Whether you’re searing the perfect crust on a rump roast or brazing a copper pipe fitting in a bathroom remodel, a butane torch is an essential tool to have at your disposal. A butane torch creates a flame that can reach a maximum temperature of about 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. These high temperatures—coupled with butane’s long flames, which can reach up to 6 inches long—make these torches capable of melting and soldering metals like copper and silver. Despite their ability to generate a powerful flame, butane torches are fairly small and easy to use. They usually weigh less than 2 pounds and are only about 10 inches long.
If you’re in the market for one of these handy tools, read on to learn about which features you should think about when shopping for one. And don’t miss this list of some of the best butane torches on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Dremel Versa Flame Butane Torch
- BEST VALUE: iRainy Butane Torch
- BEST MICRO TORCH: Blazer Self-Igniting Butane Micro-Torch
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Butane Torch
There are several factors to consider when shopping for a butane torch, including how you intend to use the tool, its fuel capacity, the ignition type, and its safety features.
A butane torch has a surprisingly diverse range of applications. For example, butane torches can be used for big plumbing jobs like sweating joints for copper water lines. This process involves melting solder at pipe connections at high temperatures to join the pipes together. This type of butane torch will reach temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
They are also useful in the kitchen. Smaller, less powerful butane torches can create the perfect hard, caramelized shell on a crème brûlée or sear a roasted meat’s crust to a deep brown. A kitchen butane torch typically reaches temperatures of about 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
The materials used to build butane torches vary in quality. Heavy-duty torches have durable cast-aluminum bodies with brass nozzles, and some higher-end torches can create multiple flames. Lighter-duty kitchen models also use brass nozzles but feature metal and plastic construction in the handle and body.
Butane torches are either manual start or auto start. Auto-start butane torches can be lit and extinguished with the push of a button. Manual butane torches are less expensive but more unwieldy to use. A manual ignition requires the user to open a valve to release the butane gas through the nozzle while simultaneously using a flint starter to light the torch. Then close the valve to turn off the torch.
Most butane torches have a round knob behind the torch’s head that allows the user to adjust the flame size. Turning the knob to the left opens the valve, releasing more gas into the nozzle; turning the knob to the right closes the valve. A flame-adjustment knob is critical to the torch’s performance, because the flame length needed will vary depending on the soldering or brazing job. Use a longer flame to braze and a shorter flame for detailed jewelry work. A quality torch’s flame should adjust between a half-inch and 5 inches in length without sputtering or extinguishing.
“Burning time” is the length of time a butane torch will burn on a full tank of fuel. Burning time depends on two factors: the amount of fuel the torch can hold, and how efficiently it burns. Expect to get between 30 minutes and an hour at full power of burning time for a standard torch, or three to five hours for industrial torches.
Thirty minutes of burning time may be adequate for intermittent use. When using a butane torch for larger plumbing projects, however, a more powerful torch that won’t require frequent refueling is necessary.
Ease of Use
Ignition and flame control affect how easy a butane torch is to use. While a manual-start butane torch might be less expensive, fumbling with a flint starter can be awkward and frustrating. Most butane torches also include knobs that allow for easy flame adjustment, enabling the user to tailor the flame size to meet the project’s needs. Many butane torches also have detachable bases that stand the torch upright on a tabletop for hands-free use.
Butane torches include safety features to avoid accidents. Push-start torches come with safety locks to avert accidental ignition and prevent children from lighting the torch.
Self-igniting torches are safer than manual torches. A manual torch requires opening a valve, which releases butane while the user attempts to light it. Delays in lighting the torch can cause the butane to build up in the air, creating a burst of flame when it finally does light. An auto-start butane torch ignites and extinguishes with the push of a button, eliminating that hazard.
Many butane torches have special features that make them easier to use for particular applications. Some have gauges that assess how much fuel remains in the torch. Other models come with attachments for a variety of uses, such as blower tips for paint removal, deflectors for shrinking insulation, and tips and diffusers for soldering.
Our Top Picks
The products below are our top choices for various applications in both the kitchen and workshop. These butane torches feature powerful flames, ergonomic designs, and important safety features.
With its low price tag and accessories that give it a wide range of applications, this butane torch from Dremel is an excellent value. It features a self-ignition button for easy startup, a lock that keeps the flame running for longer soldering or brazing jobs, and a knob that controls flame size and temperature. The torch’s large tank capacity allows for run times of up to 75 minutes.
With its small size—it measures just 13 inches long and weighs less than 2 pounds—this Dremel model is easy to handle. It also includes a 9-piece accessory kit that comes with a flame diffuser, blower, soldering tip, and other handy tools. The torch and accessories fit neatly into a carrying case for easy transport.
This affordable butane torch may be designed for use in the kitchen, but with a max temp of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit it boasts as much power as heavy-duty models. This makes the Kollea suitable not just for searing a dark brown crust on a London broil, but also for making jewelry or even soldering a plumbing fitting in a pinch.
This torch lights with a press-button ignition. A lock button allows for continuous flame, while a dial adjuster enables the user to set the intensity. Its metal-and-plastic construction makes it suitable for kitchen use or light-duty plumbing repairs, and its broad base allows it to stand on its own for convenient use. At just 6 inches long and weighing slightly over half a pound, this lightweight butane torch is a little dynamo.
This butane torch from Blazer is at home in both the workshop or the kitchen with its small 6-inch length and high temperature output of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. It weighs less than 7 ounces and features a narrow flame length that ranges from 0.5 to 1.25 inches, making it a great option for soldering plumbing joints, shaping jewelry, or brazing a crème brûlée.
Its ample 26-gram fuel capacity allows you to work for up to two hours before needing a butane refill. The soft rubber coating makes this torch easy to grip while the detachable base offers the option to work hands-free. This self-lighting butane torch uses a piezoelectric ignition system, which functions by using an internal hammer to create a spark that ignites the torch.
FAQs About Your New Butane Torch
If you still have concerns about the safety and operation of butane torches, read on for answers to your most burning questions.
Q. Are butane torches safe to use?
As long as you follow proper protocols, butane torches are relatively safe. However, there are a few cardinal rules:
- Never expose the fuel source to direct heat, as it can cause the butane to explode.
- Never leave an auto-start propane torch in a place that is accessible to children.
- Check for leaks. Like other natural gases, butane contains a sulfur additive that has a distinct, easily detectable smell.
- Wear gloves when refilling a butane torch because butane gas can cause chemical burns.
- Avoid inhaling butane gas, and store canisters in a well-ventilated area.
Q. Is a butane torch hotter than propane?
Butane torches reach a maximum temperature of about 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is suitable for most welding projects. Propane is capable of reaching temperatures of around 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Q. Can I solder with a butane torch?
Butane torches are the preferred tools for soldering because they produce a narrow flame, which is better for the detail that soldering requires. The ability to solder with fine detail makes butane torches useful for such applications as jewelry making.
Q. How do you refill a butane torch?
Begin by making sure the burner and gas-flow control knob are both in the off position. Turn the torch upside down and locate the refill port. Shake the butane bottle to warm up the fluid. Insert the nozzle into the canister, then press and hold. The butane torch should refill in a few seconds. Remove the butane refueling canister.