Bernzomatic Lawn and Garden Torch (JT850)/Flame Weeder: Product Review
An effective weed killer that uses flame and not harmful chemicals.
Available on Amazon
Weeding. For most people, it’s their least favorite gardening task. So any tool that makes the job easier, particularly for hard-to-manage weeds, is a welcome addition to the gardening tool arsenal. And that’s where the Bernzomatic Lawn and Garden Torch comes in.
Instead of using chemicals or brute strength to kill or remove weeds, the Bernzomatic Lawn and Garden Torch uses propane-driven flames to kill weeds without bending, crouching or getting your hands dirty.
The lightweight Weed Torch kills weeds quickly and easily from a standing position. After lighting the propane torch, simply pass the flame back and forth over the target weeds, about 2 inches above the ground. The intense heat boils the water in the plants’ cells, causing them to burst, killing the plant.
It can also be used for other purposes, including lighting cooking grills or fire pits, minor asphalt driveway repairs, or melting ice on walkways.
- 36-inches long
- Weighs 2.8 lbs
- Requires a small propane canister (purchased separately – about $2-3 each)
- Piezo ignition for easy lighting
- Integrated trigger-start mechanism
- Adjustable flame control knob
- 20,000 BTU
- Manufactured in the USA
Heed the Cautions
There are multiple cautions printed on the handle label and directly on the brass connector (in very small lettering), and repeated in the instruction sheet, including many that seem intuitive:
- For outdoor use only.
- Never use near fuel or combustible materials.
- Do not point torch toward other persons.
But among the numerous bullet points are a few less obvious, but very important cautions:
- Leak test the connection to the cylinder before use by applying soapy water at cylinder connection.
- Always disconnect cylinder before storing, and ensure that the torch has cooled completely.
- Do not expose the torch or fuel to extreme heat (over 120°F) or prolonged sunlight.
- Use with caution on windy days.
The manufacturer also recommends having a bucket of water nearby when using the torch, a critical piece of advice when conditions are dry.
Turning On The Weed Torch
Begin by turning the valve control knob fully clockwise to the OFF position, and screw in a propane cylinder (such as a camp stove propane cylinder) to the brass connector until it is hand tight. Test the connection by pouring a bit of soapy water on it. If bubbles appear, disconnect the cylinder. Try wrapping some Teflon® plumber’s tape around the cylinder threads and try the process over again. If there is still a leak, its time to buy a new propane cylinder. If this fails, the torch should be returned to Bernzomatic for a replacement.
Next, turn the valve control knob counterclockwise ¼ to ½ turn, and depress the start button (you’ll find it half way down the shaft). This triggers the piezo ignition and you should see a flame (there’s no need to light the torch manually). If you don’t, depress the start button again.
Adjust the size of the flame as needed with the valve control knob. Start with a smaller flame until you’re used to working with the tool (you don’t want to burn anything you don’t intend to!).
Killing Weeds The Easy Way
Once the weed torch is lit and the flame is adjusted to the size you want, simply stand up, hold the torch by the curved handle, and move the tip over the weeds you want to eliminate. At only 2.8 pounds, the tool is light enough to use for an extended period of time so you can tackle a lot of weeds – you should get a couple hours of use (or more) out of a single propane tank.
To do a thorough job of weed control, you need to take your time. Don’t waste your firepower on large leafy weeds, rather, cut the growth back first and move the flame back and forth, several times if necessary, over the main stem where it connects to the root. While the weed may not die right away, you should see results a few hours later.
After use, turn the valve control knob off and disconnect the cylinder.
Want to see it in action destroying weeds in sidewalk cracks? Check out the video below!
This tool is most appropriately used to kill weeds that grow in cracks, such as between concrete pavers, in sidewalks, or between the curb and the street. These are situations where a tenacious root can be hard to extract.
Some weeds will still grow back from the roots, but not as quickly as they would have had you just cut them back with a string trimmer. If you give them another blast with the Bernzomatic weed torch when they start to grow back, that should do the trick.
While you could use the propane torch in a vegetable or flower garden, it would likely take more time, not to mention resources, than a simple hoe. If you do decide to try it in the garden, be careful not to accidentally fry nearby plants – the torch gives off a lot of heat.
Be sure to disconnect the propane cylinder from the weed torch after every use. Never store fuel cylinders in an area subject to excessive heat—including a closed vehicle on a hot summer day.
The Lawn and Garden Torch comes with a 3-year limited warranty, which guarantees that the product is free from defects in material and workmanship for three years from the date of purchase.
The Bernzomatic Lawn and Garden Torch effectively kills stubborn weeds in sidewalk cracks and other hard-to-manage areas without bending, crouching or getting your hands dirty. Control is longer lasting than with weed whacking, far less effort than manual weed removal, and doesn’t use toxic chemical weedkillers. The torch is lightweight and easy to handle. The downside is that it relies on propane and flame, albeit in small amounts, which presents some risk.
Where To Buy
The Bernzomatic Lawn and Garden Torch (model JT850) can be purchased online on Amazon. It’s also available through retailers, such as Lowe’s and Ace Hardware, where you can usually buy it for roughly the same price (around $49) in the store.
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