Weeds are a perennial problem in the garden, popping up on the veg patch, in between plants in borders and in containers, and weeding is one of the gardeners most regular jobs. Digging them up, roots and all, is the best way to banish them and while hoeing is effective if you're tackling large, weedy areas, for individual weeds or when you're weeding amongst other plants a dedicated hand weeder is the tool for the job.
Around the size of a hand trowel with a similar handle, hand weeding tools can come with a variety of different ends according to the weeds they're designed to attack. Some simply have a long, sharp head, others a pronged end or a corkscrew, while some may have a hooked end, serrated edge or a fulcrum for greater leverage.
We researched the most popular weeding tools on the market and then a panel of BBC Gardeners' World Magazine readers rigorously tested them to bring you our list of the seven best hand weeding tools.
Each hand weeder has a detailed list of pros and cons for clarity and has been rated according to comfort, design, performance and value for money. Every hand weeder in the list below has scored a minimum of four out of five stars or above, so you can be assured of their quality and performance.
If you're wrestling with large areas of weeds, we've tested the best garden hoes as well as the best border forks, ideal for lifting and clearing whole beds and borders of difficult weeds. And for more help preparing the ground, take a look at our guide to the best garden spades.
Best hand weeders at a glance
- Best Buy: Fiskars Xact Extractor
- Best Buy: Niwaki Weeding Hoe
- Best Buy: Corona ComfortGel Weeder
- Best Buy: DeWit Cape Cod Weeder
- Best Buy: Spear and Jackson Select Stainless Weeder & Fulcrum
- Draper Spinnaker Hand Weeder with Ash Handle
- Sophie Conran Weeder
How to choose the best weeding tool
Different designs of weeding tool tend to suit particular types of weed, so it’s important to choose the right one for the job.
• If you’re constantly rooting out established weeds in the lawn, look for a weeder with a pronounced bend or fulcrum to help give you the leverage you need to prise them out, without disturbing the turf around them.
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• For stubborn dandelions with long taproots and other established weeds a strong handle and a long narrow head will help lift them and withstand the force that’s needed.
• Weeders with a curved end are helpful for hooking out younger and shallower rooting weeds with a hoe like action, while those with tines that claw or drag through the soil are great for attacking clumps of annual weeds as well as cultivating the soil once they’re gone.
• A forked end and a sharp or serrated edge will help you cut through the soil more easily as will weeders with prongs or tines, which are particularly useful for weeds in difficult, stony soil.
How to use a hand weeder
To successfully root out weeds, insert the garden weeder into the soil close to the weed roots to loosen them. Hold the leaves ready to give them a gentle tug, to help ease them out and push the weeder back against the soil, to gain leverage. The weed should pop up out of the ground straight away or you may need to repeat this action several times around the roots first.
Seven of the best hand weeders to buy in 2021
From ergonomic to traditional, here's Gardeners' World Magazine readers pick of the best hand weeding tools:
Fiskars Xact Extractor
Our rating: 5 out of 5
- Very strong and solid
- Comfortable with good grip
- Ideal for stubborn, deep rooted weeds
- Long lasting
- Only missing a hanging strap
With its long plastic handle, lengthy stainless steel head and serrated edge, this sturdy weeder is ideal for digging deep and tackling stubborn, long rooted weeds. The soft grip handle is comfortable and doesn't slip, even when applying pressure and has great leverage.
Reader Maggie Davis, West Sussex says:
“This is very sturdy and copes really well with a lot of force and pressure when taking out established weeds with deep roots.”
Niwaki Weeding Hoe
Our rating: 5 out of 5
- Comfortable and light
- Strong and robust
- Easy to use in all soils and situations
- Easy on all weeds
- Very sharp blade needs a substantial cover
Well thought out and versatile this weeding hoe is useful for more than just weeding. The sharp, hooked, carbon steel blade slices easily into the ground, prising out weeds in a whole host of situations from pots and containers to the veg patch and flower border. Its shaped pine handle is comfortable and the weeder is light and easy to use. It comes in a handy bag and has a protective sheath for the blade and is available for both left and right handed gardeners.
