7 Incredible Charcoal Starters – Light Up Fire with No Hassle

  • Last updatedLast updated: Mar 17, 2020
View Article Statistics

If you’re gearing up for some warming-up winter nights and want to do all the research you can so you can invest in the best charcoal chimney starter, this article has everything you need to know to be able to pick from the large variety of quality starters. You’re not alone in this product-filled world! We’re here to help!

In this guide, we’ve poured over the information of over 37 different charcoal starters on the market to help compare and contrast all the best choices. We’ve also picked out and reviewed the best of the best, like our Editors Choice, the BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity, which is made out of thick gauge galvanized steel and even has a heat-resistant handle! From the best of the best to our Budget Pick, there’s a charcoal starter for every preference and price point.

Top 7 Charcoal Starters Review 2020

To help you choose, we’ve gone through each individual feature of charcoal starters and how they can make a difference in your product-buying choice. From dimension to weight, from fuel type to warranty information, we’ve considered a whole ton of different details you might not have even thought of before. As always, the structure of our guide remains the same to help guide you through to the best of the best—from our comparison table, to each individual in-detail review of the products, and a buying guide to finally help you make your final decision. We hope this article helps you pick out the perfect charcoal starter!

Editor’s Choice

High-quality charcoal starter made of thick gauge galvanized steel, it has cold-to-touch handle and 90-degree elbow

Read Our Review
9.9
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each experts independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.

Torch-styled charcoal starter with dual ignition switch, 1,500°C air temperature and built-in blower

Read Our Review
9.7
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each experts independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Quickest Charcoal Fire Starter

Lightweight charcoal starter with 20-inch long shaft, adjustable flame blow and safe to touch handle

Read Our Review
9.6
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each experts independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.

Easily operated electric charcoal starter with stainless steel sheath, heat-resistant handle and long cord

Read Our Review
9.4
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each experts independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.

Portable charcoal starter with air blower, made of zink plated steel and featuring wooden handle

Read Our Review
9.2
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each experts independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Most Convenient Charcoal Starter

Simple charcoal starter with ABS plastic handle, capacity for up to 5 pounds of charcoal and detachable extra carrying handle

Read Our Review
9.0
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each experts independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Budget Pick

Fairly priced charcoal starter with heat shield, convenient two-handle design perfectly fit for camping

Read Our Review
8.8
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each experts independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
1.

BBQ Dragon Chimney of InsanityEditor’s Choice

Features
  • Dimensions: 6.75 x 11 x 5.25 in
  • Weight: 2.4 lb
  • Material: thick gauge galvanized steel
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: heat resistant handle, 90-degree elbow, fan-compatible side hole

The BBQ Dragon Charcoal Starter is our Editor’s Choice for one of the best charcoal starters on the market.

Its design plays a huge role in its place at the top of our list. From its additional 3″ tube, which is designed bent at a 90-degree angle, this makes the vent quite accessible on the cylinder. Especially if you normally have a hard time with the process, the design of the BBQ Dragon Charcoal Starter makes side-loading quite efficient.

This design is also pretty high in safety since it eliminates the necessity of having to move the hot chimney before initiating the starter fuel.

Another additional blow-your-mind feature? Literally blowing air through that particular tube can help design this unique vortex in the chimney that can help accelerate the speed of which your coals heat—measuring around just under 10 minutes to light a full batch of charcoal, a feat which usually takes a good 20 to 25 minutes.

The BBQ Dragon Charcoal Starter is also made with heavy-duty materials that ensure durability and its 1-year warranty. The vinyl handle also places higher in preference than wood  and the heat shield plays up its safety.

Pros
  • It has a good size
  • Designed with durable materials
  • Great safety features like heat-resistant handle
Cons
  • The model can be bigger if you’re looking to fire up more or extra charcoal
Features
  • Dimensions: 18.2 x 2.8 x 3.5 in
  • Air temperature: 1,500°C
  • Weight: 2 lb
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

More features: dual ignition switch, thermal protection, built-in blower, 6 ft long power cord, 1500 W power

The HomeRight Electro-Torch C900085 is our Runner’s Up choice and rated as one of the Best Torch Charcoal Starters on the market.

