Yummy kitchen time: 4 best culinary torches
Seems like these days everyone and their grandma has a culinary torch – or kitchen flame torches, as people sometimes call them. No kidding: even my father, who didn’t like cooking much, got hooked on them.
I mean, it’s not that surprising. The usual food preparation might feel a tad boring to some.
Directing a jet of flame to finish up/prepare a tasty meal, though? Now that’s exciting!
There are actually endless possibilities to a good kitchen torch like the Bernzomatic’s TS8000. No need to limit it to the usual crème brûlée or sous vide use, or meringues or whatever.
Nope. They can make soldering things (pipes, anyone?) or lighting a campfire easy as pie. To some extent, this also applies to other presumably “culinary” torches that are actually quite the versatile tools.
I won’t lie: a lot of blow torch models are almost identical. The 4 best kitchen torches I’ve picked for you, however, have some subtle differences. Let my reviews help you with picking the right one for you. I’ll then elaborate a bit on how to use your typical culinary torch and what can you actually use it for.
Important note: No matter which model you pick, be careful with overfilling them with gas! Sometimes, the initial flaring can have a wider/stronger flame, so keep that in mind!
The 4 best culinary torches (reviews)
1. Best heavy duty kitchen torch for sous vide:
It’s no coincidence I mentioned this Bernzomatic model above. It’s the leading brand’s most powerful and sophisticated appliance. Going beyond the pure culinary torch limitations, it will serve you on a number of other occasions.
What you want to hear, however, is that it’s a fantastic way to have a professional sous vide experience. Absolutely fantastic.
Perhaps the biggest factor for that is the outstanding flame control and intensity you get here. The TS8000 kitchen blowtorch has the best adjustable control out of all 4 models. It achieves extreme flame precision, with the intensity being easily controlled by a back knob.
Basically, you’re given full freedom whether you want to completely obliterate/incinerate something (not recommended if you want juicy meat!)…or slightly toast things. Generally, you’ll be somewhere in the middle for usual kitchen purposes.
All of this starts with an instant On/Off trigger. It not only saves you fuel, but also lights up faster and easier. In the blink of an eye, actually!
The versatility continues with a very neat feature: you can use it any direction without losing the intensity/velocity of the flame. Different angles are paramount to good culinary results, and some other kitchen torches don’t perform that well in this regard. Bernzomatic has got you covered.
The cast aluminum body is extra tough, very stylish and features a run lock button for finger-free use. If you’re a busy chef or are crazy about cooking at home, you’ll love this feature.
Consider well what kind of gas will you use with it. You can always go for the MAP-PRO gas (reaches up to 3600°F), but that might be a bit too much for food-only uses.
The two downsides of the TS8000 culinary torch are its price and the fact that it’s a little bit heavier than other models. In exchange, however, you’ve got a heavy-duty, professional torch for sous vide…and many other things.
2. Beginner-friendly best creme brulee torch:
EurKitchen safe torch
This neat torch for creme brulees isn’t as powerful as the Bernzomatic, but it gets a fantastic job done with general kitchen tasks. If you’re thinking about caramelizing sugar, playing around with meringues or marshmallows, that’s your tool too.
Why good for beginners? Well, EurKitchen have made safety their priority. The kitchen blow torch comes with a burn-free finger guard so you don’t burn yourself. There’s also a safety lock so other people (looking at the kids!) don’t turn it on accidentally.
While not as stylish, this tool is still quite durable. A mix of ABS plastic and aluminum delivers you a more lightweight culinary blow torch that is quite maneuverable.
In exchange, you’re losing a bit on firepower. At 2370°F, however, this is still a well-performing torch for brulees. The flame will be up to 6″ long, so you can maintain your distance easily too.
You don’t like hassles around sparking, and neither do I – or anyone, for that matter. EurKitchen have equipped their product with the famous Piezo press button ignition. You get instant results and no spark “hiccups” here.
Keep in mind that this cozy torch runs on butane. As with all tools, you have to get the butane separately, as it’s not included with your flame torch purchase.
3. Best premium professional chef torch:
Now this one is a piece of blow torch art. With a full-on steel body and very distinctive patterned design, the Messermeister delivers true class to your kitchen. It’s also a total beast in terms of performance.
The record-breaking point with it is the 200-minute burning time it boasts (when loaded properly, of course.) It’s quite the intelligent system, it seems, as most other models will only run for 60-80 minutes when filled with gas.
Once more, you’re benefiting from the instant-spark of the Piezo ignition system. Fill it, turn it on, and the flame’s ready to open the vast seas of culinary achievements to you.
Messermeister follows in Bernzomatic’s footsteps: it works flawlessly in any angle, depending on your current needs. Roast that meat from above, sideways, or however you wish – the torch will keep a steady pace for optimum results.
Instead of a temperature knob, here you have a control slider. This might be less preferred for some, but it’s not a big issue in my opinion. What matters are the levels of control and flame intensity, and they’re top class here.
Can’t skip on safety and luckily, this kitchen torch for food gets an A score in this regard too. With a child-proof safety lock system and a safety stand for proper balance, Messermeister minimizes risks and hassles.
The downside? Compared with other models, especially the EurKitchen, it might be more difficult to refill this culinary blow torch. By this I mean that you might need a few times to get used to the process. Nothing too nightmarish, though!
4. Best Japanese blowtorch for cooking:
Iwatani CB-TC-CJ Pro+
Iwatani are famous for their Japanese grade quality over several generations of kitchen appliances. The Pro Plus is one of their latest models and to me, deserves its positive culinary torch reviews.
What Iwatani tout a lot is the model’s special feature that helps you avoid turning the gas valve on and off after each use. Instead, they say, just turn the valve on. The gas won’t be released until you physically pull the trigger.
They call it the “one hand operational” mode. I admit it sounds quite amazing, but it’ll mostly matter to ultra busy professionals. If you only want a few sous vide or meringues here and there, it’ll be cozy, but nothing too groundbreaking for you.
This is a very simple and easy to use culinary torch, though. The adjustment options are very intuitive and you can control anything from the shape, to size and intensity.
You can switch from these narrow, pencil-sized flame streams to a wider, fully spread-out flame. Very practical for different culinary uses you might have for this blowtorch.
In terms of power, Iwatani’s offer goes up to 2300°F at 7″ distance, which is weaker than some other models. Still, it’s extremely intuitive controls make up for that. Sometimes you don’t need that much heat anyways, right?
One big downside to this butane kitchen torch is the fact that you have to stick to Iwatani butane canisters. Otherwise you risk ruining the optimum performance of this best food torch produced with Japanese traditions in mind.
How does a cooking torch actually work?
You see that canister of butane (or propane, or other gas)? On the bottom of most kitchen torches you’ll have a so called “female part” where the canister goes. You load the gas into the torch from there. Then, you use a trigger to release the gas.
As you saw from my kitchen torch reviews, modern models come with options to adjust the intensity of the flame you’ll get once a connection is established. This is especially good if you want to use them not only as a culinary tool, but for other household tasks.
A core part in achieving the “spark” is the mechanism of Piezelectricity. Quality blow torches will use the Piezo effect to deliver you a momentous spark without delay or “chocking” of the ignition.
Keep in mind that different models have different tank capacities. Generally, though, all of them have enough space for the fuel to last you for an hour and upwards.
What can you use a culinary torch for?
Here’s the thing: a good blow torch for (supposedly) satisfying your kitchen whims can do way more than that.
General uses include, but are not limited to:
Sous vide masterpieces
Playing around with finger-licking-sweets: marshmallows, meringues, cakes
Caramelizing sugar on anything from desserts to main course dishes
Artisan tasks: wax working, leather crafting, soldering and others
Adventurous things like lighting a campfire when you’re on your dream trip
Getting the cozy factor one notch up by lighting your fireplace for a snug, warm evening
There are numerous applications for a butane torch, so don’t think it’s a tool reserved for only one specific thing. On the contrary!
Will my food smell of butane if I use a blow torch?
If you get a good model and don’t overdo it with the flame velocity/intensity, there should be no butane smell/traces lingering around your dish.
There’s a reason professional chefs are using blow torches for cooking too, remember. That wouldn’t happen if these tools left a stinky dish afterwards, right?
How can I fill/refill my kitchen torch?
Once again, the “a video speaks more than a thousand words” cliche holds true. Here’s a very simple and quick video on how to fill your chef torch and a few things you should be careful for: