Equipment & Tools

The 4 Basic Types of Garden Hoes and the Job to Use Them For

There are many different types of weeding hoes and knowing which one to use can make weeding your garden much easier. The 4 basic types include:

  • Draw hoes
  • Reciprocating hoes
  • Flat hoes
  • Sweeping hoes

Hoes can be attached to short or long handles. They can also be attached to walk behind wheel hoes

So, what makes each category unique?

Draw Hoe

A draw hoe is used by pulling the hoe toward you. It works by scraping on or just below the surface to cut and uproot the weeds. Heavy duty draw hoes can be used on big weeds in hard packed soil. This is the type of hoe that you will most likely familiar with. To check to see if the hoe you have in your shed is truly a draw hoe you need to make sure that the angle the blade is contacting the ground is between 20 and 30 degrees which is optimal for scraping. Some draw hoes can be adjusted to get the correct angle

There are a few specialty draw hoes with one or more tines. These are sometimes called cultivator hoes. These hoes can be used to loosen the soil so that your other types of weeding hoes can then be used.

Reciprocating Hoe

A reciprocating hoe is used with a back and forth scrubbing motion, like using a mop to get a spot off the floor.  A reciprocating hoe’s blade has a slight pivot to let it scrape on both the front and the back stroke at the correct shallow angle so that it can cut smaller weeds and uproot the bigger weeds. This style of hoe is often used with a fast action to quickly prepare soil for seeding and to clean between rows. With a gentler touch it can also be used up close to plants.

Flat Hoe

A flat hoe has a blade that lays flat on the ground when you are holding it.  If it is not lying flat, you will need to adjust the angle so that it does work optimally for you. Flat hoes use a push and pull action and are only good for working in loose and soft soils. Flat hoes come in many shapes. These hoes require a “sharp” edge for cutting on the forward push, so there are designs with sharpened and saw-toothed edges. You will want to keep these hoes sharp for easier hoeing.

Sweeping Hoe

A sweeping hoe is used with a short sweeping and slicing action. Your posture will be upright with the tool used as if you are holding a traditional broom. These types of hoes are also designed for loose and soft soils. These hoes are particularly good for weeding close to plants. Since you are standing above the blade you will have an exceptionally good view of where you are weeding.  A unique type of sweeping hoe is a wire weeder.  Wire weeders do not have a cutting blade and are used in loose soils to pull out small weeds with minimal soil disturbance. Since they do not have a sharp blade, these weeders are good for using with irrigation tubing and drip tapes.

Things for you to consider before you purchase a new weeding hoe:

  • Is your soil soft or loose? 
  • Do you weed frequently so that weeds are small?
  • Are you looking for a hoe that you can use in big areas like rows?
  • Are you wanting to do detail weeding next to your plants?

With all the different weeding hoe designs you should be able to find one or two styles that will work better for you and your soil types.

Greg Baka is the owner of Easy Digging Tool Store.

Related Articles & Free Email Newsletter

Inexpensive Tools and Materials Every Small Greenhouse Grower Should Have

Proper Greenhouse Ventilation on a Budget

Selecting the Right Tool Makes Pruning Easier

Subscribe to our Free Email Newsletter

Comment here