Garden Hoe: Types, Uses & How To Buy


A garden hoe is a great garden tool that is versatile when it comes to making a garden and maintaining it. When I was making a list of all of the tools I will need to start my vegetable garden, I was conflicted with the choice between a few different gardening hoes. So, I did some reading online to find out what the different types of gardening hoes are, as well as what they are used for and how to buy them.

What are the types of gardening hoes, how are they used, and how can I buy one? Gardening hoes come in many different shapes and sizes, with the most common types including paddle, stirrup, collinear, and dutch hoes. Although these tools are all used for various purposes, the main function of a gardening hoe is to get rid of weeds and cultivate your garden. A gardening hoe can be purchased at your local hardware store or can be shipped to you through an online purchase instead.

At first glance, a gardening hoe might seem like the most simple tool that exists in a garden. Constructed of a metalhead at the end of a wooden stick, most people would not expect the process of choosing and purchasing a gardening hoe to be so complex.

However, there is a wide variety of purposes that each of these tools are used for that are all necessary for a successful gardening experience.

What Is a Gardening Hoe and How Is It Used?

A gardening hoe is a helpful tool that assists gardeners in pulling weeds and shaping soil without having to complete the same tasks by hand. The long handle that extends away from the gardener makes it convenient to pull weeds and dig through the land for any reason without having to physically bend over.

With so many types of hoes to choose from while purchasing tools for your garden, it is important to know the different functions that each one is used for as well as how it will affect you with frequent use. Some gardening hoes are great for people who have back problems because they do not require any kind of bending over or use of excessive muscle force.

 Other kinds of gardening hoes will not be ideal for gardeners who are not able to put their back into every motion while working in the garden for extended periods of time. Depending on your needs as an individual, it is vital that you make an informed decision when purchasing a gardening hoe for your yard, as your choice will impact a lot of factors going forward.

Paddle Hoe (Draw Hoe)

One of the most basic types of garden hoe is known as a paddle, or draw hoes. They are also commonly referred to as chopping or planter hoes as well.

The appearance of one of these tools is a standard rectangle paddle located at the end of a wooden handle. The paddle is usually about 6 to 15 inches long, with a width of up to 5 to 10 inches, depending on the size of the individual hoe.

Regardless of size and dimensions, the end piece on a paddle hoe sticks out from the handle at an angle of 90 degrees. This type of gardening hoe is perfect for pulling out weeds directly from the root.

Additionally, paddle hoes can be used to simply break up the soil and split it up manually. It can even be formed into a certain shape using the end of the paddle.

Stirrup Hoe

 This type of hoe can also be referred to as a loop or shuffle hoe. Stirrup hoes have an attachment that looks similar to a saddle’s stirrup. The stirrup is the ring-shaped object that is located toward the bottom of a saddle that is commonly found on a horse when someone is riding it.

This piece serves the purpose of holding the foot of the rider and assisting them in climbing onto the saddle, very similar to a stepping stool.

Just like the stirrup on a saddle, a stirrup hoe has an attachment that looks just like a loop with open space in the middle. These are most commonly used to dig out weeds that will not easily come out by hand or with another gardening tool.

In order to operate a stirrup hoe, the gardener can perform one of three motions. First, they can place it on the ground around the perimeter of the targeted weed and pull it back toward themselves in order to pull it out.

Secondly, they can carry out a forceful movement up-and-down in a chopping motion in efforts to break the dirt around the weed and loosen it for easier removal.

Alternatively, the gardener can use a back and forth motion to pull out the weed in question without moving the soil around too much. Stirrup hoes are increasingly convenient in this way because the gardener will not have to put too much effort into repairing the broken soil after they are used to remove stubborn weeds in the garden.

Collinear Hoe (Onion Hoe)

Collinear hoes, also known as onion hoes, have a long and thin paddle at the end of their handles. The average measurements for these blades are approximately 7 inches long and just 1 inch wide.

The purpose of this tool is to gain access to small spaces without damaging nearby plants or soil. In order to use a collinear hoe, the gardener will have to maneuver the paddle in a parallel motion onto the top of the soil to remove the weeds.

This specific kind of gardening hoe is convenient over some of the alternatives because the person who is using it does not have to put their back into the work as much as usual. The blade is so sharp and will easily cut through even the hardest areas of soil, which makes it much easier for the gardener to get the job done without injuring their back.

Warren Hoe (Dutch Hoe)

Warren and Dutch hoes have a more flat blade at the end of the handle, but they are not square or rectangular. The paddle on a warren hoe can either be triangular or spade. This is a very unique type of blade because almost every other type of gardening hoe that is available on the market will follow a similar design.

Similar to the collinear hoe, warren hoes are designedto fit into smaller spaces with the sharp points of the shapes facing outwardand digging into the soil.

Heart Hoe

Contrary to the most common gardening hoe shapes and designs, the heart hoe has a V-shaped blade at the end of the handle. Just like the name suggests, this kind of tool looks very similar to a heart.

Using this tool does not require pulling it backward repeatedly, but instead allows the operator to turn the blade at any angle. The point at the tip of the “V” makes these rotations increasingly easy.

Hand-held Hoes

Along with all of the most common types of garden hoe that come attached to a long handle that is used while standing up, there are alternative types of hoes with short handles. These handles can be held in one hand and will require the gardener to get closer to the soil in order to operate them.

To use a hand-held gardening hoe, the gardener will need to sit or kneel on the ground directly in front of the weed that needs to be removed. These tools are ideal for those who are more detail-oriented that would like to see what they are doing up close. However, they can also cause a strain to the back with frequent use.

Do I Need to Purchase a Gardening Hoe for My Garden?

Although the action of pulling weeds can be done by hand with a sturdy pair of gardening gloves, the use of a gardening tool eases the burden on the gardener tremendously.

By using one of these long-handled tools, there is no need to bend over the soil and use arm and body strength to manually pull weeds out fo the ground.

When the topic of essential garden tools comes up, most experienced gardeners and farmers will list gardening hoes as one of the most essential tools that anyone can have in their garden.

With the ability to reach small places and easily dig up annoying weeds with a few backs and forth motions, maintaining and cultivating a garden does not get much easier.

Aside from gardening hoes, there are other even more convenient tools that can be used for the specific task of pulling weeds and up keeping the soil in a garden, including electrical cultivators.

These machines perform the same functions as a garden hoe, but even faster and easier. They are maneuvered with both hands placed on handle and pushed forward just like a lawnmower.

Electric cultivators are increasingly convenient for use in any garden, but these types of machines can become very expensive. As the quality and ease of use go up, so does the price for garden cultivators. To be more specific, the average price can go up to hundreds of dollars.

Gardening hoes are very ideal when the cost is being considered because the price to purchase one is much lower than the alternative. Even though they require slightly more work and movement from the gardener, they help get the job done faster than it would be by hand.

The time and amount of work you are willing to put into your garden will make the decision of what kind of tools you will need to invest in for your garden.

What is The Best Type of Gardening Hoe For My Garden?

The characteristics of a good gardening hoe will depend on who is purchasing the tool. Different types of hoes suit different tasks, gardeners, and the needs of the individual plants in their garden.

If you prefer not to do much heavy lifting while you are carrying out your day-to-day gardening duties, you should choose an option with a lower weight. Although the handles can have varying densities, you would be the safest with a tool that has a smaller or thinner blade.

If you have thick soil or large weeds, you will want to select a draw hoe or a stirrup hoe. Both of these tools will be able to cut through multiple weeds at once and will be great for the beginning of the garden as well as weekly maintenance.

The handle of a gardening hoe can come in different materials including aluminum and even glass. These materials are generally more lightweight and easier to carry for those who are not fans of the heavy lifting that can sometimes come with these gardening tasks.

Regardless of your preference in style, you should make sure the length of the handle is sufficient for your height. The standard handle size is about 54 inches, while someone taller might require up to a 75-inch handle.

How Should I Go About Buying a Gardening Hoe?

Once you have educated yourself on all of the different types of gardening hoes that are available on the market, you will be able to make the correct decision regarding which type of tool, or tools, you will need for your garden. After that is established, you will most likely be ready to purchase one. So, where is the best place to find what you are looking for?

One of the best places to find and purchase gardening tools will be your local hardware or home improvement store. As long as the store of your choice has a section that is specific to gardening, you will most likely be able to leave with exactly what you need.

Purchasing a garden hoe in person can be more ideal than online because you will be able to assess the quality of the tool in person before paying for it. While inside of the store, you can hold it and practice performing the back and forth or chopping motions just like you would in your garden.

If there are any issues with the tool as far as weight, size, and quality, you will be able to know right away before you bring it up to the check-out counter.

Just like almost any other product that exists in the world, gardening hoes can be purchased online. This is the most convenient option because you can shop directly from your mobile phone or computer and have your product delivered to your doorstep.

You can even purchase one of these tools online from a trusted retailer in your area as opposed to traveling to the same store just to buy it in person. This can be convenient if you have already gone to the store to try out the product in question but waited to actually buy it. This would cut out the process of having to carry the long-handled tool back to your car and drive it all the way back home.

Alternatively, most local hardware stores will offer their customers the option of ordering a gardening hoe online and picking it up in person at the store. This is ideal for the tools that have great product descriptions and photos but are not currently available at your local store.

This way, you will be able to examine the quality of the item before even leaving the store in the event of any issues.

Before making the purchase of any gardening tool, regardless of the method in which you choose to buy it, you should always be aware of the return policy as well as any warranties that the brand or store might offer to the customer just in case any problems arise after you have left the store.

Buyers should be increasingly wary of online retailers’ return and refund policies because these types of purchases are more likely to go wrong.

What Should I Expect to Spend on a Gardening Hoe?

Now that you know the difference between all of the most common types of hoes that are used by gardeners, you should be able to assess your individual needs and make a choice of what you will need to start your garden. The next factor that must be considered in this process is how much you will be spending on your brand new gardening tool.

The price of the garden hoe you choose to buy will depend on the brand, size, and type of tool, as well as where you buy it and if it is bought online or in person. Some brands that are more quality or well-known among gardeners will charge higher prices for their supplies. In addition, hoes with larger or more effective paddle pieces might cost more than a smaller tool.

Buying a gardening hoe in person at your local hardware store could be a more cost-effective option in comparison to making an online purchase with all things considered. Any kind of online purchase will inevitably come with additional fees for taxes and delivery.

These fees can pile up if you need the tool delivered faster than the standard delivery option, so the time frame in which you will need to use it should be considered when you decide where to purchase it.

Some of the most popular brands for gardening tools are Tru and Flexrake, which offer gardening hoes for an average price of $40.

The lower end of costs for the basic gardening hoe can be anywhere from $15 to $35. This is relatively inexpensive in comparison to the alternative electrical tools that can be used for the same purpose. Any type of gardening hoe can fall into this price category depending on the material, quality, size, and brand.

Some of the more expensive options that you can find at your local home improvement store can range anywhere from $40 up to $70. Before making a gardening hoe purchase, you should always do research on customer reviews for each individual product to get an accurate idea of the quality you will be receiving.

 The last thing you would want to do is pay a premium price for something that will end up not working. This even applies to in-person transactions, because the quality could hold up nicely in the store but become completely different within just a few uses.

Related Questions

What is the difference between a garden tiller and a cultivator?

Contrary to the traditional garden hoe, garden tillers and cultivators are both automatic machines that can be pushed around and used similarly to a lawnmower in order to break up the soil and cultivate the garden with little to no effort. Although both of these machines serve similar purposes, they are not exactly the same.

Garden tillers are larger and more powerful mechanical machines that are able to break apart stiff areas of soil and move them around accordingly. There is a variety of special blade replacements that can be attached to perform tasks of different intensity levels.

Cultivators, on the other hand, are electrical machines that break up the surface of the soil into a more fine texture. They are smaller and less powerful than garden tillers and do not dig as deep into the soil as their counterparts.

Electric cultivators can also get rid of weeds and be helpful in the upkeep of any kind of garden, similar to the functions of a manual gardening hoe.

Both of these machines work together in the process of creating and maintaining a garden but are not necessary for a thriving garden. Anything that can be done with a tiller and cultivator can be done manually with tools such as gardening hoes.

Why is wearing gardening gloves necessary for gardening?

Aside from the large gardening tools that are used to plow through the soil and dig holes in the ground in preparation for the planting of seeds, there is another piece of equipment that is equally as necessary for the task of planting and caring for any kind of garden.

Gardening gloves are some of the most important supplies that are needed to work in a garden at all times. The purpose of gardening gloves is to protect the fingers and hands from cuts, infections, and any other injury that can happen when the bare skin is exposed outdoors.

There is a long list of hazards that are present in any garden, so gloves should always be worn no matter how small the task may seem.

To name a few injuries out of the long list of things that can happen while gardening, the hands, and fingers can experience cuts, lacerations, as well as coming in contact with bacterial infections and painfully breaking nails.

Without the use of gloves, the soil can collect under the fingernails and be transferred onto the body, face, or anywhere else inside the house and spread toxic chemicals and germs.

How should gardening gloves be cleaned and taken care of?

It is important to consistently clean and care for your gardening gloves just like any other tool that is used in the garden. This way, they can be used for a longer period of time without needing any repairs or replacements.

If gardening gloves are tossed around and not properly maintained, they can become permanently stiffened or stained and will have to be replaced with a brand new pair.

The care instructions for each type of gardening glove will depend on the material it is made out of. The most popular types of gardening gloves that are used by most gardeners include leather, cotton, rubber, latex, and nitrile. Leather gloves will require a more thorough cleaning and maintenance process than almost any other type of glove.

Since leather can incur damages from too much water, they must be brushed off with a soft-bristled cleaning brush before they are wiped down with a damp cloth. The damp towel or cloth should not have any excess water and will usually have a special saddle soap on the tip of it that is worked into the material of the glove.

They will then be wiped off with a clean towel and air-dried before being treated with special conditioning oils.

Cotton gloves, on the other hand, are much easier to care for. Just like a cotton t-shirt, they can be tossed into the washing machine in your laundry room and air-dried on a clothing line.

Rubber gloves will need to be thoroughly washed off with water and a dishwashing liquid, and air-dried in an open environment to avoid any molding or mildew formation. This is the exact process that latex gloves will go through after being used in the soil to prevent any permanent damage. Regardless of the type of glove, you have purchased for gardening, they will all need to be cleaned immediately after use and cared for according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Eyerly Family

The Eyerly Family is a family of 8 that loves gardening. Over the past several years we have been applying what we learn about gardening to our own 16x16 raised back yard garden. Our garden is very prolific and we grow a wide variety of vegetables which we love to eat! Click here to learn more about the Eyerly Family.

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