Garden Hoes & Other Weeding Tools
Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed
Updated 9th June 2021
Traditional Tools or the Latest Gadget - Which should you buy?
On This Page
Long Reach Hoes
Mattocks & Cultivators
Small Hand Tools
Forks & Trowels
Specialist Weeding Tools
Flame Gun for Weeding Gravel and Large Areas
Best Gloves For Weeding
I have tested hundreds of weeding tools over the last 20 years of running Fredshed and in the 20 years of gardening before that. There are as many weeding tools as there are weeds and choosing the best will depend on the type of weeds you have, and the setting they exist in.
Below are some of my favourite tools that I have personally used for many years. As there are so many options I will break it down in sections depending on the location of the weeds, i.e. open soil, lawns, patios, driveways etc.
Best Garden Hoes
For weeding in open soil the hoe is the most efficient tool, but there are many versions.
First Question - Chopping Type or Push-Pull?
This is a Dutch hoe and the most common form of push-pull hoe.
The small hoes below are what I call Draw hoes or chopping hoes.
They were initially called draw hoes as their main function was to draw up soil over rows of vegetables like potatoes.
The draw hoe is more specialised than a push pull hoe so not as useful in most settings.
The 3 small draw hoes shown are also called "onion hoes" as the pointed ends are great for accurate weed clearing around an onion.
As you can see there is an endless choice of tools.
The Dutch hoe is generally long handled but there are push pull hoes with short handles like the Stealth weeder that I invented.
My favourite long handled hoe is the Swoe.
This tool was originally made by Wilkinson Sword and looks similar to a golf club
The Swoe - An unlikely contender for the best Hoe
The Swoe is so efficient because it is lightweight and can be moved in any direction.
The metal blade works best in Stainless steel and can be used on its side to make a drill, or on end as a scraper.
In my opinion this is one of the best and easiest to use weeder/cultivators ever made. It is also one of the strangest looking. The Swoe is a cross between a golf club and a hoe and is light-weight yet extremely strong.
The chamfered steel blade slides under the soil backwards and forwards, or at an angle. It can even be hooked around the back of a hard to reach plant. Turned on its edge it can be used to dig small holes for planting, seed drills and for ridging soil.
The best versions have a stainless steel blade that remains cleaner and smoother therefore offers less resistance when sliding through the soil.
This hoe, along with my own Stealth weeder is the tool of choice for most of the gardeners at Le Manoir.
You may not be able to find a Swoe in your local garden centre as the unusual design makes them harder to sell than other types of hoe.
The links below will get you one at a good price and also help me and my site keep this great tool going. I promise you that will be impressed with this tool!
If you hoe larger open areas or want a more traditional type hoe then I would recommend a stainless steel Dutch hoe.
Long Handled Stainless Steel Stealth Weeder
Long Hardwood Ash Handle allows a good posture during use
This version was made for my by Jaap Sneeboer in Holland.
The Sneeboer family have been making garden tools for generations.
They are hand crafted from the best materials.
I have a limited amount of this version available for collection from Oxford
Delta shape flies under the soil and rear notches can pull out weeds
The notches can catch small weeds or pull out large deep rooted ones
In my former work as an NHS Horticultural therapist I had to research and find the best garden tool for people with different disabilities.
The Swoe was one of my most recommended tools as it is so light and easy to use.
I developed the Stealth Weeder as a variant of the Swoe that could also pull out weeds rather than just chop them off.
If you use the link below you can see my pages for gardeners with disabilities.
Pulling out weeds is better than chopping them off
If you are being overrun by weeds any action is better than no action.
In the worst case scenario, when I don't have time I do use weedkiller or even cover larger areas with black plastic sheets.
The best way to deal with weeds is to remove them whole with all of their roots so they won't grow back.
Dutch hoes and normal push-pull hoes tend to chop some weeds off and leave roots to grow again.
I like to have many weapons in my armoury as my gardens have many different areas.
I you have a really bad weed problem and they have taken over then you need to bring in the big guns!.
The area may need to be dug over but this is back braking and sometimes tool breaking work.
The garden fork is the most commonly used tool but they often break or bend when digging out rough areas.
An easier tool to use and one that goes back thousands of years is the garden Mattock or Azada.
Azadas and Mattocks - Best Weed Clearance Tools?
This is a Mattock also known as an Azada. There are also Azada forks .
And combinations of both.
And combinations of both.
Azadas (mattocks) are very common in developing countries and are great to use in hard or stony ground.
One of my favourite tools is the little Roughneck fibreglass handled micro mattock.
It is incredibly strong and perfect for deep root removal and breaking down hard ground.
