Product review: Weed-pulling tools

Fiskars Up-Root Weed Remover (top) and Hound Dog Weeder (bottom)

Fiskars Up-Root Weed Remover vs. Hound Dog Weeder

I don't know about you but I've had quite the crop of dandelions this spring and it finally got to me. I hate using chemicals on my lawn because, aside from the obvious reason, I wouldn't be able to use the grass clippings in my veggie garden for mulches or in the compost pile.

So I began my search for a non-chemical method of pulling dandelions that would hopefully get as much of the taproot as possible. In the past, I've attempted to pull them by using either a long-bladed slot screwdriver (much to my husband's chagrin!) or a long-bladed weeder (or "pokey tool" as I like to refer to them).

Unfortunately, both of those methods are really hard on my hands and they're ineffective anyway.

After doing some research, I settled on two stand-up weeders, the Fiskars Up-Root Weed Remover and the Hound Dog Weeder. I decided to compare the two and see which would be more successful.

While waiting for my Fiskars weeder to arrive, I started testing our old Hound Dog weeder (which I didn't even realize we had out in the garage) and found it fairly easy to use but it never got much of the taproot at all. It generally would snap off the base of the dandelion about 90% of the time, leaving the taproot in the ground. Occasionally, I'd get maybe 1/2" of the taproot but that was it.

This shows the "business end" of the weed pullers.
I also didn't care for the way you have to slap the top of the handle to get the weed to eject from the weeder itself. I was just looking at them online at Home Depot and I see they've changed the design of the tool somewhat. With the old design, I kept bruising my first knuckle just about every time I slapped the handle! Ouch. I don't know if it's still an issue with the new design. It looks like the Hound Dogs sell for about $26.

Yesterday, I finally got to test the Fiskars weeder and have to say that, once I got over the learning curve of how to make it work most successfully, I was much more impressed with its performance.

This tool has 4 long, serrated aluminum blades which grab hold of the weed and taproot. As you can see in the photo, I got some pretty impressive taproots! (and each of those was met with a "yahoo!")

I would say about 50% of the weeds that I pulled with the Fiskars tool had at least 2" of taproot and the rest had anywhere from 4" to 10" of taproot attached to them. That's much better than the Hound Dog.

How both tools work: 

You find the center of a dandelion plant (they grow in a rosette shape), place the tool over the center, push down on the foot plate and either pull it up on an angle, or -- in the case of the Hound Dog -- give it a little bit of a twist to better snag the plant.

The Fiskars tool has a weed-ejection system on the shaft of the handle so there's no chance of banging my knuckles like I did on the other tool.

My husband Bill tested the both of the weed pullers and had the same results with each of them. However, he also discovered the Fiskars tool successfully pulls up knapweed plants with their taproots. That is fabulous. It should work well with other types of weeds with taproots like skeleton weed and thistle.

I bought my Fiskars Up-Root Weed Remover from Home Depot (you have to order it online, though, as they don't stock it in their stores) for $28. There's quite a bit of variation in prices for them, but Home Depot's price was the best when you added in their shipping charge of $5.99.

I like how the Fiskars tools have a lifetime warranty, so there's no risk when you purchase one.

My one complaint for both of the tools is that the handles are awfully short. I'm somewhat tall (5' 8") and the handles of stand-up weeders tend to be 40" (Fiskars) or less (Hound Dog is 35") in length. Think how hard that would be for real tall guys to use over a period of time. So my request from the companies who make these types of tools is, please lengthen those handles!

I hope this information is helpful to you if you are also looking for a similar type of weeder. I'm excited that I just might be able to win the battle against dandelions in a chemical-free manner.