Easy Digging Grub Hoe Review
Can it compete in a competitive category?
Grub hoes are one of the most useful and versatile of garden tools. You can use one for heavy weeding, bed preparation, incorporating amendments, even trenching.
I’m a big fan of this type of hoe, and I’ve used versions of it from Germany, Brazil, Italy, Austria, the United States and now India.
Greg Baka, owner and founder of Easy Digging, was kind enough to send me two garden hoes for review. One was a 6 inch grub hoe, which I’m reviewing in this article.
First, a few specifications.
- 6 pounds overall weight
- Forged carbon steel blade. 6 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall.
- 5 foot Ash wood handle. Varnished.
- Metal wedge for assembly
- Made in India
As someone who used to be in the e-commerce biz, thoughtfully packaged items make me smile.
Assembly and use instructions are also included, another nice touch.
All the components are well-made. The hoe head is forged and quite thick compared to others.
The handle is substantial. It’s actually thicker than I prefer, but better too thick than too thin. It’s varnished, which is not ideal, but typical. Over time, varnish peels, cracks and is a pain to remove. I prefer untreated handles which can be oiled with linseed oil.
Assembly is straightforward and takes a few minutes. As with most new garden hoes, this one has an initial edge, but it isn’t sharp, so I spend a few minutes touching it up on the grinding wheel.
In the Garden
I put the Easy Digging grub hoe to use in three general types of work: weeding, loosening soil and digging large grasses.
For comparison, I had my SHW grub hoe from Germany and went back and forth between the two tools.
It was high summer when I received the tool, so there were some big weeds to tackle in the pathways of our veggie garden. The Easy Digging grub hoe performed well in this scenario.
It’s heavier than the SHW so it takes a bit more effort to lift. On the flip side, that extra weight means that I hardly had to swing to get the tool to cut weeds. I only needed to let the tool fall. The SHW requires a bit more downward force to cut well.
The blade on the Easy Digging is a half inch wider than the SHW. Theoretically, this would make the Easy Digging cover more ground than the SHW in the same amount of swings. I couldn’t tell a difference.
The thick, round handle on the Easy Digging is not as comfortable as the SHW’s oval, narrower handle. This is important to me as my hands and wrists tire quickly. The advantage of the larger handle is durability–it’s harder to break.
Overall, the Easy Digging performed well in the weeding test.
We had recently pulled some broccoli from a bed, so I took the Easy Digging grub hoe to loosen the soil and dig up any remaining crop residue. This soil was already in good condition, soft and friable, so this wasn’t a laborious job.
The tool performed well, sinking into the soil with relative ease. The SHW was more enjoyable to use, however, as it is lighter and has a more comfortable handle.
Digging Large Grasses / Edging
For a final test, I employed the grub hoes to dig out some large bunch grasses. Unlike weeding the pathways in the annual veggie garden–which only scrapes the top layer of soil, this task requires sinking the tool fully into the ground, then prying to remove the plant, root and all.
This reveals both the strength of the tool and its ability to sink into the ground. Up to this point, the Easy Digging grub hoe and the SHW grub hoe had been even in their performance, but now the SHW pulls away.
While the Easy Digging is strong, I found it much harder to sink into the ground than the SHW. The SHW sinks into the Earth with less effort. The Easy Digging just doesn’t “bite” well.
There are a couple possible reasons for this.
1) The head angle is too open. Ideally, the angle of the blade should be around 45 degrees as it strikes the ground. Any larger, and the blade has a hard time entering the soil. This may not be the tool’s fault per se, but caused by the combination of the handle length and my height.
The Easy Digging has a longer handle, which creates a larger blade angle at ground level compared to the shorter-handled SHW. If you’re taller than me (and at 5’3″ you probably are), you may not have the same issue with the Easy Digging.
2) The head is larger. The Easy Digging blade is wider, longer and thicker than the SHW. So all else being equal, it will require more effort to get into the ground.
The Easy Digging grub hoe is a solid, well-made garden tool, but it under performed in significant ways.
It isn’t the tool for me, but it might work better for you; and I encourage you to check out easydigging.com for this and the other quality garden tools they offer
You can find the SHW grub hoe at earthtoolsbcs.com.
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