The sharp blade of a garden hoe is an indispensable gardening tool for slicing through weed roots and breaking up heavy dirt clods, and we field-tested some of the top hoes to find out how they perform in real landscaping situations.
When used regularly, a hoe keeps the garden free of weeds without the need to kneel and pull them by hand. This indispensable tool comes in various types and designs; choosing the best garden hoe requires selecting one that suits your physical needs and the type of soil you’ll be cultivating.
Keep reading to learn about key features to consider in a garden hoe. Then find out the results of our hands-on tests and why the following tools are among the best garden hoes for a variety of gardening tasks.
- BEST OVERALL: Rogue Prohoe 5.75″ Disc Garden Hoe
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bully Tools 12-Gauge Warren Hoe
- BEST MINI HOE: Flexrake Mini Hula-Ho
- BEST DRAW HOE: Bully Tools 12-Gauge Fiberglass Handle Garden Hoe
- BEST FOR WEEDING: Nisaku Stainless Steel Long Nejiri Hoe
- BEST FOR HEAVY-DUTY WORK: Rogue 7 Inch Field Hoe
- BEST FOR RAISED BEDS: Corona GT Extended Reach Hoe
- BEST STIRRUP HOE: Ames Wood Handle Action Hoe
Types of Garden Hoes
Sometimes called “cultivators,” all hoes have the same purpose—to cut through soil, loosen it, and remove weeds. Not all hoes are identical, though, and their differences make them better suited to various gardening tasks and individual users. Some hoes work well only in soft, loose soil, while certain designs will work better for some gardeners than others.
When most people think of a garden hoe, the first thing that comes to mind is usually a draw hoe with a steel blade that sits at about a 45-degree angle to the handle. Called a draw hoe because the gardener chops and then draws the hoe inward, this tool offers an effective way of loosening soil and digging up weeds.
Using a draw hoe can be a real workout if the ground is hard and roots are deep, but this is a time-honored tool found in most gardeners’ sheds.
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.
As long as the soil is relatively soft, a Dutch hoe (also called a “loop” hoe) is an easy-to-use weeding tool. When using this type of hoe, the user is not required to bend forward as much, making it easier on the back.
A stirrup hoe, so called because it resembles an equestrian saddle stirrup, is used with a push-and-pull motion and features a flat or rounded bottom blade that’s sharp on both sides. The user pushes it back and forth to sever weed roots and to create straight lines in the soil for sowing seed.
A stirrup hoe works well in soft to medium soils but is challenging to use if the soil is heavy or hard.
A heart-shaped hoe features a blade that’s wide at the top and narrows to a point at the tip, loosely resembling a heart. This type of blade is commonly found on both draw hoes and push hoes.
The point of a heart-shaped blade concentrates soil-cutting pressure, so it’s physically easier to use. This makes it well suited for elderly gardeners or anyone who finds it challenging to hoe a garden. However, it might take slightly longer to complete the hoeing task because the tip is narrower than a flat hoe blade.
Spike Blade Hoe
For precision weeding in tight spots where a wide-blade garden hoe doesn’t fit, consider a spike blade hoe. Its knifelike blade allows the gardener to cut through deep, invasive roots using powerful chops, but it is also precise enough to use with light chops when removing weeds from narrow areas, such as between plantings and the edge of a raised bed.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Garden Hoe
After selecting the best type of garden hoe for the job, check out additional considerations that make the hoe more comfortable to use or more durable.
A hoe is only as good as its handle, and the three most common types of handles each have their pros and cons. Handle length, measured from the connection point with the tool head to the tip, is the best indication of the user’s posture while working. Handles range in length from an average of 4 to 6 feet to fit individual gardeners’ various heights and physical abilities.
- Wood: Soft and slightly vibration-absorbent, wood is a common material used in hoe handles. Made from a single rod of hardwood, often hickory, wood handles are comfortable and smooth. Note they should not be left out in the weather, as moisture can cause the wood grain to swell and become weak and splintery.
