Generates high enough temperatures to take care of multiple weeds grouped together at the same time. Can be used for other purposes, such as dead matter removal.
Larger flame requires some time to develop the necessary feel for controlling the heat.
Main handle and nozzle are small/narrow and can fit into tiny spaces and around obstacles when necessary. Weed torch comes with self-starting mechanism for easy lighting.
Nozzle tip can melt off after heavy use, causing the flame to change shape and intensity.
Offers great control using the long handle. Easy to hook up and secure to most propane tanks. Comes with a unique booster feature to temporarily increase flame intensity.
Turbo blast lever can stick in the open position, requiring some extra force to cut the flame off.
The smaller profile of the torch fits comfortably in the hands during extended use. Nozzle and flame are small enough to work around obstacles and other plants/trees during weed removal.
The smaller size of the flame makes it easy to blow out in wind or bad weather.
Capable of producing a massive 500,000 BTUs for the ultimate performance in heat and intensity. Torch can be used for large-scale weed removal or general brush clearing.
The full 500,000 BTU heat output can be difficult to achieve depending on the quality of propane used.
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Using weed torches for weed removal has become popular again as people try to reduce or eliminate harmful chemicals that might pollute the soil or groundwater. Torches are also a lot easier on your back than pulling weeds by hand!
There are plenty of weed torches out there, so how do you choose the right one?
Here at BestReviews, it's our job to bring some clarity to your buying decisions. We've done the research to help you find the model that suits you best. This shopping guide to weed torches provides plenty of information to get you started.
First introduced in the 1940s, weed torches (or weed burners) have changed very little in the years since. All of them, whether light or heavy, use propane gas for fuel to kill weeds.
Lightweight weed torches have a small gas canister attached, usually 14 or 16 ounces, though it's possible to adapt some models for larger tanks if necessary. These are best used for spot weeding along drives and paths and between rows of vegetables.
Entry-level, lightweight weed torches are quite simple devices. You screw on a gas canister, open an on/off valve, and light the torch using a spark igniter. The flame intensity is constant. Notably, lightweight weed torches can get just as hot as heavy-duty models.
Heavy-duty weed torches attach by hose to a propane tank that weighs up to 20 pounds, and sometimes more. These torches vary in size from those intended for a homeowner with a large yard to commercial models used by farmers, landscapers, and municipal cleaning crews.
Basic heavy-duty weed torches are very similar in operation to lightweight models. Some have flow valves or regulators to keep the gas pressure constant.
Great all-around performance
Red Dragon has been making weed torches in the U.S. for over 50 years. The Weed Dragon is a perfect example of why this brand is so popular. The comprehensive kit includes torch, easy-to-use spark igniter, gas regulator, and a useful ten-foot hose. With 100,000 BTU output and a two-inch bell, this is a powerful solution for even the largest yard.
Power: With these devices, power is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). Small models start at around 25,000 BTU, and 100,000 BTU is common for larger models. The most powerful weed torches we looked at reached 500,000 BTU.
Interchangeable bell: Heavy-duty weed torches have a large, flame-producing area on the end of the rod called a "bell." Sizes vary from 3/4" to 3". On many models, the bell is a fixed size, though some are interchangeable.
Hose length: If you've got a large tank, you want a good hose length so you're not constantly having to lift and move it. Good ones are ten feet, though we’ve seen as short as five. It’s possible to buy and fit a longer hose, but the drop in pressure might mean your weed torch doesn't work properly. Backpacks are available that support a ten-pound propane tank, giving you unrestricted mobility.
Construction: Look for steel construction for greater durability and brass valves that resist corrosion.
Certification: The Canadian Standards Association (CSA International) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) are highly regarded independent bodies that test and certify all manner of mechanical, electrical, and gas products. The logo of either one is a sign that the product has met certain standards of construction and safety.
More advanced weed torches include features that you may or may not find useful for your purposes, such as the following:
Variable flame control
Built-in ignition (press a button to light)
Extendable handle for extra reach
Squeeze valve (trigger) to increase gas flow and flame strength (can be retrofitted onto some models)
Weed torches don’t usually come with the required propane tank. You should be able to find a number of choices at your local hardware store.
If you choose a weed torch that uses a large propane tank (20 pounds or more), you might want to consider buying a dolly to make it easier to move around.
Some weed torches are supplied with a regulator to ensure the proper gas flow rate and won't work properly without it. Others work on the propane tank pressure alone, but opening the tap all the way can trigger a safety valve that prevents you from lighting the torch.
Weed torches vary in price depending on quality and features. You can expect to pay from $25 to $400 for one.
Inexpensive: Cheap weed torches can be found for around $25 to $40, but we don't recommend them. The durability can be questionable, and you don't want safety problems where gas and flame are concerned.
Mid-range: High-quality lightweight models start at about $40, so you're not paying a lot more for something from a trusted brand. Most larger, heavy-duty weed torches for home users cost from $70 to $100. With systemic herbicides costing $20 or more for a 32-ounce bottle, a weed torch isn't just an environmentally friendly way to control unwanted plants, it's kinder to your wallet, too!
Expensive: Commercial units cost considerably more. Those with backpacks for holding a gas tank range from $250 to $400.
Light yet lethal
If you have a smaller yard or need to spot-weed drives and pathways, the compact Mini Weed Dragon is ideal. It's easy to handle and simple to use. The one-pound propane cylinder keeps weight to a minimum, yet output is more than enough for effective weed control. It might be small, but it delivers tremendous performance.
Keep a fire extinguisher or water handy. The flame from a weed torch can be almost invisible – particularly in bright sunlight. It's good practice to have a fire extinguisher or bucket of water handy in case you accidentally set light to decking or fencing. Never use a weed torch near tinder-dry plant matter, hay, or straw.
Do not use matches to light your weed torch. It puts your hands too close to the flame.
Protect plants with a garden spade. When you have weeds you want to burn that are near plants you want to protect, a garden spade makes a useful shield.
Never use a weed torch on poisonous plants. Doing so can release the toxins into the air, so you risk getting them on your skin or breathing them in.
Q. How long do I need to keep the flame on the weeds?
A. People who are new to weed torches sometimes think you need to scorch the plant to a crispy stump. You don't. What the flame actually does is boil the water in the plant's cells. The cells collapse and the weed dies.
With torch temperatures of a couple thousand degrees Fahrenheit, the job is usually done in less than a second. Moving the flame fairly rapidly over your weeds is not only effective but also much safer than trying to turn them into a pile of ash.
Q. I've heard that weed torches won't work on perennial weeds. Is that true?
A. Weed torches only kill the part of the plant above ground, so perennial weeds can come back. The solution is to hit them as soon as they reappear. You'll need to do it several times, but with no leaves for photosynthesis, the roots will eventually die. It does require patience, but many people think that's preferable to pouring herbicides into the soil, particularly around vegetables.
Q. Can I use a weed torch to kill weeds in my lawn?
A. You can, as long as the grass is lush and green. Healthy grass has an outer layer that protects it, so it's surprisingly resistant to burning. Don't hold the flame over the weed for too long, though, because your grass will scorch eventually. Treat the weeds quickly, then check back after a few days and retreat if necessary.
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