I Tried the Handy Brush Grubber and Pulling Brush and Shrubs Has Never Been Easier

Every homeowner gets unwanted saplings and brush that magically sprout in their landscape. The Handy Brush Grubber helps you get a (forceful) grip on the problem.

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We Tried It Handy Brush GrubberSheri Kaz/Family Handyman

Like every homeowner, I have my share of unwanted trees that take root in my landscape. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a gardener, it’s that the bigger they are, the harder they are to pull. Whether it’s trees, shrubs or weeds, digging them out often breaks the roots and multiplies the problem. Cutting shrubs off at the ground encourages shoots and pulling takes Goliath’s strength. I try to get after them before they become impossible to remove, but life happens. With the Brush Grubber, I can get a handle on the problem before these invaders get out of control.

What is the Handy Grubber?

Handy Brush GrubberSheri Kaz/Family Handyman

This hand-held Brush Grubber extracts small trees, woody weeds, and shrubs with stems up to one inch in diameter. It’s made from heavy-duty steel with powerful spring-loaded gripping teeth that grab the stem. The large handle gives you the leverage to pull out the unwanted brush.

To open the tool, pull back on the lever attached to the spring-loaded jaws. Once you release the lever, the tool clamps down, pulling the sapling out root and all. The grips have 10 teeth on each side for a secure hold. I’m also a fan of the D-ring-shaped handle, which is large enough for me to pull with both hands.

We Tried It

Handy Brush Grubber

A strong spring-loaded grip eradicates brush fast.

Brush Grubber Product Features

Handy Brush GrubberSheri Kaz/Family Handyman

The Handy Grubber is best suited for woody stems between ¼-inch to 1-inch in diameter. At just 14 inches long and 4 pounds, this lightweight brush remover is easy to carry around your property, causing less fatigue. Because of its compact size, the Brush Grubber can get into tight spaces (like trees growing next to the foundation or between hardscapes and fences). I especially love the no-dig feature of this tool because nearby plants are less likely to be damaged.

How I Tested It

Handy Brush GrubberSheri Kaz/Family Handyman

My first impression of the Handy Brush Grubber was, “Wow, this thing is solid and heavy-duty.” Even though it only weighs 4 pounds, I could sense its muscle. The lever is easy to pull and operates smoothly.

Uprooting Unwanted Brush and Weeds

I have buckthorn and brush of varying sizes growing on my property, so I waited until after a few days of rain to eradicate these invaders. I started with the largest tree growing between my cedar bushes in my front yard. Unfortunately, having cut this culprit back several times, the stem was too thick, and the tree too established for me to pull. Next, I tried to pull up a newcomer growing next to my garage. The stem was too thin. It slid through the teeth on the tool, debarking it and leaving the sapling in place. After that, I found an invader with a pencil-sized stem, and the tool ripped it out of the ground root and all. Oh, joy! No digging was required.

Now, I was motivated and policed my yard for every random shrub that had taken root and went about trying to pull them. Some of the larger invasive trees had been snipped to the ground several times, so the roots were well established, making them impossible to pull even when I put my entire body weight into yanking them out. 

Working on Trees

Likewise, an established three-foot box elder tree was growing under the fence with a one-inch trunk. The Handy Brush Grubber was compact enough to grab the base of the stem, but I wasn’t strong enough to pull it out by the roots. I was disappointed but not surprised, considering this tree has been there a few years since other attempts to dig it out proved unsuccessful.

I found that the optimal size for the tool to work properly is at least as fat as a pencil. Anything thinner ran the risk of slipping through the grips. Once I found the sweet spot, the Handy Grubber worked impressively well, saving me the time and effort of manually digging. Plus, it doesn’t disturb surrounding plants like you would digging with a shovel.


  • Easy to use
  • Made from durable steel
  • Spring-loaded gripping lever
  • Smooth operation
  • Large comfortable handle
  • Lightweight
  • Extracts the root system
  • No-dig brush removal


  • May not work with all plants


Handy Brush GrubberSheri Kaz/Family Handyman

How does a Brush Grubber work?

The Handy Grubber clamps onto the trunk of a tree or shrub with a spring-loaded secure grip. First, open the jaws by pulling back the lever, then place the grips on the trunk of the tree close to the ground. Lastly, pull. It’s that simple. If the ground is sufficiently moist, it will be easier to extract the tree and the roots. 

What is the best tool for pulling brushes?

The best tool for pulling bushes is a tool designed for the diameter of the trunk you need to get rid of. Large brush may require machinery, in other words, more than the manpower of a hand tool. Removing the entire root system is the best way to ensure that the brush won’t send out runners. Cutting brush may encourage growth and not remove the problem.

Why You Should Trust Us

As a veteran gardener and homeowner, I love to get my hands dirty. Yard work and landscaping can be hard work without the right tools. I make it my mission to find tools that are durable, well-built and get the job done. I want tools that are faster, easier and better than anything I’ve used before. Since it’s a passion of mine, I scope out the latest and determine what’s the greatest by combing through hundreds of user reviews to bring you my recommendations. Once I saw the Handy Grubber, I knew I had to get my hands on it and give it a try.

What Other Reviewers Had to Say

Other users have found the Brush Grubber to be a handy and effective tool, like verified Amazon user, Edward W. Housel, who writes a five-star review saying, “Actually IS easy to use! It pulled vines out by the root. Impressed.”

Five-star reviewer, S. Loges, writes “Works great for grabbing small items like blackberry, etc. I have a larger version that I use with the tractor but this one works very good on the smaller items by hand.”

“Amazing tool built to work and to last,” writes five-star reviewer, Giles Schnierle. “This little device really works well. Hooked up to a come-along I pulled out the majority of small trees and bushes that have taken serious root. I was so impressed at the strength of this little tool and the ease of use that I went back and purchased the heavier-duty version.” 

Product Comparison

If you need more reach, check out the Handy Extended Grubber with the 18-inch adjustable handle for less bending.  This model has an overall length of 32 inches with the same great gripping mechanisms. 

Brush Grubber is serious about brush removal and makes a host of tools. In addition to the hand tools, they manufacture tow-behind units and skid loader bucket mount tools. If you have a tractor mower, ATV, truck or tractor that can assist, the Original Brush Removal Tool pulls trees with a 3-inch diameter and includes a variety of sizes up to the Xtreme Plus model for 6-inch trees. 

Final Verdict

The construction of the Handy Brush Grubber is solid and durable. I love the roomy handle that allows me to use two hands to pull. It’s easy to operate, and the strong spring and the smooth lever make this product five stars in my book. I’ve had pruners that required more hand strength.

The tool is designed for stems up to 1 inch. I personally had no problem pulling shrubs that were between 1/4- and 1/2-inch. I’m confident that users with more strength than me will be able to pull larger brush. But, depending on the soil conditions, root system and maturity of the plant, this tool may not work for extracting every pesky thing in your yard. However, I can tell you that when it works—it works very well. I would never be able to pull by hand what this handy tool does in two seconds with its powerful grip and the leverage it provides. When the next generation of seedlings appears, I’ll be ready. 

Where to Buy the Handy Brush Grubber

We Tried It

Brush Grubber

Made from durable steel with a large comfortable handle, this no-dig tool is easy to operate.

The Handy Grubber is available at Walmart and other retailers for under $70. Grab the Handy Brush Grubber and get a grip on your weed problem.

Sheri Kaz
As Associate Shopping Editor, Sheri helps Family Handyman readers find well-designed products to enjoy their time spent at home. Her expertise lies in interior design and gardening. When she’s not searching for the next inspired home or garden solution, she enjoys dancing, painting and the great outdoors.