- Metal: Lightweight aluminum is the metal of choice for hoe handles, and this durable material is water resistant and corrosion resistant. Aluminum is also very rigid and does not absorb any vibration, so hoeing hard ground that requires repeated chops might result in hand, wrist, and elbow fatigue.
- Fiberglass: The relatively new kid on the block, fiberglass hoe handles are smooth, lightweight, rust resistant, moisture resistant, and absorb shock to some extent, making the material well suited to hoe handles.
- Cushioned grips: Made from padded rubber, silicone, or water-resistant neoprene, cushioned grips on many garden hoe handles go a long way toward making hoeing tasks more enjoyable.
Steel of one type or another is a mainstay of hoe blades, but different types of steel and various blade construction methods result in varying quality blades.
- Stainless steel: This type of steel is very rust- and corrosion-resistant. Hoe blades made from stainless steel are usually molded in a single piece rather than welded. Stainless steel is not quite as strong as other types of steel, however, and it can’t be sharpened, so stainless steel blades are best suited to light hoeing tasks.
- Tempered: A hoe blade made from tempered steel is stronger than one of stainless steel, and it can be sharpened if it dulls. It’s not as weather resistant, however, and is more likely to corrode. Tempered-steel blades can be thin or thick, and heavy-duty hoe blades often feature thick tempered steel.
- Welded: Inexpensive hoe blades can come with several welded sections. This is a cost-effective way of making a hoe suitable for weeding soft soil, but a welded joint is a point of weakness, so a welded blade is not always the best option for hoeing hard-packed soil. That said, some heavy-duty garden hoes do come with welded blades, but those feature heavier-gauge steel to withstand intense use.
A high-quality hoe assists a gardener in digging and weeding for many years with just a modicum of care. The hoe type and features might affect how much maintenance it requires, but there are a few universal maintenance tasks that apply to all hoes.
- Keep it clean. Hoeing often leaves mud and dirt caked on the blade, which increases the risk of rust and corrosion. Scrape away packed-on soil with a putty knife or use a steel brush to remove it before storing the hoe.
- Store it in a shed or garage. This is especially important if the hoe has a wood handle or a tempered-steel blade, but it’s best to store all garden tools out of the elements. Over time, harsh UV rays from the sun can wreak havoc on fiberglass handles as well.
- Keep it sharp. If the hoe has a tempered or welded blade, sharpen it if it’s not cutting through the soil and weed roots as well as it once did.
Our Top Picks
To qualify as a top pick, a gardening hoe needs to have a strong, durable blade and come with a handle that’s smooth and easy to grip. Just ahead, learn more about some of the best garden hoes on the market, and find out how they performed in our hands-on backyard test plot.
If there’s only room in the shed for one garden hoe, we suggest choosing the Rogue Prohoe 5.75″ Disc. The heavy-duty head is manufactured out of incredibly rugged recycled steel agricultural discs, which are the implements pulled behind a tractor to break up soil clods and work in crop residues. They are handmade and sharpened on three sides to work from any angle. The shallow half-moon-shaped head balances extremely well on the long, 60-inch ash wood handle. Both tall and short gardeners should find it comfortable for extended use and most hoeing tasks.
In our garden, we found this to be a very capable hoe. It offers plenty of reach to work 3-foot beds from either side. During bed preparation, the heavy clay soil was no match for the thick steel, super-sharp blade. The broad, relatively thin blade design and its corresponding angle to the handle gave it really good balance regardless of how we gripped the handle. This hoe was a pleasure to use.
- Type: Draw
- Handle length: 60 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Head manufactured from recycled agricultural steel disc blades
- Precision sharpened on 3 sides
- 60-inch ash handle
- Outstanding balance
- Premium price
- Handle may be too long for some users and some applications
Get the Rogue Prohoe 5.75″ garden hoe on Amazon or Prohoe.