Backed by a 2-year warranty, HomeRight is confident in its product to give you an efficient start on your fire. Whether you’re going to be grilling out burgers for the whole neighborhood or have an intimate night of s’mores with your loved one, the HomeRight Electro-Torch C900085 is a great tool.

For simple and quick lighting, the HomeRight Electro-Torch C900085 can give you a full-blazing fire in your charcoal barbecue, wood burning fireplace, campfire or fire pit in a mere three minutes—which is quite fast when compared to others on the market!

You can also use the built-in blower, which helps control the flames and save you time.

Although it may look like a curling iron, it definitely gets the job done—especially when it comes to safety. The HomeRight Electro-Torch C900085 is designed with a unique thermal protection feature, which turns the unit off if it reaches an exceedingly high temperature.

This particular charcoal starter also comes with a long, 10-foot heavy-gauge grounded power cord, which is quite durable, even when outside.

Pros
  • The product is chemical-free
  • It can reach up to 1,500 degrees in heat with a lot of power—up to 1,500 w
  • It’s also speedy—starting a fire in just 2-3 minutes
  • It’s lightweight, only 2 lbs
Cons
  • The product isn’t that big and is a different design that other charcoal starters
3.

JJGeorge Grill Torch Charcoal StarterQuickest Charcoal Fire Starter

Features
  • Dimensions: 4.8 x 6 x 17.5 in
  • Material: stainless steel sheath
  • Weight: 1.4 lb
  • Warranty: 30-day refund

More features: double loop, 600 W power, heat resistant handle

The Grill Dome Rapid-Lite is backed by 600 watts of power that can get you one of the quickest and most powerful fires started, which rates this product as our Most Powerful Chimney Starter.

For a powerful and effective alternative to lighter fluid or charcoal chimneys, the Grill Dome Rapid-Lite is a very durable tool, designed with a stainless steel sheath, which is known for prolonging life of the lighter.

Although it is durable, it is still lightweight, weighing only 1.4 lb. and easy to carry around. Its design is also unique, featuring a double-loop U-shaped stainless-steel element, which can help with the speed of burning charcoal.

Since one of the biggest frustrations of charcoal starting methods is false-starts, it’s great to have a product that eliminates that frustration. The design is a double loop, which helps the charcoal start faster—and the unique bend angle also allows for better charcoal contact, which can increase speeds.

The method is quite easy to do and can be powered by a 600-watt unit into a 120-volt outlet, which is 20 percent more power than other starters on the market.

Pros
  • Designed with durable stainless steel sheath
  • Only weighs 1.4 lb
  • Has a heat-resistant handle
  • Reaches high power
Cons
  • Only backed by 30-day warranty
  • Can take up to 8 minutes long
Features
  • Dimensions: 4.8 x 6 x 17.5 in
  • Material: stainless steel sheath
  • Weight: 1.4 lb
  • Warranty: 30-day refund

More features: double loop, 600 W power, heat resistant handle

The Grill Dome Rapid-Lite is backed by 600 watts of power that can get you one of the quickest and most powerful fires started, which rates this product as our Most Powerful Chimney Starter.

For a powerful and effective alternative to lighter fluid or charcoal chimneys, the Grill Dome Rapid-Lite is a very durable tool, designed with a stainless steel sheath, which is known for prolonging life of the lighter.

Although it is durable, it is still lightweight, weighing only 1.4 lb. and easy to carry around. Its design is also unique, featuring a double-loop U-shaped stainless-steel element, which can help with the speed of burning charcoal.

Since one of the biggest frustrations of charcoal starting methods is false-starts, it’s great to have a product that eliminates that frustration. The design is a double loop, which helps the charcoal start faster—and the unique bend angle also allows for better charcoal contact, which can increase speeds.

