If you are looking for the best culinary torch, then no doubt you’ve realized that modernist or haute cuisine isn’t just for the professionals any more. From kitchen torches, to sous vide setups, to whipping siphons, it’s now obvious that the average home cook can handle the culinary feats that used to come shrouded in awe and mystery.
Having these technologies at our fingertips does not make them any less wonderful, however. That’s why I’m going to talk about why the best butane torch deserves a place in your kitchen.
I’ve reviewed five best-selling torches to find out which one works best for the average home cook like myself.
Here’s a quick look at the results, but let’s read on to find out why you should buy one and what you should be looking for.
|Name ||Approx Price||Adjust-able||Flame Length||Max. Temp||Weight|
|Liba Kitchen Torch||$||x||5”||2730°||8 oz|
|Blazer GT8000 Big Shot Butane Torch (Editor's Choice)||$$||x||8.5"||2500°||12 oz|
|Kochin Culinary Torch||$$$||x||8.5"||2730°||14.7 oz|
|Iwatani CB-TC-PRO2 (Editor's Choice)||$||x||7"||2700°||10.7 oz|
|EurKitchen Kitchen Torch||$||x||6"||2370°||8 oz|
Reviews for Best Culinary Torch 2019
I found five highly-rated butane torches being sold on the market and tested them out on creme brulees and searing meat. All got the job done with the necessary caramelization and/or browning results, but what I found was truly important was ease of use and features and strength of the flame.
All the torches varies in these realms, so let’s look closer at what I found…
|Product Name||Approx Price|
|Jo Chef Kitchen Torch||$||Check Price|
|BLAZER GT8000 BIG SHOT BUTANE TORCH|
|KOCHIN CULINARY TORCH||$$$||Check Price|
|EURKITCHEN KITCHEN TORCH||$||Check Price|
My first impression of the Jo-Chef torch was that with it’s lightweight and hefty price tag, it would be easy to operate overall, but I didn’t exactly turn out to be right. While it does sit nicely in the hand, the buttons are awkwardly situated so itfeels weird turning it on/off while having to turn up the flame adjustment.
But I’m getting ahead of myself: before turning it on, I had to fill it with butane, which proved to be a pain! Almost inevitably the fuel leaked (which is like watching money leak away); my guess is that the filling hole should have been made bigger. It also seemed like the fuel canister is not airtight as some evaporation seemed to occur when not in use.
Once you can figure out how to ignite the torch (which isn’t especially intuitive on this torch), you have to deal with a very temperamental flame! There really only seem to be high and low settings, and because the flame is sometimes flickery and on the wider side, it is not suitable for precision tasks.
To top it all off, it’s wobbly when in the stand. You would think that in charging $50 for this unit production would at least be able to fix a problem of fitting plastic to a base.Maybe I’d recommend it if this torch were less than half the price, otherwise, steer clear!
BLAZER GT8000 BIG SHOT BUTANE TORCH (Editor’s Choice)
The Blazer GT8000 immediately struck me as a sturdy piece of work. The flame nozzle is long and has a larger fuel capacity than many others in its price range, which I like because it means fewer filling sessions and longer flame duration. The butane comes separately, and this torch seems easier to fill than many of the others.
While there is a safety feature to prevent the Blazer from lighting up accidentally, this is the only torch I tested that requires a specific action to turn the flame off. This can be extremely useful if you need the torch to stay lit while you use both hands on your cooking project, but I would say it’s not advisable if you’re clumsy or have children or pets running around that could knock the lit torch off the counter.
The flame itself is quite thin, which means it’s more sensitive to some sort of wind, but apart from that it’s quite durable and smoothly adjustable up to 8.5 inches.
For its power and fuel capacity, it’s a relatively lightweight torch, although I think I’d like an added component to make it more grippable. All in all though, it’s a great torch and well worth the buy.
The best thing about the Kochin culinary torch is that it really packs a punch and has a strong, solidly-burning flame. Does it really reach 8.5 inches? I’m not sure…the Blazer seems to be longer and claims to have the same reach.
