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Best Cooking Torches

Updated June 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 53 Models Considered
  • 10 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 142 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best cooking torches

    Last Updated June 2018

    The cooking torch: no other culinary tool lends itself so well to fantasies of competing on Top Chef while also combining the intricacies of kitchen chemistry with the fun of turning out scrumptious desserts for family and friends.

    It’s a tool that is unfamiliar to most cooks, however, and choosing a cooking torch can feel somewhat like solving a mystery.

    How do you know which type is best for your needs?

    With different brands of cooking torches available, which features should you look for?

    And if you’ve never used – maybe never even heard of – a cooking torch before, what can it do for you?

    Your cooking torch is useful outside the kitchen as well. You can use it for soldering, woodworking, leather crafting, wax working, and jewelry repairs.

    At BestReviews, we’re here to answer your questions so you can find the best torch for your kitchen.

    We don’t accept free products or advertising gimmicks as we gather our information about products. Instead, we pore through research, gather input from owners, and talk to experts in the field.

    If you just want to buy a cooking torch and get blazing, go ahead and choose one of the products in our matrix above.

    If you’d like to learn more about cooking torches in general, including why you’d want one, how to choose the best one, and how to use it once you have it, read on.

    EXPERT TIP

    While using your torch, keep your hand moving in slow, even, side-to-side motions. Focusing the flame on one spot will burn your food.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Cooking torch 101

    What is a cooking torch, and why would you want to use one?

    If you’re puzzling over how a torch is used in a kitchen, take heart; a cooking torch – also called a culinary torch or kitchen torch – isn’t the flamethrower the word brings to mind. Rather, a cooking torch is a handheld device that uses butane (a highly flammable gas) to create a small, focused, very hot flame.

    The most notable use of a cooking torch is the preparation of crème brulee, but it’s useful for quite a few tasks beyond the crunchy-on-top, creamy-underneath dessert. In fact, your culinary torch could come in handy in a wide range of situations where you want to melt, sear, caramelize, or toast ingredients without cooking or heating the entire dish. You could use a cooking torch to do any of the following.

    • Sear a delicious crust onto your steak without overcooking the rest of the meat

    • Melt cheese for nachos, sandwiches, or anywhere else you want a hot topping

    • Caramelize sugar on cookies and cakes

    • Toast breadcrumbs or turn bread chunks into croutons

    • Roast the outer skin of tomatoes, peppers, or squash

    • Brown meringue for pie, tarts, or baked Alaska

    • Melt marshmallows for s’mores or other desserts

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Cooking torches aren’t only for crème brulee; you can also sear meat, melt cheese, caramelize sugar, and roast vegetables with this handy kitchen tool.

    Cooking torch types

    While their function is the same, you’ll find two basic types of cooking torches: those that have a built-in fuel tank and those that screw onto the top of a disposable fuel tank. Both have their pros and cons, although in general, the screw-on torch-head devices are more powerful and have longer run times.

    Torch-head cooking torches

    Torch-head cooking torches screw directly on to a butane tank as opposed to having a handle that encloses a small, refillable fuel tank.

    Pros:

    • No need to refill the propane tank; replace when empty

    • Larger gas tank means longer period of use without running out of fuel
       

    Cons:

    • No real handle – you grasp the fuel tank, which can be bulky

    • Larger size may be intimidating/difficult to work with

    • Need for replacement canisters

    Although your cooking torch flame might be yellow for a few seconds at startup, it’s ready to go when the flame is short, narrow, and blue. Avoid “torch taste” on your food by only using the torch when the flame is pure blue. If it’s yellow, the fuel is not being entirely oxidized and may affect the taste of your food.

    Staff
    BestReviews

    Cooking torches with built-in fuel tanks

    Cooking torches with built-in fuel tanks are an all-in-one design. The head attaches right to the base, which encloses the inner fuel tank.

