Weed management is rarely at the top of anyone’s list of desirable to-dos. Bending over and pulling weeds is a lot of work, and it’s rarely a permanent solution. While you could spray weed killer, the chemicals aren’t good for your grass or the pollinators that may land or feed on those weeds.
Instead of breaking your back or introducing harmful chemicals into your lawn’s ecosystem, consider smoking out those pesky plants with a weed torch. These handheld torches run on propane and focus a small but scorching flame on stubborn invasive weeds. This guide helps shoppers choose the best weed torch for a particular yard or garden.
- BEST OVERALL: Houseables Weed Torch Propane Burner
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Flame King Propane Torch Weed Burner
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: JJGeorge Weed Torch
- BEST LIGHT DUTY: AUSAIL Weed Torch Propane Burner
- BEST HEAVY DUTY: Mag-Torch MT 5000 High Output Weed Burner Torch
- BEST SELF IGNITING: STEINBRÜCKE Heavy Duty Propane Torch Weed Burner
- BEST COMPACT: Red Dragon VT 1-32 C 25000 BTU Mini Weed Dragon Torch
- SAFETY PICK: Birstlye Propane Torch Weed Burner Torch
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Weed Torch
Between how the torch works and lights to its size and features, choosing this gardening tool does take a bit of background research. It’s important to make sure you understand how these tools work and what you need before scorching those dandelions. The following are a few important shopping considerations to keep in mind while searching for the best one.
Lightweight vs. Heavy-Duty
There are two styles of weed torches: lightweight torches and heavy-duty torches. Lightweight weed torches are, as the name suggests, lightweight, and equipped with bent tubes that attach to a small 1-pound propane gas canister. Heavy-duty torches are for large-scale jobs and have hoses that can connect to a full-size 20-pound tank.
Choosing between the two styles is really a matter of preference, but here are a few points to help decide between the two.
- Easily portable
- Operate with lower temperatures
- Lack volume for extended use
- Do not use refillable tanks
- Offer plenty of volume for long burns
- May have adjustable flame
- Use refillable propane tanks
- Heavy and difficult to carry around
- May be noisy
There are generally two ways to light a torch: via built-in igniters or manual strikers.
Built-in igniters work similarly to the striker used to light a barbecue grill. They’re usually attached to the tube and feature a push-button spark. With the gas turned on, the striker safely lights the flame at the end of the tube. The pressure of the gas pushes the flame out to the end of the torch, and then it’s ready to kill weeds.
Manual strikers can be a little trickier to use. Similar to the strikers used in some high school chemistry classes, manual strikers need to be in proximity to gas when struck to light the flame. This could make some DIYers nervous, in which case a built-in igniter might be the better option.
When considering weed tools, it’s important to think about the size of the area that needs to be treated. Most heavy-duty torches are meant to run on large 20-pound propane tanks, so hose length can affect maneuverability among the weeds. In general, a 10-foot hose is ideal. This length is long enough to cover a wide area, yet short enough to prevent the user from tripping or falling.
For those who plan to cover a large area of land while using their torch, purchasing an additional cart or dolly to hold the heavy propane tank may be a good idea. The wheels will make moving it across the yard easier.
Some weed torches are equipped with a bell-shaped shroud at the end of the torch. This bell helps the torch to retain heat and direct the flame, creating a more efficient burn.
While efficiency is always a bonus, it’s not always necessary when it comes to weed torches. It might take a little longer to kill weeds using a lightweight model without a bell, but it’s usually only a difference of a few seconds.
A bell also helps shield other plants from the intense heat created by the flame. If the plan is to work with a torch around sensitive plants, consider a torch with a bell. Keep in mind, however, that using a torch of any kind in a mulch-laden flower bed is a bad idea.
Variable Flame Control
The ability to control the flame is another important factor to consider when it comes to purchasing a new weed burner, as too much heat may cause the user to unintentionally burn valuable plants with a large flame. Plus, without an adjustable flame, users may run through a canister of propane before covering their entire yard.
Most of the products featured below include control valves that can be dialed up or down to throttle the amount of fuel passing through the wand. Some heavy-duty torches feature boost handles that can temporarily increase the size and temperature of the flame. Simply squeeze the valve to increase the volume and pressure for tougher weeds and release it to return it to its normal setting.
It’s important to review the heat rating for potential weed torches. Rather than using degrees Fahrenheit (which won’t describe output of the torch), torch heat ratings are quantified using BTUs (British Thermal Units), and there is a wide range of BTU ratings available.
Most weed burners produce at least 20,000 BTUs, which is plenty of heat for burning a weed. Heavy-duty models can produce up to 500,000 BTUs, which isn’t usually needed for common yard weeds. A torch that offers between 20,000 and 100,000 BTUs is often more than adequate.
As a general rule, weed torches aren’t inherently safe. They don’t have a safety valve, they produce lots of heat, and their nozzles get very hot. Gloves and safety glasses help, but there simply isn’t much one can do to make a weed tool like this 100 percent safe.