Nonetheless, it offers a slightly wider flame than the Blazer and I’d say an ideal width in general for cooking applications. A finer flame might be more relevant for jewelry making and the like.
Another feature it shares with the Blazer is that it will stay lit without me having to hold down a trigger or button, and I really like that option so that I can set it in its stand (it locks in well) and hold a creme brulee dish, for example, up to the flame while turning it.
The face that this torch weighs nearly a pound is another reason why I prefer to be able to set it down!
The main downside of the Kochin has to do with fuel issues. For one, the flame adjustment knob is set counterclockwise. Additionally, the fuel indicator window doesn’t reach the top, so the only way to know when it’s full is when there is some overflow. And there always seems to be overflow!
Other than those issues, I do like the torch, but think I prefer the Blazer with its similar features, lighter weight, and better fuel components.
IWATANI CB-TC-PRO2 (Editor’s Choice)
I could immediately tell that the Iwatani was different because it comes in a different format than most of the other home culinary torches on the market.
Unlike having a fuel tank that needs to be filled (which I find to be a tedious process that leads to overfilling and often dissipation even when not in use), a butane tank screws in directly to this torch. This means less hassle and less fuel dissipation…which means more efficiency, one of my favorite things! Even though I have to buy a specialized fuel tank, they are relatively easy to find, so I don’t think this is a problem. No matter what the torch, I still have to buy additional butane.
On top of that, it simply feels well-made and industrial. I could easily imagine this being used in a commercial kitchen. This torch was easy to light and the 7-inch flame is quite strong! No matter which angle I held the torch at, the flame stayed strong. So strong, in fact, that the one downside was that I found it difficult to adjust the flame to lower settings. But because this seems like such a high-quality product, I’m happy to simply hold the torch farther back to achieve a “lower” flame setting.
I would highly recommend this torch!
The EurKitchen immediately struck me with its light weight, similar to the Liba, which is something I don’t necessarily think is a good thing in a hand-held torch.
Personally, I don’t mind a little extra weight going into a product that is going to be wielding fire, but maybe that’s just me. I also noticed that the flame nozzle itself seemed quite short, but I suppose they saves money on that metal and decided instead to spend less on a plastic handguard that covers one’s grip on the fuel tank. This is a nice feature, but I think I’d just prefer a longer nozzle.
The flame itself was easily adjustable and the whole apparatus was quite intuitive to light. Ergonomically speaking, I liked how easy it was to hold, and since I don’t feel especially secure setting it down in the small, non-detachable stand, it looks like holding it is what I’ll be doing!
Going along with that lightness, though, is this feeling I have that it’s a bit too flimsy for my liking. Maybe if I weren’t dealing with indoor flames that would be okay, but I’d prefer to pay more for something that seems sturdier. On top of that, the flame flickers often, summing this torch up for me as not worth the buy.
In the past decade, the range of cooking techniques available to everyday home cooks has exploded. Reaching towards the artisan in terms of food preparation, taste, and design, these tools have helped those who love cooking and do not have access to a restaurant kitchen prepare their favorite meals. In particular, the kitchen torch is an exciting tool that provides a great deal of versatility in food preparation. Let’s take a moment to review what the kitchen torch is, what it can do for your cooking, and what you should consider when owning and operating this excellent piece of kitchen hardware.
What Is A Blow Torch?
Also known as a cooking torch, or blow torch, the kitchen torch is a small, handheld blow torch that is capable of creating a localized, sustained flame. The benefit of the cooking torch is that it heats and quickly cooks whatever you are pointing it at. For example, if you need to say, melt cheese over a finished dish or caramelize vegetables, then the kitchen torch can help you get this done quickly and effectively. The alternative typically requires more time. In addition, it may require an oil to help crisp.
Where Can I Get A Kitchen Torch?
