The Long Handled Tool Advantage

Professional quality tools for gardening, landscaping, farming, and construction.

Easy Digging provides ergonomic long handled hoes

Long handled tools allow you to stand in the proper upright ergonomic position while you dig or cultivate. This means less effort and less back strain than if you used a short handled tool or a shovel or spade. Please see our How to Use a Grub Hoe page for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ

How long should the handle be?

    The height of your hoe handle should be between your armpit and shoulder. Our hoe handles are designed to allow it to be adjusted to match your size. The long handle is a consistent diameter over the entire length so it can be cut shorter if necessary to create the properly size handle to fit your body. All of our hoe handles are shipped 59" long - if your handle is too long simply cut some length off of the rounded end. The cut end can re-rounded with a sander, or by good old fashioned whittling with your pocket knife.

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Why do some tools have much shorter handles?

    A shorter handle will work, but it is less ergonomic, harder on your back, and requires more effort. I strongly recommend that you practice using your grub hoe or azada with a properly sized long handle rather than immediately cutting it down to a shorter length that may feel more familiar.

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Why would a shorter handle feel more familiar?

    Most gardeners and builders in North America are familiar with picks, mattocks, sledgehammers and axes - these are usually short handled tools. They are usually used with a full body arcing swing, meaning that the tool is swung from overhead down to the ground with a great deal of force to do high impact work like busting concrete and splitting wood. But a grub hoe is a soil digging tool - not a concrete breaker - it should not be swung from overhead and therefore does not need a short handle.

If you want a good tool for tackling soil with lots of rocks, very tough roots, or hard clay, I recommend getting one of our picks or mattocks. That way you can keep your properly sized long handled grub hoe for normal gardening and digging. Our special long handled pick and mattock is 45" long, and we also offer standard 36" long handled picks and mattocks.

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Why do some Africans and Asians still use this tool with a short handle?

    Study after study in Africa, India, and Asia have shown that long handled tools would be more effective, less tiring and healthier for the millions of small farmers who use them every day. But old habits and cultural norms are very hard to change, and the switch to long handled farming tools has been slow coming - with a few notable exceptions. In many African countries, to work in the fields standing upright is considered a sign of laziness. In Burkina Faso, one women's group said they would like longer handles on their digging hoes but that their husbands would not allow it.

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ergonomic long handled garden hoe

Using a long handle allows is easier on the back.

using a short handled azada

Using a short handle requires more bending at the waist.

long handled pick mattock

Using a long handled pick.

using a short handled pick

Using a short handle can lead to injury.

Further Reading

Here are a few studies on the issue of short handled versus long handled agricultural tools in the developing world: