Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s best garden weeders: weed pullers with long and short handles to remove stubborn Dandelions and thistles reviewed

This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 5:32 am

Any tool that saves me bother, especially the bending over part is fine by me. That’s why I love my long handled Fiskars garden weed puller. It’s not just a weed puller though, my litter picker and long handled leaf grabber are a godsend too, but they don’t come with the added benefit or being a seriously durable tool that can uproot the most annoying dandelions and thistles grabbing to the base of roots – as deep as 4 inches no less, but there are other types of garden weeder, or weed puller if you prefer too in this review so don’t just stick with My trusty Fiskars I’ve been using for the last three years, please take the time to familiarise yourself with the other weed pullers – they may be more suited, and old Grandpa will be sad 😀

Best weed puller – the Fiskars

There a two main types of garden weeders or weed pullers. Both are manual, but one is a small hand weeder without extension, the other is a stand-up weeder. Both are good tools and both useful in their own way. Kneeling might not always be an option , so stand-up weed pullers would better suited. If not, you might need something a little cheaper that does the job equally well. So, for those reasons we have decided to review both. Firstly, check out our best stand-up garden weeders, followed by our best hand weeders being sold in the UK right now. If you decide on a short handle, you may feel free to take a look at my gardening knee pads or garden kneelers which are a life saver when weeding on ones knees!

Best long handled weed puller: Fiskars Xact Weed Puller

Alternative long handled garden weeder: Spear and Jackson 4854WP Mechanical Weed Puller

Best short handled weed puller: Spear & Jackson 3048EL Select Stainless Weeder and Fulcrum

Best telescopic garden weed puller: Fiskars SmartFit Weed Puller Telescopic – very very useful extension for taller people or those who want to keep a straight back.

Best garden weeders buyers guide:

Weed pullers are designed to be placed over the weeds and dug into the ground and finally levered up pulling the weed out with the device. Weed pullers are favoured by the professional gardeners and landscapes because the weed is pulled out completely with the root attached and leaves minimal damage, if any to the lawn.

But did you know you get crevice tools as well as long handled – and many more useful features like fulcrums and pedal operation:

What’s a fulcrum?

A fulcrum is basically a rod that comes out of the back of the point with which you leverage, and it gives you amplified purchase and leverage which is really handy for deep rooted weeds. Here’s a look at a fulcrum on a long handled weed puller:

Fulcrum on a long handled weed puller

On a short handled weed puller you’ll find a less aggressive fulcrum – it’s normally curved metal to give that little bit extra pull and take the pressure off the hands a little:

Spear & Jackson 3048EL Select Stainless Weeder and Fulcrum: short handled weed puller you’ll find a less aggressive fulcrum

Without this leverage you wouldn’t pull the weed size this tool is designed for.

Depth of extraction

This is really important – if you go for the Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Spear and Jackson 4854WP Mechanical Weed Puller, or the Fiskars SmartFit Weed Puller Telescopic then you’re going to get about 4 inches of depth penetration into the ground. By contrast the Orientools which is a good tool in it’s own right will only get you three inches.

Then if you’re talking hand weed pullers then less still. Basically, you want one of the top models for weeds like Dandelion and Thistles. If it’s smaller plants in grass like daises then you definitely want to opt for the Wilkinson Sword.

Best short handled weed puller: Spear & Jackson 3048EL Select Stainless Weeder and Fulcrum

Long vs short handle

Almost everyone wants a long handled weed puller – this is because you have additional leverage, and can take advantage of the fact you use your legs, not just hands and wrist – which is what you’re limited to when using a hand grubber. The best long handled weed puller in my opinion is the Fiskars Xact Weed Puller. This is so much easier than hand weeding that I would dare to call it addictive. So what use do you actually have for a hand weeder?

Well for a start the smaller weeds are a problem – if you haven’t got a little hand weeder then you’re not going to get them. The very best weeder for the small stuff is without question the Wilkinson Sword 1111126W Steel Hand Weeder

Long handled weed puller

Foot pedal vs push and twist

Most of the main long handled weeders work with a foot pedal – some have a twist and pull mechanism. They both work in completely different ways exerting pressure on different parts of the body. For example, my trusty Fiskars is great if I am looking to use my legs and keep as much of the pressure off my hands as possible. This is because thee pedal is the point of pressure to dig into the Earth. By contrast, if you have a problem with your feet or knees then you may prefer the weight and pressure to run through your hands and arms – if this is the case then you want to take a look at the Orientools review – this is perfect for such a scenario.

