From the Manufacturer
The Hot Max 50G “Little Max” is the premier small propane torch on the market. The 50,000 BTU Little Max is perfect for burning brush and weeds with clean and efficient LP gas eliminating caustic chemicals in the environment and around sensitive plants. The Little Max is is perfect for starting charcoal, soldering copper pipe, melting snow and ice, removing parking lot markings and other paint removal, thaws frozen pipes and equipment, pre-heats metals for welding or branding, melts tar and asphalt, and hundreds of other uses. The Little Max 50G torch is the only torch with a molded handle, which is trademarked, for better control and comfort. No other propane torch can have a handle. The Hot Max Little Max is ready to use and is easy to assemble. The Hot Max Little Max uses standard liquid propane tanks (like those used on BBQ grills). The Little Max comes with a 10′ UL/CSA Listed gas hose (rated at 350 PSI), 18 PSI pressure regulator, a safety stand so you can set it down to cool, a solid brass adjusting valve to control the flame, a POL safety valve (to prevent excess propane gas flow), and a single flint striker for lighting the torch.
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Andy in Washington –
Kill It With Fire!I live in the Pacific Northwest, an area with a mild climate, plenty of rain, and lots of sunshine in the summer. In short, weed nirvana. It takes only a month or two for a vegetable or flower garden to become overrun with weeds. Further, the soil at my house is a very dense clay, so once a weed gets rooted, it is a serious struggle to remove it. Since I am not a real fan of herbicides, time for modern methods.=== The Good Stuff ===* It is about the most fun I have ever had weeding a garden. Some weeds (like certain thistles) almost explode when you torch them, which I admit is somewhat gratifying. (Might want to wear eye protection, that hot sap hurts).* The torching goes pretty quick, and seems about the same level of time and effort as spraying roundup.* There are two settings, the normal flow, and a “turbo” setting. The normal flow worked for about 90% of the weeds, especially the smaller ones. Giant weeds, and those I knew from experience to be more hardy, took a full blast to fricassee. Did it kill all of them the first time? No, but neither does digging, Roundup, or any other strategy. It does kill about 75% of them the first time, and the rest go down easy with another blast after a few days.* In this area, if you cultivate and just “turn over” weeds, it is not uncommon for the exposed roots to work their way back into the soil before the sun has a chance to kill them. A quick shot to the roots with the torch puts a quick end to that.* The connections between the hose and torch seemed a little loose, but did not leak in the first 10 uses. Hopefully that holds up.=== The Not-So-Good Stuff ===* The instructions missed an important first step. Take the cheap POS striker that is included with the torch, and toss it directly in the nearest trash can. After a use or two it deformed, and was just about impossible to use with one hand —you have to hold the torch with the other. Easiest thing to use was a long-nozzle lighter, and seemed perfectly safe in spite of the warnings in the instructions.* I don’t like the trigger mechanism on the “turbo” blaster. It was easy to inadvertently squeeze it. Since it makes a loud noise, it will scare you if you are not ready for it. Occasionally the turbo blast would extinguish the flame, forcing you to stop and re-light. Wish it had a built-in igniter.* Not sure what the exact weight of the torch is, but it does get heavy. I didn’t especially mind it, but I wouldn’t want to use it all day long. Of course at the rate it burns propane, I couldn’t afford to anyway. (I didn’t use it long enough to go through a tank, but my 10 gallon tank was noticeably lighter after about 20 minutes of use).* A couple cautions- it is easy to light grass, bark mulch, or even large weeds on fire. Most can easily be stomped out, or will burn themselves out, but having a hose or at least a bucket of water nearby is probably a good idea. I’d also stay away from desirable plants, woodwork, or macadam paving. I took to wearing eye protection after a thistle “exploded”. Also, watch where you set it down, the nozzle stays hot for a while after the flame is extinguished.=== Summary ===A torch is not a 100% eradicator for weeds, but then neither is anything else. It was very effective for me, and is actually a bit of fun. There are a few things that could be better, but the torch seems well built and reasonably easy to use.
