There are two main categories of rake - rakes that prepare the soil for planting and growth and rakes that sweep up leaves and debris. Bowhead and flathead rakes fall into the former category. They are cultivating tools that comb and sculpt the soil.
The bowhead rake has a wide head with its teeth forged on a metal bow. It is useful for filtering out rocks and unwanted debris from coarser soils.
The flathead rake is used for preparing and leveling soil for sowing. After combing the soil with the teeth to break up clods, the back of the rake smooths and levels the surface.
Top quality rakes are forged from a single piece of high-carbon steel into which the rakes teeth are then inserted. This has the advantage that should the rake loose a tooth it can easily be replaced.
Lawn and leaf rakes are invaluable in the fall/autumn. These "garden brooms" sweep and drag not just fallen leaves but also stray grass cuttings. Lawn and leaf rakes are more lightweight and have more delicate prongs than rakes designed for preparing soil and are also useful for aerating lawns. The prongs (tines) are arranged in a fan shape. These rakes are made using plastic, spring-steel or bamboo.
Wire rakes are made for scarification and the removal of moss from lawns.