The Best Weed Puller (That Removes Roots Too)

I always use this tool to remove weeds and their roots

Reviewed by: Daniel Woodley. Posted to: Products. Published: 15th June 2022.

When it comes to removing weeds from lawns and flowerbeds, I’ve got it down to a T.

I only use one tool and I have a near 100% success rate at pulling out weeds and their roots.

As you probably know, if you want to get rid of weeds permanently, you need to yank out the root as well; otherwise, it’s just a matter of time until it grows back.

Unfortunately, some weeds have deep roots, occasionally reaching down 8 inches or so into the ground.

On this page you’ll find:

  • Which tool I use and a video showing how I use it.
  • A review of a popular upright weed puller and why I don’t like it – plus another short video.
  • Hints and tips.

Product 1) The Best Manual Weed Removal Tool

While upright weed pullers are okay for yanking out weeds and roots from wide areas such as huge lawns, they aren’t so good when used amongst shrubs or those pesky weeds growing at the edges of patios and paths etc. They also struggle when there are lots of stones under the lawn.

I always have a manual weed removal tool to hand, and these are great at hooking under the neck of the weed and sliding the root out.

As with any weed puller, you’ll have better results if the ground is damp.

Roots embedded in dry soil are far more likely to snap as the soil grips them and the root will be more brittle too.

Check out my short video below which shows you how to use this tool for a near 100% success rate:

I found this manual weed removal tool incredibly easy to use, the “V” shape at the end of the device hooks under the neck of the weed and with a bit of leverage, the entire weed and root can be pulled out of the ground – if the ground is soft and damp enough.

If you try this tool, you’ll know when you’ve hooked it onto a weed because you’ll feel resistance as you leverage it.

It may take a while to get used to this removal tool, but you’ll find it easy and effective once you’ve got the hang of it.

Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126

Product 2) Fiskars Weed Puller

I’m not a fan of upright weed pullers as they often leave the taproot in the ground and they struggle in soil that contains lots of stones but they are perfect for anyone with a bad back who can’t physically get on their hands and knees to manually yank out the weeds.

The best of the bunch is Fiskars Xact Weed Puller.

Watch my review of this tool below, where I explain what’s good and not so good about Fiskars tool:

How This Upright Weed Puller Works

The Fiskars upright weed puller is 1 metre long, perfect for those with back problems or for anyone with hundreds or thousands of weeds in their garden. It’s also made from lightweight materials including fibreglass and plastic, and at less than 1kg, you’ll never get tired arms using it.

I can see why some folks really like this weed puller – I found that removing weeds couldn’t have been easier. I placed the device onto the weed and pressed down on the pedal with my foot until the claws were as deep as possible.

I then gently pulled the top of the device back towards me using the pedal as leverage, the tool gripped and then eased the weed out of the ground effortlessly.

I found releasing the weed from the tool was just as easy and quite satisfying too.

Fiskars weed puller has a quick release function, and by pushing the slider forward, I could see the claw instantly release the weed.

There’s no need to bend over or fiddle about with this tool, and I found that I could remove weeds from a large area far quicker than with a manual device.

Unfortunately, it also left lots of taproots in the soil and there were a few other issues as well.

Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm

What You Need to Know About This Upright Weed Puller

There’s much to like about this weed pulling tool, but I’ll start with a few crucial issues you need to know about:

  1. It works best when the ground is damp.
  2. It doesn’t work on weeds next to patios, paths, decking etc.
  3. You may find it difficult to remove clusters of weeds.
  4. It will leave holes in your lawn.
  5. It often leaves the taproot in the ground.
  6. It doesn’t like pebbles and stones which stop the claws from gripping the weed.

Get The Best From This Puller by Using it After Rain

This puller will work on both dry and wet ground, but if the soil is on the dry side, the roots are more likely to snap when you pull the weed out.

This is because dry soil shrinks and compacts around the roots. Sure, you can still pull out the weed, but some of the roots may remain where they’ll start growing again.

I found that by using the tool after rain or when the ground was damp, the weeds and their roots were easier to pull out but it still left plenty in the ground.

Can you water the lawn instead of waiting for rain?

Given that dandelion roots can grow as deep as 8 inches, I don’t think watering the lawn to soften up the ground is viable unless you have a tiny garden. Otherwise, it would be best to wait until there’s been a day or two of rain. If you live in the UK, I doubt you’ll have to wait long!

It Only Works in Lawns and Flowerbeds

This tool won’t remove weeds that grow on or next to paths, patios or decking etc. 

The claws need a bit of space to work, and weeds that grow in the gaps next to the edges of paths, patios and decking etc., will need to be pulled out manually.

It Doesn’t Work So Well on Clusters of Weeds

This weed puller is okay at pulling out individual weeds, but if you have clusters of weeds competing for the same small area, it may struggle as the claws don’t work as effectively when pressed into the void left by the previous weed.

It Will Leave Holes in Your Lawn

Like every similar device, this weed puller will leave holes in the lawn as the claws grab chunks of soil too.

The holes were about the width of a golf ball and sometimes a little deeper. I found that were two ways to deal with them:

  1. I could fill in the hole with a small handful of topsoil, possibly with a sprinkling of grass seed.
  2. I could massage the ground using my hands or feet to close the gap.

It Doesn’t Like Pebbles and Stones

Pebbles and stones prevent the claws from gripping the weed tightly which then just slides off the tool.

I Have Serious Concerns About Longevity

The Fiskars Xact Weed Puller is made from fibreglass, plastic and metal and there are plenty of moving parts, including three of the claws.

I have genuine concerns about the longevity of this product and I doubt it will hold up well to abuse.

I have lots of stones under my grass and I could see parts of this tool snapping if I stepped on the pedal too hard when a pebble was caught in the claws.

Fiskars Xact Weed Puller in action

Fiskars Xact Weed Puller often left the roots behind

An Analysis of Online Reviews and Ratings

As part of my research into weed pullers and removal tools, I looked at over 10,000 reviews and ratings that consumers had left on Amazon, eBay and other retailers.

Here’s what I found:

89% of raters gave this weed puller a score of 4 or 5 stars out of 5 – this is very high and indicates how much customers like this product – I guess I’m an outlier here but by leaving so many taproots in the ground, I felt disappointed.

Most of the positive comments were about how easy the tool was to use, how they didn’t need to get on their knees and about the number of weeds they could pull out in a short amount of time. Many of the raters also praised the weight of the weed puller.

5% of reviewers gave the Fiskars weed puller a score of 1 or 2 stars out of 5, which is fairly low compared to similar garden tools.

Most of the complaints fell into two categories:

1) That the tool didn’t always pull out the roots.

2) The pedal snapped and was made of plastic rather than metal.

From my experience of using this weed puller, I can see why the flimsy plastic could be an issue.

However, if you buy from Amazon, you can return any faulty product for free within 30 days and get a full refund (Amazon will pay the postage too).

Amazon also offers 2-year warranties for just over £6 and this might be worth considering if you’re worried about longevity.

As for me, I give the Fiskars Xact Weed Puller 5/10.

Alternative Upright Weed Pullers

Before creating this review, I looked at competing weed pullers on sale in the UK and none of them had better ratings and reviews than Fiskars.

The closest alternative puller was from Spear and Jackson which was 30% heavier and at first glance, appeared to be more robust.

However, upon checking the reviews, I found a higher number of raters who stated that the handle or claws broke.

Digging deeper into the reviews only confirmed my suspicions; that weed pullers work well in soft ground but are far more likely to break in firm soil or if abused.

These are certainly not tools that you can jump up and down on and that’s something worth remembering.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Weeds

Beyond using a garden fork to loosen up the soil near a weed, the only other option is to try a chemical weedkiller.