The point on the Bully Tools heart-shaped blade lets the gardener work with precision between narrow rows and around desirable plants. The blade features heavy-duty 12-gauge steel and is 5 inches wide at the top but narrows to a small point at the tip, enabling it to work particularly well for weeding in tight spots. The handle is made from fiberglass and comes with a cushioned, nonslip grip at the end for comfort. This heart-shaped hoe’s handle is 52 inches long, which is suitable for most gardeners, and it’s built to last.
We appreciated the rock-solid construction of the Bully Tools Warren Hoe. The thick fiberglass handle and stout 12-gauge steel head is a combination that should last a long time under heavy use. But this hoe may actually be overbuilt. Its overall weight is more than a pound heavier than competing warren hoes, which could lead to early user fatigue. Lighter-weight materials may be okay for this style of hoe. That said, the dimensions were just right for a wide variety of uses, which is important since many Warren hoe enthusiasts use this style and nothing else. We’re still searching for the “perfect” triangular hoe, but this one has a lot to offer.
- Type: Warren/triangular
- Handle length: 52 inches
- Weight: 3.39 pounds
- Commercial-grade steel blade
- Durable construction
- Wide variety of uses
- Nonslip grip
- Heavier weight than the competition
- Head angle may be too narrow for taller users
Get the Bully Tools Warren garden hoe on Amazon, Lowe’s, or Gemplers.
From a century-old name in lawn and garden tools comes the Flexrake Mini Hula-Ho. It features a metal stirrup blade that cuts weeds by either pushing or pulling. The blade is sharp on both ends and also self-sharpening, reducing the physical effort required for weeding and cultivating in soft to medium soil. The 10-inch handle is made from durable hardwood and features a cushioned end grip for comfort and impact reduction. The Flexrake Mini Hula-Ho is an ideal handheld tool for small spaces.
We wanted to test the Flexrake Mini Hula-Ho in a compact area. This little stirrup hoe excelled at controlling weeds in a raised bed and our newly planted mailbox flower bed. The flat, double-action blade worked something like a “weed eraser” as we push-pulled our way between plants. The blade stayed mostly within the upper ¼ to ½ inch of soil, cutting the tops of the weeds just below the surface without disturbing the root zone. This specialty tool is ideal for early season cultivation around young seedlings.
- Type: Stirrup
- Handle length: 10 inches
- Weight: 14 ounces
- Great for hard-to-reach spaces
- Cuts forward and backward
- Self-sharpening blade
- Not ideal for extensive yard work
Get the Flexrake garden hoe on Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Walmart.
For those looking for a standard draw hoe, this Bully Tools garden hoe that comes with a lightweight fiberglass handle may be the right pick. With its thick 12-gauge steel blade, the Bully Tools hoe can withstand powerful chopping and pulling action. The blade is 6.5 inches wide and nearly 6 inches long, including the steel shaft that connects to the handle. The hoe blade and handle total 58 inches long, making this hoe well suited for average to tall gardeners looking for a hardworking, durable garden tool.
Right out of the box, the Bully Tools 12-Gauge Fiberglass Handle Garden Hoe leaves the impression of rugged durability. The heavy-gauge steel head and thick fiberglass handle feel as if they could last a lifetime. However, the blade has no factory-sharpened edge. We therefore spent about 15 minutes grinding one, a task that would have taken a half hour or more had we not used a bench grinder. In the garden, this hoe performed just as we might expect from a classic weed-chopping draw hoe, which is to say it did a great job working through coarse weeds and heavy soil clods but was limited in its ability to finesse weeding around garden plants. It’s a rock-solid choice for garden bed preparation for those who don’t mind finishing the blade.
- Type: Draw
- Handle length: 52.75 inches
- Weight: 3.19 pounds
- Wide cutting blade
- Heavy-duty construction
- 100 percent American made
- Heavier than others
- Edge is not factory sharpened
Get the Bully Tools fiberglass handle garden hoe on Amazon, Lowe’s, or Walmart.
