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The 5 Best Kitchen Torches of 2023, by Food & Wine | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


There are some essential kitchen tools you need, and then there are some tools that are just really fun to have on hand. Kitchen torches fall under that second category, but they’re much more versatile than you may think. For Justin Bacharach, executive chef at Philadelphia’s Royal Sushi & Izakaya, a kitchen torch is the tool he uses to take food from good to drool-worthy. For home cooks, a kitchen torch can level up everything from dinner to dessert. Plus, you’ll score major points for presentation. 

Bacarach uses a kitchen torch to add color to the exterior of meat or fish without overcooking it. A piece of grilled poultry, for example, can often benefit from a little torching on the outside, since the fat typically doesn’t fully render over the grill. “I’ll use a kitchen torch for a steak that didn’t get enough color in the pan or to lightly burn any baked treat with a whipped egg white component, like a lemon meringue pie,” Bacharach says.

While your broiler can be used to accomplish a similar effect for some foods, a kitchen torch is a more compact and fun tool to level up your next dinner or dessert. Here are the best kitchen torches for home cooks.

Best Overall

Iwatani PRO2 Culinary Professional Butane Torch

Iwatani PRO2 Culinary Professional Butane Torch

Amazon


This Iwatani butane torch offers the consistency and heat of a professional kitchen torch, without the larger footprint of a Bernzomatic. The torch head attaches to 8-ounce butane tanks, which are small enough to fit in a cabinet or drawer. A knob at the back of the torch adjusts butane flow and a trigger at the front lights the flame.

Our favorite part? This lightweight torch doesn’t require you to hold down a trigger to use the flame, which makes it more comfortable to hold and easier to control. However, it should be noted that this feature can pose a safety concern if the torch is not used carefully. You’ll want to read the manufacturer’s instructions before you start using your torch. 

Price at time of publish: $50

  • Size: 17.78 x 7.62 x 3.81 inches
  • Weight: .18 pounds

Best Value

Sondiko Butane Torch

Sondiko Butane Torch S400, Refillable Kitchen Torch Lighter

Sondiko Butane Torch S400, Refillable Kitchen Torch Lighter

Amazon


The Sondico refillable kitchen torch is a good option for the occasional torch user who doesn’t want to spend a lot or store a larger kitchen tool. With a slightly lower maximum heat capacity and smaller flame, this torch is a great tool for bakers who will use it mostly for crème brûlée and merengue. Its efficient size fits easily into a kitchen drawer, but the smaller-sized canister also means it needs to be refilled more often.

At just $20, this is a great budget option for home cooks who don’t expect to regularly use a kitchen torch but like the idea of having one on hand for special occasions.

Price at time of publish: $20

  • Size: 4.7 x 2.2 x 6.1 inches
  • Weight: .48 pounds

Best Splurge

Bernzomatic TS8000 – High Intensity Trigger Start Torch

Bernzomatic TS8000 - High Intensity Trigger Start Torch

Bernzomatic TS8000 - High Intensity Trigger Start Torch

Amazon


Bacharach uses a Bernzomatic at Royal Sushi & Izakaya for everything from lighting the pilot in the oven to finishing steaks, fish, and poultry. The torch can be attached to large gas canisters that don’t need constant refilling, and the torch locks into place so you don’t have to hold down a trigger. There’s an auto start and stop button for easy shutoff, and the flame knob adjusts the heat and intensity level.

Casual users may find this torch and the large gas canisters it is used with to be uncomfortable to hold and bulky to store, but the Bernzomatic does offer the most consistent flame out of all of our picks.

Price at time of publish: $58

  • Size: 1.91 x 5.25 x 12.25 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds

Best for Beginners

Jo Chef Superior RX Kitchen Torch

Jo Chef

Jo Chef

Amazon


Designed specifically to be smaller and more user-friendly than some of our other picks for kitchen torches, the Jo Chef Kitchen Torch is the perfect option for home cooks who don’t need extreme heat and might be worried about wielding a larger torch. The fuel gauge window makes it easy to tell when the fuel tank needs refilling, and the simple safety lock prevents it from sparking when not in use.

