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The key to a weed-free garden or food plot is to never let weeds get established, and especially don’t let them go to seed. If you consistently manage them in your garden beds and pathways, you’ll see a huge reduction in unwanted plants sprouting up.
One of the best tools for managing weeds is a weed torch, also called a flame weeder. They singe young weed shoots, so they never get a chance to get established. The key to using them effectively is getting to the weeds when they’re just breaking the surface, not fully grown. Trying to burn a fully grown weed will only cause a fire, and it takes longer to burn it than to rip it out of the ground. Some weed torches can also be used for alternate purposes like lighting BBQs or fire pits, and melting ice.
Here are some of the best weed torches for the home gardener and a guide on choosing a flame weeder.
How I Chose the Best Weed Torches
I tested the Flame King by eliminating emerging weeds in garden beds, walkways, and my driveway. While putting it to use, I evaluated its effectiveness, ergonomics, and ease of use. I made my other selections based on my experience with the Flame King and my time taking a market gardening course with a flame weeding module.
Best Weed Torches: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Ivation
- 500,000 BTU
- 38.25 inches long
- 10-foot hose
- Brass fittings
- Can control flame intensity by turning a knob
- Long hose
- Can burn through a fuel tank faster than less powerful models
If you’re looking to melt ice, burn stubborn weeds, or light charcoal, this is the weed torch for you. It spits out an impressively hot flame. The hotter a flame burns, the less time it takes to turn a weed to ashes.
The long, 10-foot hose makes working a lot easier. You can set down the propane tank, weed an area, and then move on. With the Flame King’s 6-foot hose, I had to carry the tank as I worked continuously. The Ivation has quality brass fittings, not plastic, so you don’t have to worry about cracking a collar from over-tightening.
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Best Value: Flame King
- Push button igniter
- 6-foot hose
- Flame control
- 340,000 BTU
- Ergonomic handle
- Comes fully assembled
- Easy to use
- Not the hottest flame
- Just a 6-foot hose
If you’re looking for a weed torch to control weeds on sidewalks, driveways, and your garden, the Flame King is an excellent option. For around $50, you get an easy-to-use and versatile flame weeder that’s ideal for giving this technique a try. You can also use the Flame King for melting ice and starting bonfires.
During testing, I found the Flame King very user-friendly. You just attach it to your propane tank, turn the gas on, and press the igniter. Then you can squeeze the trigger to shoot out a flame and get to work. I started by working on weeds that grow in the cracks of a brick walkway. The Flame King made quick work of those, and it was pretty fun to remove the weeds with the huge flame. I then turned my attention to a few of my in-ground beds that I had just gotten ready for planting.
I waved the flame over the surface and watched tiny weed sprouts wither to nothing. A few weeks later and those beds are still looking pristine. I also used it to hit a few weeds on my driveway that were already fully grown and flowering. Instead of burning those weeds to the ground, I used the flame to just burn the flowers off. That prevented them from going to seed, and creating more weeds. I found the flame is plenty hot enough for most applications beyond lighting an extremely stubborn bonfire or quickly burning mature weeds — although I don’t recommend burning weeds taller than a few inches due to the fire hazard that creates.
Best for Large Gardens: Inferno Flame Weeder
- 15-inch wide flame
- Wind hood
- Made from stainless steel and aluminum
- Mesh or smooth wheel options
- Fastest bed prep
- Can flame weed a 30-inch bed in two passes
- Not recommended for doing anything but preparing garden beds
- Requires a backpack for carrying the propane tank
Conor Crickmore of Neversink Farm is one of the foremost experts on using flame weeders in the market garden. He developed a line of tools, and his Inferno Flame Weeder is fantastic for prepping large, in-ground garden beds. You roll the Inferno over the surface of the bed as it burns up the weeds. It has a hood, so your flame will be unaffected by wind or weather. Whether you’re growing food for your home or for the market, time is always at a premium. That’s where the Inferno really excels. In just two passes, you can get rid of all the emerging weeds on a 30-inch wide bed.
How to Choose a Weed Torch
You can spend $50 to $400 on a weed torch. The biggest difference in those prices is how the flame weeder will be used. If you’re preparing an acre of garden beds or food plots, you should opt for a tool that will make quick work of that job. A $50 flame weeder that covers a few inches at a time won’t cut it for weeding a big field, but a $400 flame weeder that covers 15 inches of surface area is worth every penny for large plots.
Power output is another consideration. A weed torch that spits out a powerful flame burns weeds faster and is less affected by wind. They’re also more useful for lighting fires or melting thick ice. The downside to all that output is it can drain your propane tank faster.
If you are using a backpack to carry your propane tank, then you don’t have to worry about hose length. But if you’re going to hand carry your tank, a longer hose will help you work faster and set down your heavy propane tank.
Weed torches excel at killing emerging weeds, weed seeds, and can control mature weeds that grow in driveway or sidewalk cracks.
A 300,000 to 500,000 BTU torch is ideal for controlling weeds.
The best weed torch depends on the application. For small jobs, the Ivation has excellent power and features. For larger jobs, the Inferno Flame Weeder is the best option.
Final Thoughts on the Best Weed Torches
Flame weeders are awesome tools with a variety of uses. When it comes to weeding with them, it’s important to understand their limitations. Burning a fully grown dandelion to the ground will take longer than pulling it out. The best weed torches excel at making quick work of emerging weeds so you can kill them before they have a chance to get established. If you understand those limitations, you’ll have a lot of success managing your weeds.