Best Weed Killers

UPDATED September 2020

Get rid of all the weeds and invasive plants in your yard with a weed killer you can easily use.

BEST WEED
KILLER 2020

BOTTOM LINE

Roundup guarantees that you’ll see results in just three hours after using this product on your lawn. One application will kill weeds right down to the roots and resist rain. Though it does come with a power wand, that wand doesn’t work as effectively as some might wish.

PROS

Compare-N-Save comes in a concentrate that you can mix with water to use on your weeds. One bottle makes up to 85 gallons of weed killer, which is enough to cover 25,000 square feet.

CONS

You may need to mix the concentrate with less of the water recommended by the manufacturer to get the results you want. It can take up to four days before you see any results.

Roundup Weed and Grass Killer III

BOTTOM LINE

You can get up to 85 full gallons of weed killing power with one gallon of this Compare-N-Save Concentrate. It can cover more than 20,000 square feet of outdoor space and works on all types of weeds. The only downside is that it takes longer to work than other products do.

PROS

This convenient product comes already mixed and ready for use on your lawn and weeds. It resists rain just 10 minutes after you apply it, and this weed killer works in a few hours.

CONS

The power wand that comes with this weed killer doesn’t work as well as some would like. It may also develop clogs that keep the liquid from coming out.

BOTTOM LINE

Kill weeds right down to the roots with Spectracide Weed Stop Concentrate, which can kill weeds in a lawn measuring up to 16,000 square feet in size. It works on more than 200 different types of weeds but may lead to some yellow spots forming on your lawn.

PROS

With one bottle of this concentrate, you can treat a lawn or outdoor space up to 16,000 square feet in size. It works on more than 200 types of weeds and will attack the roots to keep the weeds from growing back.

CONS

This product can turn your lawn and grass yellow. It also may not work on all the weeds growing on your lawn.

EcoSMART Organic Weed and Grass Killer

BOTTOM LINE

EcoSMART uses clove oil in its Organic Weed and Grass Killer, which leaves behind a nice scent. As one of the only products safe to use around kids and pets, this weed killer is safe to use around water sources too. Some customers did find that they needed multiple applications on some types of weeds though.

PROS

The top weed killer that will not harm the environment is this EcoSMART product. It will not contaminate groundwater, and it’s safe to use around your pets. It leaves behind a nice scent too.

CONS

You many need multiple applications of this product to completely eliminate weeds in your lawn. Some customers found that it didn’t work effectively on weeds growing in their driveways or sidewalks.

BOTTOM LINE

Get rid of all the weeds and grass growing around your home with Ortho Weed B Gon, which comes with a comfort wand for fast and easy spraying. Designed to work on more than 200 types of weeds, this killer works on ground coverings and invasive plants too. When you follow the recommended guidelines, it won’t damage your lawn.

PROS

Kill more than 200 types of weeds without damaging your grass with this weed killer. It works on ground covers like clover too and begins working in just a few hours. Ortho guarantees that this product will not kill your lawn when used as directed.

CONS

You may need to apply this product several times to treat sturdier types of weeds and grass like crab grass. The spray nozzle can clog on you too.

Shopping Guide for Weed Killers

Invasive plant species can take over your lawn and keep it from looking as green and nice as you want. Crabgrass is a common type of plant that thrives in most conditions, but you also need to worry about plants such as kudzu. Kudzu started as an ornamental grass that landscapers brought over from other countries. They didn’t realize how quickly it would grow and spread or that it could climb buildings. If you drive through the south today, you’ll find this bright green plant growing on the side of the road and covering abandoned buildings. Other types of plants are just as pesky.

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The main problem with weeds and dangerous plants is that they invite animals into your yard. Not only do cats, squirrels and other types of wildlife use your yard as their play place, but they also use it as a bathroom. Some animals will eat your healthy grass and attack your decorative plants too. That is why we created a list of the best weed killers that you can use on your lawn. Our list includes concentrates that you can mix with water to create the perfect mixture and others that you can spray as-is. Find the best weed killers on our list of the best of the best.

Expert Tip

Wearing  gloves on your hands and a mask over your nose and mouth will keep you safe when spraying or applying a weed killer.