Stones stop a weed puller working properly

It doesn’t matter what weed puller – if you hit stones it’ll bend and break the tines. If you get stones caught in between the tines as you try to pull a weed out it’ll stop the mechanism engaging. Most people says the Fiskars handles this best but I have to tell you from years of use it really still catches and can be annoying. This is definitely a personal problem – the tool relies on pull back to lock – as you pull back, if a stone is caught inside, it simply can’t lock – there’s no way you can blame the tool for that limitation but you can certainly say lawns and rock free soil are far more favourable for a garden weeder.

When I reviewed the Fiskars Xact two years ago it was definitely the best long handled weed puller – that is still true two years on – it’s rare a pick gets to keep top spot two years later – a testament to the quality!

Fiskars Xact weed puller is a well-designed garden weeder that can extract more than just nettles, thistles and dandelions. This Weed puller is capable of extracting roots up to 10 cm below ground level and you really don’t need strong hands to operate this.

It traps the roots using a patented long-lasting stainless-steel claw mechanism. Simply apply a little pressure to the handle for the claws to open and then push down on the handy foot pedal to trap the desired weed. Finally using the foot pedal as a fulcrum pull the weed out cleanly without disturbing the lawn. The weed control diameter is 4 cm and we really like the easy efficient weed ejection system from the handle.

Fiskars weed puller can grab 4cm diameter with serrated prongs for extra grip

The foot pedal feels durable and the system as a whole works well, we like it a lot. The length of the weeder is 1 metre, so there is no bending down and can be used safely without putting strain on the body.

Fiskars weed puller foot pedal feels sturdy

The handle is made from a strong fibreglass and is lightweight. This is extremely easy to use and works every time. The handle grip is also non-slip and the device is easy to clean.

The Fiskars weeder is available for sensible money on Amazon. This particular model comes with a fixed handle but Fiskars weed puller also has a telescopic handle model, which we think is great if you are a tall gardener at 5 foot 9 I get along just fine with this one. However, the Fiskars SmartFit Weed Puller Telescopic is slightly more expensive but probably worth the extra money if you are worried about the handle being too short for you. The telescopic handle can be extended to 1190 mm.

Pros

  • Capable of extracting weeds up to 10 cm deep
  • Claw system which releases the weed exceedingly easy
  • Ergonomically designed and for comfort and posture control
  • Telescopic handle models are available as well

Cons

  • The odd manufacturer dud – hardly surprising with tens of thousands of units sold! It shouldn’t discourage you.

The one big worry with anything telescopic is the sturdiness – just like the top pick Fiskars that isn’t telescopic, this one is very very sturdy and so ideal for different height people. I have to say at 5 foot 9 inches I had no problem with my top pick and still like it today. If you’re taller you will definitely want to consider this.

If you’ve got weaker hands this takes all the strain out – everything is on the foot – you can push this into the ground with the pedal, and the pull back is easy because of the leverage reducing arm strain too – more on that in a minute.

It works in pretty much the same way too. You use the pedal to sink the prongs into the ground around your weed – you can get the same 4 inch depth. You then pull out using the long fulcrum (if you don’t know what a fulcrum is please check the guide which is illustrated with pictures but essentially the bit that sticks out the back gives you decent leverage for tougher roots like Dandelion and Thistles.

Once removed you squeeze the lever on the side of the bar to release the tines and you are free of a weed!

To adjust the height you simply twist it. theres a screw inside the handle and that’s what is keeping this super rigid at all times.

Overall given that this model is telescopic, I still feel it’s stands up to the standard version and a super buy – most people seem to take preference with this model over the standard too so makes sense.

There are a few niggles over thousands of purchases: a small minority have managed to bend the tines – they are clear – you can’t whack this into rocks – catching small stones will still work, but not big ones. I don’t think the seller has been deceptive on this. There are a few mechanical failures on the rammer too but few and far between. With that said it’s still the best telescopic garden weeder no question.

Next up is the Spear and Jackson weed puller – they’ve got tough shoes to fill with regards to matching up with the Fiskars Xact Weed Puller but they make a pretty good fist of it and deserve their second spot – no question about that.

It works in pretty much the same way, you’ve got a lightweight shaft made of fibreglass so we are talking like for like strength. The grabber locks in the same way as you pull the weed out and its a metre tall (which in my mind takes it useful for people at least 5 foot 9 inches tall as I’ve tested this length shaft rigorously – these two manufacturers definitely built these models to compete. And they do. I know I have a slight bias as I have the Fiskars but this is an exceptional tool and I’d have no problem recommending it if the Fiskars unavailable.
The Spear and Jackson garden weeder uses a pronged claw mechanism to grab the weeds roots. It feels strong and has a sturdy foot pedal. The pedal is also a pivot which provides extra leverage when pulling weeds. The weeder doesn’t need to be pulled back up, just simply release the grip downward and the weed pulls straight out. The handle is comfortable and provides a steady grip too.

