Putting Draper’s Weed Burner To The Test

Tested by Daniel Woodley. Fact checked by Paul Farley.  Published to Blog on the 8th of September 2022.

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Draper is a well-known brand in the UK and they make decent tools and equipment at reasonable prices but does their weed burner work and what results can you expect?

In 2022, I put it to the test and compared it to the manufacturer’s claims and my expectations.

Discover the results here:

Box Contents and First Impressions

When I opened up the box, I found:

  • 1 x burner unit with a power cable already attached
  • 1 x guard, already attached
  • 1 x handle
  • 1 x narrow nozzle
  • 1 x wide nozzle

My first impressions were good and that this tool is light enough that it wouldn’t cause too much backache if used on say a driveway or patio area.

Draper weed burner box contents

Ease of Assembly

This tool from Draper is one of the easiest I have ever assembled.

All I had to do was slot the handle into the unit and twist it to lock it into place. This took seconds and required no arm strength and no tools.

I chose the wider nozzle (the narrow one is for lighting charcoal and BBQs) and this did take a little extra effort to push into place – the instructions state that the nozzle is designed to be a tight fit to stop it from falling off so this is understandable.

Once assembled, the tool was 102 cm (40″) long and weighed 1.1kg (2.4lbs).

Telescopic handle on Draper's weed burner

Connecting the handle couldn’t be easier

Nozzle on the weed burner

The nozzle is interchangeable and a little stiff but not unduly so

A Slight Issue

The power cable on this Draper Weed Burner is only 1.7m (5.5ft) long and it would have been nice to have a slightly longer cable.

Also, this tool should only be connected to an extension lead that can handle 2000w of electricity. Most garden and DIY extension leads will be fine but some cheaper leads might struggle with this so I suggest you check the suitability of your lead.

I experienced no issues using the extension lead that I’ve used for lawn mowers, strimmers and cutting tools over the years.

Note: The extension lead must be fully uncoiled to prevent overheating.

Power Options

This burner comes with three power settings:

  • Off
  • Low
  • High

During my test, I found the high setting was the best for burning away weeds and I could only imagine using the low setting near very delicate areas, if at all.

The setting can be changed easily by moving a slider up and down.

Power switch

Using The Draper Weed Burner For the First Time

With the handle, guard and nozzle in place, it was time to test Draper’s weed burner.

Warmup times: It took about 40 seconds for this weed burner to warm up; I was expecting it to take longer as I’ve tested other tools that took about a minute.

Noise: This Draper weed burner contains a fan that is about as noisy as a hairdryer on a low setting. While I could hear it, I never felt the need to put earplugs in, it was louder than a hum but never an issue.

Balance: Most of the weight is lower down the tool, so I never found it awkward and moving the device around was easy and effortless. It felt well balanced and as if I could use it for a long time without experiencing arm or backache.

Comfort: The handle has a comfortable foam outer sleeve, and grip was never an issue. I’m 1.89m (6ft2) tall, and the handle was just about long enough for me.

Safety: Obviously, this tool is going to get hot as it pumps out air at 600C but the metal stand allows the user to rest the tool without burning the ground. I found that the nozzle cooled to an acceptable level in about 4 minutes. The handle also has a cable attachment to prevent the cable from coming into contact with the hot nozzle.

Burning weeds

Test Results

The manufacturer states that the user only needs to heat up the foliage for 3 seconds as this will be enough to kill it, and after a few days, the dead weed will start to wither away and decay naturally.

It’s worth noting that while you can burn weeds to a crisp with this tool, that isn’t necessary – once blasted with 600C of heat, the foliage will die and decay away over the coming days.

According to the manufacturer, even if the weeds look green, they will die off if given 3 seconds of intense heat.

In Reality

When I tested this weed burner from Draper, I found that:

  • Tiny weeds only needed about 5 seconds, and they were shrivelled.
  • Normal weeds required approximately 8 seconds.
  • Large weeds required a second pass.

I followed the manufacturer’s guidelines and tried not to burn the weeds into oblivion. I applied enough heat to kill off the foliage and then allowed the green leaves and stems to wither away naturally over the next few days.

I think Draper is being a little optimistic with their 3-second suggestion, probably from a fire safety perspective, but there was no need to spend minutes on each weed.

Here are the test results:

Weed burner test results

The weeds wilted after only 5-8 seconds and will wither and decay away over the next few days (there’s no need to fry them into oblivion, although you can if you wish)

Draper weed burner test results 2

Surfaces I Tested Draper’s Weed Burner On

I tested this weed burner on weeds growing on concrete and slate chippings.

It didn’t leave any scorch marks or damage the surfaces in any way.

I looked at customer reviews on several websites, including Amazon and many of the owners used it on patios, brick pavers and other hard surfaces.

Given this weed burner’s heat, it’s clearly unsuitable for use on decking or grass.

It can be used on tarmac but with care. It also works on weeds growing in flowerbeds, provided the nozzle doesn’t get too close to plants and shrubs.

2000W Electric Weed Burner - Draper 68696 - 1.7m Cable Hot Air Garden Commercial Allotment Weed Control, Silver
2000W Electric Weed Burner - Draper 68696 - 1.7m Cable Hot Air Garden Commercial Allotment Weed Control, Silver
2000W Electric Weed Burner - Draper 68696 - 1.7m Cable Hot Air Garden Commercial Allotment Weed Control, Silver
2000W Electric Weed Burner - Draper 68696 - 1.7m Cable Hot Air Garden Commercial Allotment Weed Control, Silver

Energy Usage

As the UK and Europe are gripped by an energy crisis and electricity prices have skyrocketed, the power consumption of tools like this should be considered.

