Weeding Without Chemicals: Red Dragon Mini Weed Torch Tested & Reviewed

This compact weed torch presents a chemical-free alternative to spraying weeds in the lawn, garden, or landscape. But does it work?
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Red Dragon Mini Weed Torch Review

Photo: Jacob Wolfe

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One of my favorite weed-control tools that lawn care articles often ignore is fire. Both mature weeds and weed seeds are vulnerable to high heat. Weed burners allow users to eliminate weeds in lawns, landscape beds, vegetable gardens, and pavement cracks without applying herbicide or hand-pulling. Not only that, but these lightweight, long-handled burners can also conveniently ignite a charcoal grill or fire pit and even help with snow and ice removal. The Red Dragon propane vapor torch makes a strong case as one of the best weed torches for home use.

Kansas-based Flame Engineering, Inc. pioneered agricultural fire-weeding tools and techniques in the 1950s and has led the industry ever since. Its line of more than 100 products includes the Weed Dragon, which attaches to a grill-size propane cylinder and produces up to 100,000 BTUs (British thermal units) of weed-killing power. I tested the 25,000 BTU Red Dragon weed torch, which attaches to a 16-ounce or 14-ounce propane cartridge and produces a pinpoint flame. It’s a durable but lightweight precision weeder that can kill a single weed without damaging adjacent desirable plants—or it can burn off an entire weedy garden patch up to several hundred square feet in size.

Red Dragon Mini Weed Dragon Torch: At a Glance

Red Dragon Mini Weed Torch Review
Photo: Jacob Wolfe

Rating: 8.8/10


  • Strong pinpoint flame quickly kills weeds without damaging nearby plants
  • Compact and lightweight construction makes it easy to transport, carry, and store
  • Ergonomic design works efficiently with less user fatigue
  • Includes a long-lasting friction striker that works more reliably than built-in igniters


  • Igniter is not integrated into the design, so it could be easy to misplace
  • Small flame is less efficient for wide-area weed control

Get the Red Dragon weed torch at:

What is the Red Dragon weed torch?

Manufactured in La Crosse, Kansas, the Red Dragon weed torch is a compact weed burner designed for convenient residential use. The lightweight cane-style torch features a foam-cushioned grip handle, a 1-inch-diameter bell, and a gas valve with a thumb-screw-style flow controller. It attaches to a 14-ounce or 1-pound propane cartridge. The torch measures 34 inches from the top of the curve to the rim of the bell, weighs 1 pound 8 ounces, and produces up to 25,000 BTUs. The kit comes with a manual striker for reliable lighting. Gas cartridges are not included.

I spent 2 hours testing the Red Dragon Mini Weed Dragon torch’s capabilities as a weed burner and as a grill and fire-pit starter. After I screwed on the fuel bottle and opened the valve, it immediately started with the first spark of the striker. The flame was strong, smooth, and consistent throughout the test. It was hot enough to wilt weeds within a fraction of a second.

The bell directed the flame to an efficient “not-quite pinpoint” that worked extremely well on individual weeds in the lawn, but it worked more slowly in wide areas of a somewhat weed-infested vegetable garden. It took about 45 minutes and 14 ounces of gas to thoroughly treat a 500-square-foot (20-foot-by-25-foot) garden bed.

For home use, I liked everything about this tool. The slim profile, long tube, and lightweight construction make it easy to use—with essentially zero risk of operator fatigue—and easy to store in limited space. With a fuel cartridge installed, the cane balanced comfortably a few inches forward of the curve. Heat output was excellent for precision use and adequate for limited wide-area use. In my tests, it averaged 45 minutes of burn time on a 14-ounce fuel cartridge.

Is the Red Dragon weed torch easy to assemble?

The Red Dragon weed torch arrived ready to use right out of the box. The only required assembly was screwing on a nonrefillable bottle of propane. I used the taller, narrower 14-ounce bottle instead of the longer-burning 16-ounce bottle because the cost per ounce was slightly lower at my local store. Whenever I needed to stop torching weeds and walk away for any length of time, I removed the gas from the torch and then reinstalled it when I returned.

