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Best Hula (Action/Stirrup) Hoes

Unfortunately, weeding a garden is a never-ending task. Fortunately, though, there’s more than one way to do it.

A hula hoe – aka stirrup hoe or action hoe – is one of those options. And like each possibility, it has pros and cons, and a niche where it works well. We’re going to help you understand what that niche is and whether you should add this tool to your supplies. We’ll also talk about the important qualities to consider in a stirrup hoe and even make a few recommendations!

What A Stirrup Hoe Does

A stirrup hoe gets its name from the shape of its head. It’s shaped almost exactly like a stirrup for horse riding. That head is attached to a long handle.

This type of hoe is ideal for getting rid of weeds with small root systems. It can work with a single plant or a whole row of them.

The tool works by dragging it along the ground, allowing the lower part of the stirrup to pull up the plants and even a small layer of soil as it goes along.

It has the double benefit of allowing you to stand to pull up weeds while also concentrating on a whole strip rather than individual plants.

These are normally “brute force” tools; most do not have sharp edges. They’re not intended to cut weeds; instead, they force them up. They do take some exertion to use.

What To Look For In A Stirrup Hoe

If you’re looking to buy a hula hoe, here are a few things to look out for:

Length

Since one of the major selling points of this tool is that you don’t have to be down in the dirt to use it, you want to make sure it’s long enough to comfortably use. 

Most measure around 58 – 60 inches, which is a good size for most people.

Handle

The handle should be sturdy and comfortable to hold. Both steel and wooden versions make good choices; fiberglass is a quality contender, as well. 

Joint Between Head and Handle

Most importantly, the joint holding the head to the handle is important. This point suffers a decent amount of stress as you pull the head through the dirt. You want to be sure it’s solidly put together so that it doesn’t fall apart on you!

Our Picks For The Best Stirrup Hoes

Here are some of our preferred stirrup/hula hoes. Which one will you choose?

DonSail Hula Hoe

donsail hula hoe

One of the great advantages of this hula hoe is that it’s adjustable! There are three sizes available. The minimum length of all three is 30 inches. But you can choose a 43-inch, 60-inch, or 70-inch maximum.

The handle is made of steel and the head is fixed so that it will be perpendicular to the ground at a “normal” angle for holding the tool. That makes it easier to drag along since you won’t have to constantly reposition it. 

The stirrup itself is fitted inside another steel piece which is attached to the handle with two bolts. Be sure to inspect and tighten those bolts as necessary. Overall, it holds together very well, but over time the bolts will loosen.

Berry&Bird Garden Weeder Hoe

bird and berry stirrup hoe for weeding

This model from Berry & Bird measures 63 inches overall – 60 inches of handle and a head that’s 3 inches across. The handle is Manchurian ash and the head is steel. 

It’s a good size and weight (just under 4 pounds).

The head is riveted to the handle and holds its place well. It also has a pivot which helps it adjust to your height as you pull it along. We prefer the fixed-head style in some other models, but we understand the philosophy behind this design as well. It’s mostly a matter of personal preference.

Walensee Action Hoe

walensee action hoe with adjustable handle

The Walensee Action Hoe is adjustable, but the handle is a bit short at its fullest size. Overall, though, it’s a quality tool that will be a valuable addition to your gardening tools as long as you’re not tall.

The steel handle comes in sections; you simply add or remove sections to change the length to suit your current task. The pieces fit together nicely. 

The head is also well-assembled. It’s made of carbon steel, so you know it’s durable. It’s 5.7 inches wide, meaning you can cut a large swath as you go along. It’s also in a fixed position, which we already mentioned suits our preferences.

Be sure to tighten the bolts holding the head to the handle regularly, as they can work loose. 

Husky 54 in. L Wood Handle Action Hoe

husky wood handle stirrup hoe

Husky’s action hoe is very short but otherwise a quality tool.

At only 54 inches, even people of average height may have to bend over a bit to use this hoe. If you can adjust to that, though, you’ll appreciate this in your garden.

The blade is sharper than most other stirrup hoes, which many people will find useful.

The handle is wood and the head is steel. The head does not swivel – in this case, that might have been handy because of how short the handle is. Since it’s fixed in place, it means you have to stoop just a tiny bit more to get the tool to work effectively.

Skidger Xtreme Weeder

skidger weeding hoe

The Skidger Xtreme Weeder’s design is slightly different from other hoes we’ve included here. The major difference is the shape of the head. In this case, it’s not like a stirrup; instead, it’s more reminiscent of a heart.

That means it’s more focused and can get right at the center of the weed’s roots. At the same time, it won’t pull up the roots of plants if they spread out more.  

This design is also better for getting into corners.

The overall length of this tool is 58 inches. Since the head is in a straight line with the handle, it’s relatively easy to drag along, no matter the angle with the ground.

The handle is fiberglass.

The edge is somewhat sharp, although you may have to sharpen it often.

Conclusion

Whether you call it a stirrup hoe, action hoe, or hula hoe, you’ll be glad to have one of these when you have to get rid of crabgrass or other weeds. Slight differences in design and size can make a difference in which hoe works best for you, but you’ll soon be dragging those annoying intruders right out of the soil!