How to choose the right weeder

Electric or thermal? How to choose your weeder.

Electric weeders

There are two types of thermal weed killers, electric and gas. How to choose?

Advantages of electric devices:

  • – The cost : between 20 and 100€.
  • – They consume around 2 kW/h (~0.35 €/h for a price of 0.174€ per kW/h)
  • – They are light, usually under 2 Kg

Disadvantages of electrical devices :

– These are not devices for professional use

– Not recommended for use in the rain or on wet ground (risk of electric shock)

– They are less effective in windy conditions

– The zone of action is limited to 1 seedling

– Low efficiency

– Need of an appropriate extension cord

– Suitable for small areas only

– Temperature rise time varies from 5 to 45 seconds

– Electromagnetic field, not recommended for medical implants

– Nozzle must be in contact with the floor, lack of visibility of the work being done

Advantages of RIPAGREEN® products :

  • – Designed for heavy duty professional use
  • – 40cm wide heating zone when not in movement
  • – 2M wide working area with the harness at a standstill
  • – Autonomy of movement even in steep or very narrow areas (see Mobility kit)
  • – Different kits with trolley or reel(s) adapted to each use for better ergonomics
  • – Work in rain and wind
  • – No more than 2-3 seconds of passage per 40cm zone
  • – Output of about 3500m²/h
  • – Reinforced safety device thanks to the double safety regulator

Disadvanatages :

  • – Consumption between 3.06 and 4.1 Kg/h for one hour continuous use (without letting go of the handle ~ 8.26€ and 11.07€ / hour)
  • – Average consumption 2 Kg/h (~5.4€/h)
  • – Icing of gas bottles
  • – Frequency of regular passage mandatory


What are the other solutions for thermal weed control?

Direct-flame torches

  • Advantages :
    • Economical purchasing price, entry level from €50
  • Disadvantages :
    • Safety, risk of severe burns from the sleeved
    • Difficulty in controlling the flame (long and soft)
    • Risk of fire outbreak
    • Burns the grass instead of the necessary thermal shock
    • Efficiency: surface treated vs gas consumption …
    • Frequency of regular use mandatory


  • Advantages :
    • Designed for heavy duty professional use
    • Covers an area of 15 to 80cm at standstill depending on the model
    • Output from 850 m²/h to 3750 m²/h for the largest models
    • Consumption from 2.5 Kg/h to Kg/h
    • Work under the rain
  • Disadvantages :
    • Can only be moved on flat ground
    • Not suitable in strong winds, risk of smothering flame
    • No gas cut-off if flame goes out on some models
    • To be used only on paved surfaces, roads, pavements, etc.
    • Passage restricted to the minimum width of the product (15, 25, 40, 80cm…)
    • Not suitable for hard-to-reach areas such as stairs, up and down pavements, between graves…
    • Lack of visibility on the heated area
    • Overheating after 5 seconds of standing still
    • Pilot flame on small models
    • Frequency of regular use is mandatory

Hot water or steam

  • Advantages :
    • No risk of fire outbreak
    • Rainwater
  • Disadvantages :
    • The cost of the equipment: between 50 000 and 100 000€.
    • Filtered water…
    • Engine maintenance and parts costs
    • Not suitable for all types of terrain
    • Large storage space needed
    • Consumption of other fuels to heat the water
    • Frequency of regular passage is mandatory
    • 1 hour of Water autonomy
    • Water filling time for 1000L + travel time…


  • Avantages
    • No risk of fire outbreak
  • Disadvantages
    • The cost of the equipment: from around 100 000€
    • Engine maintenance and parts costs
    • Not suitable for all types of terrain
    • Large storage space needed
    • Consumption of other fuels for heating the foam and the foam itself
    • Frequency of regular passage is mandatory

What is the frequency of use?

If there is a downside to all non-chemical weed control solutions, it is the frequency of use. During the initial set-up, the best method to use to gain efficiency will be explained to you.

This applies to all existing alternative solutions. On average, you should expect to make about ten passes per year. The local climate, rain, sun, temperature, will increase or decrease this number.

The objective is to do it regularly but in good working conditions. The comfort, ergonomics and efficiency of the tools are therefore what should be favoured.

In the first few years, you will have to go through the soil more often to use up the number of seeds in the soil.

Whether it is water or heat, the first pass will awaken some dormant seeds. A second pass at short intervals will be very important to gain efficiency.

It is a good idea to have a landmark near your home to observe how fast weeds grow so that you can intervene as soon as possible on your sites and treat the plant when its root is the smallest. You can then get rid of it on the first pass.

Of course, the wind and the birds will always bring back new seeds, but the frequency and number of passes will be reduced from year to year as you use more and more.

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