Great at de-shedding
Dull tines don't bother sensitive pets
May not work well on all coats
What is an undercoat rake?
One of the most popular grooming tools, slicker brushes rely on ever-so-thin stainless steel pins that don’t penetrate too deeply. In contrast, undercoat rakes—like the one I use from Safari, a special line by Coastal—have thicker tines that gloss over the topcoat, but capture hair from a pet’s undercoat. According to VCA Animal Hospital, cats with medium to long hair benefit from this type of brush as they can remove loose hair particularly well—though it’s important to be gentle, especially if your cat is prone to matting or tangles.
A slim brush, the Safari undercoat rake comes in two configurations that can work for various sizes and types of pets. You can buy it with one or two lines of dull tines. The offset version has two rows, a design which may make it better at removing loose hair, according to VCA Animal Hospital.
What I like about the Safari undercoat rake
To start: This is the only brush I’ve found that actually helps de-shed my cat. I had failed attempts with a slicker, pin, and of course bristle brush before I pulled the Safari undercoat rake out of the bag my family keeps stocked with dog goodies and toys. As it worked well for Taffy—my family's very hairy dog that we guess is a bearded collie—I decided to give it a go on Little Cat. To my surprise, and relief, it worked.
After moving in with a roommate with a cat allergy, it was in the first Chewy order I made with other essentials, like my cat’s litter box and food. I opted for the brush with two rows of tines, as I figured it might make the task a bit easier for me and my cat, who doesn’t love being brushed. The single row of tines on my parents’ undercoat rake worked well enough, but I prefer the narrower head on the one I now own, as my cat is far smaller than my dog. It would likely be the better option for smaller dogs, too.
I’m still not sure why this brush performs so well on my cat’s coat. I think it’s because he’s an amalgamation of cat breeds with long hair and dense coats and undercoats. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter because it works. If I brush him for just a few minutes, he’s lost enough hair to amass a clump as big as a moderately sized rodent.
Unlike some other pet grooming brushes, this one doesn’t cause my cat (or the family dog) any pain. Both are fickle about grooming, and though neither likes it, they both tolerate the Safari undercoat rake. The dull spikes don’t aggravate our dog’s sensitive skin or overstimulate my cat (who can get agitated when he’s pet too much)—a huge plus.
Finally: I’ve had my Safari undercoat rake for three years at this point—and it’s no worse for wear. The spindles are all perfectly straight, and the rubber elements on the handle haven’t shown any signs of peeling off or rotting.
What I don’t like about the Safari undercoat rake
To be clear: There's really nothing I dislike like about the rake. But as with any pet product, there are caveats. No two pets are the same. While my cat tolerates this brush, it’s far from something he enjoys. I mostly circumvent any irritation during grooming sessions by giving him Greenies Treats as I work through his coat. So, your pet may not like the sensation, though if my experience says anything, you’ll be able to complete the task with relatively little fuss.
The other catch? This undercoat rake isn’t universally practical. For instance, I doubt it would perform well on short hair cats and dogs. Those pets would likely be better served by a slicker style brush, as it’s more compatible with a variety of long and short hair pet coats, and works by removing the loose fur and hair floating around the top coat.
What are other consumers saying about the Safari undercoat rake?
I’m not the only pet owner who swears by this brush. I opted for the less popular version with a smaller head and two layers of spikes. It has 52 Amazon reviews—though they’re glowing, as it has 4.6 stars.
The single row version of this brush is far more popular, with more than 1,800 reviews and numerous customer photos that showcase just how well it works. It has 4.7 stars, and reviewers praise it for dogs and cats alike.
“I am just absolutely shocked by how much hair it removed in minutes! It was hot outside, and I only brushed with the rake comb for a few minutes, and the ball of hair it removed is bigger than a softball,” one customer writes.
Is the Safari undercoat rake worth it?
With a low price tag—brushes start at just $13—it’s a great investment if you share your home with a heavy shedder. The company offers a 60-day guarantee, so you may return the product for a refund or replacement within approximately two months of purchase if you find it’s unsatisfactory. However, after digging, I learned that it only applies if you purchase the brush directly from the manufacturer.
If you go through another site, you’ll be subject to its return process. For instance, online pet retailer Chewy—the company I bought my Safari brush from—has a generous policy. It gives customers one year to return any products they’re dissatisfied with. Even so, it’s a low-cost gamble.
It’s probably not the perfect brush for every cat and dog. But if you’re struggling to find something that actually removes your pet’s hair, it’s more than worth a shot. I’m still using the same one years later. So many of the other brushes I tried only pulled hair from my cat’s upper coat. Yet more aggressive brushes made him meow in discomfort. This undercoat rake hits the perfect medium—it doesn’t hurt him if I brush gently, but it also works incredibly well, making our grooming sessions shorter—and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Staff Writer, Sleep@lindseyvix
Lindsey writes about sleep, lifestyle, and more for Reviewed. In her waking hours, she likes to spend time outside, read, cook, and bake. She holds a master’s in journalism from Boston University and bachelors' degrees in English Literature and Anthropology from the University of Utah.
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