John Kent –
The BEST SPIDER SLAYER…EVER!!!!!The BEST spider slayer…ever…can you say Apocalypse Now?I looked at buying one of these a while back for weeding near my fence. I normally use 3-4 gallons of weed killer in a sprayer and – a week or so later, everything I can’t mow is dying or dead. I never brought myself to buy the torch because the weed killer worked.I have a screened in porch/pool area with pavers, a dog who has to be let out and 4 year old twins who like to get into everything. A short while ago, I was taking my dog out at night and saw a few blue flashes of light reflected back at me along from the pavers on my porch. I thought I knew what it was because I had seen it before. To my horror, my dog ran up to it before I could stop him and the tiny blue lights started spreading out over the pavers…quickly moving out to an area 10 feet by 15 feet, there must have been a hundred. I got closer with my flashlight and realized I was right…it was a mommy WOLF SPIDER and her children. For those who don’t know…a mother wolf spider carries her babies on her back. If she is startled, she must give off a scent or something, because she will jump and/or run and the babies will spread out like the tide… I had seen this before, OUTSIDE…but was NOT HAPPY to have what looked like a hundred or so baby spiders inside the pool area. I grabbed a broom and killed the mother and as many of the little SOBs as I could…but many of them ran into the small space between my pavers.If you have wolf spiders in your area, if you hold a BRIGHT light up to your forehead, pointed out to the ground, the light will hit the wolf spiders eyes and bounce right back to your eyes…almost like a tiny blue LED…similar to the light reflecting from a dog, cat, alligator or most wild animal’s eyes… I grabbed a small hand held propane torch and hit a few of the suckers, but the more I walked around trying to get them, the more they would spread out and hide in the space between the pavers. I remembered this BIG torch and ordered it next day air. The next night, I grabbed my light, started this torch and went to work. I estimated about 60 sets of little blue eyes along the pavers…and to my surprise, they hadn’t spread out much further than they were the night before. I walked the pavers forward and backward one time with the squeeze handle at about half, blasting the pavers with the torch flame, not keeping the heat on any area too long…using a sweeping motion. When I got back to my original position (30 seconds later) I used the light trick again and there were 2 baby spiders left. I quickly used the torch on them and was done…and was very happy not to have 60 baby spiders inside my screened porch. I would (and DID) gladly pay the cost of the torch JUST for that one spider job.That weekend I used the torch for my weeds near my fence and was amazed at how fast it wilted them. The next day, the weeds were brown and dead (the grass killer spray used to take 4-6 days before the weeds were brown).The torch worked right out of the box…no assembly except hooking it up to the propane tank. My only MINOR complaint is that The FLINT fire starter in my kit has a burr at the beginning of the steel striker that makes the flint stick immediately…this means using it with one hand impossible. I have used these before…so I know how to work it. It is simply a cheap defective flint starter. That said, the torch works so darned good, I will deduct no points and give it 5 stars. Excellent product.
heavy, but effectiveAfter some time it is heavy and a bit hard to manage, but that can’t be avoided. It works well and is insanely hot. Very happy with it.
Travis H. –
Fast Results, Fun WorkAt first I was a wary of having such a big output in terms of fuel usage, but I was pleasantly surprised to have about half a tank left (filled to 4.5 gallons when I started) after over an hour of straight usage. Considering the cost of spray concentrates compared to propane, this is acceptable to me. In today’s market, I estimate cost of use is in the range of $5 per hour.The adjustment valve is for idle flame only. When you pull the trigger you have no choice but to get the full 500kbtu/hr output, but it turns out that’s not a bad thing as the work goes faster. I did an experiment where some areas I burned the (green) weeds completely off, and in another area I just scorched them. The next day, the scorched weeds looked almost completely dead. I will report back when I know more about how well the roots kill with that approach. My plan is to save time by just scorching them, and then burn them away once they’ve dried out.The added bonus to using heat is it kills weed seed on the surface. I’m optimistic that once I go over an area, the weeds won’t sprout as quickly after that.The 10ft hose is handy, such that if you’re fine with moving the tank along by hand, you don’t need a cart. You can cover a decent area before having to move the tank again.The noise is noticeable. I’m in a country area, but have neighbors within 50 yards. I immediately thought they would wonder what the noise is. If you’re in a more densely populated area, you might consider that it will draw attention. If you’ve ever heard a hot air balloon burner, this is approximately equivalent. It’s not so loud that you’d ever consider ear protection, but like I said, it’s noticeable from a distance.I read another review complaining about the connection to the tank needing an adapter, but this is not true. It threads INSIDE a standard BBQ tank connection (assuming you have the up-to-date OPD style), and it’s REVERSE threaded. All you need is a wrench or pliers in a pinch (hehe). It will not connect to, and is not intended for, a camp style tank.My favorite part is the fast results. I don’t mind a little hard work, so I would often just pull weeds by hand. This is a better alternative. It kills the weeds and seeds, and is much faster–especially in areas with lots of small weeds. I am happy with the purchase.EDIT: The weeds I scorched will die on the surface, but deeper rooted weeds will start growing back. The good thing is that a scorched weed will burn off quicker on the second round since it dries out a bit. I plan to scorch them first, then go through more thoroughly after a couple days to finish the job and hopefully kill more of the roots. Overall, I’m still happy with the results, and I’m still optimistic that once the weeds are under control, the two-step process won’t be necessary.EDIT 2: After a full summer of owning the torch, I’m most happy with its ability to kill weed seeds. I’ve nuked a couple of different areas on my one acre property, and they remain either gravel or bare dirt with minimal additional maintenance. I’d definitely by this torch again.
Would not seal at propane tank. Had to replace connector, then it worked great. But I had to spend another $8 for a part…I bought this in Aug. 2015, finally used it for the first time on Oct. 2017. And the stupid connector at the tank would not seal. It leaked no matter how much I tightened it. I even tried it on a 2nd propane tank; still leaks. Knowing that I sat on my ass for so long before trying it, I knew I was screwed for support. So I took the connector off the hose and went to my local hardware store. They had a fitting that was SLIGHTLY different. I bought it for $8, brought it home and put it on the end of the hose. I connected it to the tank and guess what… it doesn’t leak!! So, after a trip to my local hardware store and spending an additional $8 I now have a working torch. WOW!! This thing is scary powerful! I torched weeds that were growing in my stone driveway and it burnt them to a crisp. It was interesting how some weeds burned quickly and some took more time, but they’re all gone now. TIP: WEAR LONG PANTS!! This thing blast heat and you can definitely feel it when wearing shorts.So, I guess I’d give it 5 stars for performance, but because of it not sealing at the tank and having to make a trip to my hardware store for repair parts (this was “brand new, never used”) I am only giving it 3 stars. Look, the connector at the tank should have been a trouble-free part, I should not have needed to replace it.If you buy it, don’t be like me and let it sit so long before trying it out. If your’s works out of the box then you’ll be happy.
Old Woman –
Don’t let Pyromaniacs near this!I’ve drooled over these yard torches for years. I finally got one (plus a propane tank dolly) and LOVE IT! It’s great for my 5 acre property. In the gulf south, weeds grow so fast it’s discouraging to pull or cut them only to see them again in a couple of days, but I refuse to use chemical weedkillers for obvious reasons.It isn’t necessary to burn them or catch weeds on fire – just a good solid wilt produces the desired results. It’s easy to wilt a tall weed and take it out without harming the grass underneath. Super for fence lines and ditches!Caution: I made the mistake of letting my middle-aged son and gentleman friend use this and they want to light everything in sight on fire! Burn, baby, burn is their motto! They literally have a scorched earth policy! They love taking out fire ant mounds with this!