While some people have concerns about the overuse of such chemicals and their damage to the environment, they are very effective if the garden is infested with dandelions or similar weeds.

One option is to treat the weed infestation with a weedkiller and then use the manual tool or upright weed puller to remove any rogue weeds as they appear in the future.

I’ve tested and researched the best lawn weedkillers and even took some before and after photos, read more about the best lawn killers here.

Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Spear & Jackson 4059NB Elements Dandelion Weeder, 35 x 3.5 x 4 cm
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126

FAQs

Below I’ll answer the most common questions about these weed removal tools:

Why Should I Trust Your Advice?

My review in this article is based on my experience of using the products, and the photos and videos were created by me in 2022. If you need a second opinion, there are quite literally thousands of positive 4 and 5-star reviews on Amazon and these far outweigh the negative reviews.

Can These Weed Removal Tools Be Used on Patios, Decking and Concrete etc?

No.

The upright weed puller can only be used on soil or lawns, but the smaller weed puller tool might be able to hook under the neck of weeds adjacent to hard surfaces.

Can These Tools Remove Dandelions?

Dandelions are one of the most challenging weeds to get rid of without using chemicals, and their roots go many inches into the soil.

Also, some of the dandelions in my garden had been there for several years and were set in hard, compacted soil. The manual tool I used managed to remove most of the roots, but a few remained, and of course, any released seeds will germinate and grow into new weeds.

The upright weed puller left about half of the roots in the ground, which was disappointing.

It’s generally accepted in the gardening world that it will take three growing seasons to eradicate an infestation of dandelions. That’s usually enough time to get out all the roots and deal with the new weeds that germinate from seeds.

If you see a new dandelion sprouting, I recommend nipping off the flowerhead the moment you see it, this will stop any seeds from being released.

I'm Disabled, Can I Use The Upright Weed Puller?

Anyone using the upright weed puller will need to stand up or at the least be able to put foot pressure on the pedal.

Those tall or short may benefit from using the slightly more expensive telescopic version.

Can These Tools Be Used to Pull Out Weeds From Gravel and Rocky Soil?

The upright weed puller shouldn’t be used on gravel or rocky soil as it may break the claws or the pedal. The ground conditions should ideally be soft and damp.

The hand tool can be used on both gravelly and rocky soil.

Do These Tools Remove The Taproot?

The taproot is part of a root that all other roots grow from and to prevent a weed from coming back it should be removed.

The manual tool is best while the Fiskars tool picked out half of the deeper taproots.

Are There Any Weeds These Tools Don't Work On?

These weed removal tools work best on larger, deeper weeds and won’t be effective on shallower weeds that spread horizontally.

Are These Tools More Effective Than Chemicals?

Lawn weedkillers such as Weedol are very effective and usually eliminate all of the weeds in a lawn after one or two treatments, but there are environmental concerns, and these chemicals might not be suitable for gardens that pets and children use.

Author: Daniel Woodley

Thanks for reading my guide to the best weed pullers and removal tools. My name is Daniel Woodley and I first published this article on the 15th of June 2022 here at DIY Gardening.

Discover more helpful hints and tips from me over at the blog or explore DIY Gardening’s essential garden products.

I’m a keen amateur gardener who’s trying to reduce his reliance on harmful weed killers and other chemicals but I accept there is a place for them in some limited scenarios.

I also enjoy growing vegetables and fruits, as well as my herbaceous borders and small container courtyard.

More About Daniel Woodley

Danny Woodley

Explore More of Our Content Below:

See More Products

Discover more of our favourite gardening products that we feel are essential for both professional and budding DIY gardeners. Start Here

PET-FRIENDLY WEED KILLERS

These weed killers aren’t the strongest but are safer for pets and children. Most contain fatty acids which kill off the weeds slowly but safely. Start Here

KILL LAWN MOSS SAFELy

These three products all work very well at killing and preventing lawn moss, two of them are organic and safe too. Start Here

This guide to weed pulling tools was published by DIY Gardening

About Us