Best Weeding Tools: 5 Ways To Help Eradicate Unwanted Vegetation
It never fails. You spend hours laying out your garden beds, choosing the perfect plants, spend months starting seeds, lovingly water and watch for growth…and then it happens: something that is definitely NOT your plant is growing. And growing rapidly at that.
Weeds. They plague the most loved and cared for lawns and gardens all over the world. And chances are, you’ll spend more time pulling, plucking, picking, and otherwise attempting to eradicate the worst of them in your yard- than you will enjoy the pleasure of the yard itself.
But what is the best garden tool for weeding? You only have to begin a search before you are assaulted by all sides to determine just which, exactly, is the best weeding tool for you.
No fear – that is exactly why I wrote this article- to break down the different types of weeding tools on the market, how they are used, and which might be the most helpful in your garden.
Why a Tool? Why Not Just Pull it Up?
–Where will you be weeding?
–What types of weeds are you removing?
–What are the soils like?
–Are you going to be comfortable (either standing or kneeling)?
–Are long-lasting materials used in the make of the tool?
- Cobrahead Weeder and Cultivator
- Grandpa’s Weeder
- Fiskar’s Softouch Weeder
- Flexrake Classic Flower and Vegetable Tiller
- Japanese Hori Garden Knife
Why Weed At All? Why Not Use A Weed Killer?
Chemical and organic weed killers can be very effective in helping to eradicate weeds, but there are many things to consider before you attempt this route. For starters, using any sort of plant killer, chemical or not around your annual and perennial beds is going to most likely result in plants you didn’t want to kill gasping for their last breath as well.
The biggest problem with weed killers are that they are not always specific to just weeds. They generally kill vegetation with no regard as to whether it is your prize petunias or an annoying patch of creeping charlie. And you definitely don’t want poisons in with anything you eventually want to consume.
Many lawn fertilizers have weed killer mixed in, and these can be rather effective, although it doesn’t always kill what weeds have already gone to seed- and be prepared to keep your kids, dogs, and wildlife off your lawn for a given time until the poison levels are low enough for safety.
Whereas weed killers are an effective measure, don’t confuse it with a solve-all. Be prepared, at the very least, to wage war by hand in your garden and vegetable beds!
Why A Tool? Why Not Just Pull It Up?
Physical stressors as you are bending down, reaching, straining your back and legs seems to be a part of gardening, so ideally the less of it you have to do, the better. Save your energy for caring for the plants you love, not the ones you want to kill for all time.
Short of having to spend a lot of time at ground level, reaching and pulling for a good hold on your most annoying weeds- why not make your life a bit easier and put the best hand weeding tool you can find to good use?
Weeds also have an annoying habit of rooting themselves into the most difficult to pull areas. It’s not unusual to see them coming up between block pavers, through stone landscaping, dandelions in the middle of a perfectly manicured, lush lawn… and their death is complicated by the fact that if you believe you have pulled them up, but haven’t gotten the roots, they will be back in a few days. Like some bad, B-rated horror movie.
Tools can make your weed killing experience much less stressful, and help make sure they die – the first time.
Types of Weeding Tools
There is quite the variety of quality weeding tools on the market, and in order to choose the best ones for you, it’s important to understand how each works.
Mainly there are two basic categories: Ideally you may want to have one of each depending on your yard needs.
Long tools will allow you to cover larger, more open areas more quickly (such as a lawn) while you are standing.
Short-handled tools require you to bend or work on your knees, but allow you to get into those closer spaces under and around your plants.
Tool are further divided by their use and multiple head types:
As suggested by the name, knives look very much like a large knife attached to a sturdy wooden handle. The serrated edge of one side is for sawing and digging, while the smoother edge to slice. These are good to get in between pavers, slide into the root below ground, and create trenches to mention a few.
Multiple hoe varieties are available, but their purpose is all the same: to help remove weeds through both push, and pulling actions. Sharp edges work into the soil to get the weeds at the roots and help remove vegetation. Both long and short handled versions are popular because not a lot of effort is needed in their use with easy to access weeding spots.
Rake (fork or cultivator)
Rakes look very similar to what their name suggest: a 3 to 5 fingered metal fork, occasionally staggered, to pull and grab at vegetation. These are very helpful in loosening the soil and aiding to pull up multiple weeds at once in close quarters, especially if you have compacted soils.
How To Choose The Best Weeding Tool For You
You should ask yourself a few questions before making a final decision regarding the best garden weeding tools for you. There are factors to consider concerning where you are using it, what you are are using it on, and even the materials used to make the tool itself.
Where will you be weeding?
What types of weeds are you removing?
Weeds (unfortunately) come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Removing dandelions is going to be a much different experience than thistle. The size of your weeds should be take into consideration as well. Immature weeds have shallow root systems and are easier to remove than some mature varieties, that can grow almost as tall as a single story house – and will have a root system to rival it.
What are the soils like?
Are you going to be comfortable (either standing or kneeling)?
Are long-lasting materials used in the make of the tool?
- Size: 13x1x6 inches
- Weight: 8.8 ounces
The Cobrahead weeder is a design that is available in both long and short-handled versions (short handled is reviewed here), and are considered one of the toughest hand weeding tool on the market. It’s unique shape allows you to both dig and cut at tough stems with precision in just about any type of soil. The curved neck and head is made to get deep under the plant to cut the tap-root, the main root that will keep the plant from coming back if removed.
It’s versatility extends to being useful as a digging tool for creating trenches, bulb holes, and cultivating around delicate plants to name a few. I love how many things you can do with just one tool simply by changing how you hold it. Plus the grip is interchangeable between the left and right handed. And because it boosts a comfortable handle and is designed for leverage, this is a popular tool to use for people who don’t have a lot of strength to do much pulling, and for large areas requiring more effort as well.
- Self-sharpening steel
- Tough in any soil
- Comfortable design
- Versatile for both cutting, digging, and loosening
- Self-sharpening steel
- Tough in any soil
- Comfortable design
- Versatile for both cutting, digging, and loosening
To see both long and short-handled versions in action, watch here:
- Size: 46x8x1.5 inches
- Weight: 1 lb
Grandpa’s weeder was first invented over 100 years ago as a long-handled, forked gardening tool for weed and plant removal. SInce then it has only gotten more popular as the go to too for lawn and garden weed removal due to its simple grasping concept. Personally, I think this thing looks like a ton of fun to use, and I bet I could talk my kids into fighting over who gets to use it.
Because of it’s design, it is for quick removal of unwanted plants in more open areas where you can easily maneuver the tool into position. This has made it a popular weeder for lawns due to how easy it pulls weeds through a patented forked lever method. It literally takes little to no effort for the user to remove dandelions and other pesky plants that have a tendency to take over a yard. The lever design gets at the taproot and pulls it clear to keep the weed from regrowing.
- No bending down required
- Grasps and destroys taproot easily
- Sturdy design
- Good for taller people also, no stooping.
- Not for raised garden beds
- Hard to use where plants are close together
- Not much precisions overall
- Not good for plants that send out runners
To see Grandpa’s Weeder in action, watch below:
- Size: 2.2×1.5×12.4 inches
- Weight: 5.6 ounces
The heavy-duty forked tines of this is extremely good for removing tough weeds with deep taproots from your lawn. This short-handled tool is innovative in its curved neck that creates leverage during use. This is helpful in more than one way in that energy is put towards pulling what needs to be pulled, and that it requires much less effort on the part of the user.
Because of its simple design, it is ideal for both lawn and garden use – both in raised and level beds. You can easily get in between plants for precision use with this, and I really like to use it on tough, hard to pull weeds without damaging nearby vegetation or established lawn grasses.
For well established, deep roots, you may have to work the tool a bit more than you would with a dandelion or other soft stemmed plant, but with minimal effort you can pull just about any unwanted, young vegetation.
- Works well in compacted soils
- Grabs varied sized stems
- Leverage places force where needed
- Pulls tough, deep roots
- Not good in rocky soils
- Can break along edges of sidewalks/driveways
- Handle can be wide for a small hand to grasp
- Not effective in hard to reach areas
To see the Softouch Weeder in action on a tough elm sapling, watch below:
- Size: 14.5×10.2×4 inches
- Weight: 3 lbs
As a rake/hoe combo, this tool is top rated for garden use. Designed for overall gardening versatility, you can cut, rake, pull, dig, and work soil with ease with this short-handled design.
The solid engineering behind this tool is made of metal with a solid non-slip, oak handle for ease of grip. My favorite bit about this tool is how you can reach into areas that may be hard to access to pull and work soil near existing weeds and plants with precision, as well as how many different things you can do with it.
Toted as being 4 tools in one, the biggest selling point of this hand weeder is just how much you can do by changing your grip, side, or angle of use. It’s even tough enough to cut into shallow tree roots and doesn’t dull anytime quickly.
- Angled hoe head for chopping
- Cuts into tough dirt
- Comfortable to hold and well balanced
- Good reach
- Doesn’t chop well in rocky soils
- Somewhat heavy
- Teeth on rake can bend easily
Although there aren’t any videos available of this in use, it works much like a hand mattock on one side, and a garden hand rake on the other if you are interested in researching how either of those look.
- Size: 13×2.5x.05 inches
- Weight: 12 ounces
If you like to have a good knife handy in the garden, then this trowel shaped, Hori garden knife is the versatile tool you must have. This might be my absolute favorite handy yard product of all time because it is so easy to carry around and it can do so much.
This is just one tough knife that boosts a razor sharp edge on one side, and a serrated sawing edge on the other (whetstone included), a measuring system (in inches), and a 100% lifetime, no questions asked, money back guarantee. Because of the trowel shape, when digging in the point along the stem of your weeds you are easily able to lever out your plants with a downwards pressure on the knife hilt, forcing the sharp edge to cut into the taproot, as the trowel lifts it free of the soil.
But the unique, durable design makes it so much more versatile, and it doesn’t have to be used in only the garden. I would definitely take this into any outdoor environment as a handy little tool. Especially when camping and fishing.
- Easy to use with only one hand
- Versatile in the garden and out
- Good for work in tight spaces
- Solid construction
- Shallow serrations
To see a Japanese Hori knife in action, watch below:
Overall I was interested in finding a good quality, and top rated hand weeding tool for around my yard and garden, and I feel I easily found more than what I was looking for- making my decision to pick a favorite very difficult.
When picking a tool, consider where and how you want to use the tool, what vegetation you are battling, and what your physical capabilities are. Even though all the tools listed are to help ease the effort of weed pulling, short and long-handled choices both have some distinct pros and cons. Namely what areas they can get into in your yard space, and what types of soils they can handle.
I have a very large yard space that is varied in its growing conditions, so I often apply multiple weed killing technique- but where I put forth most of my efforts are in my flower beds in close spaces and around plants I want to be sure I don’t damage in any way. I also am constantly working in my yard with many different things and find myself running for scissors and different tools constantly. Because of this I feel the Japanese Hori Garden Knife would be best put to use even though I really want to hang the other tools in my shed as well (especially Grandpa’s Weeder – somehow I feel I’m letting down my forefathers by picking the garden knife).
With that being said, I’m placing an order and can’t wait to use it – especially on my dead squash and pumpkin vines this winter! If you have any comments, questions, or favorite ways to use your hand weeding tools, please share below! And as always, if you learned anything from this article, let your friends know!