If you want to light charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal quickly and efficiently, you should consider investing in an electric charcoal starter.
These handy gadgets take the time and effort out of lighting charcoal. Previous methods, like charcoal chimneys, required fuel and produced a lot of smoke.
Electric fire starters mean you don't have to spend money on fuel or worry about excess soot staining your hands.
There are lots of electric fire starters on the market, so it can be difficult to decide which one you should go for. To make your choice a little easier, we've listed the best electric charcoal fire starters below.
We've also included a guide that's packed with handy information about these tools, so you're well prepared before you make your purchase.
No matter what your preferences are, you're sure to find an electric charcoal starter that suits your needs below!
Big Green Egg is known for its charcoal grills, but now they've extended their business to cover electric charcoal fire starters.
Their Eggniter has a 3-position switch that delivers both hot and cool air. It's equipped with a robust heat shield that protects and cools its internal components.
The integrated base also cools down rapidly so that the tool can be set down soon after use, without the worry of it burning the surface it touches.
The Eggniter is a little more expensive than others on this list, but its aluminum and polycarbonate makeup makes it a very robust tool, so it resists damage well.
The power cord is 6' long, which covers a good distance away from your wall outlet, reducing the risk of a fire hazard occurring.
Overall, this is an excellent charcoal fire starter with useful features. With the right care and maintenance, it should last you many years to come.
At 1,100°F, this affordable option from MIGI WOLF delivers a great heat output! It's equipped with a trigger safety button that needs to stay pressed to activate the tool.
Once the user lets go of the button, the temperature begins to cool down. It also has a safety casing that becomes cool to the touch just a few seconds after use.
The fire starter also comes with a 90-day return policy and a two-year warranty, so there are limited risks involved when you buy this model.
It's available in three finishes, including a vibrant red hue that stands out nicely among backyard accessories.
If you care about starting fires as quickly as possible, this is the charcoal fire starter for you.
This electric charcoal fire starter uses hot coils instead of hot air. It delivers 600W of heat, capable of lighting charcoal briquettes in 8-10 minutes.
It isn't as quick as a hot air starter, but it is robust and reliable, so it can be used in bad weather conditions.
The electric charcoal starter has a stainless steel coil that is easy to clean and resists rust well. It's reasonably wide, so it covers a good surface area, ideal for lighting most piles of charcoal.
The power cord is 5' long, so it covers a nice distance away from a power outlet. The handle is angled and ergonomically designed to sit in the hand comfortably.
However, the handle may claim to be heat resistant, but it is short and made from plastic, so it comes with a risk of burning when close to the heat.
This electric fire starter is equipped with several handy features. HomeRight has focused on safety when producing this tool, as it contains an internal safety feature that cools the unit down if it overheats.
It's aluminum safety casing cools rapidly after use, protecting you and others from injury. The tool also has an integrated cooling stand, so it can be set down quickly after use.
At 10' long, the starter has a very long cord, so you can use it a long distance away from a power outlet. This is ideal for larger gardens or at outdoor events which cover a lot of ground.
The polycarbonate build resists damage well but keeps the unit lightweight. The electric starter runs on a 120V outlet, so it can be used in most general homes without the need for a converter.
Overall, this is a safe and reliable model that's also of great value. You really can't go wrong with this one!
Looftlighter is one of the first brands to create hot air electric starters, and this model doesn't disappoint.
Their patented hot air technology heats up to 1256 degrees, a temperature that's capable of lighting up stubborn charcoal in under a minute.
The Looftlighter also has a built-in rapid cooling system that cools the tool down soon after use. With a long 10' cord, you can move freely around your backyard easily without worrying about the plug disconnecting.
Its stainless steel and polycarbonate build resist heat and keep the unit lightweight. There's also a handy trigger power switch that cuts power once it's released.
This not only saves energy, but it prevents any accidental mishaps from occurring.Pros
The Bison 520 Airlighter is an amazing blend of technology and features. It offers the convenience and portability of a hot air starter but without the usual cords attached.
