Hoe vs. Dutch Hoe: The Differences Explained

There are many types of hoes on the market, some of which are remarkably similar. A good example is the hoe and dutch hoe, which are often confused for the same thing. But although similar, these two farm accessories come with their fair share of differences, as explained below.  

The difference between a hoe and a dutch hoe is in the blade angle. Whereas a hoe is angled inwards to promote chopping motions, a dutch hoe is straight and is pushed forward in the soil to cut weeds off at the root.

In this article, I’ll explain how to identify a dutch hoe, why they’re easier to use, and why they’re similar to hoes, as well as whether they’re more expensive or worth it. I’ll also elucidate on what to look for in a dutch hoe, whether they’re repairable, and whether they need sharpening. Read on.

How To Identify a Dutch Hoe

So, how does one identify a dutch hoe?

You can identify a dutch hoe by its straight blade. Whereas hoes have blades that are angled inwards for chopping, dutch hoes are for slicing and therefore aren’t angled at all. Its blade is also likely to be roughly triangular, with a hole in the middle.

That said, dutch hoes come in many shapes and sizes. Some of them have inward-pointing blades, while others have blades that face in the direction the user is pushing in. Either way, they’re typically easier to use than a regular hoe.

Why Dutch Hoes Are Easier To Use

But, how are dutch hoes easier to use? What are the advantages of using a dutch hoe over a hoe?

Dutch hoes are easier to use because they don’t use the same chopping motion as hoes. Pushing forward into the soil is easier than breaking it up. You also don’t have to bend to do so, saving some stress on your back.

Repetitive motions can cause muscle strain, stress, and injury, and gardening doesn’t deviate from this rule. 

For some, the chopping motion of using a regular hoe usually inflicts muscular pain, especially after a while. Others may have back pain or weakness, which makes using a hoe an unenjoyable experience. For these people, a dutch hoe can make a painful activity bearable.

Are Dutch Hoes Used the Same As Hoes?

So, how does using a dutch hoe differ from using a hoe? Are they used for the same purposes, and can they do the same jobs?

Dutch hoes are used for the same purposes as hoes, only that the motion used is different. A dutch hoe can both weed and cultivate the soil, the same as a regular hoe. You’ll just be pushing the hoe forward instead of chopping with it.

Dutch hoes chop weeds off at the root when pushed forward instead of breaking up the soil to remove them like a regular hoe. However, while they do so, they also break up the soil, doing both jobs commonly associated with a hoe at once.

Are Dutch Hoes More Expensive?

Are dutch hoes a specialty tool? Are they more expensive than a regular hoe?

Dutch hoes aren’t more expensive than hoes. However, some dutch hoes are more expensive than others, just like regular hoes. You can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $100 for a hoe, dutch, or otherwise.

Like with many tools, you get what you pay for when buying a dutch hoe. A more expensive hoe may contain stronger materials and more features such as an ergonomic handle. While debate abounds regarding whether it’s worth it to buy something that’ll last, there’s no question that you might receive a better product if you pay more.

Is Buying a Dutch Hoe Worth It?

Is it worth it to buy a dutch hoe? Can you get by using just a regular hoe?

Buying a dutch hoe is worth it if you want to avoid the extra strain on your body from chopping or if you have back pain or mobility issues. Using a dutch hoe is easier than a hoe, and you won’t have to bend down as much. However, if you’re sound of body, there’s no harm in purchasing a hoe anyway.

What To Look for When Buying a Dutch Hoe

What should you look for when buying a dutch hoe? Are all hoes made the same, or do some come with extra features? Will any dutch hoe you pick up off a shelf do the job?

When purchasing a dutch hoe, look for weatherproofing, ergonomic handles, and a hanging hole or strap. Weatherproofing protects against rust, whereas ergonomic handles protect your hands. In addition, a hanging hole or strap will help in hanging your hoe up in a cool, dry place, therefore lengthening its life.

While there’s something to be said for simplicity, springing for extra features can prolong the life of your dutch hoe and make gardening more comfortable. If you value comfort when gardening it may be worth buying one of the more expensive dutch hoes on the market.

Can Dutch Hoes Be Repaired?

So, if your dutch hoe breaks, can you repair it? Are there services that will repair your hoe for you?

Dutch hoes can be repaired in certain circumstances. Sometimes, all a hoe needs is a new screw or a replacement handle. Other times, the blade may break. You can try to weld a broken hoe blade, but most people opt to replace their hoe in such a situation.

While you can try to bring your dutch hoe into a home hardware store or another shop for repair, it’s unclear whether repairing tools is common. Your local store may not provide this service, leaving you to find some way to repair your hoe on your own.

When To Replace Your Dutch Hoe

When should you replace your dutch hoe? Is there a point where repairing such a tool has diminishing returns?

Replace your dutch hoe when maintenance is no longer sufficient to keep it functional. For example, if it’s covered in rust you can’t remove, its blade is shattered beyond repair, or its broken handle can’t be fixed or replaced, then it’s time to throw it in the trash.

Using a rusty or otherwise damaged tool can leave debris behind in your garden or even damage your plants, so keep a close eye on your tools. Always be aware that every tool has a life expectancy and that things can go wrong if they’re used incorrectly.

How Often Do You Need To Hoe a Garden?

You’ll typically need to hoe a garden once every week or two, but especially after it rains. To learn more, read my article. While the number of times you hoe a garden varies depending on location, you should try to do it regularly to limit the number of weeds. 

Does a Dutch Hoe Need To Be Sharp?

Do you need to sharpen your dutch hoe? What might happen if you let it get dull?

Just like any other tool, a dutch hoe needs to be sharp to do its best job. You can sharpen your dutch hoe with a file, sharpening stone, or Dremel, just like any other gardening tool.

If you let your dutch hoe get dull, it might struggle to cut weeds at their roots. While this is not overly destructive to your plants, it will prolong the time you spend working and generally make your job harder. So, try to keep your dutch hoe’s blade sharp.

Other Types of Hoes

There are many types of hoes out there. Some of them are scuttle hoes, like the dutch hoe, and others aren’t. Here’s a brief list of other notable types of hoes.

  • Ridging or Warren Hoes: A ridging or warren hoe has a heart-shaped blade and is used for digging furrows and trenches. It can also have a triangular blade.
  • Eye Hoes: Eye hoes are simply regular hoes with a hole in the head of their blades, into which the handle is inserted when they need to be used.
  • Mortar Hoes: Mortar hoes are used for spreading mortar or concrete and have square heads with multiple holes. These holes are big enough to allow material to flow through them, minimizing the force required to use them and therefore reducing fatigue.
  • Hoop Hoes: A hoop hoe is another type of scuffle hoe, the same as the dutch hoe. However, unlike a dutch hoe, its blades are double-sided. This makes it easier to weed in loose soil. Scuffle hoes, in general, are sometimes called hoop hoes because their heads resemble a saddle stirrup.
  • Pointed or Ridging Hoes: A pointed or ridging hoe has a blade that comes to a capped triangular point, similar to the toe of a shoe. They’re used to more easily pull soil and debris from the base of plants, which is often called ridging or hilling.


The difference between a hoe and a dutch hoe is that the latter’s blade is straight instead of angled. They’re easier on the back than regular hoes but are used to perform the same tasks. 

Dutch hoes aren’t more expensive than regular hoes but will need to be sharpened regularly. They can also be repaired in some circumstances but not in others.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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