By Matt Gibson and Erin Marissa Russell
There are not a lot of gardening tools that are as useful as the hoe, which can help gardeners carry out a variety of tasks. Hoes can be used to remove weeds from garden beds, to clear fallen leaves, and to keep your beds and borders looking nice and neat throughout the growing season. There are also four different types of gardening hoes, and each type has a different shape and can be used to carry out different tasks.
The most common type of hoe is the dutch hoe, which has a sharp, wide blade that is great for cutting down weeds, as it slides just beneath the soil’s surface to sever their roots. Dutch hoes have a long handle, and are typically used while standing up to avoid back and knee pain. Draw hoes have a small, rectangle-shaped paddle that is great for chopping the soil using an up and down-style motion. The stirrup hoe gets its name from how it looks like the stirrup on a horses saddle. The stirrup hoe is used to handle thicker, more stubborn roots, slicing their way through them using a push and pull motion. The heart-shaped hoe is great for breaking up compacted soils, as well as for making furrows and drills.
When selecting the right hoe for your gardening needs, there are several factors to consider. The handle should feel comfortable in your hand, and should remain comfortable for long periods. The handle also needs to be nice and long so that you don’t have to lean into the job, which can cause strain on your lower back. The blade is usually made from either carbon or stainless steel. Carbon blades will rust quicker than stainless steel blades, but they are easier to sharpen.
Taking proper care of your gardening hoe can have a great impact on how long it will be useful to you. Hoes with carbon steel blades need to be sharpened regularly. The blade should always be cleaned before using a sharpening stone to hone its blade.
Rogue Prohoe Field Garden Hoe
Find it on Amazon. https://amzn.to/35gCYwv
The Rogue Prohoe Field Garden Hoe features a steel blade seven inches wide and an ash wood handle 60 inches long. Gardeners who’ve tried this model say in reviews that it’s ideal for weeding, speeding up the task and making it easier. One reviewer exults, “It is such a well made piece of weaponry that I held it over my head and shook it defiantly at my garden enemies. I walked menacingly to the garden and laid waste to the weeds like Samson mowing down the Philistines.” While other hoes are made to be used in loose, tilled garden dirt, this tool is ideal for rocky soil or hard, compact ground that doesn’t give in easily. This hoe is the one to rely one for jobs too tough for the smaller, more affordable tools. Reviewers said they finished tasks in just a few hours that they’d toiled at for days with other hoes.
Kent and Stowe Garden Life Stainless Steel Dutch Hoe
The Dutch hoe has a smaller, narrower blade than most hoes on the market, and it’s specifically designed to easily slice through the roots of invasive weeds that are just underneath the dirt. This hoe works with a pushing and pulling motion instead of the chopping you may be used to relying on with other tools. The blade is stainless steel, while the handle is made of ash wood. One of the biggest benefits of Kent and Stowe’s Dutch hoe is the 15-year guarantee that comes with it, letting you rest assured that your investment will keep working in the garden for many years to come.
Ames Kodiak Garden Hoe
Find it on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2TeeZZc
Reviewers praised this hoe for its sharp edge as well as its strength and durability. They described it holding up well even under the most difficult tasks, moving heavy debris. Its ferrule is made of rinsed chrome steel for extra strength under pressure, and the 52-inch handle is made of hardwood. Those who have used this hoe found it just as suited to moving weeds and dirt as it is to breaking up and moving larger debris.
Midwest Gloves Grubbing Garden Hoe
Find it on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2HposKz
This grubbing hoe has a large head, measuring 7.5 inches by 8 inches wide, paired with a 54-inch handle. It comes in three pieces that are assembled by placing the head onto the handle, screwing to secure it, and tapping the head hard on a sturdy surface to set it. The blade has a tapered cutting edge that works just as well to clear ground for a new garden as it does weeding looser, tilled soil. The sharp edge has no problem slicing through tangles of roots or clumps of sod. It’s suitable for working the toughest jobs in rocky or heavy clay soil without letting you down.
True Temper Forged Warren Hoe
Find it on Amazon. https://amzn.to/3ocVUVL
This warren hoe has a triangular, arrow-shaped head designed for making furrows in cultivated soil, which makes this the perfect hoe to use when you’re planting seeds. However, many reviewers found this hoe was also suited to targeting specific weeds and pulling them up without disturbing nearby plants. The end of the hoe has a cushioned grip to protect your hands after hours of work in the garden. It’s especially useful in heavy clay soil that can resist even the best efforts with less sturdy hoes.
Truper 33119 Tru Pro Forged Eye Garden Hoe
Find it on Amazon. https://amzn.to/31uN0sE
The Truper 33119 Tru Pro consists of a 7-inch eye hoe head affixed to a 54-inch ash wood handle. It’s perfect for clearing the garden of weeds, moving sod, and even digging the occasional ditch as needed. The Truper 33119 is especially useful when you need to clear matted, overgrown weeds from the garden (like when last year’s weeds have dried up and must be removed before new plants can be sown). Reviewers said the blade is sturdy and strong, not bending or breaking even against rocky soil or in exceptionally tough conditions like clay and compacted dirt.
Truper 30002 Tru Tough Welded Warren Garden Hoe
Find it on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2FQ0Kqq
The handle of the Truper 30002 is made from North American Ash. The quality of both the blade and the handle are about par for the price range. This is an excellent grub hoe, and is best used as a finesse tool for tough jobs like clearing weeds on a neglected property, or making a ditch. If properly used, this is a great tool that will last for many seasons. There is no need to sharpen this hoe, as it will retain an edge if used correctly. A great value for the price.
Nisaku NJP1010 Nejiri Gama Garden Weeding Hoe
Find it on Amazon. https://amzn.to/3dOG4eT
The blade of the Nisaku Nejiri Gama Garden Hoe is made from authentic Tomita Japanese stainless steel. The blade is forged in one piece by experienced metal craftsmen to provide exceptional durability, bend resistance, and a great amount of levering power. This hoe is perfectly-suited for shaping soil, removing weeds, working the soil between seasons, removing plant debris, and for harvesting root vegetables. The downside, according to many reviewers, is that it doesn’t have a very long handle and is advertised as having a long handle. To be fair, the average Japanese person is much shorter than the average American person, so that may have something to do with the size discrepancy. If you are vertically-challenged, or Japanese, however, this is probably the perfect sized tool for you.
No matter what hoe you end up selecting, it is better if you are able to try it out a little bit before purchasing, as you can’t get a feel for how a tool feels in your hand if you just order it off the internet and have it shipped to you directly, and may end up with a hoe that doesn’t feel comfortable to use for long periods of time. However, if you do end up with a hoe that doesn’t feel natural in your hands, just return it and keep looking until you find one that does. There is nothing worse than spending top dollar on an inadequate hoe.
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