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The Best Weed Killer: Our Top 5 Picks

Weed killers are helpful tools for farmers and home growers alike. But with so many different formats and formulas, how do you know which one is best for your particular needs?

We found the best weed killer products and sorted them below, with quick facts to help you understand how each one works. Read on to see our top picks, along with a simple buyer’s guide that’ll help you select the weed killer best for you!

A person spraying common weeds in a garden with a bright red hand spray.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Ortho GroundClear Year Long Vegetation Killer

Best Organic
Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer

Best for Lawns
Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 3

Best for Prevention
Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action – Weed Killer & Preventer

Budget Option
Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer 2

Best Overall

Ortho GroundClear Year Long Vegetation Killer

Ortho GroundClear Year Long Vegetation Killer1 - Concentrate, Visible Results in 3 Hours, Kills Weeds and Grasses to the Root When Used as Directed, Up to 1 Year of Weed and Grass Control, 2 gal.

For a fast-acting, non-selective weed killer that’ll blast away anything in its path, try Ortho GroundClear. This is the best weed killer for hard-to-kill invasive plants.

This product uses active ingredients pelargonic acid and isopropylamine salt (a form of glyphosate). It’s highly effective but also very hazardous and should be handled with care.


  • Option for ready to use unit with attached sprayer
  • Kills active weeds in 2-10 days
  • Effective for killing crabgrass
  • Penetrates below rock and gravel to kill weeds in driveways, patios, and paved areas


  • Non-selective formula is not suitable for use on lawns
  • Even in small concentrations, glyphosate is a possible carcinogen and must be handled and stored with extreme caution
  • Can contaminate groundwater and render soil infertile
  • Not suitable for use around children and animals

Best Organic

Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer Spray

Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer | Natural & Organic | Concentrated | 1 Gallon Spray | Glyphosate Free Herbicide

The best weed killer for green gardeners is Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Spray. This is a safer alternative to synthetic chemical weed killers.

Vinegar will kill or at least damage any plant it touches, so apply it carefully. Using vinegar to kill weeds requires multiple applications, but it can be highly effective over the long term.


  • Kills active weeds within 1-2 weeks
  • Safe for organic gardening
  • Safest option for children, pets, wildlife, and the environment


  • Non-selective formula is not suitable for use on lawns
  • Requires multiple applications for best results

Best for Lawns

Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 3

Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 3; Covers up to 5,000 Sq. Ft., Fertilizer, 14.29 lbs.

Have a turf lawn plagued by unsightly weeds? You need a selective weed killer that’s safe for use on grass.

The best weed killer for lawns is Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 3. This is a post-emergent formula with mecoprop-p and 2, 4-D that not only wipes out live weeds, but also feeds your grass at the same time.


  • Selective formula kills active weeds but not grass
  • Added fertilizer greens and thickens grass


  • Not effective for hard-to-kill crabgrass
  • Not suitable for use around children and animals

Best Weed Preventer

Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action – Weed Killer & Preventer

For a slightly pricier but even more versatile best weed killer for your lawn, try Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action.

This selective formula also uses 2, 4-D and mecoprop-p to target and destroy invasive species without harming grass. In addition to killing live weeds, it also prevents their return in the next season. And added fertilizer thickens grass as well, improving your lawn’s appearance and crowding out weed roots.


  • Selective formula kills active weeds but not grass
  • Added fertilizer greens and thickens grass
  • Prevents weeds from returning after removal


  • Pricier option
  • Not suitable for use around children and animals

Best Budget Option

Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer 2

Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer 2, Use On Driveways, Walkways and Around Trees and Flower Beds, 32 fl Ounce Spray

Treating a small space on a budget? Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer 2 is the best weed killer you can find for under $10, and it also comes in an easy-to-use liquid spray format.


  • Budget option under $10
  • Ready to use spray format
  • Kills active weeds within 1-2 days


  • Non-selective formula is not suitable for use on lawns
  • Small format is not conducive for spraying large areas
  • Requires multiple applications for lasting results

Best Weed Killer Buyer’s Guide

Using a garden sprayer to spray weeds growing in between sidewalk and brick wall.

The best weed killer for you should be effective against the particular weeds you’re fighting. It should also be a product you can handle safely and use easily.

Keep reading to learn more about the different types of weed killers to decide which is the best weed killer for you.

Types of Weed Killers

Nonselective vs Selective Weed Killers

Nonselective weed killers will kill everything they touch. Be careful when applying this type of weed killer, making sure not to spray nearby plants you do not intend to harm.

Selective weed killers target and kill specific types of weeds while leaving others unaffected. If you are looking for a weed killer for lawns, you want a selective formula that kills weeds but not grass.

Preemergent vs Postemergent Weed Killers

The weed killer best for clearing out live invasives will be a post-emergent one. Postemergent weed killers either dehydrate or damage the cell functions in a living plant, ultimately killing it.

After using a post-emergent weed killer, you’ll see the weed brown and wither. Then you can rake up the dead weeds easily.

To preventatively treat your lawn for weeds, use a pre-emergent weed killer. When used correctly, these will suppress the germination of weed seeds left behind from prior seasons.

Usually you’ll broadcast pre-emergent weed killers on turf lawns in late winter or early spring in preparation for new growth.

