Weeding is generally one of the gardener’s least favourite tasks, but a good hoe can make the task not only easier but often, in my experience, actually enjoyable.
Now, I had better qualify that last statement. A lot depends on the type and quality of your hoe. So, let’s look at these points below.
When to use a garden hoe
Hoes are designed to clear weeds by skimming just under the soil surface and cutting the weed off at its roots. It follows, therefore, that the hoe is most effective when used to clear annual or very shallow rooted perennial weeds.
For weeds that have a taproot or which spread through their root systems (through rhizomes or stolons, for example), hoeing will remove the surface growth but will not prevent the weed from regrowing at the root. However, continual hoeing of perennial weeds in this way will weaken them over time, because the removal of the top growth prevents the plant from being able to photosynthesise.
Hoeing is best carried out in warm and dry conditions because the uprooted weeds can be left to shrivel up and die off on the surface of the soil. If conditions are damp, there is always a risk that the weed will re-root. So in that case, you need to make sure you pick up and dispose of the uprooted weeds.
But when conditions are right a good hoe will make short work of a weedy patch of ground, allowing you to make a big improvement in a relatively short space of time.
Choosing the best garden hoe
There are several different kinds of garden hoe (including some used specifically for digging, which I’m not covering here), and to add to the confusion they tend to be called different things in different places.
So, for the sake of simplicity and to illustrate the main garden hoe types, I will focus on a selection produced by the Dutch company Sneeboer. My lovely wife bought me a Sneeboer hoe (pictured above) – and a Sneeboer garden rake – about 15 years ago, and (along with my Felco number 2 Secateurs) these are probably the best tools I’ve ever had. In the UK, Sneeboer tools are available from Harrod Horticultural. In the USA, they are available here.
The pull or draw hoe
The pull hoe, unsurprisingly, is designed to be pulled towards you as you scrape under the surface of the soil. The angle of the blade and, in the case of the Sneeboer, the swan neck, ensure the blade can be positioned to gain good traction as you drag it towards you through the weed roots.
As you can see, the pull hoe comes with different shaped and sized heads. These Sneeboer hoes come with 10, 15 or 20 cm rectangular heads, and even with a half-moon shaped head. This means you choose the kind that suits you based upon the areas you will be working in and the use you want to put the hoe to. The narrower headed hoe, for example will be useful for working between narrowly spaced rows of vegetables.
Another advantage of the pull hoe, if it is of sufficient quality and strength, is that it can be used for some digging tasks, such as breaking up a hard surface, drawing out furrows or drills for seed planting or hilling up the soil around potato plants.
The push hoe
The push hoe – and here is another surprise – is designed to be pushed through the soil to cut off the weeds at their roots. This pushing action means you can put a lot of force behind your hoeing, which can be can be an advantage with particular overgrown areas, tough weeds, or hard ground.
This Sneeboer push hoe is available in 3 different widths – 15.5cm, 22.5cm and 27.5cm and like all Sneeboer hoes has an ash handle and a toughened steel blade. The push hoe’s blade is sharpened on all four sides, so you can clear weeds as you pull the hoe back or move it from side to side, as well as with the pushing motion.
The Dutch hoe
As you can see from the pictures at the tope of the page, the Sneeboer Dutch hoe is the hoe I favour.
It has a fairly wide, 14cm, blade. So you have to be carefully if weeding in narrow spaces between plants. But the sharpened steel front and rear blades cut effortlessly through the soil – and the weeds roots – making weeding a genuinely satisfying experience.
The Ash handle is solid but smooth and comfortable to hold. The angle of blade to handle means that with a slight adjustment of the height at which you hold the handle you can easily find a position that is both efficient and comfortable for you to work in.
The whole tool has a balance to it that makes it feel quite weightless as you use it. So I have no hesitation in recommending these hoes.
Main points to consider when buying a hoe
- Based on the descriptions above, think about the kind of hoe that is likely to suit you personally and the kind of hoeing you are likely to be doing.
- A hoe should reach between the heigh of your armpit and the top of your shoulder to be suitable for you. Some shorter handled versions are available – usually called ladies hoes.
- Choose the best hoe you can afford. Look for hardened steel, solid handles and extended manufacturers guarantees.
Alternative hoe selection
The hoes below are generally a bit cheaper than the Sneeboer hoes recommended above, but worth investigating. If you clink on the links you’ll be taken to the Amazon site where you are located.
- Corona’s new line of EXTENDED REACH hand tools are designed for working in raised -bed gardens small garden and tight access locations
- ComfortGEL grips deliver comfort to gardeners who seek an easier more therapeutic gardening experience
- Optimal 36-in length for long reach and balance – ideal for gardeners who find many long handle tools to hard to manage
- Country of Origin China
- ▲【Push Pull Hoe Garden Tool】Our garden hoes are designed with push-pull motion which is safer and more efficient for weeding, cut weed roots or cultivating around live growing plants with ease.
- ▼【Weeding Hoe Long Handle】Hoe Length is adjustable to be 30″ and 43″ which provides maximum comfort for tall gardeners and protect you from bending over.
- ◀【Sturdy Quality】Weeding tools for garden are made of Commercial grade & extra thick 1.3″ diameter premium steel which is sturdier and made to last for years.
- ▶【Easy to Install】1 mins to assemble this weeding hoe by screwing 3 pieces together with no extra tools required. Exactly different hoes gardening!
- ▲【Service Best】DonSail provides 1 Year limited maintenance or replacement so that feel free to contact us whenever! Enjoy this all steel hardened hollow hoe for weeding!
