Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our big garden hoe test 2021. Here we present all the garden hoes we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best garden hoe for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a garden hoe.




Summary

  • The garden hoe is a garden tool that is mainly used for digging and loosening the garden soil. The garden hoe is also used to remove all weeds.
  • There are three types of garden hoes: manual garden hoes, electric garden hoes and petrol garden hoes. While the electric and petrol garden hoes are powered by a motor, the manual garden hoe has to be swung by hand.
  • When buying a garden hoe, make sure that it has the necessary working width for the size of your garden and that it is also height-adjustable. Only then can you adjust the working depth and dig your lawn to different depths.

The Best Garden Hoe: Our Choices

Guide: Questions to ask yourself before buying a garden hoe

What is a garden hoe?

First of all, it should be mentioned that many manufacturers use the terms garden hoe, garden tiller, rotary tiller, lawn tiller and power hoe as synonyms.

In the past, very large and heavy tools had to be used to dig up the lawn. Sometimes they were so heavy that horses had to be harnessed to them. Nowadays, this is fortunately easier with motorised garden hoes. (Source: unsplash.com / Luiz Guimaraes)

In all cases, a garden tool is described that is used to dig up the garden or loosen the soil. However, depending on the type of product, it refers to either a tool made of wood and steel, an electrically powered tool or a petrol garden hoe. We will go into more detail about the differences between each type in our decision section.

How do I use a garden hoe properly?

Basically, you can't do much wrong when using a garden hoe. If you use a manual garden hoe, make sure that your back remains as straight as possible while working. It is also important that you lift the soil with your legs and not just with the strength of your arms.

Otherwise you could end up with joint or back pain. For the electric or petrol garden hoe, the most important thing is to set your desired working depth on the tool. This tells you how deep you want the tool to dig into the soil.

What is the difference between a power hoe and a garden tiller?

The terms power hoe and garden tiller are actually used as synonyms by manufacturers. Therefore, it is difficult to really distinguish between the terms. In theory, the rotary tiller should have a greater working depth than the power tiller and thus be able to penetrate deeper into the ground.

However, to generalise this would simply be wrong because of the names used on the market. We recommend that you rely on the product details and not on the name. Look for a tool with a working depth that makes the most sense for your circumstances.

How much does a garden hoe cost?

The price of a garden hoe ranges from 5 to 500 euros.

Type Price range
Manual garden hoe 5-60 €
Electric garden hoe 70-170 €
Petrol garden hoe 200-500 €

Manual garden hoes have the lowest price. They do not have a motor, which drives up the price. There are also small hand garden hoes that are very cheap. Electric and petrol garden hoes are logically more expensive, as they require more materials and are more expensive to manufacture.

What are the alternatives to a garden hoe?

In principle, there are many alternatives for the tasks that a garden hoe has to perform. The following garden tools can also be used for digging or loosening the soil:

  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Digging fork

It doesn't really matter which product you prefer. Digging forks and garden hoes are easier to reach into hard ground because of their pointed teeth, while shovels and spades can move a larger amount of soil. Basically, it depends on your personal preferences which alternative you choose.

Decision: What types of garden hoes are there and which is the right one for you?

When it comes to garden hoes, you can distinguish between three types:

  • Manual garden hoe
  • Electric garden hoe
  • Petrol garden hoe

Depending on the features you need for the use of your garden hoe, you should choose one of the possible variants. In the following, we will try to make this decision easier for you by explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each type of garden hoe.

What are the characteristics of a manual garden hoe and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The manual garden hoe consists of a handle and an end piece, which can have different shapes. Usually, there is a smooth spade surface on one side, while several tines are attached to the other side.

This also makes the manual garden hoe multifunctional. The tines ensure that the garden hoe can also penetrate stony soil and the wide blade can grip more soil. Another advantage of the manual garden hoe is that it is particularly handy and light.

However, working by hand is more physically demanding than using an electric or petrol garden hoe. The work is also likely to take longer, as the automated device can usually hold more soil and work faster than a person.

On the other hand, the manual garden hoe is cheaper compared to the other types and can also be used in very small beds, which is rather difficult with the large machines.

Advantages
  • Handy
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Multifunctional
Disadvantages
  • Use is physically demanding
  • Time-consuming work

What are the features of an electric garden hoe and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The electric garden hoe is, as its name suggests, a device that is operated by means of an electric motor. Visually, this garden hoe resembles the standard lawn mower, although there is no cutting blade attached, but a chopping blade that can dig up the soil.

Compared to the manual garden hoe, this device seems relatively large and expensive. In contrast to the petrol garden hoe, however, this garden tiller is small and handy.