Liquid Sprays vs Granular Herbicides

Many popular weed killers come in a liquid spray format. These liquid solvents stick to the leaves of invasive plants, where they absorb into the weed to start killing it.

Other weed killers come in solid form. Granular herbicides are common for use on lawns, though there are lawn-safe liquid weed killers out there as well.

Given the choice between the two formats, many people opt to use liquid sprays. They tend to work faster than granular weed killers, and can also be easier to apply precisely.

Best Weed Killer Ingredients

Keep reading to learn about how different kinds of weed killers work, and the pros and cons of each.

Man spraying a weed in a lawn.

Natural and Organic Weed Killers

Do you have pets, farm animals, or native wildlife that frequent the area you intend to treat with weed killer? How about a weed invasion near edible plants? Or a weedy lawn that needs to be safe for contact with kids’ bare feet?

Weed killers made with chemicals that occur in nature, such as concentrated vinegars, should still be handled carefully. But they are non-lethal to humans and animals, and also won’t contaminate soil and groundwater.

For more of the best weed killer products made with natural ingredients, check out this list of the best organic weed killers.

Synthetic Chemical-Based Weed Killers

The popularity of synthetic chemical weed killers is due to their effectiveness. These products work by using chemicals developed to target and destroy certain species of invasive weeds.

But use of harsh chemical weed killers does come with risks. Each particular chemical ingredient comes with its own toxicity warnings. Always read the product label for safe use instructions.

2, 4-D in particular is known to contaminate groundwater and should not be used near wells, creeks, or lakes. Glyphosate renders treated land infertile by destroying microflora and earthworms in the soil.

Concerns about toxicity to birds, bees, and other wildlife should also be taken into account when choosing the best weed killer. Check out our post on the environmental impact of chemical weed killers to learn more.

What to Look for in the Best Weed Killer

Make sure that the weed killer you’re buying is the right one for you. Consider these factors below before making your choice.

How to Identify Weeds in Your Lawn or Garden

Before buying a weed killer, identify your nemesis. We can help with our guide to identifying and treating weeds.

Once you know what you’re up against, you can select a weed killer that’s proven effective for killing that particular species.

Convenience vs Value

Lots of liquid weed killer sprays are sold in disposable packaging, ready to use with an attached sprayer. These products can be good options if you’re looking to try out a weed killer for the first time.

But if you’re going to use your selected weed killer regularly, it’ll become pricier than necessary to keep buying disposable units. Liquid concentrates give you a much better value, and reduce plastic waste as well.

Get the Most out of Your Weed Killer

Make the most of your money, time, and effort by following the simple guidelines below to maximize the effectiveness of your weed killer.

Safe Handling and Storage

Person wearing protective gloves for spraying herbicide.

Safety is one of the most important considerations when using weed killers. Protect yourself against chemical exposure by wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

Heavy-duty gloves are an absolute must when handling hazardous, corrosive, and toxic materials. Wear a mask or respirator and protective eyewear as well.

It’s also best to wear long sleeves, long pants, and boots with socks when handling chemicals. Remove contaminated gloves and wash your hands immediately when you’re done using weed killer.

It’s best to apply weed killer on a still day with no wind, preferably after rain. In dry weather, dampen the area you intend to spray with a light watering first. If there’s even a slight breeze, stay upwind of the area you are treating.

And always store chemicals on low shelves, out of reach of children and pets, when not in use.


Maximize the effectiveness of your weed-killing routine by preparing with all the necessary equipment.

A quality weed sprayer will give you the most control and effective application for liquid concentrates. And to apply granular herbicides on your lawn evenly and in the correct concentration, use a broadcast spreader.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Weed Killer

Still have questions about weed killers? Read on for answers!

What is the strongest weed killer on the market?

Bottles of RoundUp brand weed killer on store shelves.

You may have heard that RoundUp is the best weed killer for zapping weeds away. But RoundUp products will not be on the consumer market for much longer. The company has stated they’ll discontinue their residential product line in 2023, though they will still sell to commercial farms.

Still, the active ingredient in RoundUp, a chemical called glyphosate, is something you can find in other products. Glyphosate can be dangerous to handle and toxic to soil, but it’s also widely regarded as the best weed killer.

Our #1 pick, Ortho GroundClear, uses a combination of pelargonic acid and glyphosate, making it the strongest weed killer available.

What kills weeds down to the root?

For synthetic chemical solutions that kill weeds down to the root, try a product with glyphosate, mecoprop-p (MCPP) or 2, 4-D. These chemicals change the way your targeted invasive plant functions on a cellular level, killing it permanently.

As an alternative to synthetic weed killers, you can also mix salt with a vinegar concentrate. While the vinegar will primarily attack the weed’s leaves and shoots, the salt will absorb down into the roots, dehydrating them and killing the entire plant.

Time to Choose the Weed Killer Best for You!

Closeup of a common green-leaved garden weed.

Now you’ve seen our picks for the best weed killer products to green and clean up your lawn and garden. Time to pick your poison and kill those weeds!

For the most versatile, fastest-acting, and longest-lasting non-selective weed killer, we recommend Ortho GroundClear. And for a great organic option, try Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Spray.

If you feel like you need to learn more about these pesky garden tenants, check out our weeds page to learn all about different weed varieties, treatment options, and surprising information.