No More Magnifying Glass For MeAn ant hill decided to declare war on me. Its emissary decided to bite my ankle while I was taking out the trash. This was the shot that started the great battle of hill 23. I hooked this bad boy up to a propane tank, and lit the blower. The roar of the shear volume of burning gas was impressive. I cooked that ant hill, well done. With the earth scorched, and my adversaries defeated, I fell back into my prior life of quiet contentedness.The next day, I revisited the hill to reminisce on the battles of my youth only to discover it to be rebuilt, and the bodies of my enemies gone. The ants were clearly preparing for a counter-offensive to which I would be unable to repel. So I visited my local hardware store and picked up something truly sinister. While fire was effective and amusing to say the least, these opponents required something a little more, permanent. I blasted that hill with 1 gallon of the most potent insect killer money can buy. A tidal wave of poison washed over the land, carrying the bodies of my again defeated enemies over the horizon. The hill had been defeated, for good this time.Long story short, this thing is sweet.
Frustration turned to Love!When i first got my Flamethrower (as I like to call it), it worked well intermittently. It always generated a big yellow flame, but would occasionally kick in and sound like a small rocket engine with a nearly invisible flame. The big yellow flame is great for playing with fire, but the rocket engine flame is incredible for rapidly torching away weeds. I honestly think many users never experience the full power of this device.It took me a bit to figure out the secret to getting this all the time. Finally, after re-reading the instructions, I realized that what the manufacturer describes as a “POL safety valve” was the culprit. They just were not descriptive enough to get through to my brain.Here is the way to achieve awesome power!First shut the tank valve completely, then open the Flame Adjusting Valve all the way to empty the hose. Now shut the Flame Adjusting Valve completely. SLOWLY open the Tank Valve. I mean REALLY SLOWLY! I think the first quarter turn should take several seconds. This is critical to avoid triggering the POL Safety Valve. Once the Tank Valve is fully open, you open the Flame Adjusting Valve two full turns and immediately light the flame (CAREFUL NOT TO BURN YOURSELF).If you get a big yellow flame and do not hear the rocket engine sound, you are either very low on gas or you have triggered the POL Safety Valve (in which case you have to start over).If lit properly, this thing deserves 6 Stars.
J. S. Keck –
The Threaded Adapter is Picky When Trying To Connect TanksI have to give this ONE STAR because I’m not able to use it. It seems to claim that it will connect to my LP tank from the BBQ right out of the package. Lies. All lies! It does NOT fit my Blue Rhino LP bbq tank; maybe it’s because of the safety valve? I dunno, but now I am going to have to buy an ADAPTER and spend another $25-30 bucks. This really cheesed me off, since it allegedly “works with the bbq tanks”; plus 4 other reviewers seem to think so, too. I don’t know what kind of tanks they have, but here in California, this thing is NOT USABLE AS IT COMES IN THE PACKAGE. **EDIT** – it seems that for some reason the threads on this are just really picky about what tank they mate with. After returning 2 LP bbq tanks for replacements, I was finally able to hook it up to the 5th tank I tried it on. It works very well. Like other reviewers I’d say the “striker” spark igniter could just be thrown in the trash. It broke the 2nd time I tried to light the torch with it. I ended up using my long fireplace lighter. The torch does have a tendency to flame out when you use a big burst and are close to the ground. That and the pathetic spark lighter are my only complaints, besides the picky threads on the connector.
the dumb bunny –
It doesn’t kill weeds, but you’ll love it.I bought this because it said you could burn up your weeds, it does and they come right back a few days later, but this thing is so cool once you own it you’ll wonder how you got along without it. Got dead leaves stuck all in the fence, burn them up. Want to start a fire to burn up limbs and yard debris, light it up in about 2 seconds. Got an old recliner they won’t take at the dump, place safely away and you guessed it light her up, they’ll take the metal frame at the metal recycler. I thought this would end my need for roundup, it didn’t, but it has turned me into a pyromaniac.