The Airlighter can light up to 30 fires when charged and comes with three cans of spare fuel.
The butane allows you to create super-hot flames without the use of electricity, cords, or plugs. It claims to get the most stubborn of charcoal briquettes lit in under a minute, saving you time and effort in the process.
It has a handy LED light so that you can see what you're doing in the dark, and a handy bottle opener so you can enjoy a drink while you work.
The multi-mode switch lets you either keep producing heat and air together or just the air itself to save excess butane.
If you'd rather have a cordless charcoal fire starter, Bison's 520 Airlighter is a great choice.
With a high-speed fan, durable heating component, and environmentally friendly construction; the AD BBQ Tools Fire Starter is a reliable electrical charcoal starter.
It runs on a standard US household outlet and can light charcoal briquettes in under 90 seconds.
The charcoal starter's main feature is its 3 position switch that delivers either hot or cold air. The cold air option is ideal for blowing flames and saving energy. It also has a safety casing that protects your skin from accidental injury.
As it runs on electricity, you don't have to worry about lighter fluid or butane affecting how your food tastes. This model includes an integrated cooling base, a 6’ power cord, and a built-in can opener.
Overall, it is a versatile tool that's equipped with several useful features.
Char-Broil's charcoal starter is affordable, but it doesn't sacrifice performance. It may not have an impressive coil design or cooling features, but it will heat charcoal fast and efficiently.
Its stainless steel and polycarbonate build to keep it lightweight, at just 0.35lbs. The handle is heat resistant and comes with a raised edge to stand on when not in use.
The 10-inch cord is very short, but this allows the tool to be stored away easily when not in use. Overall, this is a great budget option that delivers results.
This charcoal starter has a 600W heating coil that heats charcoal briquettes in just a few minutes.
The handle is long enough to keep you a safe distance away from the flames, but close enough so you get maximum control over the charcoal.
The metal heating element is durable and easy to clean, but its single-coil design may not come into contact with the majority of the charcoal.
The handle itself is made from heat-resistant plastic, but do be careful, as the plastic may melt if kept near heat.
Unlike the others on this list, this model from Gassaf houses a heat-resistant mica core. This material resists heat well, cooling down easily when not in use.
As it cools down so quickly, the charcoal starter remains durable for the majority of its lifespan. It reaches 1500°F, a high temperature capable of lighting up large piles of charcoal.
Its stainless steel body is lightweight and easy to clean, but its cord is only 2 meters long, so you may need to purchase an extension cord.
This charcoal starter uses a wide coil that ensures maximum contact with charcoal. It takes longer to light charcoal compared to hot air models, but thanks to its sturdy construction, it will promise you many more years of use.
At over 17 inches in length, you can light your briquettes from a safe distance away. It also has a raised edge so you can rest it on your grill, which is ideal if you don't want to stand over it the whole time.
The handle is ergonomically designed to rest in the hand comfortably, but it is plastic, so you'll have to keep it away from heat to prevent it from melting.
This model heats up to over 1112°F to light up charcoal quickly and efficiently. It's made out of a mix of steel and ceramic, both materials that cool down quickly when not in use.
The hot air design means you don't have to use fuel to light the charcoal, keeping your food free from strange chemical flavors.
This starter also has a hook to keep it stored away after use, but it also doubles as a bottle opener, which is ideal for use in barbecues and backyard parties.
This hot air electric charcoal starter heats up to 1500 degrees, a high temperature that heats both charcoal and wood efficiently.
It has a redstart safety feature which needs to be depressed to hold the hot temperature. It's also encased in a safety casing which cools quickly after being used.
Other features include its hanging hook that doubles as a bottle opener. At 18'' long, you can light up your briquettes from a good distance away, keeping you and others safe from harm.
