The top kitchen torches
When you want to add that artisan flair to your food, many individuals turn to a cooking torch. The right model can put the finishing touches on a sous vide dish and caramelize a crème brûlée. However, if you’ve never used a cooking torch, you might not be sure which features a quality model should have.
We like the Iwatani PRO2 Culinary Butane Torch for its convenience. This unit quickly attaches to a butane canister for easy use. Before you buy, it’s best to understand what features you’ll need and what your budget is.
What to know before you buy a kitchen torch
What is a cooking torch?
A cooking torch– or kitchen torch– is a small, handheld torch that burns at incredibly high temperatures. While most home cooking torches are fueled by butane, some professional chefs use propane models because propane burns roughly 1,000 degrees hotter than butane. A cooking torch is used to accomplish several specialized cooking techniques, such as caramelizing the top of a crème brûlée.
Uses for a cooking torch
Besides crème brûlée, the aspiring chef can use a cooking torch on various foods. One of the most popular uses is quickly searing steaks without overcooking the meat. Once you feel comfortable using a cooking torch, you can melt cheese on anything, crisp the top of oatmeal, roast the outer skin of vegetables, brown meringue and much more.
Types of kitchen torches
The two main types of cooking torches are torch-head cooking torches and cooking torches with built-in fuel tanks.
Torch-head cooking torches: This type of cooking torch has a nozzle that fastens to the top of a butane tank. It is convenient, easy to use and doesn’t require the hassle of refilling. It can, however, be a little more awkward to handle because it is not ergonomically designed – you simply hold it by the fuel tank.
Cooking torches with built-in fuel tanks: While this type of cooking torch tends to be more expensive, it is also much more comfortable to hold and manipulate. This type of model often has a few additional safety features as well.
What to look for in a quality cooking torch
The best cooking torch will feature a push-start piezo ignition, like a backyard grill, to quickly spark the flame.
There are several safety features you will want your cooking torch to have.
Stable base: When you set your torch down, you do not want it to fall over. A damaged torch can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, the best cooking torches have large, stable bases.
Safety lock: While the feature that keeps the fuel locked in the “off” position may frustrate adults, it keeps curious children from accidentally igniting the cooking torch.
Anti-flare neck: This is essential. An anti-flare neck limits the chances of burn injuries by limiting flame flare-ups.
Heat shield: This small shield is found on a few new models. Its purpose is to help shield the user’s hand from the heat of the flame. While it is desirable, it is not essential.
Just like your vehicle, a cooking torch consumes fuel. Since you do not want any surprises while creating that culinary masterpiece, a fuel gauge lets you know how much fuel you have available at all times, so you never run out.
How much you can expect to spend on a cooking torch
While you can get a cooking torch for less, it’s best to look in the $15-$30 range for a combination of affordability and desirability. A professional-quality model can cost as much as $50.
Cooking torch FAQ
Is a cooking torch only for cooking?
A. No. There are several other uses for a cooking torch. As long as you have been adequately trained, you can use a cooking torch for certain home repairs, craft projects, camping trips and more.
Are cooking torches safe?
A. Any time you’re using a device that emits a flame, there is an element of risk involved. You can significantly reduce the risk of injury by following necessary safety procedures. Whenever you’re using a cooking torch, you must remain alert and be aware of what you are doing at all times.
- Never turn a cooking torch on and leave it unattended.
- Never use a cooking torch near any flammable items.
- Never let children handle a cooking torch.
It is essential to keep a fire extinguisher rated for kitchen use on hand in case of emergencies.
The best torches for the kitchen
Top cooking torch
What you need to know: This convenient culinary device gives the aspiring chef a simple way to perform various food torching tasks.
What you’ll love: This option is a pistol-style nozzle that attaches directly to a butane fuel canister. There is no fussing with refilling. When it’s empty, just replace the fuel canister and you’re ready to go.
What you should consider: There are some critical bits of information in the instructions; do not skip reading them.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
Top cooking torch for the money
What you need to know: If you’re on a budget but would still like a feature-packed cooking torch, this model is the one you should consider.
What you’ll love: This affordable cooking torch has both a safety lock and a large, sturdy base. It features a push-button start and is available either with or without an easy-to-read fuel gauge.
What you should consider: While individuals appreciate the safety lock, a few found it difficult to operate.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This reasonably priced model is best for individuals who want a reliable cooking torch that features a fun design.
What you’ll love: The gas capacity of this cooking torch is significantly larger than other comparably priced models. It features both a child safety lock and a heat guard to protect your hand from the heat. The conveniently placed flame control is easy to operate.
What you should consider: Some individuals experienced difficulty when trying to light this model.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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