Some users found the adjustable knob confusing to use, since it is not marked for high and low usage, and the fuel tank isn’t quite large enough for longer use on meat or poultry. However, for smaller finishing jobs like crème brûlée, this torch is a great option for beginners.

Price at time of publish: $40

  • Size: 1.8 x 5.3 x 7.4 inches
  • Weight: .71 pounds

Best for Crème Brûlée

Spicy Dew Blow Torch

Spicy Dew Blow Torch

Spicy Dew Blow Torch

Amazon


The Spicy Dew Blow Torch is one of the smallest, most affordable options out there. This tool is ideal for bakers who just need a little more firepower for finishing crème brûlée and torching meringue. The Spicy Dew torch also has a child safety lock for peace of mind even when it’s not in use. The torch is refillable from a butane canister, but the mechanism for refilling can be a bit difficult to use and is sometimes leaky. We recommend refilling the canister outdoors in case of any accidental spills. 

We like this torch for its compact size and ease of use, especially on smaller surface area desserts. If you’re looking for a blow torch for finishing desserts, this is the pick we recommend.

Price at time of publish: $22

  • Size: 8 x 2 x 6 inches
  • Weight: .81 pounds

Factors to Consider

Intended Use

For this guide, we have mostly highlighted kitchen torches that are specifically designed for us in the kitchen. Bernzomatic torches, the professional torch that Bacharach prefers, can also be used to light a grill and for non-kitchen-related tasks. In general, kitchen torches are good for browning meat, finishing vegetables off the grill, lightly searing delicate fish and seafood, and caramelizing sugar in meringue and on crème brûlée.

Refillable Canisters vs. Torch Heads

There are two major types of kitchen torches: refillable canisters, and torch heads, which attach to a container of butane and are typically sold separately. Refillable canisters tend to be smaller, which is helpful for storage, but you’ll have to separately store the gas canister for refills. Torch heads usually attach to a variety of styles of butane canisters, and typically offer more powerful heat. The downside is that these gas canisters can be heavy or unwieldy, which makes the kitchen torch harder to control.      

Fuel Type

The majority of kitchen torches utilize butane, which has a higher boiling point than the alternative, which is propane. Propane can be stored at a wider variety of temperatures, while butane needs to be stored at room temperature. Butane is more widely available in smaller containers, whereas propane requires thicker walls to withstand the pressure it exerts, and is therefore more available in large canisters. 

Safety Features

A kitchen torch should always be used carefully, but different torches have different safety features that can put you at ease. Safety features are meant to help you maintain control of the torch and the flame. Some torches have the ability to lock the flame, while others require you to hold down a button or trigger in order to use the flame. Kitchen torches should always be stored out of reach of children, but some torches have child safety locks that offer an extra level of protection in the event that a child accidentally picks up a kitchen torch.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I buy butane for a kitchen torch, and how do you refill it?

    Butane canisters can be purchased online from retailers like Amazon, Walmart, or Home Depot. They can also be purchased in person at many grocery stores, says Bacharach. Torches that require refilling should be refilled according to manufacturer instructions.

  • What can you use a kitchen torch for?

    A kitchen torch has many uses, like adding extra color to proteins like steaks, fish, and chicken, says Bacharach. The fat cap on meats like chicken or steak can get additional caramelization using a kitchen torch. A kitchen torch is also ideal for adding char anywhere you might want it, especially on desserts like Baked Alaska, crème brûlée, and anything with marshmallows or meringue.

  • Do all kitchen torches use butane?

    All kitchen torches do not use butane. Professional grade torches, like the Bernzomatic which we recommend, use propane, which comes in larger canisters and is a little easier to find.

  • Are kitchen torches safe?

    Like many kitchen activities, there’s an element of risk involved with using a kitchen torch. Kitchen torches concentrate extreme heat in specific areas, so you should always be focused and careful when using one, says Bacharach. But, he says, if you take precautions and are paying attention to what you’re doing, kitchen torches are no riskier than using a sharp knife.

Our Expertise

Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé is an experienced professional home cook. She has worked in restaurant kitchens, professional test kitchens, and also on farms and at farmer’s markets. She’s an expert at translating techniques, recipes, equipment, and ingredient information for all skill levels. She’s dedicated to making the home cooking experience more enjoyable and is always on the lookout for the next great tip or trick to pass along to readers.

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