Even with all the gasoline or battery-powered garden tools available today, gardeners frequently opt for hand tools to get weeding jobs done. Hand tools are quiet to use, and they rarely need repairs or maintenance. Weeding in tight places is much easier with hand tools, and they are indispensable for working in raised beds. Buy the best quality hand tools you can afford, and care for them properly. They will last for decades.
Always test a hand tool before you buy it. Hold it as if you were using it in your garden, and check its balance and how it feels in your hands. If the working head is angled correctly for your height, and if the tool is comfortable to use, you can prevent back strain, blisters and other physical stress problems.
One of the most familiar weeding tools is a hoe, which is basically a scraping tool. Hoes are available in both long and short-handled versions, with different types of necks and different head shapes. The familiar flat blade hoe is an efficient tool for slicing or chopping off weeds at or just below the soil level. You can dig deeper to uproot a large weed with a V-shaped hoe blade. Scraping tools are made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, some with curved or round blades. Hoeing is easier if you keep the cutting edges of your tools sharpened.
Some prong-type tool heads are made with tough wire prongs, and some have finger-shaped flat metal prongs. This type of tool is not used to cut weeds. Use it to help loosen and lift weeds out of the ground so they can be removed. Prong tools can be found with long or short handles.
Weeds with deep taproots, such as dandelions, require a tool that allows you to remove the entire root. Forked diggers are ideal for this purpose. The slender, flat-bladed tool has a notched or forked tip, which can slide into the soil alongside the taproot. A slight twist of the tool loosens the weed so it can be slipped out of the ground. Use this tool to remove deep weeds from a lawn with a minimum of unsightly damage from digging.
A hori hori is a popular Japanese gardening tool. It is made like a knife, but is much sturdier. The tip is broad and shaped for digging, and one blade edge is serrated with saw teeth for cutting through tough, stubborn weeds. The blade should be tempered for strength, as a cheap imitation will bend with heavy use. This tool should come with a sheath for safety.