Shopping Guide for Weed Killers

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Selection Criteria​

You can now choose between hundreds of different products to kill and treat your weeds, including products that are safe for the environment and those that will work within hours of applying. To find the best products, we looked at what past customers said about their purchases. Not only did we look at the highest and lowest ratings, but we also looked at the average ratings to see if customers were on the fence about the products they bought.

We then took our top choices out in the field for some testing. Our testers tried these sprays and products on different types of weeds and checked to see how long it took for the products to work. They also looked at whether the products did any damage to grass and other plants nearby and how effectively each one worked on the weeds growing in between cracks in driveways and sidewalks.

As you read through our list of the best weed killers for 2020, you’ll also find out more about how much comes in each package and how many applications you can get out of each one. Use all the details and information we provided to find a product suitable for your weeds.

Selection Criteria​ - Hedge Bindweed
Hedge Bindweed
Selection Criteria​ - Bittersweet
Bittersweet
Selection Criteria​ - Calystegia Sepium
Calystegia Sepium
Selection Criteria​ - Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle
Selection Criteria​ - Purslane
Purslane
Selection Criteria​ - Plantain Plants
Plantain Plants
Selection Criteria​ - Orange Jewelweed
Orange Jewelweed
Selection Criteria​ - Wild Madder
Wild Madder

Types of Weed Killers

Residual Weed Killers
One product that you can buy is a residual weed killer. Also known as a soil-acting killer, it attacks weeds through the soil. When you apply the liquid, it will penetrate the ground and kill the soil and anything that comes into contact with the dirt. Instead of just killing those weeds when you apply it, it will keep working due to the residual traces of liquid left behind. This is the best type to use around garden pathways, sidewalks and driveways. You should not use it around large areas of vegetation as it will kill the neighboring plants on top of the weeds.

Contact Weed Killers
If you notice an invasive weed taking over your lawn, reach for a contact weed killer. We cannot recommend this type for gardens or on plants that you eat or touch because it remains in the environment for months or longer. Contact killers work faster than any other type of weed killer and can eliminate some plants in as little as 24 hours. There are selective types of contact weed killers you can buy that work on certain types of plants but not on others. When you want one that works on all the weeds in your lawn, you should look for a non-selective product.

Systematic Weed Killers
When you find yourself struggling with weeds that won’t stop growing, consider using a systematic weed killer. It’s designed to kill weeds from the inside out. The way it works is quite simple. You’ll spray or apply the substance on the leaves and any other spots that you can see. The leaves will then transport the liquid through the branches and into the roots, which will then carry it to all other parts of the plant. One of the issues of using a systematic killer is that it can spread to other plants.

Organic Weed Killers 
Organic weed killers are helpful for those who have kids and pets. No matter how close of an eye you keep on your kids, they can pick a leaf up off the ground and put it in their mouth before you have a chance to act. Organic weed killers use natural ingredients and are safe to use around all types of plants. You don’t need to worry about your pets chewing on the grass or your kids eating leaves because the substances are safe. They’re usually safe to use on vegetable plants and fruit trees and bushes too.

What to Do in Case of Weed Killer Ingestion

  • Reduce the risk of accidental ingestion with signs that you put up when you spray a weed killer
  • Check the packaging for the number of poison control and call that number or 911
  • Follow the given instructions
  • Keep family and pets away from the person to prevent them from touching or ingesting the weed killer

When you want to save time and money as you kill weeds, you need a product that comes ready to use like the Weed and Grass Killer III from Roundup. Within 10 minutes of applying this product to your lawn, it becomes rain-proof and will not wash away as the rain falls. It also works quickly and lets you see results in just three hours after your first application. As it comes already mixed, you can use it right away to fight weeds.

Roundup Weed and Grass Killer III

This is also an easy to use weed killer because the concentrated formula comes with a comfort wand sprayer. The sprayer extends your reach and allows you to treat weeds without bending over or standing on your lawn. You can keep one hand on the handle located on the top of the product and use your other hand to control the sprayer. Roundup designed this handle to feel comfortable in your hand and to reduce fatigue as you spray.

