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Choose the right size garden hoe

By: Jennifer Howell
Learn how to size up a garden hoe before you purchase one so you get the right fit and prevent a sore back.

Hoeing weeds doesn’t have to be the back-breaking job we envision. You just need the right garden hoe, and one that fits your size. Here’s a few tips to help you shop for a garden hoe.

Consider your height when buying a garden hoe

  • When you are at the store, hold the hoe upright next to your body. The top of the hoe should hit between your armpit and the top of your shoulder.
  • Next, hold it out in front of you as if you were using it. The end of the handle should hit you at about your belly button.
  • You should be able to grip it on the end to use while standing fairly upright. The less you bend, the better your back will feel later.

find-the-right-garden-hoegarden-hoe-angles: If you are tall and holding the handle more vertically, the blade will be flatter to the ground with a small angle like you see on the left. If you are short, you will likely be holding the hoe closer to the ground, which shifts the blade end more upright with a wide angle, on the right.

It’s all about the angle

Some hoes can be harder to use if the blade angle is not correct. For instance, the draw hoe above should have an angle between the back of the blade and the ground between 20 and 30 degrees. It will cut into the soil easily. As you increase that angle by lowering the handle, the hoe doesn’t perform the same; you may end up chopping into the soil, which is harder work. Decrease the angle too much by straightening the handle vertically and the hoe skids off the surface of the soil instead of slicing into it. It is not always evident what the correct angle is for a given hoe, but if it seems like it doesn't work well, you may be holding the hoe at the wrong angle to do the job.

Finding-the-right-garden-hoe-fit-tall-vs-short-stature: To hold the same hoe at the correct angle, you can see how a taller gardener, on the left, has to bend over more than a shorter person, on the right, who should grip the hoe further up the handle so it is not awkward to hold.

Finding the right length garden hoe handle

Most hoe handles are about 5 ft. in length, which works for the average sized person. But if you are very tall, you may have to bend over too much to use a hoe that length, so look for a specially-made long-handled hoe. If you’re petite, a long hoe juts out and is unwieldy if you hold it toward the middle, and you may have to shorten your hoe handle to make it more comfortable to use.

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Can you adjust your garden hoe?

Yes, if it has a gooseneck-style head it can be bent to the correct angle to fit your height. We found great information on how to do this at EasyDigging.com, along with more helpful tool tips.

Published: Dec. 3, 2019
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