The 10 Best Garden Hoes
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in January of 2016. If you have a green thumb, you will appreciate this list of gardening hoes. The options featured here are ideal for cutting irrigation channels, breaking up sod, clearing weeds, and making furrows. Whether you're in the market for a compact, maneuverable model for close quarters cultivating, or a heavy-duty tool to power through large-scale landscaping projects, we've got you covered. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 25, 2021:
It was a largely uneventful round of updates for us, as all of our previous picks were still readily available and appeared to be good choices for the category. From short-handled models like the Japanese-made Neijri Gama, to long-handled models like the Prohoe Rogue, with its three-sided cutting edge, we felt that the last editor for this page did a good job of putting together a varied list of quality choices that will serve our users well. As such, we made no real changes — other than the following exception.
The Korean-style Hand Plow Ho-Mi was still well lauded by many user reviews, but we found it peculiar that the company had stripped away all the information from this item’s listing, and when we noticed a relatively recent reviewer claiming that they’d ordered this option and received a significantly different tool, we started to get suspicious. We weren’t able to confirm whether there is an updated (and possibly inferior) version of this tool now being offered by the company, and it may well still be a great choice, but for the sake of playing it safe we decided to remove it from our list.
To replace it, we added the Truly Garden Ultimate Tool, which has a practical, multifunctional design that features a cultivator on the opposite side of its blade, effectively allowing it to provide all the utility of two tools. A polished beechwood handle and powder-coated steel head help make it a decent-looking option, as well.
While you’re here, why don’t you stick around a while? We’ve got lots of garden-related rankings that you might be interested in, including lists of garden tool sets, garden stools and gardening kits for kids.
March 10, 2020:
Because garden hoes come in a variety of types, sizes, and blades, we’ve made sure to maintain a wide spectrum of options as we update.
Paddle hoes (or “draw” hoes), like the Bully Tools 92353, are the most common type. Their flat rectangular blades are designed for general use, from mounding soil to dislodging weeds. These are a great choice if you don’t have a specific task in mind.
Loop hoes, like our new top pick, the Ames True Temper 2866300, feature a steel loop instead of a flat blade. This design allows you to cut in both directions, backward and forward, making them great for large-scale jobs.
Sickle hoes are typically shorter, handheld tools, ideal for more precise gardening and cultivating. Our new addition, the Kana Garden Tool, is a lightweight model that is sharp enough to tackle most small weeding tasks.
Warren hoes have a triangle-shaped blade, set at a 90-degree angle to the handle. These are great for chopping through tree roots or dealing with thick weed patches. One of our new additions, the Tomerry Triangle, is a compact, Japanese-made warren hoe. At 16-inches in length, it's short enough to maneuver in tight spaces, but still long enough to generate some powerful swings.
If these options feel a little too heavy-duty for you, a smaller garden trowel might be what you’re looking for.
Lee Valley This company started off by manufacturing woodworking tools, decades ago, but since then they've gotten deep into gardening gear, as well, and today offer nine different styles of hoe. While you're visiting their website, don't be afraid to poke around a bit. They've got all sorts of interesting gadgets and specialized equipment to browse through. leevalley.com
Valley Oak Tool Company Wheel Hoe This company offers a push plow that can save you a lot of aggravation and lower-back pain. They also have a whole line of attachments that might make it extra useful to you, depending on what your intended applications are. valleyoaktool.com
What Makes Garden Hoes So Great?
It's easy to see how such a seemingly basic tool has managed to maintain its popularity through the years.
If you enjoy gardening, or if you simply like to keep the outdoor areas on your property looking nice, investing in a reliable garden hoe is a must. Here are a few reasons why you ought to consider purchasing a garden hoe.
First and foremost, the garden hoe has truly stood the test of time. Invented centuries ago, there is evidence that the tool was in use in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt as early as as 1800 B.C.E. Like the shovel and the rake, it has been a staple of horticulture ever since its invention, offering both increased productivity and ease of use.
Conveniently, there are several ways to use a garden hoe. They're perfect for breaking up stubborn clumps of dirt, and for aerating soil to create a more fertile environment for flowers, herbs, vegetables, or fruit. And, they're also fantastic for creating furrows for seeds. As you can see, garden hoes are much more dynamic than they appear.
Garden hoes aren't necessarily a one-size-fits-all product, either; there are plenty of options to choose from. Garden hoe subtypes fall into one of two main groups. Draw hoes have blades that are fixed at a right angle and are best suited for cultivating soil. The scuffle hoe, on the other hand, is an ideal tool for tackling tough, impacted dirt with its rectangular looped blade. This kind of hoe is also a good choice for clearing out weeds with deep, thick roots.
In sum, the garden hoe has a simple design that is surprisingly versatile. It's easy to see how such a seemingly basic tool has managed to maintain its popularity through the years.
How To Choose The Right Garden Hoe
There are tons of garden hoes on the market, so how exactly do you find the one that will best match your needs? As it turns out, making a decision isn't so hard when you know what to look for. Here are some of the features you should review before pulling the trigger on your purchase.
The first thing to consider is the shape of the blade. How do you plan on using your new garden hoe? If you're going to be breaking up dense dirt or hardened clay, a narrower blade, or one with a pointed tip, is definitely the way to go. Alternately, wide, shallow blades are great for aerating and leveling the top layers of soil. Hoes with looped blades are well-suited to this purpose, as well, in addition to being ideal for weeding.
By contrast, those who casually tend smaller gardens will benefit from using a hoe with a short handle.
Another big consideration is the handle. Be sure to settle on the length that will provide you the most comfort and convenience. If you will be using your hoe very frequently, it's important to invest in an option with a long pole that will allow you to work without having to crouch or strain. A padded, ergonomically shaped handle is another smart choice if you want to minimize your risk of injury. After all, it's hard to enjoy the fruits of your labor if they come at the expense of your comfort and health.
By contrast, those who casually tend smaller gardens will benefit from using a hoe with a short handle. Short handles allow hobbyists to work at close range and with more precision. Smaller tools are also easy to clean and store.
The texture and density of the soil you typically work with should be considered, as well. If you're tackling dense dirt, you'll want a tough steel pole that won't buckle under excessive pressure. Appropriate for loose dirt, fiberglass poles aren't as durable as steel, but tend to be lighter and more maneuverable. Finally, wood poles can withstand vigorous pushing and pulling, but are porous and may be more difficult to clean.
There are also a few bells and whistles to mention that might influence your decision. To save space, opt for a model that comes with a hole in the handle for hanging. It's a simple detail that can help you keep your tools organized and out of the way. And, for those who value efficiency, there are models that have double sided blades with a hoe on one end and a rake on the other to further simplify your garden routine.
Tips For Effective Gardening
If you're in the market for a hoe, chances are you already know a thing or two about gardening. But for those who don't, here are a few simple pointers for getting the most out of your garden.
Before choosing flowers willy-nilly, make sure they will thrive in your area. Research climate requirements ahead of time to ensure you don't end up putting in a ton of effort only to come away with lackluster results. Whether you live in a hot, arid region or in an area where low temperatures are common, there's no reason you can't create a beautiful, healthy garden as long as you do your homework.
To give your plants the best chance of growing to their full potential, consider adding a quality fertilizer to your soil.
To give your plants the best chance of growing to their full potential, consider adding a quality fertilizer to your soil. Organic fertilizers are as effective as they are safe, as they do not include harmful chemicals. Individuals who are interested in growing edibles like herbs, fruits, and vegetables will definitely appreciate the peace of mind offered by this type of product.
It may seem obvious, but trimming your plants regularly is key to keeping your garden in top shape. Plants that have too many leaves will struggle to absorb nutrients, which is why you should monitor leaf growth and cut away those that may be directing water away from the roots. Do keep in mind that pruning instructions vary from species to species, so it would be wise to compile a notebook containing the practices that will best serve each variety of plant in your garden.
It takes time and effort to nurture a garden, but it can be a stress-free and even enjoyable experience once you get into the swing of things. With the right tools on hand and a basic understanding of plant care, you'll be harvesting your first crop of veggies or creating a one-of-a-kind homemade flower arrangement before you know it.