Is the Red Dragon weed torch easy to use?

Operating the Red Dragon weed torch could not have been much easier. I turned on the flow control and then struck a spark at the bell’s rim to fire up the torch. I closed the gas flow-control knob to put it out. As noted above, the lightweight construction, long tube, and balanced design made it very easy for me to maneuver without bending and with minimal reaching.

The gas flowing from the tank has a strong cooling effect on the steel handle, which makes the foam grip a smart addition. Unlike a thin rubber grip, this one provides both nonslip and insulating properties for a very comfortable working experience.

Similar torches are sold with integrated igniters, eliminating the need to keep track of the friction striker, but the igniter is another moving part that could (and apparently often does) malfunction. However, the simple design of this tool makes it very easy to use and reliable; it started up on the first strike each time I lit it, which was all I needed.

Red Dragon Mini Weed Torch Review
Photo: Jacob Wolfe

How effective is the Red Dragon weed torch?

With the flow-control valve open only ¼ turn, the torch produced a flame strong enough to wilt weeds quickly or start a fire in the fire pit. When it was fully open, the torch obviously burned stronger, but it also burned more gas faster. The weed-killing effect didn’t seem to increase that much with the stronger flame due to the narrow flame shape. For most tasks, it operated most effectively and burned gas most efficiently when the valve was open between ¼ and ¾ turn.

The pinpoint flame shape was perfect for killing isolated weeds in the lawn, driveway, and patio, and it worked especially well as a fire starter in damp conditions. For removing weeds from wide-open areas with heavy weed cover, the narrow flame worked slower than I would have liked, but it was effective nonetheless. Working from side to side in long sweeping motions, I was able to kill weeds in 6-inch to 8-inch-wide swaths at a rate of about 600 square feet per hour.

Is the Red Dragon weed torch worth the money?

With prices at Amazon and Ace Hardware at $44 and $52.99, respectively, the Red Dragon Mini Weed Dragon costs about the same as lightweight cane-style weed torches from other manufacturers. It bears mentioning that the flow-control valve in this model is capable of higher heat (25,000 BTUs) than any similar models I’ve seen, which range from about 20,000 to 24,000 BTUs. I like that this one does not include an integrated igniter like many others, but that is a purely personal bias. Overall, the price to value makes it a good buy.

Red Dragon Mini Weed Torch Review
Photo: Jacob Wolfe

Is the Red Dragon weed torch right for you?

Anyone spending $10 or more several times each year on herbicides and wanting to make a change will find the Red Dragon weed torch deserving of consideration. For paver patios and other hard surface areas where weeds regularly invade the cracks, or for spotty weeds in lawns and landscape beds, this tool can alleviate the use of chemical controls and possibly save money. It is easier to carry than a backpack sprayer, easier to use than a trigger-spray bottle, and it kills weeds on contact. It also kills weed seeds lying on the soil surface and works as a fire starter and ice melter.

Like all weed killers, the Mini Weed Dragon has its limitations. And since working with fire comes with its own unique set of property damage and human injury risks, extreme caution is essential. Well-established weeds, especially those with taproots, will regrow after the initial treatment, so users should expect to treat those regularly for the best long-term results. But for those who are interested in weed control options other than chemicals, fire could be the way to go.

Where to Buy the Red Dragon Mini Weed Dragon Torch

Get the Red Dragon weed torch at:

Meet the Tester

Mark Wolfe is a product tester and writer with an extensive background in the nursery and landscaping industry. He kept his tool box well stocked in order to build or repair fences, walls, irrigation systems, and equipment on any given day. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest hand tools, lawn care products, outdoor power equipment, and other outdoor living goods.

Mark Wolfe Avatar

Mark Wolfe

Staff Writer

Mark Wolfe is a second-career freelance writer based in Georgia and has an extensive background in the horticulture industry. Since 2020, he has contributed numerous gardening and home improvement articles to, along with a variety of consumer product reviews.