This charcoal starter lights up charcoal in under a minute, thanks to its focused stream of hot air. With a single button that switches it on or off, the design is simple to use.
It also has a cooling handle that acts as a bottle opener, helping you stay cool when lighting the charcoal. The handle is ergonomically designed to sit in the hand comfortably, while the safety button keeps you from accidental mishaps.
However, the safety button can be hard to keep pressed down, which may be an issue if you want to use the tool for longer.
This interesting electric charcoal starter is equipped with a 6 pass coil design. With its larger surface area, the coils come into greater contact with the charcoal, lighting it up at impressive speeds.
The coil's design is also good to use on larger grills and hefty charcoal piles.
The power cord is only 4.9' long, so it does need to be used near a power outlet, but it does have a stand so you can set it down without burning anything.
The charcoal starter is made from steel and polycarbonate, both strong and heat-resistant materials. The steel is also easy to clean and resists carbon buildup well.
This is a great budget, a no-frills charcoal starter that can light up larger charcoal piles well.
This section will cover the things you need to know about electric charcoal starters before you decide to purchase one.
Charcoal briquettes can be lit in many ways. You can use a charcoal chimney or lighter fluid, but one of the simplest ways to light them up is with an electric charcoal starter.
These tools are easy and safe to use. They tend to use hot coils or hot hair to light charcoal quickly and efficiently.
One of the main advantages of electric charcoal starters is that they produce no open flames, so they're a lot safer to use compared to charcoal chimneys.
As they use electricity as energy, they don't emit any smell or smoke, which makes them a good choice for summer gatherings and yard parties.
Their electric components mean that you'll have much less mess to clean up, as both types of electric charcoal starters don't produce any soot.
This means that you won't have to deal with a blackened chimney and your hands won't be dirty with soot.
These handy tools are also small in size, taking up much less space than lighter fluid bottles or a chimney. Electric charcoal starters tend to be strong and durable, so they will last a long time with the right care.
They are designed in various shapes and designs suitable for a range of hand sizes. They are small enough to be stored away and everyone can use them easily, whether you're a BBQ beginner or a professional chef.
These advantages all sound amazing, but like any tool, they do have some disadvantages. Their main drawback is that they run on electricity.
Most of the options available will need to be plugged into a wall outlet, so you won't be able to use it outdoors.
However, if you are thinking of using an electric charcoal starter when camping, you can find cordless options available. These may have rechargeable batteries that last a few hours when fully charged.
Nevertheless, these are only useful if they have enough charge, so they won't be useful if you forget to charge them.
Another drawback is that electric charcoal starters aren't useful in the rain. Water can make the electronic components short out. This leaves you with cold charcoal and a broken gadget.
This may not be a huge issue as grilling in the rain isn't usually done. However, if you must grill in bad weather, use a grill gazebo to shield the charcoal and your charcoal starter from the rain.
Electric charcoal starters come in two kinds. One uses a hot coil unit. As an electric current travels through the coil, the metal heats up and delivers the energy needed to light the charcoal up.
The second option is a hot air electric option. These have a heating component on the inside which heats approaching air. A strong fan then pushes the hot air onto the charcoal, which rapidly heats it until it ignites.
Hot air electric charcoal starters tend to be cleaner, simpler, and more efficient than hot coil options. As the hot air enters hidden fissures and cracks within the charcoal, the air can affect more of the charcoal briquettes.
The coil only contacts a few areas on the charcoal which just wastes more heat energy.
Hot air electric charcoal starters don't directly touch the charcoal, which makes the process a lot cleaner.
If the charcoal is repeatedly touched, as with the hot coil, the charcoal can scrape and damage the coil which can cause the device to fail early.
Hot air devices do need to be looked after well and can cost more than hot coil charcoal starters, but they don't encounter these issues, so they are generally the better option.
Charcoal chimneys used to be a common way of igniting charcoal, but over the years, many more people have switched to electric charcoal starters. Despite this, chimneys do have their advantages.