A great advantage of electronically powered tools is the low noise level they produce during operation. In addition, no exhaust fumes are emitted, which makes the use of this power tiller extremely environmentally friendly.

On the other hand, however, the electric motor provides less engine power than a petrol engine. This means that the electric garden hoe is not suitable for very hard soils and you may have to apply some power yourself when working.

Advantages
  • Small and handy
  • Low noise level
  • Environmentally friendly
Disadvantages
  • Unsuitable for hard soils
  • Lower engine power
  • Expensive

What distinguishes a petrol garden hoe and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The petrol garden hoe is similar in construction to the electric garden hoe, except that its engine runs on petrol. In addition, the construction is more material-intensive and therefore has a higher dead weight.

This type of garden hoe is the most expensive in terms of price. The petrol engine is also noisy during use and the exhaust gases produced are not very environmentally friendly.

One of the great advantages of the petrol garden hoe is that its engine power makes it suitable for large areas, as it can work them in a very short time. Likewise, this power tiller penetrates even the hardest soils effortlessly, which is why you certainly don't need any extra effort when using it.

However, the advantages of the high weight and powerful engine of petrol tillers described above also bring with them a serious disadvantage: these machines are very large, heavy and therefore unwieldy. Transporting them will be more difficult than with the other alternatives.

Advantages
  • Suitable for large areas
  • Strong engine power
  • Penetrates hard soils easily
Disadvantages
  • Very expensive
  • Loud
  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Very large and unwieldy

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate garden hoes

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible garden hoes. The criteria we use for this include:

  • Weight
  • Size (for manual garden hoe)
  • Shape (for manual garden hoe)
  • Power (for electric/petrol garden hoe)
  • Working width (for electric/petrol garden hoe)
  • Working depth (for electric/petrol garden hoe)
  • Running wheels (on electric/petrol garden hoe)
  • Chopping blade (for electric/petrol garden hoe)

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what is important in the individual criteria.

Weight

The first important criterion is the weight of the garden hoe. Manual garden hoes are very light and therefore easy to handle. Electric garden hoes are somewhat heavier, but still relatively handy.

Petrol garden hoes, on the other hand, have a high weight, which makes them harder to transport and not easy to move. However, weight also has its advantages, especially with the motor-driven tools.

A heavier weight means that the tool itself can exert more pressure on the ground and you therefore have to exert less of your own force to make the power hoe penetrate the ground.

More weight means a heavier power hoe to transport, but one that can dig your soil more easily.

For manual garden hoes, we recommend that you choose a model that is not very heavy. You have to operate this type of garden hoe by hand, so a heavier weight will make your work more difficult.

If you do not plan to move the hoe from one place to another frequently, you can choose a heavier model. This will make your work easier and the power hoe can dig up your garden without any problems.

However, if you plan to transport your garden hoe often, choose a slightly lighter model, otherwise you will have considerable problems transporting it.

Size (of the manual garden hoe)

The size of the manual garden hoe is the most important factor. Long garden hoes can be used standing up, while short hand garden hoes require you to move towards the ground. As a rule of thumb, the taller the person, the taller the garden hoe.

For people up to 1.65 metres tall, we recommend a length of 100 to 115 cm. Those who are over 1.80 metres tall should rather choose models with a length of 115 to 120 cm. The length is less important for hand garden hoes. It just has to be comfortable to hold.

Shape (of the manual garden hoe)

The shape of the manual garden hoe refers to the shape of the steel end piece. This varies greatly. Usually, one side consists of a smooth spade surface, while the other side has a certain number of tines attached. However, there are also models that have only one spade surface or use more abstract shapes

This manual garden hoe, for example, has only two pointed tines and an oval spade blade that is also pointed. (Source: pixabay.com / congerdesign)

Which shape is right for you depends entirely on the nature of your garden. If the soil in your garden is rather stony, it will be important for your garden hoe to have tines, as these can penetrate the soil better.

However, if your soil is free of stones, a garden hoe with a spade surface without tines will suffice. In our opinion, however, a manual garden hoe should be multifunctional. This is only the case if it has both tines and a spade surface. This way you are prepared for any eventuality and can work optimally in your garden.

Power (of the electric/petrol garden hoe)

First of all: The power of electric and petrol garden hoes is specified by the manufacturers in watts (W). The higher the number of watts, the more powerful the motor and thus the power hoe itself.

Caution! In the case of electric garden hoes, the wattage may indicate the rated input power. This describes how much current the motor can be charged with. The power of the electric motor is then stated elsewhere.