    Pros:

    • No need for separate butane canisters or worry if the canister fits or not

    • Generally smaller and less intimidating than torch-head models
       

    Cons:

    • Need butane on hand for refilling the torch

    • Potential for spillage or overflow when filling the tank

    • Fuel may evaporate (a small amount) during the filling process

    • Frequent refueling required

    CAUTION

    Never use your cooking torch near anything flammable, and wear clothing that won’t get in the way of the flame.

    Cooking torch prices

    You don’t have to spend a lot to get a good cooking torch.

    Inexpensive

    For $15 to $20, you can get an adequate torch with a fairly small fuel tank. If you only plan on using the torch for the occasional crème brulee or similar desserts, this should suffice.

    Store your cooking torch upright and away from any sources of heat or flame.

    Staff
    BestReviews

    Mid-range

    The $20 to $30 range is the sweet spot for most buyers. For this price, you can get a cooking torch with a good-size fuel tank and most of the desirable features.

    High-end

    For $30 and up, you can get a professional-quality cooking torch with a large fuel tank. If you use a cooking torch extensively, or if you simply prefer the best, consider models in this price range.

    EXPERT TIP

    Use your cooking torch to give meat a sear on the outside before finishing it off in the oven. This will add a delicious, slightly crisp crust to your steak.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Tips for choosing the best cooking torch

    There are a few features that elevate the best culinary torches above the rest of the pack. Here are some to look for:

    • Just about every cooking torch has an anti-flare neck, meaning the neck is designed so you can use the torch from any angle without the flame flaring back onto your fingers. Don’t even consider a torch without this feature.

    • Your cooking torch should reach a minimum temperature of 2,000°F – although most get much hotter – and it should heat up almost immediately.

    • A gas flow adjustment lever is a must. This feature lets you adjust the size of the flame to suit your needs.

    • You don’t want to run out of gas during a kitchen session, so look for a cooking torch with a fuel gauge.

    • A safety lock keeps your cooking torch from firing up if an inquisitive child gets ahold of it.

    • Your hand might get tired during a lengthy torching session, so the cooking torch you choose should be reasonably light and comfortable to hold. It should also have a stand so you can set it down easily.

    • Some cooking torches run up to an hour before needing to refuel. If you’ll be using your torch for lengthy cooking sessions, look for one with a long burn time.

    • The best cooking torches are easy to use. There should not be a steep learning curve, and you shouldn’t have to master any tricky maneuvers to use one.

    Once you really have a feel for your kitchen torch, you’ll likely be inspired to hunt down more recipes that put it to good use.

    FAQ

    Q. Do I have to keep my finger pressed down on the trigger the whole time I’m using a cooking torch?

    A. It depends on the torch. With some less-expensive models, yes, you’ll need to hold your finger on the trigger to keep the flame coming. With others, there’s a lock that keeps the flame on even if you set the torch down. If you plan to use the torch for lengthy sessions or on a regular basis, it’s worth spending a bit more for a torch with an “on” button.

    Q. Do I have to buy special fuel to refill my cooking torch?

    A. The majority of cooking torches use butane as fuel, although some run on propane. Generally, you do not need any special butane to refill your torch, but a few brands do require their own specific refill canisters. Before choosing a torch-head-style cooking torch, determine what replacement fuel canisters it uses.

    Q. Are cooking torches safe?

    A. While any device that emits flames can be dangerous, if you follow basic safety precautions and remain alert, it’s quite safe to use a cooking torch. Of course, you should never use the torch near flammable items, nor should you leave it unattended while switched on. And don’t let children handle the cooking torch, even if it’s turned off.

    Q. Do I need to light a cooking torch with a match or outside flame?

    A. Almost all culinary torches have piezoelectric ignition, which is the same type of automatic lighter found in gas grills or stovetops. Generally, you just press the ignition button to fire up your cooking torch.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bob
      Bob
      Writer
    • Chris
      Chris
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Michelle
      Michelle
      Writer