Reader Elizabeth Williamson, Hertford says:
“Sturdy and sharp this is able to remove weeds from pots, borders, grass and paving as well as being great at lifting plants, planting and creating drills.”
Corona ComfortGel Weeder
Our rating: 5 out 5
- Comfortable, non-slip handle
- Easy to use
- Well designed with good extra features
- Excellent at removing all weeds including deep rooted and in lawns
- Bright colour, easy to spot
- Good quality and value
- Serrated edge best for right hand use
This great, all round weeder has a sturdy, stainless steel head that's lightly curved for leverage and tapers to a narrow, forked end. Sharply serrated on one side for cutting roots, the bright red handle has a finger guard to protect the hand. Iit feels strong and robust and capable of tackling any weeding job.
Reader Simon Kempster, Bristol says:
“Comfortable and well designed this works hard and is robust enough to tackle any job. My trowel wont’ be needed so often now!”
DeWit Cape Cod Weeder
Our rating: 5 out of 5
- Comfortable and nicely weighted
- Sharp, sturdy carbon steel head
- Robust and long lasting
- Tackles all weeds easily
With a long slender head this is perfectly suited to rooting out weeds in tight spots. It's for right handed use only but is comfortable and nicely weighted, and the ergonomic handle sits well in the hand. Hand crafted from tough carbon steel this sturdy hand tool comes with a lifetime warranty.
Reader Dave McDonald, Aberdeen says:
“This great piece of kit is sturdy and strong and sharp enough to cope with all weeding jobs.”
Spear and Jackson Select Stainless Weeder & Fulcrum
Our rating: 4.8 out of 5
- Sturdy and robust
- Comfortable contoured grip
- Levers out deep-rooted weeds well
- Ideal in between plants
- Clogs with soil
- Struggles with clumping weeds like couch grass
Ideal for digging out individual weeds and those with long taproots like dandelions, this eye catching tool has a long, forked head backed with a fulcrum to aid leverage and make digging up stubborn weeds a breeze. Its non slip, plastic handle is comfortable and it comes with a ten year warranty.
Reader Fran Gibbons, Wiltshire says:
“This has great leverage and the forked metal end is great at digging out individual weeds and weeds with long taproots, like dandelions, in lawns.”
Draper Spinnaker Hand Weeder with Ash Handle
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5
- Light and comfortable
- Sturdy and long lasting
- Sharp with good leverage
- Great for deep, suborn weeds and lawns
- Takes a few attempts to work out how to use it
This heritage style tool has a polished stainless steel head and a comfortable FSC ash handle. It's light and comfortable to use and the fulcrum gives good leverage for rooting out lone weeds or spot weeding on the lawn. Sturdy and long lasting, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Sophie Conran weeder
Our rating: 4.3 out of 5
- Well made and classic design
- Ideal for tight spots
- Great for annual weeds
- Struggles with deep rooted weeds
- Stones get stuck in the prongs
- Lacks hanging strap
A striking looking tool, this hand weeder has a smooth, rounded handle that's crafted from waxed FSC beech wood and has a brass neck. The head is stainless steel with three sharp, mirror polished prongs that are ideal for getting into tight spots and twisting out weeds between plants and rows of veg. Ideal for tackling annual weeds it comes with a ten year warranty.
How we tested hand weeders
Each Gardeners' World Magazine reader was sent a hand weeder and asked to use it for a few weeks, in a range of different areas of their garden, tackling both perennial and annual weeds.
The weeder was then reviewed with the reader assessing it for comfort, looking at how it felt in the hand, it’s weight and whether the hand weeder had a good, comfortable grip.
They also looked at its design, the materials the weeding tool was made of, its strength, any features it may have such as a fulcrum or serrated edge and if it was easy to clean.
The hand weeders were then reviewed for performance, focussing on how easy the garden weeder was to use, how well it removed weeds, which types and how it coped with different soils.
Finally, its value for money was assessed, considering all of the above in relation to its RRP and the length of warranty.
This review round up was last updated in July 2021. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.