A higher wattage does not always mean something good. The power of the motor should above all be adapted to the size of the device so that working is as comfortable as possible. Below we provide you with a table in which the size of the cutter of the power hoe is compared with the maximum power required for it:

Size of the chopping blade Motor power
20 x 20 cm 800 Watt
40 x 25 cm 1,500 Watt
60 x 30 cm 4,000 Watt

Working width (for electric/petrol garden hoe)

In terms of the size of electric and petrol power hoes, the working width, i.e. the width of the tool, is decisive. If you want to work on a large area in a short time, you should choose a tool with a wide working width.

For smaller gardens, a working width of 20-30 centimetres should be sufficient. However, if you have a very large area, you can also use power tillers with a width of up to 60 centimetres.

Working depth (of the electric/petrol garden hoe)

The maximum working depth is usually between 20 and 30 centimetres. Normally, you can also adjust the depth at which the power hoe should work. The maximum working depth of most models should actually be quite sufficient.

In our opinion, it is much more important that the height can be adjusted. This allows you to work at different depths. If you want to dig your garden as deep as possible, we recommend a petrol garden hoe.

These have more power and are therefore better suited for working at greater depths. For gardens where you want to work more on the surface, electric garden hoes are suitable. However, they cannot work optimally at high depths.

Wheels (on the electric/petrol garden hoe)

Wheels are extremely useful for transporting your power hoe. Therefore, when buying a heavy tool, it is important to make sure that it has wheels. Otherwise, it can be very difficult or impossible for you to get the machine to the site of use on your own. In addition, a drive wheel attached to the front of the garden hoe is sometimes useful.

If the ground is level, you can use a power tiller without a drive wheel without hesitation, as you do not need a lot of power to keep the power tiller on track. In addition, a garden tiller without a drive wheel is easier to manoeuvre.

If, on the other hand, the ground is very bumpy and uneven, you should use a power hoe with a drive wheel. This means that you will have to use less force to move the machine across the terrain.

Chopping blades (for the electric/petrol garden hoe)

The number of chopping blades should play an essential role in your choice of garden hoe. Test results consistently show that power hoes with more blades perform better than those without.

The higher the number of hoeing blades, the finer the crumbling of the soil and the looser the soil becomes.

Garden hoes with few hoeing blades will take you longer to achieve the desired loosening of your soil. If you want to save time, make sure that your garden hoe has enough hoeing blades.

Facts worth knowing about garden hoes

When should I dig up my lawn?

There are many reasons to dig up your lawn and replant it afterwards. People who want to rebuild their lawn should logically dig it up. Likewise, those who have uneven ground in their garden and want to straighten it.

Furthermore, in exceptional cases of very heavy weed infestation, it may be the right decision to completely dig up the lawn and then replant it. In most cases, however, simple scarifying and reseeding is sufficient.

A lawn covered in molehills may force you to dig up and replant your lawn. (Source: pixabay.com / meineresterampe)

Furthermore, if your lawn is extremely wet and needs to be drained, digging may be a good idea. Similarly, a heavy build-up of molehills may mean you need to dig up your lawn.

How can I sharpen my garden hoe properly?

After a while, every sharp garden tool becomes dull. If this happens, you should sharpen it rather than throwing it away and buying a new one. The most important tools for sharpening garden tools are:

Grinder:

Grinding machines are sometimes the fastest way to sharpen a tool optimally. However, they scrape off a lot of metal and are difficult to use for the inexperienced.

Sharpening stone:

The whetstone is a porous stone that needs a lot of oil to sharpen the tool optimally and not damage it. So before use, soak the whetstone in oil until it is fully soaked.

File:

The file is available in different degrees of fineness. This tool is especially recommended for hobby gardeners who are not practised in sharpening. All these items are usually available for refund in online shops or in specialised shops for gardening accessories.

What to do if the garden hoe does not start?

There are several reasons why your petrol garden hoe may misfire or have difficulty starting. Below we have provided a table with all possible causes and the corresponding measures.

Cause Action
Switch is set to stop Set switch to start
No fuel in tank Fill tank
Fuel screen is clogged Replace screen
Spark plug is shorted/defective Replace spark plug
Spark plug is dirty Clean spark plug
Ignition cable is broken/shorted Replace ignition cable
Ignition is defective Only the manufacturer's service department can help.
Water in fuel replace fuel
Too much oil in fuel drain fuel completely and add correct mixture
Engine lacks air close choke and pull starter rope 2-3 times
Carburettor is misaligned readjust carburettor
Gasket is defective replace gasket
Ignition spark is too weak ask manufacturer's service for advice

Picture source: 123rf.com / 55191124

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