They are a lot more affordable and simple to use. The process only requires charcoal briquettes and newspaper. You just light the newspaper and wait for the charcoal to ignite.
It may be easy and cheap, but chimneys aren't that safe due to the open flame and the soot produced. If you leave it unattended and the newspaper goes out, it won't light the charcoal.
You won't know that this has happened until you go back to check later.
Conversely, charcoal briquettes only take a few minutes to light up when using an electric charcoal starter. The hot air comes into contact with more of the charcoal, so you won't have many unlit areas.
They heat the briquettes much more evenly and won't blow out if the wind gets too strong.
Chimneys and electric charcoal starters work amazingly at lighting charcoal. Beginners may find charcoal chimneys fine to start with, but it's always better to invest in an electric option.
These will light up the briquettes much quicker than a chimney, which saves you more time so you can concentrate on other tasks. Electric starters are much safer to use too, so there's one less concern to worry about.
Hot air electric charcoal starters are the better option, but if you do decide to purchase a hot coil option, you should know how to use it as the process is slightly different.
Begin by only placing half of your charcoal briquettes in a pile on your grilling surface (or charcoal chimney). Then, place the hot coil charcoal starter on top of the pile, leaving it unplugged and unheated.
Place the other half of the charcoal on top of the hot coil tool. You should try to have as much charcoal touch the coil as possible.
Next, plug the electric charcoal starter in, then wait for the suggested amount of time as written in the manufacturer's manual.
The charcoal will be ready once it starts glowing orange and catches fire. After the briquettes are lit, remove the tool and keep it out of reach, as it will be extremely hot.
Always make sure the area around the charcoal and the charcoal starter is free from plastic parts or debris. The plastic may melt and damage your tool, while debris and other objects present a fire hazard.
Electric charcoal starters don't require too much maintenance, but there are a few things you can do to prolong their lifespan.
The simplest thing you can do is to always roll up the electric charcoal starter cord when not in use. Exposed cords can fray easily, which can lead to the tool failing earlier than it should.
Both hot air and hot coil starters will have a general power cord that should be rolled up and stored away.
You should also keep your electric charcoal starter in a dry place, away from any humidity. The moisture in humid air can corrode any metal parts in your tool, ruining any links or seals in the process.
This can damage the gadget itself and reduce the amount of heat that it produces.
Keep your charcoal starter in a dry area that's free from damp, moist air, or rain. If you live in a humid climate, it's best to keep your gadget inside so it won't be affected by any external factors.
If you've chosen a coil electric charcoal starter, you'll need to clean the coils regularly. If you don't, carbon can build up on the coil and increase the risk of a fire hazard.
A clean coil allows heat to travel easily, which lights your charcoal quickly, reducing the amount of time you'll spend waiting for the briquettes to light up.
You can clean the coils with a general heavy-duty scourer. These are abrasive enough to remove caked-on grill grease or carbon build-up.
These are rough enough to remove dirt easily, so you won't have to expend too much effort cleaning the coils.
Always test the screws on your tool a few times a year. Make sure that the screws are fastened tightly as this prevents connections and components from coming loose.
In most cases, electric charcoal starters don't need a lot of extra care. They just need to be stored out of arm's reach, kept in a dry place, and cleaned to remove excess carbon.
These simple steps will extend your charcoal starter's lifespan so you'll be able to use it for a very long time.
Yes, you can use an electric charcoal starter in conjunction with a chimney. The chimney will direct any smoke upwards and away from your environment. Less heat is wasted, so you'll get better results and less smoke.
Electric charcoal starters are usually made from stainless steel, a material that is lightweight, easy to clean, and cools down easily. Some are also made with polycarbonate.
This strengthens the unit while keeping it lightweight and comfortable to use.
A charcoal grill is ready when all of the coals are lit and glowing. Once the coals are completely lit, you'll see them glowing bright orange. The charcoal should light up from this point onwards.
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