Why do you need a charcoal starter?
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.
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.
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.
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.)!
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.
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.
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:
- First and foremost, remove the cooking grill.
- 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.
- The chimney should be located at the bottom of the cooker or on another one.
- 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: