The Cordless Ryobi Power Tool That'll Leave Your Garden Looking Better Than Ever

When you are looking to start a garden, there are certain tools that are must-have gardening tools for newcomers, like sturdy gloves and a trowel. Don't forget about purchasing a hoe, though, which simplifies the process of removing pesky weeds and loosening hardened soil. Did you know there are several different types of garden hoes? Different designs are important for specific tasks that you have. One of the newest designs that should appeal to traditional gardeners and power tool fans alike is the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Battery Garden Hoe. It has an oscillating blade that moves back and forth, doing the work that previously required your muscle power. (And you probably had the sore arms and back the next day to prove it!)

Ryobi is a well-known power tool brand for home improvement jobs that many DIY-ers rely on, like drills, saws, nailers, and sanders. You may recognize these tools from the bright green color scheme they've used for many years. You'll also find many outdoor power tools that rely on the Ryobi battery system, such as trimmers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and snowblowers. Once you have 18V batteries for one Ryobi product, you can share that same charged battery with the other Ryobi 18V cordless products that you own. 

Does the Ryobi power oscillating hoe actually work, though? Can you count on it to take care of your weeding work, while protecting your plants? And are there other options you could use instead?

How does the Ryobi Battery Garden Hoe work?

Ryobi says that its battery-powered garden hoe is the first of its kind, and our research verified this claim. This tool is available at Home Depot for about $199 with a battery and charger included. Its design is similar to other cordless outdoor power tools in the Ryobi family, like string trimmers, as it has a battery connector at the top and a control handle near the front and toward the top, giving you firm control with a nice weight balance.

The open-design stirrup blade has a rectangular shape with a few teeth on the base. The blade is 6.5 inches wide and 3.5 inches tall. To operate the hoe, flip the power switch to the on position to start the oscillation of the stirrup blade. Do not aim the blade deep into the soil, as it works best for cuts just under the top of the soil. Move slowly backward along the area where you want to chop down weeds. You don't need to force the blade downward, as the oscillating motion and your slow movement backward will allow the blade to do the work, chopping down the unwanted plants. One online video review from Homestead Stories shows that the tool works as advertised. It not only works to remove weeds from flower beds or vegetable gardens, but you also can use the blade to harvest crops that have a stem that needs to be cut low to the ground.

Are there safety concerns with the battery-powered oscillating hoe versus other designs?

A few safety concerns do exist with the Ryobi cordless garden hoe. The blade moves at about 350 oscillations per minute, which could lead to an injury if it contacts a body part. Ryobi recommends wearing shoes and boots that fully cover the foot and ankle, rather than sandals when using this product. You should wear other protective gear, too, including eye protection, as the oscillating blade could send dirt and pieces of plants flying.

If you prefer a power tool with a little more versatility, while also removing weeds, Ryobi's Cordless Cultivator allows you to till the soil while removing weeds. It's available for about $249 at Home Depot with a battery and charger. While the cultivator can dig more deeply into the soil than the Ryobi power hoe, it's not quite as precise around your flowers and vegetables. It also can't harvest vegetables like the cordless hoe can do.

If you need to stick to a tight budget, and don't mind doing some manual work to remove your weeds, traditional garden hoes are available for quite a bit less money than the battery-powered product from Ryobi. You can find a traditional closed-blade garden hoe for about $25 at Home Depot. If you like the idea of an open, stirrup blade design, but one that you operate manually, Home Depot has these hoes for about $32.