- ATJ-PE, 48-inch premium grade waxed hardwood handle for strength and economy
- Welded 6 inch garden hoe
- Matt-black painted head
- Handle length is 48-inch
- Truper 30003, for occasional user looking for reliable tool
- 54-inch professional grade premium north american white ash handle
- White ash handles give optimum ratio of resistance and flexibility
- 7-inch eye hoe head
- Use on farm or ranch for a lifetime of use
- Tru pro is the contractors choice for professional use
- DURABLE GARDEN HOE – The CAVEX Workforce Garden Hoe by EMSCO Group features a traditional flat blade head for optimal edging and digging to maximize soil penetration and control
- HEAVY DUTY STEEL BLADE – The 6.25×4.5″ garden hoe head is made from 16-gauge, powder coated steel for incredible strength and durability
- FIBERGLASS HANDLE – The 48″ fiberglass handle is reinforced to provide a long lasting tool that won’t splinter or crack
- RUGGED DESIGN – the entire garden hoe is made with quality parts to ensure durability through lots of use without warping, rusting, chipping or splintering
- FERRULE CAP GRIP – The capped end has a convenient grip that’s easy on hands and gives you control over your garden hoe while also providing an eye hook for hanging
- Stirrup Hoe and Cultivator: This is a 2 in 1 hand garden hoe and cultivator combo with adjustable handle, perfect for weeding,ditching,seeding,loosen soil,cultivate vegetables and flowers, uproot weeds
- Heavy Duty Garden Hoe and Rake: Constructed of 1.3″ thick diameter premium steel, this garden tool does most jobs around the garden,lawn. Work with the toughest roots,bricks and soil without bending, cracking or falling apart
- 62” Adjustable Handle: Adjust the handle length of this garden hula hoe and rake from 37 to 62” by adding or taking out extensions. 1 1/8” Rod diameter makes it strong enough for heavy duty gardening work. For kids and adults, for weeds difficult to reach
- Easy to Install and Organize: Our garden hole with cultivator takes up less space in your garage. Perfect for on the go transport and outdoor camping activities with easy assembly design
- Warranty: Each garden hoe and rake come with 12 month warranty. Replacement and refund are available without return once you message us. All hardware included for the installation
- Cut your weeding time in half – This action hoe weeder tool with triangular-shaped steel blade-head that slightly oscillates back and forth and simple push and pull action will not only highly effective weeding without disturbing developing plant roots,but also will be able to save half the time of weeder by hand.
- No bending over – Consists of several extension rods, this garden hoe can extend up to 42 inches long handle, so that you can weed from a standing position that reduces the strain on your back. No more bending or crouching down at all
- Sturdy yet lightweight handle – Crafted with thick 1.3″ diameter premium stainless steel which is sturdier to make sure you can use this weed hoe for decades,and it’s hollow design make this handle more lightweight to ensure you weeding for long time without feeling fatigued
- Ease of use – This action hoe garden tool can be leveraged for a variety of soil conditions,from dense clay soil to the more lightweight soil,not only allows you to weed an immense amount of surface area,but also great for weeding in tight spots without hurting plants roots
- Enjoy Our Service – We offer 1 year free replacements, if you have any question, please feel free to contact us. Your satisfaction is always our priority.
- [MARTHA STEWART + SUN JOE]: Two great brands, one powerful mission: to make the very best tools for your home, yard and garden.
- [AUTHENTIC]: Old-world style craftsmanship meets precision yard + garden equipment
- [COMPACT]: Designed for easy storage
- [2-IN-1]: Dual-design cultivates soil and digs trenches with ease
- [TELESCOPIC]: Pole extends up to 35-inches to reduce bending and back-strain
- Ideal for hopping, weeding, and clearing garden growth
- Non-slip grip added for comfort and control
- The blade is notched at the edges for cleaner cutting
- Made with a high carbon steel head and wooden handle
- 【New hollow design】: The hollow hoe garden tool Compared with the traditional hoe, we use hollow design, more ergonomic, so that weeding, planting more simply and efficiently. Another important point is that you can install handle.
- 【High quality material】: We use high quality steel, additionally, we have thickened the blade and the handle is made of thicker steel as well. So it is strong and durable that you can use it for a very long time.
- 【Forging process】: We use traditional quenching and forging processes. Because of being handmade, the surface will look a little rough, but it does not affect normal functions.
- 【Occasion】: It can be used for weeding, loosening soil, planting vegetables and other daily gardening work, which is essential for gardening work lovers.
- 【Notes】: This garden hoe for weeding is very sharp, so be sure to keep away from children and pets in case of accidental harm. After receiving the product, if any problem may occur, please contact us and we guarantee you the best solution within 24h.
Last update on 2023-02-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Note – As per our general disclosure notices, all product links are affiliate links which mean I can receive a small commission if you purchase an item after clicking one of these links.
Martin Cole has been an avid gardener for more than 20 years and loves to talk and write about gardening. In 2006 he was a finalist in the BBC Gardener of the Year competition.
He previously lived in London and Sydney, Australia, where he took a diploma course in Horticultural studies and is now based in North Berwick in Scotland. He founded GardeningStepbyStep.com in 2012. The website is aimed at everybody who has been bitten by the gardening bug and wants to know more.
Gardening Step by Step has been cited by Thompson and Morgan, the UK’s largest mail order plant retailer, as a website that publishes expert gardening content.
Check out my comprehensive step by step guide, with plain language explanations and ultra-useful images and illustrations. This is for you if you love dahlias and want to the best out of the dahlias you grow.
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