When a rake is too short, you run the risk of straining your back. On the other hand, if the rake is too heavy, added strain is placed on your neck and shoulders. Both of these may cause injury. A sturdy, medium-sized rake (24 inches) is best for most people, but it’s important to shop around for one that feels comfortable to you. While it may be tempting to buy a cheaper, lightweight plastic rake, be warned that the lighter the rake, the more energy you will need to use to scoop up piles of leaves.