An Honest Look at Electric Weed Burners
Do these chemical-free weedkillers work?
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Hello and welcome to DIY Gardening’s guide to the best electric weedkillers.
My name is Daniel Woodley, and over the last few years, I’ve reduced my reliance on strong chemical weedkillers considerably; in fact, I rarely use them at all now.
I have a dog who loves chewing on grass, weeds, plants and just about anything in my garden, and I hate the thought of him consuming nasty chemicals.
If you’ve never owned a weed burner before, there is something you should know before you buy one:
Electric weedkillers aren’t designed to fry weeds into oblivion; instead, they hit them with a burst of hot air that kills the weed, which then decomposes naturally over a few days or a week or so.
Keeping reading to see what I think of weed burners in the UK.
In a hurry? Based on my testing and independent research, I feel the Draper 2000w burner is the best of the bunch and is available on Amazon.
I even published a short video of me testing it:
1) Draper Electric Weed Burner
My Experience With Draper’s Weed Burner
Draper has been producing good quality, affordable tools and garden equipment for years and is well-stocked in popular stores such as B&Q.
During my test, I found that this electric weed burner did exactly as it says on the tin, without any frills, unnecessary extras or an unreasonable price tag.
At around half the price of the Hozelock weed burner, I think this product is well worth considering; the two-year parts and one-year labour warranty mean you’re covered if something goes wrong.
Putting the device together was easy and only took a minute or so and overall, I found it simple and straightforward to use.
Here are a few things that stood out for me:
- I liked the fixed stand at the end of the lance as this protected the ground from heat damage.
- This was also the lightest burner I tested, which is handy if you plan on using it a lot.
- I found that it took about 40 seconds to heat up and reach its full temperature.
- Most of the weeds I tested it on shrivelled after 5-8 seconds. They then died off within a few days.
- Most of the small weeds didn’t grow back, but some of the bigger deep-rooted ones did.
- I didn’t need to fry the weeds into oblivion to kill them.
Everything else about the Draper electric weed burner is pretty standard. You get a short 1.7m lead, a UK plug, a detachable handle to make storage easier and a removable nozzle so you can switch to lighting BBQs if you so wish.
If you’re looking for an affordable product that covers the basics but would prefer a device from a trusted brand that honours their warranties, I think you should consider this electric weed burner from Draper.
Shipping weight: 1.3kg
The price – this is at the low end of the price range and I’ve seen few products cheaper than this.
I like the fact that Draper is a trusted brand that’s stocked in numerous well-known outlets.
The warranty period is great – two years for parts and one year for labour.
The power of the device is standard and in line with competitors, but I did like the stand that helps to keep the hot nozzle off the ground, thus preventing unwanted burns.
This was the lightest weed burner I tested – 1.3kg shipping weight and about a kilo for the tool itself.
It works and in my test (see below) I found that it killed the weeds.
Draper’s electric weed burner has the shortest power lead of them all at a paltry 1.7 metres.
The lack of attachments may not suit all situations, for example; a narrow nozzle would be better for treating weeds between patio slabs and driveway blocks.
The power output is pretty standard and it isn’t a multi-tool. This product is a lance weed burner and nothing else.
I tested the Draper weed burner on a selection of weeds by burning them for no more than 8 seconds and then photographing them 3 days later.
Here are the results:
As you can see from my test results, the tool produces excellent results, and you don’t need to burn the weed into oblivion; I found that 5-8 seconds is enough and the foliage withered away over the next few days.
2) Hozelock Weed Burner
Hozelock is a trusted brand in the United Kingdom and is best known for producing quality garden hoses and accessories.
They also produce garden composters, sprayers and weed control devices, including this electric weeder and a separate gas version.
The Hozelock Weed Burner is built for one thing only – killing weeds.
I tested this tool in 2021 as a friend has one – I found it performed just as well as the Draper weed burner I own and have previously tested. In fact, I can’t see much of a difference between the two products.
This burner didn’t come with any attachments for other tasks such as paint stripping, lighting BBQs etc. Neither does it convert into a small handheld version, and it isn’t as compact or as lightweight as some other products.
While it only does one thing and does this very well, it isn’t as versatile as some competing products, but what you get with Hozelock is build quality and reliability from a trusted and recognized brand.
This tool, like Draper’s, just felt lightweight but well-built.
Oh, and the 2-year guarantee beats all the competitor’s hands down.
If you’re prepared to pay more and are looking for a straightforward weed burner and nothing else, this is the product for you.