The Draper weed burner uses 2000w of power on its highest setting, and based on the April 2022 price cap, that will cost about £0.56 per hour.

How much you pay will depend on the price you pay for electricity, the price cap is the maximum, but you could be on a cheaper fixed price deal.

While 56p per hour may seem high, it’s far cheaper than buying chemicals (which have also increased in price recently).

Based on my research, weed burners are still one of the cheapest ways to control weeds.

Did The Weeds Grow Back?

I never expected a weed burner to completely eradicate garden weeds as many of them have deep roots, sometimes up to 20cm (8 inches) in the soil.

However, I was pleasantly surprised that it completely killed off some of the shallow-rooted weeds that I tried it on; they never came back.

Some of the bigger weeds, such as dandelions, did bounce back as I thought they would, but without chemical treatment or physical removal of the roots, that was always going to happen.

Suggested Frequency

The purpose of a weed burner such as this is to control weeds on hard surfaces where it’s impossible to pull out the roots and where the gardener doesn’t wish to use chemicals.

Given that many of the deep-rooted weeds will come back, I believe the user will need to go over the area with the weed burner every three weeks during the growing season. This should be enough to keep the weeds in check.

By keeping the weeds under control, they won’t have the opportunity to set seeds, so over time, the gardener should see a reduction in the number of weeds.

Pros and Cons

If you’re still unsure as to whether a weed burner is for you, here’s an overview of the pros and cons:

  • The tool isn’t expensive
  • Cheaper than using chemicals
  • Safe for pets, children, those with allergies and organic gardeners
  • No need to bend down to uproot weeds
  • It’s easy to use and lightweight
  • 2-year warranty from Draper
  • You don’t need to spend ages burning the weeds to crisp – just enough to shrivel them and they will decay away naturally after that
  • It can’t be used on decking
  • It will scorch grass
  • You will need a decent extension lead
  • Deep-rooted weeds will come back
  • You’ll need to use the burner frequently (every 3 weeks) to keep the weeds under control
2000W Electric Weed Burner - Draper 68696 - 1.7m Cable Hot Air Garden Commercial Allotment Weed Control, Silver
2000W Electric Weed Burner - Draper 68696 - 1.7m Cable Hot Air Garden Commercial Allotment Weed Control, Silver
2000W Electric Weed Burner - Draper 68696 - 1.7m Cable Hot Air Garden Commercial Allotment Weed Control, Silver
2000W Electric Weed Burner - Draper 68696 - 1.7m Cable Hot Air Garden Commercial Allotment Weed Control, Silver

Will I Keep The Draper Weed Burner?

I have very few hard surfaces outside my home, mainly grass, gravel and slate chippings, so I have no problems yanking out weeds manually. For me, a weed burner isn’t a good purchase, so I’ll be selling this one on eBay to recoup some of the money I paid for it (we don’t accept gifts or free products from manufacturers as we want to remain impartial).

I think this tool would be a good buy for those that:

  • Refuse to use chemicals for whatever reason
  • Have mobility issues
  • Have lots of hard surfaces where weeds pop up through the cracks
  • Are happy to use a weed burner every 3 weeks during the growing season to keep the weeds in check

Alternatives

I looked at several other brands that manufacture electric weed burners and Draper is the best of the bunch – see my review of the best weed burners here.

The closest alternative is a gas-powered weed burner.

(Here I explain the differences between the two)

These have their own pros and cons:

  • They heat up instantly, no need to wait 40 seconds
  • Gas burns hotter so they will get through the weeds quicker
  • No cables and no extension leads – perfect for using far away from a power socket
  • Greater fire risk
  • You’ll need to replace the gas canister when it’s empty
  • Gas is ridiculously expensive at the moment, and a gas-powered weed burner is far more costly to run than an electric one

Beyond weed burners, there are a few options for removing weeds on hard surfaces.

WeedolI tested the lawn version of this product, and while I have concerns about the pesticides in it, it certainly does work, and it didn’t damage the grass.

Pelargonic Acid Weedkillers – The safest weedkillers are ones that contain pelargonic acid. It breaks down naturally in the soil and is even used on potatoes to stop them from sprouting prematurely. Consider Roundup Naturals which contains 41.3g per litre and has excellent customer reviews online.

Salt and Vinegar – As Hannah pointed out on our blog, salt is very toxic, and too much will ruin the soil, but it can be used now and again on weeds growing on hard surfaces. Vinegar is less effective and costs more, but it breaks down harmlessly very quickly.

Boiling Water – This will kill off the foliage, which will then wither away naturally, but kettles are expensive to run, and this method isn’t practical or particularly safe.

Testing Methodology

Draper’s weed burner was tested on over 20 garden weeds in August and early September 2022 and the dead weeds were monitored over the next days and weeks to see if they grew back.

The manufacturer’s guidelines were followed with exception to the amount of time the heat was applied to the weeds – the suggested 3 seconds just wasn’t enough.

This Draper weed burner was purchased new from Amazon and will be sold on eBay to recoup costs. DIY Gardening does not accept products in return for a review as we wish to remain impartial.

Meet The Author: Daniel Woodley

Daniel has over 18 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, and landscape garden industries.

He previously worked as a project manager and has experience in managing teams of tradespeople and landscape gardeners on both small and medium sized projects.

Daniel is also a keen gardener and enjoys growing unusual plants and tending to his lawn.

More About Daniel Woodley.

Daniel Woodley

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Daniel Woodley has owned a weed burner for several weeks and tested this Draper burner for us.

As accuracy is important, we asked Paul Farley to review and fact-check this guide. He has experience using various garden and work tools, and we wanted a second opinion on weed burners in general.

Explore: Paul Farley’s profile and qualifications.

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