The Best Tools For Lighting Your Charcoal BBQ Grill

Grilling is a fantastic way to cook food that is delicious, rewarding and healthy.

Grilled meats contain lower levels of fat than those cooked by other methods, and grilled vegetables retain more health boosting nutrients.

Think about the combination of tasty, nutritious food and the great outdoors. Is it really any wonder that cookouts are one of the nation’s favorite pastimes?

Charcoal grills often produce the best tasting foods, but the charcoal can be a struggle to light safely.

Many people will resort to the use of dangerous lighter fluid.

It fact, this is the number one cause of BBQ accidents and injuries.

Fortunately, you do not need to use risky accelerants to light your grill. There are many alternative tools available which are much more safe and effective.

And as an added plus, they also eliminate the potential for an unpleasant lighter fluid taste in your steak.

In this article, we take a look at the best tools to quickly and safely light your grill.

Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter

Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter

By far one of the most efficient ways to light your charcoal is with a “charcoal chimney”. 

These are metal cylinders which ensure your charcoal will be evenly heated, glowing and ready for cooking in no time. No lighter fluid or other accelerants are required when using a charcoal chimney.

Therefore, these are among the safest and most efficient ways to light your grill without the risk of getting hurt.

Newspaper is placed in the base of the chimney cylinder and set on fire. Then the charcoal is stacked on top, directly in the path of the rising heat.

This heat has nowhere else to go, so the charcoal is subjected to very high temperatures as the hot air travels up the chimney. Your charcoal will be lit up and glowing within 10-15 minutes. Once ready, simply pour the charcoal into the base of your grill and you are good to go!

The best thing about charcoal chimneys is the ability to add more coals. You can keep a fresh supply on hand for whenever you need to top up. The Weber Charcoal Chimney is one of the most popular charcoal chimneys on the market today.

It is extremely durable, able to withstand hundreds of startups and can effortlessly achieve this without a single drop of lighter fluid.

This charcoal chimney has a large capacity which is suitable for even the largest grills. It features a comfortable ergonomic handle for easy transfer.

Diamond Strike-A-Fire

Firing BBQ With Diamond Strike-A-Fire

Almost everyone will have used matches in the past to ignite lighter fluid on a grill.

But even with very long matches, there is a real risk of burns as the fluid suddenly catches fire.

Diamond Strike-A-Fire is an easy to use, safe alternative to matches and accelerants. It can be used to quickly and effectively light wood or charcoal without danger of injury.

Crafted from real hardwoods, Strike-A-Fire comes with a unique diamond match tip. This is designed to be struck on the back of the box to ignite. The lit match is then placed between the charcoal pieces on your grill.

Once lit, the Strike-A-Fire match will burn for as long as 12 minutes. This ensures more than enough heat to get the charcoals going for your cookout.

There is no requirement for any kindling or newspaper with this product. It is therefore a great, convenient and safe choice for lighting your grill.

Grill Pro Electric Charcoal Starter

Grillpro Electric Charcoal Starter In Hand

Lighting charcoal is pretty straightforward.

You simply need to get it hot enough to light up. With the Grill Pro electric charcoal starter tool, no flames are required to get your grill going. This tool is essentially an electric heating element, like the coils on a hot plate.

It is extremely easy to use and capable of reaching very high temperatures. To operate this tool it must be connected directly to a power source.

Simply pour the charcoals into the grill base and stick the coil underneath. This electric starter tool features a wide loop so you can heat lots of coals at once. As the coals start to light up, take out the coil and start to mix the coals up so they can ignite from each other.

This tool is capable of lighting as much as 2 pounds of charcoal in just a few minutes. It is sure to be suitable for all sizes of grill.

The Looftlighter

Holding The Looftlighter

Sometimes you are in a hurry to get your grill started.

Here is a product which beats all the rest in term of speed and heat output. The Looftlighter is an electric grill lighter which blasts a stream of superheated air out of the attached nozzle.

This device can produce air as hot as 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. Your charcoal will be red hot and ready to go in as little as 10 minutes.

Although this lighter needs to be connected directly to a power source, the chord is a generous 10 feet long. This gives you plenty of room to maneuver.

The Looftlighter is simple to use for even a grill newbie. All you need to do is place the end of the nozzle against the charcoal and switch it on.

Once the charcoal begins to spark and flame, withdraw the nozzle a few inches, keeping the hot air directed at the coals. You can focus on one area and allow those coals to ignite the rest. Alternatively, you can sweep the Looftlighter over all the coals for maximum effect.

The Looftlighter is quite expensive, but it is a very powerful and timesaving grill lighting tool. It is worth investing in this one if you use your grill regularly.

Red Dragon Propane Torch

Red Dragon Propane Torch

Are you one of those people who like to take an “all or nothing” approach to your grill?

If so, the Red Dragon propane torch is the tool for you. This heavy duty lighting tool is so powerful it can also be used to help clear scrub from the yard.

Even though it may look a little industrial in appearance, this torch is a brilliant tool. It will light your grill rapidly and evenly for optimum cooking.

The torch easily attaches to a standard grill gas cylinder. It provides safe control over the flame intensity with an ergonomic squeeze handle.

Fill your grill with charcoal and target the high-intensity torch flame in a number of areas. You will see the charcoal spark and begin to glow almost instantaneously.

Then allow the coals to breathe for about 5 minutes before closing the grill lid and letting the temperature rise.

Bison Airlighter 520

Airlighter 520

The Bison Airlighter 520 is an impressive cordless fire lighter. It is capable of quickly igniting charcoal lumps or briquettes in under one minute.

It offers a unique combination of torch flame and air blower to focus high temperatures and oxygen exactly where they are required. This tool can also double as a cooking accessory to sear meat and caramelize sugars.

The main benefit of the Bison Airlighter 520 is its cordless functionality. There is no need to worry about the distance between your grill and the power outlet. Instead, it uses a USB rechargeable battery for optimum convenience and portability.

The airlighter is also extremely easy to use. All you need to do is direct the flame at the grill coals from about 3 inches away. After around 20 seconds, you should see a spreading glow across the charcoal.

This is the time to switch onto the blower mode to quickly expand the fire across the remaining coals. If at any point you want to boost cooking temperature, direct the blower toward the coals to increase the heat.

BBQ Dragon Fan

BBQ Dragon Fan

While not strictly an ignition tool, this is a fantastic accessory to make rapidly lighting your grill a piece of cake. 

This tool utilizes surrounding air to help cut heating time. It also keeps your grill burning at the temperature you require.

Battery powered and extremely portable, the BBQ Dragon is great for all cookout occasions. It features a heat resistant attachment clamp, as well as a flexible gooseneck cord.

This allows precise targeting where you need it most. You can also easily bring the heat up or down a notch. The blower speed can be adjusted via a knob on the clamp attachment.

Furthermore, if you use rechargeable batteries, you can recharge the BBQ Dragon. It includes a USB attachment and car lighter adaptor. This makes the tool a super convenient choice for road trip grills and camping.


Cooking outside on a beautiful evening is surely one of life's greatest pleasures. This is especially true if you are using lighter fluid or another accelerant.

Luckily, as we have shown, there are a number of alternatives available.

These tools do not require the use of risky accelerants to get your grill started. The products in this article are super effective for safely lighting charcoal and keeping the heat level optimal for cooking.

By choosing one of these products, your cookout will impress your guests without having to struggle with hazardous lighting techniques.




About the Author William Clay

William Clay is a BBQ enthusiast dedicated to sharing his grilling (and overall cooking) expertise with FireFoodChef's readers.