The Weed and Grass Killer III works effectively on most types of weeds. You can use it on concrete surfaces like your patio or driveway to kill weeds growing up through cracks, but you can apply it right to your lawn too.

When you want an affordable product that will work on most types of weeds, you need a concentrated option like the Compare-N-Save Concentrate. It comes in a one-gallon jug that you can use to make up to 85 gallons of spray. Though you will need your own sprayer, you can use this product to make a more concentrated or diluted spray based on the weeds growing on your lawn. When used as directed, this concentrated liquid can kill weeds growing on a lawn up to 25,000 square feet in size.

Unlike other affordable products that simply kill the weeds you see, this product reaches deep into the ground to kill the roots of those weeds. This prevents the weeds from returning. Though it may take several applications to treat your entire lawn, you get more uses out of this product, which helps you save some money. Compare-N-Save Concentrate kills weeds but will not affect your groundwater or lawn.

Did you know?

Compare-N-Save Concentrate contains 41% Glyphosate, which is one of the top weed killing ingredients.

Save even more with Weed Stop, a concentrated weed killer from Spectracide. This small bottle provides multiple applications and works on more than 200 types of common weeds. Designed to work overnight, this product is easy to use too. You can mix up the right ratio of weed killer to water, spray your lawn with the solution and wake up to find that it worked as you slept. Weed Stop becomes rain-proof in around three hours and will go after the root systems of weeds to kill all traces of those pesky plants.

This is the top product for those on a budget because it’s a concentrated liquid that you can mix with more or less water based on the type of weeds you want to fight. Even when mixed with a small amount of water, the formula will target weeds and other pests without killing your lawn. It works on clovers, dandelions and other types of weeds.

You can also purchase a ready to use spray that comes already mixed with water. As Weed Stop gives you six bottles of the concentrated formula in each package, you get enough weed killer to treat your lawn all spring and summer and into the following year. You just need to make sure that you check the expiration date listed on the bottle and that you store the weed killer in a safe place away from children and pets.

Expert Tip

Only use weed killer when the temperature outside is below 85 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid damaging your lawn.

One of the most effective weed killers on the market that will not harm the environment is the Organic Weed and Grass Killer from EcoSMART. This product is 100% organic and uses only natural ingredients that will protect your lawn and plants while targeting all the weeds on your lawn. It uses clove oil, which is the same oil that you can use to reduce pain associated with a toothache. The clove oil leaves behind a pleasant and slightly spicy fragrance as the product dries.

This is also a good product to use if you have kids and animals running around. The organic formula is safe for kids to touch and for animals to ingest. Even if your kids want to play outside and you need to let the dog out while you spray, you can let them safely use your lawn. EcoSMART guarantees that its Organic Weed and Grass Killer will not contaminate groundwater sources either.

You should have your kids wash their hands after coming into contact with the weed killer. Though it will not harm them, it can affect their taste buds if they touch it and then touch their mouths.

Weed B Gon is the best all-around weed killer because it is easy to use and costs less than some of its competitors. The one-gallon size comes with an included applicator that you can use when applying the liquid to your lawn. A comfort wand feels comfortable in your hand as you spray every square foot of your lawn. This handle directs the spray exactly where you need it to go and reduces the fatigue that you felt when using a weed killer in the past.

This is also a good choice for most homes because Weed B Gon will work on more than 250 different types of pests and invasive plants, including clover, dandelions and other ground covers. It kills the weeds that you see and the roots that you cannot see growing underground. You’ll see results in around five hours or less.

You should keep in mind that this weed killer is not sold in Texas. If you live in Texas, you’ll need to buy a different product.

Expert Tip

When using a weed killer with a sprayer, you may need to wash out the sprayer to clear out any clogs.

Best All-Around Weed Killer

Environmental Impact of Weed Killers

Many customers have questions about the environmental impact of using herbicides and similar products to kill weeds. Any time that you use chemicals outside, you risk those chemicals reaching your water supply. The chemicals can even get inside cracks in your pipes and affect the water that your family drinks. There is a risk of the chemicals contaminating the groundwater and affecting those who live near you too. Herbicides can also make your pets and your children sick, especially if they play around or touch any of the products you use on your lawn while those chemicals are still wet.