It has the same niggles as the other models – if you hit stones you damage the tines and the stones can stop the tines (or prongs if you prefer) from engaging and actually grabbing the weed. This is very much a your soil problem, not the tool problem – it’ the limit of any tool in this range of weed pullers and by design can’t be fixed.

Pros

  • Pronged claw system actually works
  • Pivoting foot pedal
  • Sturdy handle can be given a good pull without breaking

Cons:

  • Stones can stop the tines from engaging around a weed properly.
  • Still think the Fiskars Xact Weed Puller is better personally

Since I last reviewed this they made a big upgrade that has significantly improved the model, shooting it into a third sport for long handled garden weeders – especially with it’s lifetime guarantee! The Newer model is basically stronger and more durable at pulling and holding weeds. And it shows, it’s rated half a star higher at 4.5 now as opposed to the old one that was only 4.

Grampa’s weeder is what we would call a traditional device. A far cry from the modern competitors in this review. However simple or old fashioned the design can’t be faulted. This garden weeder has minimal parts. The single handle is made from treated wood and comes with a hanging hole for storage. The handle is connected to the powder-coated cast iron claw which works with a single bolt and leaver action from the foot pedal. Simply place over the weed, dig into the ground and push down on the pedal. Lastly, tilt the weed puller and out comes the weed.

This weed puller has been crafted from a design that dates all the way back to 1913. Designed in the city of Seattle in the United States of America and was said to be Grampa’s pride and joy. After testing Grampa’s weeder we can understand why this simple but effective design hasn’t changed over the years – “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.

This old school weed puller works well and we have to say it certainly feels like the most durable of all the garden weed pullers we’ve tested.
You can find Grampa’s weeder being sold on Amazon and would definitely make a cool gift for a true gardener.

Pros

  • Big upgrade tis time – much stronger
  • Treated wood handle
  • Powder-coated cast iron claw
  • Extremely durable
  • Simple but effective
  • Traditional design

Cons:

Easy to use and no installation is required. The product is 93 cm in length and does a great job at minimising fatigue for the user. This works differently to the Fiskars and the Spear and Jackson – you essentially push this tool in around the weed, and twist your weed out, then press the button on the top and that will release the weeds – it’s actually a very simple design and one that works much better for those that have problems with their lower body (knees specifically) than their hands – so it definitely has a place on this review.

The Orientools stand-up garden weeder is made from anti-rust steel and is a durable but lightweight weeder. The handle is made from aluminium and the PP/GF 30 round shaped handle grip provides comfort when sliding the secondary sleeve handle which releases the claws. This weeder employs a 3-claw design which works very well and requires hardly any effort at all – sounds like a scammy advert – no serious it’s kinda fun…..until you smash a stone, buckle the prongs and run back to Amazon to leave a 1 star review 😀 That’s about the only weakness, be careful with your tines and all is good on this.

Pros

  • Good for people with lower body issues
  • Anti-rust weatherable design
  • PP/GF 30 rounded handle with comfortable grip
  • Easy to twist a weed out

Cons:

  • Not as effective as Fiskars or Spear and Jackson long handled versions

Coming with a 12 month guarantee the guys at Garden Gear are confident you will be happy with your purchase until you whack a rock 😀 – same goes for all weeders within reason – this one just less durable than the top picks in my opinion. However, we found the Garden Gear stainless steel weeder able to remove weeds and unwanted irritating blemishes to our lawn exceptionally well – basically, if there’s no rocks you’re in business.

The Garden Gear Stainless steel garden weeder uses a two-pronged system to penetrate the soil and goes down about 3 inches to the root – not quite as far as the top picks. Applying pressure to the foot pedal and simply pulling backwards on the foot plate then tilting back for the weed to come right out.

The weeder feels robust, yet lightweight and the handle comes with a decent grip and a handy metal loop for hanging storage. the weakness though is the bit of plastic behind the prongs where you lever – I’ve seen examples of this simply breaking.

Pros

  • 12-month guarantee
  • Two-pronged weed removing system
  • Lightweight
  • Handy metal ring for storage

Cons:

  • Plastic that holds the prongs on leverage tends to break off unfortunately rendering the tool useless

Yet another great Spear and Jackson product this stainless steel weeder has a mirrored polished finished and which improves rust resistance and has minimal soil adhesion. The head is double-pronged and digs into the ground with ease. The Spear and Jackson uses a fulcrum to add leverage when removing the weeds from the garden – this is the bit of curved metal at the back that basically acts like.a block of wood under a levering bar to give you more grab.

and given the width of the prongs I would say the fulcrum is well thought out – this is definitely for bigger weeds – smaller ones can slip through – worth thinking about

This hand weed puller has a PP grip handle and it feels comfortable enough. The Spear and Jackson hand weeder can be found on Amazon and the reviews are pretty much inline with my opinion – it’s a solid weed puller. We think it’s a great price considering this product has won a gold ‘Grow Your Own’ award from the Grow Your Own Great British Awards 2018 and definitely deserves top spot as the best short handled weed puller.

Pros

  • Mirrored polished finish
  • Fulcrum ensures extra leverage
  • Soft PP grip handle
  • Gold ‘Grow Your Own’ award from the Grow Your Own Great British Awards 2018.

Cons:

  • Smaller weeds can slip through

The Wilkinson Sword adopts a more rustic design with a smooth ergonomically shaped wooden handle with a leather hanging hoop for easy storage. The two-prongs at the head of the hand weeder are short so this weeder is not going to work for the deeply rooted plants, root vegetables or larger weeds. Although it does work well with smaller roots – and it really is nice to use – so a better pick for the smaller weeds than the Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Weeder .

The Stainless steel is also polished and guarantees no rust. Wilkinson Sword are so confident that this product comes with a 10-year guarantee which we should put some buyers’ minds at ease – I don’t personally know anyone in my gardening community that has had to claim on this warranty – it’s vastly overbuilt for small weeds and a quality lifetime tool!

Pros

  • Better than the Spear & Jackson Select Stainless Weeder for small weeds.
  • Rustic designed wooden handle
  • Handy leather hanging loop for storage
  • 10-year guarantee

Cons:

  • Small weeds only

9. Rolson 82613 Stainless Steel Hand Weeder

If you like the Spear & Jackson shirt handle weeder then you may like this one too and it costs less – the design is pretty similar.
The Rolson has also been crafted to a more traditional design and has a great antique finish. The ash handle is FSC approved which means is it environmentally and socially responsible and comes with an international standard guarantee from the Forest Stewardship Council. Ideal for extremely passionate eco-friendly gardeners. The Rolson hand weeder has also been equipped with a handy leather strap for hanging purposes.The mirror polished head helps resistance to rust damage and minimal soil adhesion like most hand weeders. The two prongs are slightly longer than the Wilkinson Sword entry and we feel it also works better with larger rooted weeds – if you were complaining the Spear & Jackson could only do big weeds – this one is even wider – you’ve been warned 🙂

This might make a perfect gift for a green fingered friend!

Pros

  • Traditional design
  • Antique finished ash handles
  • International standard guarantee from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC approved)
  • Great budget choice for a hand weeder

Cons:

  • Prongs are wide so can only grab larger weeds

I hope that our round up of the best stand-up garden weeders and best garden hand weeders will help you make the right decision when purchasing your new garden weeder.

Why buy a garden weed: conclusion

Garden weeders save you pulling your hair out, there’s nothing worse than having spent hours working on creating and shaping your professional looking garden and seeing the lawn, boarders or flower beds sprouting irritating weeds. Just pulling out the weeds by hand or with a grubber might be your first port of call. However, this will just become an endless cycle of pulling weeds far too regularly. A garden weeder should feel good in the hand and be made from quality steel while having no problems cutting through soil. With that in mind, I have reviewed the best garden weeders to save you time.

If it’s the gaps in your patio, you might even think that you need to start using expensive weed killer and that this is the only way to tackle such pesky reoccurring weeds, nettles or thistles. Weed killer is not only expensive but toxic and extremely harmful, not only to humans but to the environment too. Being such a dangerous product can it really be the only way to kill weeds? I prefer a garden knife, with a good patio cleaner and a cordless pressure washer I can carry about the garden with me to

Simply pulling them up only for them to return can take its toll. Maybe, digging huge holes out of your lawn would work, you could try to be a bit careful with a trowel and hand fork I suppose. But who wants to take the time or effort while leaving the lawn in a state?

Well the best way and most eco-friendly way of removing weeds for good is by using a garden weeder or weed puller as some like to call them. You might even be pleased next time you spot a weed in the garden because these devices make such light work of weeding you will be happy to get out your weed puller.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

View all posts by Terry Smith

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