A blow torch for kitchen use can be purchased online, as well as many cooking specific brick-n-mortar stores. The kitchen torch will be designed for ease of use and easy holding. Most models are designed to fit into the palm of your hand, weighing around 12 ounces. Restaurant models can be even bigger, designed for repeated use and as a result are far sturdier. Expect them to be far more expensive as well. Creme brulee torches will typically come with a safety latch that must first be disarmed prior to use. The average price of a cooking torch can range from $40-$60. More expensive models can cost upwards of a hundred dollars.
Things To Consider: Getting Gas
A lot of kitchen torches will run on butane. You should be aware that many states and countries have shipping restrictions on explosives. While you will be able to order a blow torch online, you will have to buy the fuel locally. The fuel canister should come with the product empty. Be sure you find a provider as it will be difficult to repeatedly use the kitchen torch without a refill location. In addition, be sure to read what kind of fuel the torch uses before purchase, as it may use something other than butane and be more of a challenge to find. The fuel attaches to the back end of the torch, and is typically screw on, screw off.
While the kitchen torch typically comes with a safety, it can still be damaged if not handled appropriately. Be aware that the heat from a cooking torch is far lower than an industrial blow torch. That being said, it can still cause a lot of damage. First, second, and third degree burns are most common. Be aware of where you are aiming and what you are wearing during use. Keep the nozzle clean and only clean when the safety is on the blow torch.
Should I Get A Kitchen Torch?
Issues of safety aside, the cooking torch can be an incredibly fun and versatile cooking tool that helps you to prepare an even wider array of dishes with unique textures and consistencies. A must for those who love to play with the creation of their food, a kitchen torch is a great idea if you love being adventurous in the kitchen.
Blow Torch Reviews
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A lot of people seem to be intimidated by the idea of a kitchen torch—it shoots fire, for goodness sake! These days, however, the process has been tamed to a very high level of safety and manageability, so there’s really nothing to be afraid of once you get the hang of it.
Once you find a torch that suits your needs, the general usage process tends to be similar across the board. Simply attach a butane fuel tank or fill its built-in canister with fuel, unlock the safety mechanism, point the torch away from you and the food source, and ignite the fuel as directed on the lowest setting before turning up the flame.
Plus, consider all the benefits of having the best culinary torch:
Culinary Torch Advantages
- Increased Recipe RepertoireA culinary torch makes it very easy to brown or caramelize recipes without needing a broiler. Here are just a few:
- Creme brulee
- Quick-roasted peppers
- Indoor s’mores
- Fast searing and browning, especially for sous-vide options
- Dry meat/fish surfaces
- Other caramelized desserts
- Fire SafetySince most torches are easily hand-held and have safety features and controlled flames, it’s much easier to deal with recipes requiring this type of high heat.
- Speed and EfficiencyThe butane component of a kitchen torch ensures very high heat almost immediately
- InexpensiveThere are very few ways to achieve the benefits of a kitchen torch without owning the specific tool, so it helps that there is such a variety that are buyable for less than fifty bucks!
- Small SizeBeing handheld and lightweight, torches are user-friendly and easy to find space for in the kitchen
- Additional UsesMany kitchen torches can also be used for soldering on maintenance and jewelry projects
That all being said, there are some issues that can be common across this fiery utensil. Some are unavoidable, and some are built-in hazards, so always be mindful when making your purchase.
Culinary Torch Disadvantages
- Extra Cost of FuelFor handheld fire, you of course need some type of fuel. This is an unavoidable pitfall of the culinary torch: you’ll always have to purchase fuel on top of the base price of the torch itself
- Safety HazardsAny time we deal with fire, we of course must be extra careful. I recommend protective eyewear until you really feel comfortable with your torch. While most come with a safety lock, it’s still important to keep this out of reach of children and always use extra precaution.
- Small SizeI mentioned this as an advantage, but the fact is that it can be a disadvantage too. The smaller size means that it will require more fuel re-fills, which leads to more waste during ignition and possible leaks when filling (if it’s a refillable model)
What to Look for in the Best Culinary Torch
Now that I’ve shared what I consider to be a culinary torch advantages and disadvantages, I’ll say that I definitely think it’s a worthwhile purchase! There is simply no other tool that can give you the effects of a butane torch.