Environmental Impact of Weed Killers

The newest weed killers now available work effectively on weeds but will not harm the environment or damage your lawn. You can spray these products right on weeds growing on your lawn and still have green grass as you attack those pesky weeds. These products are safe to use around kids and pets too because most dry within five hours or less.

If you have concerns about using chemicals on your lawn, stick to environmentally-friendly weed killers. Organic products use natural and organic ingredients that you can use safely. Clove oil is an effective and natural ingredient that works on most types of weeds.

How Weed Killers Work

Weed killers typically work in one of two ways. These products can kill the weeds growing above the ground and force liquids deep inside the weeds to kill the roots underground. Weed killing products can also seep through the ground to kill the weeds from the roots up. As you look at the top products for sale, you will find that companies use certain words to describe how those products work. Those words can include:

  • Contact means that the product will only work on any areas of the weeds that it touches
  • Companies use selective to describe products designed to work on specific types of weeds and plants
  • Persistent means that the product will last longer and that it will continue working on any weeds that return
  • Non-selective products will work on any plants, grass or weeds in a surrounding area
  • Post-emergent weed killers work on older and more mature weeds, while pre-emergent products work on younger and newer weeds
How Weed Killers Work-New Weed
New Weed
How Weed Killers Work-Mature Weed
Mature Weed

How to Apply Weed Killers

Before you apply weed killer, you need to make sure that you get to the root of the problem. You’ll want to identify the types of weeds growing in your lawn to ensure that you purchase a product that will work on those weeds. Our top weed killers 2020 choices work on hundreds of different weeds and will target growth in regions across the country. Use a gardening hoe or a similar tool to lift larger or heavier weeds to expose the stalks beneath. Though you can pull up those weeds by their roots, you can also use a product designed to penetrate their roots to save yourself some time.

Hold the sprayer as close as possible to the weeds as you spray. Depending on the type of sprayer you choose, you may need to pull the trigger multiple times to thoroughly coat the weeds with the liquid. When you use a professional or commercial sprayer, you can hold down on the trigger to release a steady stream of water.

If you have weeds that keep coming back, consider cover those areas with mulch. Mulch will actually suffocate the plants to keep them from growing.

Expert Tip

Keeping your lawn at the proper height will reduce the risk of seeds that grow into weeds from thriving in your lawn.

How to Apply Weed Killers

Ingredients to Look for

The most common ingredient found in weed killers today is Glyphosate. Manufacturers use a different amount of concentration of this ingredient. As it kills on contact, it is common in spot treating products that you spray directly on an affected area of your lawn. Many companies use a combination of Trifluralin and Benefin on annual weeds, which are weeds that grow and die within a single year. Benefin works especially well on crab grass, which can thrive in almost any region of the United States.

Ingredients to Look for

Those searching for environmentally-friendly weed killers will want to look for products that use natural and organic plant oils. You may find products that have eugenol listed in their ingredients. Eugenol is another word for clove oil. It is the same ingredient used in many over the counter dental pain products. Clove oil comes from clove buds that companies harvest. It kills on contact and will also reach into the root system of most weeds. You can also look for environmentally-friendly weed killers that contain lemongrass oil. Lemongrass is very effective at killing weeds but will not harm the environment surrounding your home.

Benefits of Concentrated Weed Killers

Some shoppers like the convenience that comes from a ready made product. They can grab the bottle and spray it anytime they see any weeds. Concentrated products come with a set amount of liquid that you mix with water and use inside a sprayer of your own. Once you look at the benefits of concentrated weed killers, you’ll find out why so many prefer these products over ready to use weed killers.