Features such as built-in gas control valves, built-in trigger starts, and hoses of safe lengths can reduce some of the risks involved in burning yard weeds. A built-in igniter ensures that the user’s hand is kept a safe distance away from the flame, while the gas control valve helps throttle back the amount of flame the torch produces to keep things under control. Using a hose of proper length can prevent users from tripping.
Pro Tip: Never use a torch or flame of any sort to remove poison ivy. The oil that poison ivy produces (urushiol) is what causes the blisters and reactions. When the plant burns, that oil attaches to the smoke particles and can travel through airways and land on skin, causing potential serious health hazards.
Our Top Picks
Below are some of the best weed torches on the market. There are compact options, heavy-duty models, and high-powered torches to choose from, so be sure to compare carefully. Each of these products will kill weeds, so it’s important to find the model best suited for a particular yard.
DIYers looking to tackle the weeds in their yards may want to consider the Houseables Weed Torch Propane Burner. This lightweight model attaches directly to 1-pound propane or MAPP gas canisters, allowing plenty of portability for even the largest yards. And with 20,000 BTUs, it can handle most stubborn weeds. The slip-resistant handle offers a safe and comfortable handling of the tool, while the 34-inch length makes reaching weeds easy without bending over.
This weed torch features a self-igniting mechanism that allows the user to start the Houseables Weed Torch without putting their hands anywhere near the business end of the torch. A flame control valve allows the user to adjust the flow of propane or MAPP gas, providing optimal fuel efficiency for a smaller gas canister.
- Slip-resistant handle for safety
- Lower BTU rating than other comparable options
Taking weeds out permanently doesn’t have to break the bank. The Flame King Propane Torch Weed Burner gets the job done while also saving users a bit of cash. This lightweight torch produces up to 24,000 BTUs, which is enough for breaking down most weeds in just a few seconds. It comes with everything necessary to attach it to a standard 1-pound propane bottle.
While it’s budget-friendly, this Flame King isn’t short on features. It has a 33-inch long wand with a built-in push-button starter for safe starts. It also has an adjustable nozzle for dialing in the perfect gas flow and features a nonslip molded rubber grip, ensuring users maintain a safe grip while cooking weeds.
- Built-in push starter
- Non-slip rubber grip
- Long 33-inch reach
- Propane cylinder not included with purchase
Weed burning often requires carrying back-breaking, heavy tanks around a yard, but that’s not the case with the JJGeorge Weed Torch. This lightweight model weighs just over a pound and accepts small propane gas canisters, offering plenty of easy weed burning capability.
Unlike most lightweight weed torches with crooked necks, the JJGeorge Weed Torch features a straight-handle design with a contoured grip. This weed torch also makes starting it easy and safe, thanks to the built-in trigger start that’s mounted on the barrel. With 32 inches, it’s long enough to maintain a safe distance but short enough for easy targeting of stubborn weeds.
- 1-pound total weight
- Contoured grip for control
- Built-in trigger
- Propane canister not included with purchase
Not all weeds need the heaviest firepower to burn them into submission. For light-duty jobs, Ausail’s Weed Torch might be the way to go. This weed torch produces 50,000 BTUs, which is more than enough for weed eradication while still remaining lightweight and easy to use.
The Ausail Weed Torch Propane Burner features a straight-handled design with a contoured grip, providing comfortable handling while burning light-duty weeds. It also features a built-in starter that allows the user to start this model without putting their hands anywhere near the nozzle. When it comes to controlling the 50,000-BTU output, the flame control valve allows the user to ramp up the output or minimize it, providing control over flame and fuel consumption.
- 50,000 BTUs
- Built-in self-starter
- Control valve for flame control
- Slightly shorter reach than other comparable models
Home lawn maintainers who feel they need a bit more firepower may want to give the Mag-Torch 5000 High Output 500,000-BTU weed torch some consideration. This heavy-duty model comes with a wand, a striker, and a 61-inch hose, allowing users to hook it to a full-size propane tank and get to work.
This weed burner from Mag-Torch features a large bell that allows the user to direct the flame and heat in a central area, sparing sensitive plants from overheating. And while it’s heavy-duty and produces 500,000 BTUs, users can throttle it back by using the flame control valve on the hose end of the wand.
- 500,000 BTUs
- 61 inch hose for long reach
- Comes with a bell for precision when aiming
- Flame control valve
- More expensive than most options available
DIYers who want heavy-duty, high-heat performance but would prefer to keep their hands safely away from a nozzle should check Steinbrücke’s Heavy Duty Propane Torch Weed Burner. It features an in-line ignitor attached to the barrel to safely light this 500,000-BTU torch.
This heavy-duty model comes with a 6 1/2-foot hose that attaches to a 20-pound propane tank, giving the user all the fuel they need to char weeds and stunt growth. This weed burner features a large bell which the user can place over the weeds, protecting small, sensitive plants nearby from the heat. The weed burner also features an adjustable valve on the handle to regulate gas flow, and a turbo trigger for ramping up the heat.
- 500,000 BTUs
- 6.5-foot hose for a very long reach
- Turbo trigger for heavy-duty flame
- Built-in bell for precision and aim
- Heavier than most options available
Those who own large properties might appreciate the Red Dragon Mini Weed Dragon Torch’s compact and streamlined design. While it does have a full-length 36-inch handle, its trim profile makes it easy to pack in a truck or UTV for remote property maintenance needs.
The Mini Weed Dragon features a built-in gas flow regulator that allows it to produce up to 25,000 BTUs. The foam-wrapped handle makes it comfortable and easy to control with a 1-pound propane bottle attached. While its lack of a built-in starter does make it more streamlined, starting will require using the included manual striker.
- 25,000 BTUs
- 36-inch handle
- Compact design for portability
- Built-in starter not included
- Lower BTU rating than comparable options
When it comes to safety, weed burners might not excel. But with Birstlye’s heavy-duty weed torch, the built-in features allow it to be as safe as possible while still being capable of destroying weeds.
This propane torch comes with a 500,000-BTU wand and a 6 1/2-foot hose. The wand features a built-in igniter that keeps the user’s hands far away from the nozzle. There is a large bell that can help the user target the heat and flames, shielding sensitive plants from burning. Flame control comes via a handle-mounted squeeze trigger, allowing users to temporarily boost the flame while keeping a firm grip on the wand.
- 500,000 BTUs
- 6.5-foot hose for ample reach
- Built-in igniter
- Comes with a bell for precision and aim
- Heavier than other comparable options
- Less portable than most weed burners available
Choosing the best weed torch for a property comes down to several considerations. Beyond the weight and size of the torch, there are many factors to weigh, including the actual output it’s able to produce. This guide describes those key factors, helping you to make a well-informed decision and ensuring you don’t get burned with a bad product in the end.
How We Chose the Best Weed Torches
Weed torches are a valuable part of maintenance in your garden, yard, and even in other parts of your outdoor spaces. Finding one that has high-power, is lightweight and portable, requires little assembly, and is safe to light and use is key if you want to get the job done right.
After looking at many of the best weed torches available, our picks offer thoughtful and effective features and designs such as self-igniting triggers, gripped handles, lightweight materials, and even bells to protect your delicate plants while you kill those pesky weeds.
One other factor that comes into play is a weed torch’s ability to be eco-friendly. Many of the picks above are fueled by propane canisters that can be refilled for less waste and convenience.
Those looking for a safe and effective way to eliminate weeds from their yard or garden can benefit from the ergonomic, safely-designed weed torches listed above.
Tips for Using a Weed Torch
In general, a quick blast of heat will break down the cells that weeds need to grow, even if they don’t turn completely black. The best time to use a weed torch is on a wind-still day after a good soaking rain. While weed torches are safe if used properly, the soaked terrain will help reduce the risk of an accident and low wind speeds help keep the flames controllable.
Always keep a hose or a bucket of water nearby while burning weeds, and remove leaves and debris from the area before torching the weeds. Leaves and debris will burn much faster than weeds, and passing over them with a lit torch can lead to an unintended fire in no time.
- A quick pass of heat is often enough to kill a weed without charring it to embers.
- Wait for days after rain with low winds before setting out to torch weeds.
- Keep water on hand and remove leaves and debris before torching weeds.
If you still have some questions about buying or using the best weed torches, this section is for you. The following is a collection of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about weed torches.
Q. How does a weed torch work?
Weed torches use propane-fueled flames to cook the cells inside of a weed, inhibiting its ability to use sunlight (or photosynthesis) for energy and growth.
Q. How hot do weed torches get?
Weed burners vary in their heat output, with some models producing more than others. Common torches range between 20,000 and 500,000 BTUs.
Q. Can a weed torch help with poison ivy?
Burning poison ivy is a bad idea. The oil in poison ivy, oak, or sumac that causes itchy blisters is called urushiol. If you burn these plants, the oil attaches itself to the smoke particles, which can land in your lungs and cause serious respiratory irritation.
Q. Do I need to reduce the weed to ash or simply brown it to destroy it?
Generally speaking, burning the weeds to charred ash isn’t necessary. Simply heating the plant for a few seconds until it wilts and browns should be enough to destroy it.
Q. How do you start a weed burner?
Starting a weed burner is typically very easy. Start by attaching the propane to the wand, or the hose to the propane tank, depending on the model. Next, open the valve on the propane tank, if it has one. Then open the valve on the wand to let some gas pass through. Finally, press the built-in igniter or use a striker held (safely) near the nozzle while striking to light the weed torch.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series, including This Old House and Bob Vila’s Home Again, he popularized and became synonymous with “do it yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer specializing in the home design, construction, tools, and automotive industries. He has been involved in the trades for over 15 years as both a contractor and a commercial building mechanic. Tom has written for several online blogs and magazines including Next Luxury, The Drive, Car Bibles, and PowerTüls. In addition to his professional life, Tom enjoys getting outside on his mountain bike, camping, beekeeping, and fishing. Tom is also an avid racing and baseball fan. He lives in NY’s Hudson Valley with his wife, their three children, and three dogs.