Since you’re thinking about buying the best butane torch, let’s talk about some key features you should look for:
- Minimum heat of 2500°This is a standard recommendation if you want fully-realized benefits of a kitchen torch
- Safety Locking MechanismSome safety mechanisms ensure that the flame will only start with a certain process, and some ensure that the flame will stop if a certain trigger or button is not being pressed (which can also be a disadvantage depending on what’s being cooked).
- Steady FlameHaving a well-sized fuel canister will ensure the flame isn’t frequently sputtering out, while simply a well-made torch should have a steady flame.
- Ideal Flame ReachThis will vary from person to person depending on what you plan on cooking, but I find starting off with a large range of lengths is ideal.
- Flame AdjustmentIt’s so commonplace for kitchen torches to have adjustable flames these days that it seems silly not to purchase on with adjustable capabilities.
- Screw-in Fuel TankThis is a great feature that enables you to avoid pouring fuel into a secondary canister and thus risk dissipation or spilling.
- Fuel WindowThis is not an especially common feature of torches (especially screw-in tank options), but it’s nice not to be surprised by an empty canister
- Base/Stand to Rest Torch UponBeing able to rest the torch easily and safely is a huge benefit, especially if you’re working on a project with lots of starts and stops.
- Ergonomic HandleYou may have to hold the flame for extended periods of time or at a variety of angles, so it’s important that the size and weight is right for your hand
How to Refill a Butane Blowtorch
Flip the blowtorch upside down, base or handle bottom facing up, to access the butane refilling valve.
Hold down the valve with a small screwdriver, or anything small enough to fit will do the job for about 15 seconds. This releases the gas buildup within the valve.
Place the nozzle from the butane refill into the valve on the lighter while the lighter valve faces up. Apply firm, gentle pressure to the can to release butane into the lighter. The lighter will make a slight hissing noise as it receives butane. If butane escapes, remove the nozzle from the valve and reseat it so it does not leak.
Pull the butane refill can away from the lighter once the lighter is approximately 80 percent full. Look for a viewing window on your lighter to determine how much fuel is inside; if it does not have one, remove the refill can once you think the lighter is full or when it sprays butane out of the valve, indicating the lighter is full.
Wait 10 minutes after refilling the creme brulee torch before using it.
Turn the lighter’s flame setting to the lowest level, or in the direction of the minus sign. Slowly turn the dial back in the positive direction to adjust the flame while using the lighter.
Conclusion: The Best Culinary Torch Winner
I knew very quickly after turning it on that the Iwatani was destined to come in as what I felt was the best culinary torch.
It’s easy to tell that it’s a quality-made product, and even though it doesn’t have two features that I really would like for a best butane torch (fuel window and hands-free use), the larger overall fuel capacity and strong, steady flame ensured that I didn’t miss the features too much.
The Blazer GT8000 came in at a close second, and I would suggest spending the extra money on it if you specifically foresee yourself needing a hands free torch.
I hope I’ve helped you to find the best culinary torch for you, now go get burning!
- 1 Reviews for Best Culinary Torch 2019
- 2 JO CHEF TORCH
- 3 BLAZER GT8000 BIG SHOT BUTANE TORCH (Editor’s Choice)
- 4 KOCHIN CULINARY TORCH
- 5 IWATANI CB-TC-PRO2 (Editor’s Choice)
- 6 EURKITCHEN KITCHEN TORCH
- 7 Buyer’s Guide
- 7.1 What Is A Blow Torch?
- 7.2 Where Can I Get A Kitchen Torch?
- 7.3 Things To Consider: Getting Gas
- 7.4 Safety
- 7.5 Should I Get A Kitchen Torch?
- 7.6 Blow Torch Reviews
- 7.7 Culinary Torch Advantages
- 7.8 Culinary Torch Disadvantages
- 7.9 What to Look for in the Best Culinary Torch
- 7.10 How to Refill a Butane Blowtorch
- 7.11 FAQ
- 8 Conclusion: The Best Culinary Torch Winner