5 Best Garden Hoes - Aug. 2022 - BestReviews (2022)

Garden hoes are one of the oldest tools used for agriculture and simple gardening tasks. A basic modern hoe consists of a small metal paddle or blade attached at a right angle to a long handle. This is in contrast to a shovel, which has a blade extending up and down in the same direction as the handle.

While a shovel allows you to dig deeply into the soil, a garden hoe is meant to scrape or chop surface layers of the ground. Hoes are ideal to prepare soil for cultivating gardens or digging up weeds. So, choosing the right one for you is simple right? Maybe not.

While you may be familiar with the basic shape of a garden hoe, there are many slight modifications to the traditional style which allow the tool to be more effective for specific tasks. You may want more than one in your shed to accommodate all your gardening needs. Keep reading for a few key considerations and questions you should ask before buying a new garden hoe.

5 Best Garden Hoes - Aug. 2022 - BestReviews (1)5 Best Garden Hoes - Aug. 2022 - BestReviews (2)

The best time to use a hoe is when the weeds are small and the soil is moist, but not thoroughly soaked into mud.

Key considerations

Style

Hoes come in many shapes and sizes to allow them to tackle different garden jobs. While some are better at pushing dirt and others better at pulling dirt, you want a garden hoe that performs the main function you will need.

  • Paddle hoes are the traditional and one of the most common types of hoe. They are designed for you to draw soil toward you. This style is excellent for breaking up dirt and preparing soil for planting. It can also remove weeds.

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  • Ridging hoes have a pointed end on their paddle. As another kind of draw hoe, they are very effective at making ridges for vegetable gardens or planting.

  • Pronged hoes are created to do double duty. The usually have a small paddle hoe on one side and a forked edge on the other. While all hoes can help take care of weeds, this style is sometimes called a “weed” hoe. A weed hoe gives you greater precision to work the soil around thriving plants without hurting the plants.

  • Stirrup hoes have a style that looks like the stirrup on a saddle. It is a type of scuffle hoe, which means it is designed to use in a back and forth motion. The hoe is sometimes called a “push-pull” hoe or a “loop” hoe. A stirrup hoe allows you to get underneath a weed as you pull it toward you. The shape allows you to scoop out a weed or plant.

  • Dutch hoes are designed to be pushed and pulled through the soil, like a stirrup hoe. They have the paddle facing forward rather than at a right angle in a traditional hoe. A Dutch hoe has an open section to allow dirt to pass through the hoe as you skim it over the top of the soil.

Hoe head material

Steel is the head material of choice for most hoes on the market. This lightweight, hard-to-bend and strong material can make the tool very effective and long-lasting through the rigorous motion required when you use a hoe. You will find several types of steel used.

  • Welded steel is your least expensive option. There is a weld on this hoe head between the paddle and the L-shape that sets the paddle at a right angle to the handle. That weld will be a weak spot on your garden hoe and may break over time.

  • Stainless steel has the advantage of being the most resistant to rust and corrosion. It is molded, as one solid piece of metal without the welded joints. However, the shape may not withstand the repetitive chopping motion of hoeing as well as some other steels.

  • Tempered steel hoes are usually thicker and sharper than stainless steel hoes. This is your strongest hoe option and likely the most long-lasting as well. While tempered steel is resistant to corrosion, it can still rust. It will also tend to be more expensive.

Hoe handle material

  • Wood is the most common material used in hoe handles. Strong wooden handles will be carved from a single piece of hardwood. Wood helps to soften the shock of hoeing on your shoulders and neck. Hickory is considered the best wooden handle. The disadvantage of wood is its susceptibility to rot, splitting, and deterioration over time. Wood handles are fairly inexpensive to replace.

  • Fiberglass handles are molded and colored. They are also shock absorbant and less likely to break as you hoe. They also will not mold or rot. These handles are, however, harder to replace when they do break.

Blade width

  • Standard width on a traditional paddle hoe is six to seven inches. This length gives you a good multipurpose tool. It is the best tool to start with when you are learning how to use a hoe in the garden.

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  • Extra wide blades are commonly 10 to 14 inches. They are good for digging up deep weeds, but can be more difficult to use. Before you buy a wide-blade hoe, make sure you feel comfortable with your skills.

  • Narrow blades are usually three inches. That is about half the size of a standard width hoe. The advantage of a narrow blade is more precision. Sometimes they are longer so you can get deeper weeds. Other times they come with a second forked edge function to help you get around delicate plants. The disadvantage of a narrow blade is that it will take you longer to get a big job done.

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Did you know?

A flower hoe has a very small paddle, allowing you to be able to weed around very delicate rows of plant bulbs.

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Features

Cushion handle grip

A hoe with a cushion handle grip will have an area of extra padding for hand placement. The repetitive motion of hoeing a garden makes your hands very susceptible to blisters. These cushion grips help prevent hand injury. They also add a little width to the handle of your hoe, making it more comfortable for people with arthritis to hold.

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Telescoping handle

Some garden hoes come with an adjustable handle known as a telescopic handle. These handles will extend from a short length that is appropriate for hand hoeing on your knees to a long length you can use standing up in a garden.

This function is convenient, but a telescopic handle is not as sturdy as a solid length handle. It will also not be quite as short as a hand hoe or as long as a standing hoe. A hoe is an inexpensive enough tool, so it may be better to opt for two hoes in different sizes.

Garden hoe prices

Inexpensive: While some hand-held models cost less, decent full sized garden hoes will cost $15 to $20. These models will have wooden handles and a standard paddle shaped head. This tool should be of good quality, but may break down with heavy use.

Mid-range: Between $20 to $40 garden hoes will begin to come with added features, like tempered steel and fiberglass handles. Their construction will be better for heavy use.

Expensive: For $40 to $70 you will find a very heavy duty garden hoe. It should be made from tempered, hardened or stainless steel to last a long time and resist rusting. It will also come with a heavy duty fiberglass handle. Some specialty hoes will also fall in this price range.

Tips

Other products we considered

For this shopping guide we focused on traditional long-handled garden hoes. When you are working in small areas, a short handled hand hoe may be what you need instead. We really like the Edward Tools hand hoe with a rubber handle that is comfortable on your hands and has a stainless steel head to resist rusting. It is a good weight and well made. HongyeTaja makes an extremely well made, tempered steel hand hoe. The hoe is very good for digging in the garden, but can also be used to chop big weeds or clear trails.

5 Best Garden Hoes - Aug. 2022 - BestReviews (5)5 Best Garden Hoes - Aug. 2022 - BestReviews (6)

Switching sides from time to time while you hoe will help prevent injury or soreness.

FAQ

Q. How long should the handle of my garden hoe be?
A.
Length does make a difference in a garden hoe handle, because the angle of the hoe will be different based on how you hold it. You need your hoe to be at a 25º to 30º angle to properly skim the surface of the soil. Taller people will need a longer handle to make sure they can comfortably hold the hoe at this angle without straining their backs and shoulders. Try holding the hoe at your belly button and examining the angle of the hoe head to see if the length of your handle is correct. If you cannot adjust the angle of the handle, try adjusting the angle of the head.

Q. How do I sharpen my garden hoe?
A.
Use a metal file. Hold the hoe with the blade side up. While holding the handle, place the file on the outside edge of the blade. Pull the coarse side of the metal file toward you along the edge of the blade. You only want to sharpen the outside edge of the paddle. The angle should be at about 30º.

Q. How do I know what kind of hoe I need?
A.
This may depend on your preference, or the size of the area you will use the hoe. There are literally dozens of different shapes and styles of garden hoe available. While a traditional paddle hoe is a safe choice for any gardener, as your skill levels rise you may find yourself wanting a more specialized hoe for a specific purpose. Some gardeners have several hoes to tackle weed and cultivation needs as they change throughout the season.

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FAQs

What is the best tool for pulling weeds? ›

The most well-known long-handled weeding tool is the hoe. Hoes allow you to cut a wide patch of soil to remove multiple weeds at once. A durable steel hoe with a sharp blade can tear through weeds quickly. This wide head shouldn't be used too close to your crops, and it may not work as well for deeply rooted weeds.

What to use a Dutch hoe for? ›

The Dutch hoe consists of a long wooden handle and a blade that's often sharp in both directions so that it can cut weeds with a push-pull motion. This hoe is best used on small weeds, as it only goes about one inch beneath the soil level, scraping any root growth and loosening the soil's surface.

How many types of hoe are there? ›

There are two general types of hoe: draw hoes for shaping soil and scuffle hoes for weeding and aerating soil. A draw hoe has a blade set at approximately a right angle to the shaft. The user chops into the ground and then pulls (draws) the blade towards them.

How do you use a garden hoe for weeds? ›

Hold the hoe as you would hold a broom to sweep a floor. Angle the hoe so that the tip of the blade will enter the soil just below the surface. Use a broad, fluid sweeping motion to slice the tops off the weeds. Change hands frequently while hoeing so your hands won't get sore.

Should you pull weeds or spray them? ›

When To Pull vs. Spray Weeds - Ace Hardware - YouTube

How do you pull strong weeds? ›

How To PROPERLY Pull Weeds From Your Yard - YouTube

Should a Dutch hoe be sharp? ›

The Dutch hoe needs to be kept sharp to remove weeds efficiently from the ground. The effectiveness of the Dutch hoe depends on how well the blades cut through the soil and the weeds. For this reason, the Dutch hoe must be sharpened regularly to force its way through hard ground and lift the unwanted weeds.

How do you make garden rows with a hoe? ›

MAKE PERFECTLY STRAIGHT GARDEN ROWS! - YouTube

What is an onion hoe used for? ›

A traditionally styled, high quality Kent & Stowe Hand Onion Hoe made from stainless steel and beautiful ash wood. Featuring a beveled edge, it is ideal for de-weeding and also tilling soil.

Which type of hoe do you push rather than pull through the ground? ›

Dutch Hoe. Rather than chopping and pulling, the Dutch hoe is designed for pushing. It features a steel loop brace and a narrow horizontal blade. The gardener rests the blade on top of the ground and then pushes it forward, which causes the blade to slip just beneath the soil and sever weeds from their roots.

What are the holes in a hoe for? ›

Tined Hoes: These have either a single or multiple tines, and are pulled through the soil to loosen and till it. They are good for opening up crusted soil. The single-tine models can be used for weeding in tight spaces between crop plants. Circle Hoe: I have never used one, though they have some good reviews.

Is a grub hoe the same as a garden hoe? ›

Grub hoes are part of the most common types of garden hoes. Essentially, they are digging hoes because they use swift, downward motions to dive into the soil at a 45-degree angle to sever root systems or stems.

What to do with weeds after pulling? ›

Throw them away. Keeping pulled weeds on your property is a bad idea because they can still spread their seeds and regrow. It's easy enough to stop this from happening: Simply stuff the weeds into a garbage bag and discard them with your trash.

When should I hoe my garden? ›

Hoeing is best done when the soil is dry as this creates a 'dust mulch'. This inhibits the germination of new weeds. Long-handled hoes are easier on the back, whereas a short-handled 'onion hoe' is better for closely planted areas, where you don't want to damage nearby plants.

What are the disadvantages of weeding? ›

Presence of weeds increases the cost of agriculture and hinders the progress of work. It increases the irrigation requirement. They reduce the value of produce or otherwise adds the cost of cleaning. Some weeds when eaten (Cleome viscosa) by milch animals will produce an undesirable odour in the milk.

What kills weeds permanently? ›

Yes, vinegar does kill weeds permanently and is a viable alternative to synthetic chemicals. Distilled, white, and malt vinegar all work well to stop weed growth.

How do I permanently get rid of weeds in my garden? ›

Using Bleach to Kill Weeds Permanently

Apply one cup of bleach, undiluted, to the afflicted area. Wait until the weeds turn brown before pulling them out of the ground. Run water around the area to flush the bleach, especially if you are trying to grow plants or grass in that area.

Why does Roundup not work anymore? ›

If herbicides are stored in outside sheds, freezing or extremely hot conditions can cause the active ingredient to become ineffective. Check the label to see under what conditions the herbicide can be safely stored. Finally, liquid weed killers may not work because they were diluted too much during mixing.