I recommend this product based on my testing in a friend’s garden, the build quality, warranty period and trustworthiness of the brand.
Shipping weight: 1.6kg
The build quality.
Simplicity – it doesn’t come with tons of attachments that you’ll probably lose somewhere in the shed or need to replace at some point.
The brand – Hozelock has a great reputation in the UK, and I’ve used other products from this brand many times.
The 2-year guarantee.
I really didn’t like the price – nearly double that of many competitors.
It doesn’t collapse down into a small, easy to store product (but it does have a hanging hook).
Upright only, there’s no handheld attachment.
It’s the heaviest product I tested, but only by a small margin.
The 3-metre cable is good, but you’ll still need an extension lead.
ToolTronix is known for producing professional and DIY tools such as garden trimmers, saws, multi-tools and tyre inflaters.
This product is a dedicated electric weed burner; it doesn’t have different attachments but has two heat settings. The lower one is suitable for patios, decking, and other sensitive surfaces, while the more powerful setting is for use on concrete or soil.
The handle also detaches so you can easily convert the tool into a handheld heat gun. The handle itself is also fully adjustable so that you can reach into tight spaces.
Shipping weight: 1.25kg.
The mid-range price – this product isn’t the cheapest, but it is far from the most expensive.
The heat output and power usage are comparable to all the other products we could find.
I liked how the heat gun has an adjustable and fully removable handle, making it perfect for reaching into narrow and smaller areas.
The short power lead, as with many other products, the power lead was far too short, so you’ll need an extension.
Fast delivery from the UK, Amazon are currently delivering this weed burner within 24 hours.
The brand isn’t as well-known as Hozelock or Draper who manufacture a competing product.
No mention of a warranty beyond Amazon’s standard 30 return policy.
4) Parkland Electric Weed Killer
The Parkland electric weed burner met my expectations for this price range and ticked a lot of boxes for me.
Designed for use on hard surfaces such as patios, driveways, slate and bricks, you can expect great results from this product.
It’s lightweight, so frequent use isn’t painful on the back or arms – something to consider if you plan to do a lot of weeding.
There’s no gas canister to replace, so it’s cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly than gas weed burners, it’s also safer too.
The detachable handle makes storing this weed burner a breeze, even if you have limited storage space.
Shipping weight: 1.5kg
I really liked the targeted nozzle for this device, it directs the heat to the target and avoids surrounding areas, unlike some competing products I’ve seen at this price range.
The additional nozzle for lighting BBQs and fires is a nice touch too.
Overall, this product met my expectations for this price range and I didn’t want to pay a fortune for a product I only intended to use occasionally. I only used the higher heat setting but there is a lower one for use on more delicate areas of the garden.
I really didn’t like the length of the power lead. 1.3 metres is all you get after setting up the device and clipping the cable onto the handle.
I would have liked to see a much longer cable, you’ll need an extension lead with this electric weed burner, even if you have a tiny garden.
At 600° this burner is slightly weaker than some others on the market at 650°.
I couldn’t find much information about this brand or the seller, other than the fact they sell primarily online via eBay and Amazon. There’s no information about warranties either.
5) URBN Burner
Finally, a product that has a half-decent power lead length! At 5 metres, this power lead is enough for small gardens and also long enough, so you don’t have to keep dragging an extension lead terminal with you everywhere you go in a more extensive garden.
I also liked the two attachments you get with this weed burner; one for broadleaf weeds and a narrow one for getting into nooks and crannies.
The rest of this product is standard stuff; two power settings with a maximum output of 600°, a small nozzle stand, lightweight and reasonably compact.
When I researched this seller, I couldn’t find much information about this them other than they sell primarily on eBay and Amazon. Neither could I find any guarantee/warranty for this period.
Shipping weight: 1.4kg
The price – at the lower end of the scale.
Good reviews online.
The long power lead – five metres, as it should be.
Two nozzles, both practical, one for large weeds in open areas and the other for narrow crooks and crannies.
I’ve never heard of this company and when I looked, I couldn’t find any mention of contact details, warranty period etc.
It’s a standard, no-frills electric weed burner with a long lead, nothing else.
Electric weed burners are an excellent alternative to nasty chemicals that could pollute the environment, harm pets and wild animals and cost a fortune.
Weed burners even made it onto my list of pet-friendly weedkillers which is another guide I recommend you explore.
These products do have an extremely hot heating element that can fail and may need to be repaired or replaced, for this reason alone I think you should choose a trusted brand that offers a warranty period.
Hozelock and Draper are in my opinion, the best of the bunch, with Hozelock just nudging out the competitor to the top spot.
Nasum is the best of the rest as their electric weed burner converts into a heat gun and has lots of attachments, but do you really need all that?
What I Discovered by Using An Electric Weed Burner
If you’ve never used an electric weed burner before there are some key points you should know about.
I didn’t know much of this until I started researching them and testing one in our garden.
- These weed burners work by targeting the weeds with a short burst of heat that kills the weed. Once killed, the weed will naturally degrade and disappear over time, usually within two weeks or so and from what I’ve seen often much sooner. They are not designed to vaporize the weeds – a common misunderstanding and unrealistic expectation some consumers have.
- It only takes 5 seconds to kill the weed but frommy tesing, I found it takes over 30 seconds to burn it to a crisp. If you spend too much time on each weed, you’ll never clear an entire garden and will probably burn out the heating element trying to do so.
- As a general rule of thumb; I suggest you keep the heat on the weed until the shiny green leaves turn a matt colour, this usually takes about 5 seconds.
- Do pay attention to the weight of the device, especially if you plan to use it frequently, I didn’t get arm ache but the products I tested were lightweight.
- Do you really need all the attachments? Or the optional handheld heat gun? Or the multi-directional handle? After years of testing and experimenting with garden products, I’ve found that sometimes the most effective and long-lasting products are the simplest ones that achieve only one task but do it very well.
- While these weed burners did kill off all of the weeds in my test, some did come back. I found that I had to dig up some deep-rooted weeds or treat them with a chemical. The alternative is periodical treatment with a weed burner, perhaps every month or so throughout the growing season.
- There is no denying that weed burners are far more environmentally friendly than harsh chemicals that could affect pets, children and watercourses etc.
I Analysed Hundreds of Online Reviews: Here’s What I found
Before writing this guide, I read hundreds of online reviews, and the vast majority of the negative comments were due to a misunderstanding about how the weed burners work.
They aren’t designed to burn weeds to a crisp or vaporize them; they kill the weed, which then degrades naturally; this takes time and won’t happen overnight.
Unfortunately, there were dozens and dozens of 1-star reviews from consumers who felt that the product didn’t work because the weed was still there after blasting it with the weed burner.
This misunderstanding is even present on YouTube, where I saw a gardener blasting a single weed into oblivion for 30 seconds and then recommending others do the same.
Weed burners are hot enough to kill weeds after only 5 seconds, but the weeds won’t degrade instantly, and if you spend 30 seconds on each weed, the heating element of the burner will fail, or you’ll get frustrated and give up or you’ll leave a trail of scorch marks across your garden!
Chemical-free weed killing methods have become popular in recent years as consumers are now more aware of the dangers chemicals pose to human and animal health.
Electric weed burners are popular, but what about gas-powered burners?
I’ve explained in detail the difference between the two here but below is a summary:
Consider these points:
- Gas weed burners aren’t as environmentally friendly as electric burners as they produce more CO2.
- You’ll need to dispose of the old gas canisters and buy new ones to replace them, which is wasteful and extra hassle.
- You don’t need a lead with gas weed burners, so they are more practical for owners with very large gardens.
- Gas burners are less likely to break. The heating elements in electric burners can burn out from excessive use or break from knocks etc., but gas burners are more robust as they don’t have a heating element.
I think electric burners are better than gas burners, but I’ll leave it to you to decide which best suits your needs.
Beyond weed burners, there are many other “natural” ways to kill weeds, but most of these contain salt, which is harmful and toxic to soil. Hannah recently debunked many of these “organic” and “homemade” weed killers; read her guide to homemade weed killers here.
Do electric weed burners work?
Yes. These devices emit heat up to 650° which kills the weeds. They are an effective alternative to harsh chemicals and are popular with gardeners that have pets and children.
Can electric weed burners be used on lawns?
The heat will kill the weeds but will also kill the grass surrounding the weed. Expect an area of around 100mm (4 inches) to be damaged.
Can weed burners be used on patios and driveways?
In most cases; yes. However, one should first test the heat on a hidden area of the patio or driveway to make sure there is no damage.
Will the weeds grow back?
Some weeds will be completely killed off by the weed burner while some deep-rooted weeds may persist and will require periodical treatment.
Are electric weed burners better than gas burners?
We think electric weed burners are better in terms of price, effectiveness and their environmental impact. They’re also much safer too.
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.
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When selecting products for a review, comparison or recommendation, the team here at DIY Gardening first conducts an analysis of online reviews and ratings to narrow down the selection.
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