Aerator was able to work successfully in all soil types and come out unscathed.
The RanchWorx SB held up the best, the only needed maintenance all season was to keep the bearings greased. It held up in even rocky terrain and never had any downtime. The LandPride, AerWay, and Hayking all needed some sort of repair or took some sort of damage while being used. Each of the three incurred downtime, the LandPride missed two weeks with a broken axel. Of those three the LandPride was the worst, it needed tines replaced multiple times and had a bent tongue after hitting a large rock and being jolted by the tractor.
Heaviest: RanchWorx SB - Lightest: LandPride AR2150
Weight can be tricky, for the correct style of aerator weight can be turned into better aeration, for some styles weight just means being harder to pull. We weighed all of the aerators when they arrived to us without any extra weight added. At that time the RanchWorx SB was the heaviest unit at 5,535 lbs. The Aerway AW0100Q weighed in at 2,141 lbs., the LandPride AR2150 at 1,732 lbs., and the HayKing C-8 weighed in at 2,893 lbs.
Of those four, only one doesn't allow for added extra weight and that is the HayKing. The two tine style aerators are able to be loaded with concrete ballast blocks the range in weights. We loaded up each aerator with the maximum amount of weights, the LandPride weighed in at 4,692 lbs. with the weights, and the AerWay weighed in at 5,142 lbs. with the weights. The RanchWorx is a drum style aerator that allows you to fill the drum with water. After filling the drum with water the RanchWorx Sb weighed in at 12,021 lbs. with water.
Fastest Working Speed: RanchWorx SB - Slowest Working Speed: HayKing C-8
Finding the Working speed of these units involved first finding the right horsepower to pull the unit effectively, then see how fast it can run before it stops being effective and starts ripping apart the grounds surface. Working speed is a very important factor in your aerator selection, one aerator might be more expensive than another, but might work twice as fast as the other.
The RanchWorx SB was able to work at a speed almost double of all the other aerators. The RanchWorx SB working speed was measured at 13 MPH, which works out to almost 16 acres/hour. Next was the Aerway AW0100Q which was effective up to 8 MPH or about 10 acres/hour. The LandPride AR2150 was only effective up to 7 MPH, or 8.5 acres/hour. The slowest was the HayKing C-8 which because of its deep shanks is only able to work at 5 MPH, allowing it to reach 6 acre/hour.
Highest Repair Costs: LandPride AR2150 - Least Repair Costs: RanchWorx SB
Another big factor in the selection of your aerator should be repair costs. The more repairs that are needed the more downtime the unit needs every season, and that is time and money wasted. The tine style aerators have a lot of small moving parts, and with that a lot of broken parts. While they seemed to work fine in smooth soils, when used in uneven or rocky soils the tines dig into the ground and the added stress lead to broken tines.
When it came to repair costs after a full season one unit stood out, the RanchWorx SB needed zero repairs, all that was needed all season was to regularly grease the axel bearings. That minimal cost was the only maintenance needed. The AerWay AW0100Q needed the second least amount of repairs, it was only out of commission one time during the season to replace a broken blade after hitting a rock. At the end of the season the aerway needed to have a couple bent tines and a bearing replaced, in order to be ready for the next season. The HayKing C-8 had to be taken out of the field twice to replace broken shanks, both were due to hitting hard rocks and breaking the sharpened tips off. At the end of the season the HayKing needed very little work to get ready for the next season. At the top of the list for repairs was the LandPride, which had to be taken out of the field multiple times for tine and axel repairs. At the end of the season this aerator needed quite a bit of work so that it would be ready.
Most Horsepower Required: HayKing C-8 - Least Horsepower Required: RanchWorx SB
When it comes to horsepower requirements, we found some interesting results, many of the recommended requirements were much lower than what we found to be the actual needed. The Aerway AW0100Q states that it requires 75-100 HP to pull the aerator. We found that the AerWay needed between 90-110 HP to effectively do the job at full working speed.
The LandPride AR2150 states that it requires 40-90 HP to pull. We found that that is only when there is no added weight, when the concrete ballasts were added the HP requirements were 80-100 HP. The HayKing C-8 stated it only required 75 HP to effectively aerate at full speed, however we found that the HayKing required around 125 HP to be able to work at full speeds. The RanchWorx SB says it requires 65 HP to pull and with added weight could need up to 75 HP. The low HP rates we found to be correct despite the heavy weight of the aerator because of the drum style which is an easier unit to pull over the surface.
Soil Fracturing Depth
Deepest Soil Fracture: RanchWorx SB - Shallowest Soil Fracture: LandPride AR2150
When it comes to aeration soil fracture depth is one of the most important features. An aerator is only worth the soil it can fracture, so we tested the aerators in thick soils and did water penetration tests. Many of the aerators claimed to have much deeper soil penetration than we were actually able to show in our tests.
The aerator that tested the best was the RanchWorx SB. It used its heavy weight and high working speed to create torque that was able to fracture the soil almost 19 inches deep in 360 degrees. The HayKing C-8 with its deep shanks was able to cut a crack through the soil almost 12 inches deep however it did not get much lateral penetration. The AerWay AW0100Q cut through the top soil and was able to send cracks 10 inches into the soil that spread laterally. The LandPride AR2150 had the least amount of soil penetration at 8 inches with a small amount of lateral crack.
Longest Lifetime: RanchWorx SB - Shortest Lifetime: LandPride AR2150
Product lifetime was a number we weren't able to test, but we took our best estimate based on how the aerators performed for us and the past customers we talked to. The amount of repairs, how durable the product is, and many acres we think the product will be able to handle all figured into our decision on this number.
The LandPride AR2150 we felt had around a 5 year lifetime. This was based on the large amount of repairs we had to do and the very light-duty frame construction. The HayKing C-8 dealt a little better with the stress of one season but still needed repairs, and is built with a tougher frame. We estimated the lifetime of this aerator at 8 years. The AerWay AW0100Q is built with a sturdy frame, and needed just a few repairs after the season. We decided the lifetime of this aerator at 10 years. The RanchWorx SB needed no repairs after the season, and except for greasing bearings needed no maintenance. We talked to several people who have owned their RanchWorx for well over 20 years with only a few repairs being needed. We estimate the lifetime of the RanchWorx at 30 years or more.
Highest Purchase Price: RanchWorx SB - Lowest Purchase Price: HayKing C-8
Purchase price isn't an area we really had to do a lot of checking on. We bought each aerator so we know the prices that we paid for them. Some of the companies will give you a straight answer on the cost of their products, others give you a run around before giving you a real price.
While the RanchWorx SB has the highest purchase price, getting to talk to a sales rep was an easy and buying a unit was a very simple process and pricing was very straight forward. The next highest price aerator was the AerWay AW0100Q, the buying process was slightly harder having to go through one of their dealers which look to negotiate prices. The LandPride AR2150 was priced just below the Aerway and had a very similar buying process with having to go through one of their dealers. The HayKing was the cheapest but by far the hardest to deal with the buying process. The company is very small and hard to get through the buying process and delivery is even harder to deal with.