11 Best Charcoal Starter Reviews

Best Charcoal Starter Reviews

There are plenty of ways to start up your grill. Each method has its pros and cons, from chimneys to electric starters to torches to pine shavings in a cup. 

What most of these lighting methods have in common is that they let you avoid the foul-tasting chemicals of lighter fluid. Some are more ingenious than others, but all have proven track records and get your coals going in a matter of minutes

They say that the simplest designs are the most effective, and this is true for charcoal starters. In our opinion, the best charcoal starter needs a large capacity for a lot of coals and has to get them lit and ashed-over in under 30 minutes. 

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An absolute classic, the Weber 7429 is an aluminized steel cylinder with an effective cone-shaped chamber that lights your charcoal within 15 to 20 minutes. With no need for lighter fluid, your food will taste better, and your health will benefit as well.

This charcoal starter can hold up to 90 briquettes and is the perfect accompaniment to a long grill session for a gathering or party. Durable construction and ergonomic design make the Weber 7429 Rapidfire Chimney Starter an efficient and simple charcoal starter.

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One of the best-built chimney starters on the market, Rapidfire 7429 comes from Weber and can get up to 90 briquettes piping hot in no time. 

This chimney starter includes Weber’s telltale cone-shaped chamber to promote effective airflow throughout the briquettes, ensuring a better burn. In about 20 minutes, your charcoal briquettes will be ashed over, telling you it’s the perfect time to spread them out and start grilling.

Made from aluminized steel, one of the strongest assets of the Weber 7429 is that it decreases the need to use lighter fluid to ignite your briquettes. Petrochemical taste from soaked charcoal briquettes can add a nasty taste to your food or, even worse, pose a health risk.

Who Should Get This? 

If you want to grill without having to douse your charcoal in lighter fluid or potentially hazardous lighting methods, the Weber 7429 is a durable, spacious chimney.

Pros

Cons

If you’re looking for affordability and a spacious chamber, the GrillPro 39470 is the best charcoal grill starter that helps you light plenty of charcoal for long sessions. If you like barbecuing and want a quick and easy way to get a lot of coals going at once, the GrillPro has a chamber that can hold up to two pounds of charcoal

At such a reasonable price and durable construction, the only real fault with this charcoal chimney starter is that the handle gets really hot. To avoid severe burns, you have to wear a protective glove or mitt when handling it.

You’ll never put bad-tasting chemicals on your charcoal again, saving you the adverse effects that using lighter fluid on your food may bring. This is a reasonably priced starter that won’t let you down and can handle a lot of coals. 

Who Should Get This? 

If you usually like to grill in large batches, this economical chimney starter can hold a lot of briquettes and get them going quickly.

Pros

Cons

If you want a device that can do double- or triple-duty for you, the Venyn Hibachi Burner is a perfect choice. Many people opt for this product if they grill outdoors, camp, or use a hookah.

Put a couple of charcoal briquettes in the chamber and press on. In three to five minutes, the coals will be piping hot. You can then scatter them on your grill base or use the surface to heat your beverage. For those who enjoy a hookah, the charcoal is perfect for this as well. 

The convenient handle detaches to form a set of tongs, perfect for moving hot coals where you want them to go. 

Who Should Get This? 

Campers, hookah-smokers, and grillers can all use this handy plug-in gadget to heat up a minimal amount of coals in a short amount of time.

Pros

Cons

If you grill a variety of items, from whole birds to pineapple and everything in-between, the versatility offered by the Weber Char-Baskets is unsurpassed. By splitting your briquettes into two containers, you control the heat within to suit your menu, with outstanding results. 

These baskets also make lighting and keeping coals lit easy and effortless. The smaller size of the containers adds up to better airflow. Once you put your incendiary or newspaper in the chamber below, you pile on briquettes, and you’re done.

For foods that benefit from high heat, like vegetables or steaks, keep the two baskets together in the middle of your grill. For those that benefit from indirect heat, like whole roast chickens or broiled fish, you can move the char-baskets to either side of the grill.

Who Should Get This? 

If you cook many foods to satisfy a range of palates, the Weber Char-Baskets let you utilize direct and indirect cooking methods.

Pros

Cons

These pods each come in a small cup, like a pastry cup. Since they’re made from pine shavings and beeswax, they look almost like a beaver’s dessert. The 30 pods come in a watertight resealable bag, so you don’t need to worry if you leave your bag of Light-A-Fire pods out by your grill.

Using petrochemical-types of grill starters makes your food taste funny and can be bad for your health. The smoke that envelops your food should be all-natural, and the pine-and-beeswax recipe of these pods makes your food taste great. 

Each pod burns for at least 15 minutes, which is ample time for your coals to start burning. The wax helps prolong burning time, and you can use multiple pods for longer grilling sessions. They’re great for campers because they’re easy to pack.

Who Should Get This? 

If you are sensitive to any chemicals around your food, these pine shavings, and beeswax concoctions are a perfect tool to start your charcoal.

Pros

Cons

Designed by one of the premier charcoal companies, Kingsford Quick Start Chimney is an easy, mess-free way to get your coals going for your grill. Lighting access holes on the chimney starter gives you plenty of access to light your kindling. 

The chimney is made from zinc steel that is rust-resistant so this chimney starter will last for many grilling seasons. With a 7” diameter chimney, this is the perfect-sized chimney to start coals for a small- to medium-sized grill. 

Kingsford’s quickly lighting chimney starter also includes a heat-shield and stay-cool handle with an ergonomic grip so you are comfortable as you can be when getting your grill fired up.

A reliable chimney starter that will ignite your coals within 15 minutes, the Kingsford Quick Start Chimney is one of the best options for getting your grill started fast.

Who Should Get This? 

If you have a small- to medium-sized grill and rely on Kingsford charcoal, this chimney starter is comfortable to use and effective.

Pros

Cons

Made from environmentally friendly wood and wax, these firestarting squares are portable and convenient and will even light when wet. They’re perfect for your grill or camping fires. 

Just light one or two squares, and they will burn for 8 to 10 minutes, igniting your charcoal until they’re grayed-over and ready to cook. With 160 squares in each pack, these are economical and a fast way to get grilling without a lot of hassle.

These squares emit 80% less greenhouse gas, so they’re greener than other methods such as lighter fluid. This starting method won’t flavor your foods with a petrochemical taste.

You can arrange the firestarters in whatever pattern you think works best and use as many or as few charcoal briquettes as you need for perfect grilling sessions

Who Should Get This? 

If you light a lot of different fires, including a grill, you can use these green, easy fire-starting squares to get your coals blazing.

Pros

Cons

For the ultimate in convenience, Kamado Joe’s Fire Starters are a safe and easy way to get your charcoal going. These squares can burn at very high temperatures, and you can get your coals going, rain or shine. These are the best charcoal fire starters and will burn for 1300° for 8 to 10 minutes, ample time to get all of your charcoal grayed-over.

These fire starters are made from paraffin wax and have no oils or chemicals added. This method of starting your charcoal won’t leave any adverse taste or aftertaste on your food. 

They are large enough to use only one for a regular-sized grill, and if you are planning for a longer grill session, just pop another fire starter into your grill and all of the coals will be blazing in no time.

Who Should Get This? 

If you want a reliable way to start coals, wherever you are, count on the high-temp Joe Kamado Fire Starters to burn clean with no flavor.

Pros

Cons

The Char-Broil Electric Charcoal Starter is the easiest way to light your coals without a lighter or lighter fluid. You can light a whole pile of coals as this device warms up quickly, putting out 550 watts on 120 volts of electricity.

Although you need an electrical outlet to get this working, it is a reliable and easy way to get your coals going fast so you can be grilling in no time. There is a heat-resistant handle, so you won’t burn your hands when maneuvering.

There’s also a bracket in between the lighting element and the handle you can use as a stand or to attach the Char-Broil Electric Starter to the edge of your grill. This electric charcoal starter gets your coals grayed-over without any lighter fluid or chemical additions, resulting in the cleanest-tasting grilled food.

Who Should Get This? 

If you want no chance of chemical taste on your food, the Char-Broil Electric Starter is a quick and easy way to start your coals using electricity.

Pros

Cons

This is an ingenious way to ignite your coals without any chemical additives that can taint your food. Many consider this to be the fastest, most effective, and safest way to light your charcoal

Using patented hot airstream technology, this 18” tool ignites your coals in a blink of an eye. It’s extraordinary how fast this gets your coals going. Ejecting a stream of superheated air – 1,256°F – the Looftlighter broils your coals instantly

To use this electric charcoal starter, simply touch the tip of the Looftlighter to the coals (or kindling if you’re making a fire); after a few seconds, sparks will appear. At that point, pull back the Looftlighter so that it is a few inches away from your target and keep it there for a few moments. You’ll soon have a roaring fire

Who Should Get This? 

If you like the latest gadgets and want the next generation of charcoal grill starters, the Looftlighter can start coals within minutes using superheated air.

Pros

Cons

A compact version of one of the best charcoal chimney starters on the market, this model is a small, transportable, and dependable way to start your grill. If you enjoy camping or often find yourself grilling away from home, the 7447 is an ideal way to bring the convenience of a chimney anywhere you go.

If you’re only cooking for two to four people, you don’t have to use as many coals to grill your food. This saves resources and helps reduce waste. Much like full-sized chimneys, this one gets your charcoal grayed-over within 15 to 20 minutes

At the lowest price of all the grill starters, if you need a dependable charcoal starter that doesn’t take up a lot of room or produce a lot of waste, the Weber 7447 is the ideal choice. 

Who Should Get This? 

For tailgaters, campers, or other adventuring grillers who need a transportable starter, this compact chimney starter is dependable, durable, efficient, and has the lowest price.

Pros

Cons

Best Charcoal Starter Overall

To avoid the taste of lighter fluid, charcoal starters use ingenious ways to get your coals going. 

The most classic method out there is the chimney starter, and the Weber 7429 Rapidfire Chimney Starter is a premium example. With a cone-shaped compartment, up to 90 briquettes can start in 15 to 20 minutes

Whether you prefer the simplistic design of a charcoal chimney or high-tech hot air technology, you want your charcoals started quickly, cleanly, and without a lot of trouble.

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