For removing both deep and shallow weeds, it’s tough to beat the Nisaku Stainless Steel Long Nejiri Hoe, which features a strong spike blade made from rust-resistant stainless steel. This knifelike weeding hoe is used with traditional chop-and-draw motion. With its shorter, 45-inch-long handle, this hoe also suits shorter or petite gardeners. Alternatively, it’s handy for taller gardeners who want to weed in a raised bed. The handle features polished hardwood for smoothness and comfort.
At first glance, the Nisaku Stainless Steel Long Nejiri Hoe doesn’t look like a hoe at all. The finger-size knife blade attaches at a compound angle to the handle, giving it the appearance of a pruning tool. In our tests, the sharp stainless steel blade worked like a hybrid of the two, slicing through tough weeds and woody vines above and below the soil line. The handle length and articulate blade suggest this would be an excellent tool for maintaining compact planting beds or cultivating around fruit trees and grapevines.
- Type: Specialty weeding hoe
- Handle length: 45 inches
- Weight: 14.5 ounces
- Versatile design for detailed weeding
- Rust-resistant stainless steel head
- Sharp knifelike head design
- Lightweight wooden handle
- Shorter handle is better suited for raised-bed gardening
Get the Nisaku garden hoe at The Home Depot, Amazon, or Walmart.
Hard soil and heavy weeds may be no match for the Rogue Field Hoe’s sharpened 7-inch-wide, heavy-duty steel blade. The Rogue hoe will tackle tough gardening tasks, such as breaking out sod or loosening hard-packed soil. At 60 inches long, it comes with a 54-inch-long smooth ash handle for durability and impact reduction. Its powerful wide blade slices through the ground with ease. This garden hoe isn’t for the weakhearted—but for those who have heavy-duty weeding or cultivating to do, this tool can be a wise investment.
We really like that Rogue Hoe makes its tool heads from recycled steel agricultural discs. It’s precisely the right material for the job, from a more sustainable source. Plus the tool arrived perfectly sharpened and ready to work right out of the box. The 7-inch Field Hoe was heavy but fairly articulate for the size and very aggressive. The heavy weight, sharp edges, and long handle allowed it to easily chop through overgrown raspberry canes and 1-inch-thick tree roots encroaching on our garden area. When it comes to infusing a mix of strength, durability, functionality, and user comfort, Rogue Hoe seems to consistently get it right.
- Type: Draw
- Handle length: 54 inches
- Weight: 3.7 pounds
- Sturdy steel blade
- Long-lasting sharp edges
- Wide blade edge for more coverage
- Natural ash wood handle
Get the Rogue field hoe at Gemplers, Amazon, or Prohoe.
For general cultivation, soil aeration, and weeding, consider the Corona GT Extended Reach Hoe, which features a rust-resistant blade on one side and a three-pronged fork on the other. This hoe’s metal handle with ComfortGEL grip offers ergonomic comfort while gardening as well as a degree of impact reduction. The hoe’s handle is just 36 inches in length, making it slightly shorter than average and just right for chopping and hoeing by a petite gardener or even a tall gardener who wants to hoe an elevated garden bed. The versatile two-in-one blade and fork can enable users to properly cultivate and aerate their crops using the same tool.
Corona’s GT Extended Reach Hoe is a half-size tool just the right size for working in smaller garden beds and raised planters. We liked the dual-action head that works as both a hoe and cultivator for both soil preparation and cultivation of garden plants. It was comfortable to use one-handed but still offered a good amount of chopping and digging power. The head fits easily between growing garden plants to reach sprouting weed seedlings. It makes a nice complement to your garden trowel for those times when you need a bit more leverage.
- Type: Combination draw hoe/cultivator
- Handle length: 36 inches
- Weight: 2.14 pounds
- Strong but lightweight construction
- Compact size for smaller work areas
- Longer reach than other “mini” tools
- Combination hoe and cultivator
- Not suitable for extensive gardening
Get the Corona garden hoe on Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Lowe’s.
The Ames Wood Handle Action Hoe is constructed with a lightweight steel blade and durable hardwood handle for a long life of efficient weeding. The stirrup design allows it to cultivate only the upper 0.5 inch of soil to eliminate emerging weeds while protecting developing plant roots. The head is attached to the handle at a precise angle that keeps the blade nearly flat against the ground while the operator uses a push-pull motion to “erase” weed seedlings. The stirrup blade is 6 inches wide and 4 inches long from the blade to the handle base. The handle is 54 inches long.
We loved the ease of weeding with this stirrup hoe. The blade moved almost effortlessly through the soil surface, even through crusted-over clay. In our garden, the two-way weeding ability allowed us to cover lots of ground quickly and to easily adjust our hoeing style to meet the demand without changing our grip. Our tallest user noted that a longer handle could make it more comfortable to work with, but our users who were less than 6 feet tall loved it as is. The Ames Action Hoe makes an outstanding early season weed control tool for veggie gardening.
- Type: Stirrup
- Handle length: 54 inches
- Weight: 2.58 pounds
- 2-way shallow weeding action
- Works from a more upright position
- Great for working among garden seedlings
- Does not disturb developing plant roots
- Handle may be uncomfortably short for taller users
Get the Ames garden hoe at The Home Depot or Walmart.
Two clear favorites rose to the top during the course of our testing. The Rogue Prohoe 5.75″ Disc Garden Hoe offers outstanding functional versatility and is relatively lightweight, yet it has extremely durable construction and comfortable operation for short and tall gardeners. If there is a single perfect hoe, this could be it.
On the other hand, we also loved the Ames Wood Handle Action Hoe’s simple, specialized weeding capability. It sliced through soil and weed seedlings like butter without disturbing garden plants within 0.5 inch.
How We Tested the Best Garden Hoes
Few other hand tools encompass the sheer diversity of designs and applications as garden hoes. Gardeners of all body types use hoes for minor tillage and soil preparation in all kinds of soil, and in weeding all kinds of weeds. With that in mind, we decided to select and testl an assortment of garden hoes, each designed to excel in a unique purpose. Our backyard garden made an ideal test plot with lots of different plants growing at different stages, areas of weed infestation, and heavy clay-based soil.
We tested each hoe according to its design and pushed the limits of its capability. For instance, we only used the two stirrup hoes for weeding since they are not designed for soil preparation. We tested them for their ability to slice through different types and sizes of weeds, among densely planted garden seedlings, and in wide-open areas. Similarly, we tested the traditional garden hoe, warren hoe, and field hoe for their abilities as generalists, including chopping coarse weeds, breaking up hardened dirt clods, and preparing planting furrows. In order to be included here, each hoe had to comfortably perform according to its intended purpose, without leading us to believe it was on the brink of failure.
Hoeing is an essential part of keeping a flower or vegetable garden weed-free. If this is the first time you’ve shopped for a garden hoe, you are likely to have some questions. Below are answers to some of the most popular questions about garden hoes.
Q. How often should you hoe a garden?
Weeding is a task that requires much less time and effort if done frequently. New weeds are supple and easy to remove, so walk through your garden at least every other day and spend a few minutes weeding with a hoe.
Q. How do you replace a garden hoe handle?
You can replace a wood handle on a hoe if it breaks or becomes splintery. Simply remove the screws or nuts and bolts that secure the handle in place, remove the old handle, insert the new one, and use new screws to secure it. If you have a vise to hold the hoe head steady as you work, it will simplify the process.
Q. How do you maintain your garden hoe?
Clean dirt and mud from the hoe blade after use, and store the hoe in a garage or storage shed to prolong its useful life.