  • You set the formula: With concentrated products, you set the final mixture. This lets you add more or less water to target hardier types of weeds.
  • More uses per container: Using a concentrated product gives you more uses and more bang for your buck. Even those that contain just one gallon of weed killer can treat your lawn multiple types.
  • Kill more weeds: You can kill more weeds too because these formulas will usually work on more weed types. With a concentrated product, you can treat the weeds that come back year after year and any new growth that you see.
  • Higher concentration: Many shoppers also find that these products contain a higher concentration of active ingredients. Those ingredients treat all areas of the weeds, including the stalks and leaves visible on your lawn and the roots beneath the ground.
Benefits of Concentrated Weed Killers

Tips for Using Weed Killers

  • Focus the spray specifically on the weeds you want to remove to reduce the damage done to your lawn and other plants.
  • Store any of the product you have left at the end of the job in a safe location such as a locked garage or garden shed.
  • Use the weed killer on a sunny day when there is no chance of rain. Rain can wash away the product before it has a chance to work.
  • Rinse out your sprayer, including both the nozzle or tip and the flexible hose, when you finish to keep the sprayer from clogging.
  • Avoid mowing your lawn for at least two days before you spray to give the weeds time to grow.

Expert Tip

Don not water your lawn or any surrounding plants for at least 24 hours after applying a weed killer.

Weed Killer Sizes

Though you may want to consider the amount that you get in an average container of weed killer, you also need to consider the number of uses you get out of each one too. We created a list to show you how much square footage each product will cover. Use that information to determine how many times you can treat your own lawn.
  • Roundup Weed and Grass Killer III comes in a container with 1.33 gallons of liquid, which will treat a yard of 400 square feet in size.
  • EcoSMART Organic Weed and Grass Killer will treat a lawn of up to 500 square feet in size and comes with 64 ounces of liquid weed killer.
  • Ortho offers its Weed B Gon product in a one-gallon bottle that can treat lawns of up to 16,000 square feet in size.
  • You can treat a lawn measuring up to 16,000 square feet big with Spectracide Weed Stop, which comes with 32-ounces of concentrated weed killer.
  • Compare-N-Save comes with one gallon of a concentrated formula that can treat up to 25,000 square feet of lawn space.

Top 3 Ways to Control Weeds

  • Properly fertilize your garden to prevent weeds from taking over.
  • Make sure that your lawn has all the water that it needs, even during drought season.
  • Use insecticides to kill insects and bugs living outside.
Weed Killer Sizes-1
Weed Killer Sizes-2
Weed Killer Sizes-3

Average Cost of Weed Killers

Average Cost of Weed Killers

A common mistake that some gardeners make is that they look at the price of a weed killer and choose the cheapest one. It’s helpful to consider the price per ounce or how many uses you can get out of a single bottle. The cheapest weed killers may only provide one application. If you spend more on a larger container, you might get three or more applications out of the bottle. Roundup retails for around $22 per bottle and comes with 1.33 gallons. EcoSMART gives you 64 ounces of weed killer for a little more than $20, which makes it one of the more affordable options.

Ortho also gives you one gallon of weed killer and sells a product that retails for $32. The concentrated formula provides multiple applications and provides results that you’ll see in hours. Compare-N-Save retails for around $20 and gives you one gallon of the concentrated formula. Weed Stop is the most expensive product based on upfront costs as it sells for $41. You get six bottles of the concentrated formula though and 32 ounces of weed killer in each bottle. When you buy a concentrated formula, you’re also responsible for other costs, including the protective gear that you wear and the sprayer you use to apply the liquid.

Cost of Good Weed Killers

Frequently Asked Questions

A: The best time to use a weed killer is in the early autumn or the early spring. Treating your lawn in the early spring helps you kill new weeds. Waiting until the fall lets you kill weeds that would otherwise come back in the spring.

A: Some of the top products on the market will begin working in as little as three to five hours. If you spray in the morning, you’ll see results when you come home from work. Other products take 24 hours or more to begin working. It can take several weeks and multiple applications before you get the results that you need.

A: You can apply a weed killer without exposing the roots first. Many products will kill on contact and then move through the weed’s stalk to reach the roots. You can kill ground cover plants that work as part of a larger system without exposing the roots too. If you find that the plants keep returning, you can spray the product directly on the roots.

A: Weed killers can be toxic or poisonous to pets. If your dog or cat ingests or comes into contact with an herbicide, you might notice symptoms that include diarrhea, lethargy, problems breathing, weakness and vomiting. Some dogs may have chemical burns in their mouths or have problems standing and walking.

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