What kills weeds down to the root? ›

But herbicide glyphosates are effective and work by spreading from a plant's leaves to its roots. Available as liquids, solids or ready-to-use products, they eventually break down in the soil.

What is the fastest way to pick up weeds? ›

Keep a garden fork or trowel in your pocket when you're outside, so you can attack baby weeds the minute you spot them. If the soil is dry, or if your weeds are too small to pull by hand, use a hoe. Keep the blade sharp for a fast cleanup in large areas. Pick the right hoe.

What do you put down to stop weeds coming through? ›

Mulch Your Beds

An effective and natural option to prevent weeds from taking over your garden is through the use of mulch. Apply a thick layer of organic mulch approximately 2 inches deep in the garden area – take care to avoid the base of individual plants and shrubs.

Which side of a garden hoe do you sharpen? ›

Hoes are sharpened on the backside (the side facing away from you when the hoe is in use). Secure the hoe in a vise, blade up, and with the back side easily accessible. Clean thoroughly with steel wool, a wire brush, or crocus cloth.

Should you sharpen shovels? ›

Many people have never even thought about sharpening a shovel, but we guarantee a sharp edge will cut through dirt and plant matter faster than a dull one. You'll not only expend less energy, but you will also save time with a sharp shovel or spade.

How do you use a Dutch hoe for weeds? ›

How to kill Weeds with a Dutch Hoe - YouTube

How do farmers get their rows so straight? ›

To plow straight, the farmer must use his hood ornament – a gun sight – to line up the tractor with a distant landmark, like a notch in the mountains. By aiming for that notch, he can keep the tractor's path straight within about a foot.

How deep should garden rows be? ›

For most tillers, rows should be at least 36 inches wide. This way you can go back between the rows and lightly cultivate for weed control until the crop starts to fill in between the rows. For most crops such as beans, corn, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, okra, peas and squash, 36-inch row spacing would be the minimum.

Is it better to plant in rows or squares? ›

Grow more, harvest more.

If you have the space for it, row gardening allows you to plant more and harvest more vegetables. Squares are limited because if they are too big, you can't reach the plants in the middle. You are also limited in the amount of plants/veggies you can grow in the given space.

How do you till soil with a hoe? ›

Hand Tilling Three Different Ways - YouTube

What is a hula hoe? ›

A hula hoe, also known as a stirrup hoe, is a handy tool for removing weeds in tight spaces between rows of vegetables or flowers. Since the hula hoe cuts weeds under the soil where the roots are, the weeds have less of a chance of growing back.

What is a loop hoe? ›

We designed this loop hoe to make weeding easier in congested areas. Not only is the hoe only 3" wide, but the loop design lets you see where the complete hoe blade is at all times, avoiding accidents that slice plants other than weeds. The thin, stainless steel loop slides through the soil with minimal resistance.

What is another name for a garden hoe? ›

Paddle, or Draw, hoe.

The basic garden hoe goes by many names, including paddle, draw, chopping, or planter. The paddle at the end of the handle is a small rectangle, approximately 6 by 4 inches (15 x 10 cm.), angled at 90 degrees.

What tools do farmers use for weeding? ›

  • V-Blade Hand Hoe. The V-blade hand hoe is a long handled weeding for operation in between the crop rows. ...
  • Three Tined Hand Hoe. The three tined hand hoes also known as grubber is one of the widely used hoes for weeding and interculture in horticultural crops. ...
  • Wheel Hoe. ...
  • Twin Wheel Hoe. ...
  • Cono weeder.

Is there a tool to remove weeds? ›

According to McKenzie, a long-handled garden hoe (or a Dutch hoe) is better for weeds with shallow roots. “A long handle lets you avoid bending over to pull out the weeds, while the broad sharp blade can deal with roots and stems of almost any diameter,” he said.

How do you pull weeds by hand? ›

Hand weeding techniques - YouTube

What equipment is used for weeding? ›

Hand hoes are generally used for removing weeds between plants in a row. The weeding tools and equipment are categorized based on their power source, animal drawn and power or tractor operated. Small weeding tools or aids are traditional hand held type hoes like "Khurpi" used by the farmers.

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