If you suffer back pain but have good arm strength and co-ordination the longer handled, smaller headed versions maybe easier to use than a traditional fork or spade.
lick For My Page Dedicated to Specialist Digging Tools
Small Garden Hand Tools, Forks and Trowels
Small Weeding and Digging Tools - Forks and Trowels
These are my Dutch made Sneeboer tools that I use a lot for weeding in my flower beds. .
The trowel blade is a bit thinner than a normal trowel which is good for deeper rooted weed removal.
Sneeboer tools use stainless steel which is great for sliding into the soil and offers some rust resistance.
Sneeboer make a massive range of trowels and specialist weeding tools.
They are expensive so read on for the best lower price options.
Best Value - Good Quality Fork and Trowel
Whilst my readers know that I am not a fan of stainless steel for full
size forks and spades I am more enthusiastic about its use in small hand
These Spear & Jackson Select tools are a joy to use as they are well
made and have comfortable soft grip handles.
If you are using garden handtools a lot then you will really appreciate these
handles. I have left these tools out in the garden to see how durable
they are and they are very tough. Wooden handled tools are nice but not
if they get wet a lot. At about £9 each these tools are very good value and
will probably outlast wooden handled tools as the plastic and rubber is
good quality and seems not to be affected by water and weather.
these tools a lot and leave them outside to see just how durable they
are. So far very good!
Whilst my readers know that I am not a fan of stainless steel for full size forks and spades I am more enthusiastic about its use in small hand tools.
These Spear & Jackson Select tools are a joy to use as they are well made and have comfortable soft grip handles.
If you are using garden handtools a lot then you will really appreciate these handles. I have left these tools out in the garden to see how durable they are and they are very tough. Wooden handled tools are nice but not if they get wet a lot.
At about £9 each these tools are very good value and will probably outlast wooden handled tools as the plastic and rubber is good quality and seems not to be affected by water and weather.
I use these tools a lot and leave them outside to see just how durable they are. So far very good!
British made Fork and Trowels
These are my 5 Bulldog Premier handtools - all shiny and new.
I have used them for 5 years now and some are a bit scratched up but all work fine.
Notice the 2 thin trowels that are good for rockeries and deep rooted weeds.
The 2 pronged tool on the left is a daisy grubber so specially designed for lawn weeds.
Buying Several Weeding Tools?
Wolf Multi-Change Garden Tool System
To cover a plethora of jobs in the garden I like to have a system of tools that fits different handles.
The advantage of this is that you save space on storage and can transport lots of tools all at once.
I have used this multi-change system for over 30 years now and also tried many "wanna-be" systems.
With the exception of the harder to find Gardena Combi-system all were poor in comparison and none have the range and variety of handles and heads.
The range includes the Swoe, Dutch Hoe, Draw Hoe, Patio Weeder, Weed puller, Weeding Brush, Rakes and Brooms.
Brooms, brushes and even fruit picking attachments make this the widest range of tools available from any one company.
This system has been around many years and will be available for many more.
The Wolf Multichange system is made in Germany and I have used it for over 30 years.
Lawn Weeding Tools and Daisy Weeders
If your lawn or borders have deep rooted weeds and you don't like bending this is the tool for you.
The Fiskars weedpuller is fun to use and very effective on large weeds.
There is a bit if a technique to learn but practice makes perfect.
If you don't mind bending down or your lawn weeds are smaller like daises and dandelions then the small hand tool below is ideal.
The sheen flamegun has been around for decades and I first bought one in 1978! .
The flame gun runs on paraffin and is ideal for dealing with large areas of small weeds.
There is a choice of 2 models and all spares are available too.
The weedkiller of choice in my day was Sodium Chlorate but this was abolished and replaced with Glyphosate, often known as Roundup.
The only time I use the weedkiller is for small weeds in my shingle grids and hiding in the cracks in my concrete driveway.
If you want a less chemical weedkiller then Ecofective weedblast is worth a try.
Thin but Tough Showa Plant Master Gloves
Also known as "assembly 370" gloves as they are often used on factory assembly lines.
Showa Gloves are the real deal and cost around £5
I bought some cheap copies at a garden show and they ripped in no time.
Don't waste your money on poor quality gloves. These are strong but also soft enough for delicate work.
Thin but strong - small - medium - large
Please use my links when purchasing gloves if you want to help my work testing and reviewing the best gardening products. - (long term since Feb 2000!)
If you found my advice helpful you can support my work by returning to this page and using my links when purchasing your tools.
Also any products bought from Amazon found by the searchbox below will produce a small commission that helps cover my hosting costs. thanks, Fred
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