The method is quite easy to do and can be powered by a 600-watt unit into a 120-volt outlet, which is 20 percent more power than other starters on the market.

Pros
  • Designed with durable stainless steel sheath
  • Only weighs 1.4 lb
  • Has a heat-resistant handle
  • Reaches high power
Cons
  • Only backed by 30-day warranty
  • Can take up to 8 minutes long
Features
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 7 in
  • Material: zinc plated steel
  • Weight: 2.5 oz
  • Warranty: 1.5-year limited

More features: air blower, heat resistant mitts and coals included, wooden handle

The HOMENOTE Rapid Charcoal Chimney Starter comes with everything you need to get the fire—and the party—started. Dubbed as our Most Accessorized Chimney Starter, this charcoal starter comes not only with an air blower but also with heat-resistant mitts to help keep you safe, as well as the coals included and a wooden handle.

All of these extra accessories make it extremely user-friendly as well as beginner-friendly since no question is left on the methods and instructions on how to make the starter work properly. You also have access to lighter cubes.

All the accessories also speed up the fire-starting time, which can help you produce hot coals for cooking as efficiently as possible. The HOMENOTE Rapid Charcoal Chimney Starter is also designed with steel and zinc on the outside, which makes for a rust-resistant material.

Even though it has a wooden handle design, it still claims to efficiently prevent scalding. The cubes it comes with also can burn for a longer amount of time, each one around 8-10 minutes.

The most extensive feature? It’s all-natural, designed with non-toxic wood shavings, odorless and tasteless, and can set lights 3 times faster (around three minutes) than commonly used flat square starters.

Pros
  • It is all-natural when it comes to ingredients, smell, and taste
  • Can be used inside or outside
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Lighter chips work great
Cons
  • The thin wooden handle is hot and doesn’t protect you from getting burned
  • Chimney rusts out quickly
6.

REDCAMP Collapsible Charcoal Chimney StarterMost Convenient Charcoal Starter

Features
  • Dimensions: 14 x 8.4 x 10.6 in
  • Material: zinc plated galvanized steel
  • Weight: 4.8 lb
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

More features: ABS handle, detachable additional handle, chromeplate, 5 lb charcoal capacity

The REDCAMP Collapsible Charcoal Chimney Starter is labeled as our Most Convenient Charcoal Starter, and not for a bad reason! This square-shaped model actually has two different handles for your convenience, with an ABS handle at the side and an additional, detachable handle made of chromeplate material.

The handles make a huge difference when comparing it to other charcoal starters on the market—since quite a few of them are designed with wood.

Another unique component of this design? Its a square rather than a circular or cylindrical model. It is also highly collapsible (as the name suggests), which makes it extremely transportable and compact.

The galvanized sheet metal is also durable and is what’s in the design that makes it flat and compatible. The heat-resistant ABS plastic also makes it unique and enhances its safety features, as well as the metal assist handle for stability.

The REDCAMP Collapsible Charcoal Chimney Starter also boasts a longer lifespan with the charcoal grate which is zinc-coated. It can even be transitioned into a mini-grill!

It can hold around 5 lbs of charcoal at a time, which makes it the ideal portable starter.

Pros
  • Highly transportable and compact
  • Designed with zinc-plated galvanized steel
Cons
  • It is a bit heavier than most but not by much
  • Only 1-year limited warranty
Features
  • Dimensions: 12 x 7.5 in
  • Material: aluminized steel
  • Weight: 4.2 lb
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

More features: heat shield, heat-resistant handle, two-handle design

Just because you find yourself on a budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t invest in quality. Although the Weber 7429 Rapid Fire Chimney Starter is rated as our Budget Pick for the charcoal starter market, it’s still backed by quality features that can get any other charcoal starter burning for its money.

With the details to help quickly produce hot coals for quick cooking, the Weber 7429 Rapid Fire Chimney Starter has all the features to be a great starter for an affordable price.

Its specialized cone-shaped grate also makes it unique to other charcoal starters on the market.

Even though it’s set at a budget price, it has durable construction, which helps it reach its 2-year warranty longevity. It’s also comfortable to use with an ergonomic handle, that can even be better than a wooden one.

Not only is it designed with aluminized steel, it also has a heat shield, heat-resistant handle, and a two-handle design, which puts it up there with a lot of other charcoal starters of its class.

You can also even cook on it, with its capability of making a wok fire.

Pros
  • Comes resistant to heat, making it safe
  • Backed by 2-year warranty
  • Designed with aluminized steel
Cons
  • Weighs a bit heavier at 4 lbs

Buying Guide

Although this is most likely not the most important purchasing decision you’ll be making over the next year or so, it can definitely be pretty impactful when it comes to barbecuing and getting a blazing fire going.
So, since there is such a huge market for charcoal starters, this buying guide is designed to help you pick out the best ones according to important features and comparing and contrasting the various products already listed on our “best of” list.
To help you out, let’s get started:

Why do you need a charcoal starter?

7 Incredible Charcoal Starters - Light Up Fire with No Hassle

Especially if you’re not the type of person that’s out there looking to be a barbecue or grillmeister, the question as to why you would even need to invest in a charcoal starter is definitely floating around.

However, even if you’re the type that’s wanting to host a barbecue every now and again—even if it’s for your close-knit family, a proper charcoal chimney starter can be the most efficient and easiest way to help you get that grill, fire—and party—started.

So, what is a charcoal starter?

This product is generally designed as a rather big cylinder that has a handle attached to one side of it, which can help with handling. It also has perforations drilled in along the base for heat distribution.

When you delve inside the big cylinder, there will generally be a grate located at the bottom to help you distinguish the charcoal material from the actual fire starter.

Types of charcoal starters to consider

To help you choose the best charcoal starter on the market, you’ll need to consider the various different types.

When you know which starter to choose from, this can help narrow down your choices to make a better, well-informed decision.

What’s the price?

There’s definitely a charcoal starter out there based on your price range. Finding one that fits your budget should be easy enough—even if you’re on a budget!

We even picked out a more affordable charcoal starter, the Weber 7429 Rapid Fire Chimney Starter, which has everything you need but is marked at a low, low price.

Features to consider while buying the best charcoal starter

When investing in this time-saver appliance while trying to get a good fire started, you’ll also want to consider a few finer details in the appliance you weren’t even aware of before.

Whether they can run on newspaper or not, whether they’re featured as full-color flyers, are compatible with other types of paper or can even be used with starter cubes—are all important details you need to know before you get started.

Especially if you have younger children (in your home or in your family) or pets that will be around, you’ll definitely want to consider their safety features. Generally, the charcoal starter is, in itself, a much safer alternative to say, lighter fluid and also won’t have that much of an impact on the taste, it also can be considered as a more affordable alternative to the latter, as well.

Capacity

It’s important to get a charcoal starter that is designed for what you need.

What happens when you invest in something that can’t even get the job done based on capacity?

Depending on the size of your cooker, you’ll want to choose a starter that can hold enough charcoal that your entire cooker is filled. Adding more charcoal to the pile can also be a step in the process you need to be doing, so finding the right capacity for that is also important.

When taking a look at the variously-sized models on the market, you’ll want to choose a starter with a capacity that is congruent with your sized cooker. If you have a more portable cooker that is tailored to the weekend camper or football game tailgater, the smaller-sized starter, like the HOMENOTE Rapid Charcoal Chimney Starter is a great choice to get a small fire started.

Heat resistance on handles

Especially since one of the only ways to use the charcoal starter is through the handle, it also helps when the handle is heat-resistant.

A few other details when talking about this feature would be that the charcoal starter has the handle that has heat-resistant features or a heat shield that can protect your hands from getting burned. Most handles that are made of wood generally are not very protective.

Even though a simple solution to the lack-of this feature would be barbecue mitts, but having this feature included in the project can help eliminate that necessity. However, we would always suggest safety first—protective eyewear and gloves are always a good idea.

Exterior materials

7 Incredible Charcoal Starters - Light Up Fire with No Hassle

Especially since the chimney or barbecue grill gets relatively hot in temperature, the exterior material of the charcoal starter can also play a part in how long it will last and its durability issue.

Even though most of the models listed here don’t come with exterior paint, there are some “dare-to-be-different” models that have specialist high-temperature paints that can stand this type of heat.

The bottom line? Un-painted works best.

Weight

The weight of the charcoal starter doesn’t play much of a role when it comes to functionality—it’s generally just about convenience here.

Although most of the charcoal starters on this guide are between .5 and 5 lbs, lightweight simply means convenience rather than efficiency.

The lightest charcoal starter listed here, the JJGeorge Grill Torch Charcoal Starter weighs only 0.95 lbs (around 15.2 oz.)!

Efficiency

As we mentioned before, efficiency is generally much more important than weight. How well a product works definitely plays a huge part in how well your money is spent!

We would recommend reading reviews and considering the rating we labeled on the products listed here to help you choose the most efficient charcoal starter.

Safety

Even if you don’t have children or pets around, putting safety as a huge importance and priority when it comes to features should be of concern to you.

When it comes to safety, you’re looking for a warranty, guarantee, and proper ventilation. Choosing a starter with a large number of vent holes around the base and on the body of the cylinder can definitely make a difference.

Durability

The material should be high-quality for the starter to last as long as it promises.

Most of the starters here have a 1 to 3-year warranty backed behind the product.

How to use a charcoal chimney starter

Especially if you’ve never owned a charcoal chimney starter before, reading instruction manuals can get tricky.

To help simplify the process, there is a step-by-step starter manual:

  1. First and foremost, remove the cooking grill.
  2. Then, use some newspaper and stuff it in the bottom section. However, you want to make sure that it isn’t wadded too tightly. At the top section, you should place charcoal briquettes.
  3. The chimney should be located at the bottom of the cooker or on another one.
  4. Using the holes, ignite the paper. Depending on the time efficiency, the fire should reach the top and the briquettes. Once it’s reached its target, use the handle to pour the coals carefully to the bottom of your cooker.

If you learn better visually, here’s a video that can help you with the process:

FAQ

To answer a question, you may have about your charcoal starter, there are our FAQs:

Absolutely! Especially if you want to keep the fire going. We would recommend NOT adding unlit briquettes to the fire if it’s already lit, however.

We would definitely recommend adding new charcoal first. If you want to use reused charcoal bits, you can place it at the top since it will light up quickly and then transfer that heat to the new pieces at the bottom.

If you want to reduce heat, you can spray water lightly—which won’t threaten the liveliness of it. Pouring water will most likely douse the fire out.

Our Verdict

If you’ve skipped over it all, here is a summary of our verdict of the three best charcoal starters on the market:

The BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity is our Editor’s Choice of the best charcoal started. Weighing at a light 2.4 lb, you can easily maneuver this guy wherever you may need to get the party started. It’s also backed by a 1-year warranty, has a heat-resistant handle and is designed with thick gauge galvanized steel for durability.

The HomeRight Electro-Torch C900085 is our Runner Up and Best Torch Charcoal Starter. Able to reach an air temperature of 1,500°C and backed by a 2-year limited warranty, this 2 lbs mechanism also has a range of features that set it over the top, like a dual ignition switch, thermal protection, built-in blower, and a 6 ft long power cord.

The Weber 7429 Rapid Fire Chimney Starter is our Budget Pick if you’re looking for power and prestige at a low price. Designed with aluminized steel, this heavier set starter (4.2 lb) is backed by a 2-year limited and puts safety as a priority with a heat shield, heat-resistant handle, and a two-handle design.

We hope that this guide has helped you pick out the best charcoal chimney starter on the market and for your budget.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest