If you use charcoal like I do, then you’re lighting up batches of them as frequently as Netflix adds and drops shows from their lineup. I’ve used newspaper, paraffin wax squares, and, I confess, even lighter fluid* (but only once, I swear). Newspaper burns out quick and you need to stuff enough under the coals in the chimney starter to keep a quick fire burning long enough to get the coals lit. Paraffin wax, while easier to use, can take a while to light the coals and you may need two or three at a time to get the fire going.
*SIDE NOTE: using lighter fluid for coals is discouraged due to the flavor it can impart on the food you’re cooking and is an ABSOLUTE NO-NO for use in ceramic grills because the fluid can seep into the ceramics and infuse its chemicals into the taste of everything cooked in them going forward.
I started looking into electric lighters and came across the Looftlighter, which is known to be the original electric lighter of it’s kind. With it’s patented hot airstream process, it essentially blows hot air onto the coals without the use of CO2 or other hazardous chemicals. With temps getting up to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, think of the Looftlighter as a blow dryer on steroids.
The coals start to get hot in about a minute, flames start showing soon after. I light them up in my ceramic grill and usually do two spots in the pit, three if I need a fire fast. My favorite part of using the Looftlighter? Watching the embers fly!
The button on the handle of the Looftlighter is conveniently placed where the thumb can easily hold down for long periods of time. The heat starts immediately, so no need to repeatedly push on the button to get it to start. I should also mention that the cord is about 10 feet long, so depending out how close you barbecue to your house, you may need an extension cord.
After you are done using the device (which only takes about a minute to cool), you can rest it on the side with the hook which helps prevent the hot end from tipping over and touching the surface. Having a bottle opener on this hook is a clever touch which comes in handy for us barbecuers.
I’ve used the Looftlighter at least a dozen times now and here’s my perception:
- Gets coals hot faster than traditional methods
- Button starts heat immediately
- Exterior safety casing cools fast
- Hook allows for device to rest while cooling AND doubles as a bottle opener
- Need to be nearby power outlet/plug in
- Exterior casing prone to bend during and soon after use, especially if dropped (not that I did that or anything…)
After using this device for a few months, I refuse to go back to newspaper and matches. The Looftlighter is a quick and easy way to light a fire. No flames emitted from the device and with the exterior casing around the heat source allowing for a fast cool down after use, it is a safe way to ignite those coals.