Not everyone is lucky enough to own a yard. Or an outdoor garden. Or a lawn. And while having that beautiful outdoor space is like the ultimate adult flex, they also come with a bit of trouble: weeds. Weeds, the invasive plants and not, you know, weed, are a troublesome group of vegetation — of which includes varieties such as crabgrass, dandelions and ragweed, among many others. Not only are they an eyesore among your well-planned garden, but they can horde nutrients, overrun your garden and even be harmful to you.
You can definitely pluck out weeds on your own — though gloves are a must since some weeds are toxic and can cause a rash — but for those with acres of property or those who are just averse to the manual labor, weed killers are the way to go.
Weed killers entered the national discussion when in 2020, Roundup maker Bayer agreed to pay over $10 billion in settlements from cases claiming the glyphosate, the foundation of Roundup, caused non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The link between whether or not glyphosate is connected to cancer is unknown. The World Health Organization deemed glyphosate as a "probable carcinogen," while the Environmental Protection Agency said it's "not likely" to cause cancer. We narrowed down our list of the best weed killers to those that don't contain glyphosate, and found these to be the seven best weed killers of 2021.
Best Overall Weed Killer: Sunday Weed Warrior
Sunday is a new lawn care brand that eschews chemicals and harmful ingredients, instead opting to use nature to attack nature (well, weeds, the bad part of nature). Its certified-organic herbicidal soap is as easy to use as an at-home multipurpose cleaner: aim and spray. The weed killer is safe to use around kids and pets, and with results happening in as little as 20 minutes, it's a must-have for those dealing with an invasion of weeds.
Best Natural Weed Killer: Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
There's no denying what Green Gobbler is made of once you smell it. Made from a solution that is four times stronger than regular table vinegar, Green Gobbler is completely natural without and certified for organic use. The hefty gallon jar comes with a spray nozzle that makes dispensing the weed killer easy and clean. Be advised that Green Gobbler kills everything in contact. So while you will see instant results (in around 24 hours), be careful to apply only to what you want to kill because it can be harmful to your good plants.
Best Fast-Acting Weed Killer: Ortho Groundclear Weed & Grass Killer
Ortho's Groundclear is a fast-acting weed killer that's good for patios, plant beds and vegetable gardens. The included spray nozzle is battery-powered and lets you adjust the spray setting to easily control where you're aiming. Groundclear becomes rainproof 15 minutes after application, so no need to schedule your weed killing with the Mother Nature. Be careful with where you spray, because the weed killer will kill whatever plant it comes in contact with.
What to Look For in a Weed Killer
Tip #1: Targeted Weed Killing vs. Non-Selective Killing
Some weed killers are meant to kill just one type, or many types, of weeds upon contact. For example, Sunday makes a dandelion-specific killer (aptly named Dandelion Doom), to only kill that variety of weed. Targeted weed killing is good for those who know exactly what type of weed is terrorizing their property, and it makes it safe to use in the presence of plants, grass and other desirable vegetation. Non-selective weed killers does just what it sounds like — kills whatever greenery it comes in contact with.
Tip #2: Ready-to-Use vs. Concentrate
All of the weed killers, save for the blow torch and manual puller, are ready-to-use. On the other hand, concentrates require the user to manually dilute the solution, which can help stretch product and also allow for tailoring weed-killing strength.
Tip #3: Always Read the Safety Labels
Safety labels are there for a reason. Whether or not a weed killer has chemicals in it, it's always important to make sure you're using the weed killer properly. Not all are safe to use in the presence of pets and children, and you should be aware of how long you should wait after applying weed killer before it's completely safe to be in the vicinity again.
Best Weed Root Killer: Natria Grass & Weed Control
Kill the weeds right down to the root. Natria's Grass & Weed Control does just that, and it does so without harmful, toxic ingredients. Spray down weeds using the attached nozzle, and watch as the weeds die within 24 hours. The spray becomes waterproof after three hours. The killer It has a slight ammonia smell, which may or may not bother you depending on your sensitivity to the odor.
Best Weed Burner: Flame King Propane Torch Weed Burner
No chemicals, no pesticides, no herbicides, the Flame King weed burner is exactly that: a weed burner. The 100,000 BTU propane torch is quite literally hot as hell and will send weeds straight to hell, too. The torch hooks up to propane tanks from five pounds to 100 pounds, and setting up is easy and safe if you properly follow the instructions. The 10-foot-hose helps you get into hard-to-reach places, and it may seem dangerous, but as long as you keep the flame controllable, you'll be good.
Best Weed Killer for Large Areas: Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer
The well-reviewed Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer is a five gallon jug of high-performing weed killer. Because it's chemical-free, the weed killer can be used around pets and kids. While the size of the product may seem like overkill, it literally never goes bad. As its product description notes, "product we made four years ago works just like a new batch."
Best Manual Weed Killer: Grampa's Weeder
Forego the sprays — and fire — for a manual weed puller. The 39-inch weed puller from Grampa's Weed lets you yank pesky weeds without having to get down on your knees. Since 1913, gardeners have relied on Grampa's Weeder to cleanly and effectively clear their garden without having to employ the big guns. It gets weeds right at the root so you're not just killing them at the surface.