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There are so many reasons to add a culinary torch to your arsenal. Not only will the mini flame create a perfect crust of sugar on crème brûlée custard, but it will also give you a faux oven-baked crust atop macaroni and cheese, a browned blanket of Gruyere on French onion soup, and beautifully crispy au gratin potatoes. You can even use one to roast peppers or toast s'mores. Depending on your experience level and what you want to use it for primarily, some models are better suited than others. We researched the best kitchen torches to help you find your match.
Best Overall: Iwatani International PRO2 Culinary Butane Torch
Iwatani knows their torches: The Japanese brand has a stellar culinary reputation, and its PRO2 model is a home chef's dream. The head connects directly to a butane tank (one negative—you will need to buy the brand's proprietary tanks), providing the perfect amount of power for your non-pro kitchen.
Expect a burn time of 100 minutes per canister, offering plenty of time to toast meringues, sear sushi, and blacken tomatoes. The strength and shape of the flame can be adjusted separately, letting you dial the customization to suit your unique needs.
Many kitchen torches have an all-in-one chassis design with a refillable butane compartment. That offers a number of advantages, but it also leads to weaker flames, and reviewers consistently find these styles difficult to fill. But screwing on Iwatani's butane tank is simple, and the direct connection creates a more powerful flame.
Best for Crème Brûlée: EurKitchen Butane Torch with Fuel Gauge
A truly jaw-dropping crème brûlée requires a delicate, yet fearless hand, and the EurKitchen torch promises to give you the courage to make that sugar bubble. The all-in-one design holds up to 12 grams of butane, and you'll never know when you're running low thanks to the handy fuel gauge. (EurKitchen does make a cheaper model without the fuel gauge, but we recommend upgrading.)
Don't fret about getting up close and personal with your about-to-be-brûléed ramekins: the EurKitchen's finger guard means you won't get burned, no matter how big your flame is—and this model can shoot up to 6 inches of fire.
Because the EurKitchen utilizes a gas control knob, not a trigger, you're ensured an even flow. No need to worry about ugly, half-crisped, and half-burnt crème brûlées. With a little practice, your desserts will be picture-perfect.
Best Budget: Gibot Blow Torch Lighter
For the crème brûlée-curious, dropping $20-plus on a kitchen torch you might use only once can feel like a foolish purchase. Test out your (miniature) flame-throwing skills with the GiBot Blow Torch Lighter, which offers a non-finicky introduction to fire for an affordable cost.
Unlike large professional models, the GiBot doesn't connect directly to a butane fuel tank. Instead, you'll pour butane directly into the gas cylinder, which holds 8 to 10 grams of gas—enough to perfect your after-dinner desserts.
This mini-model is only 4.7 inches tall, but despite its wee size it still produces an impressive flame, topping out at 5 to 6 inches long. That's enough to give your brûlées an impressive crust, although you might find yourself running out of gas if you're using it for big batches, and it may not be powerful enough to darken your meats quite as much as you'd like.
Best for Steaks: SearTeq Searing Torch Attachment
Most butane torches struggle to effectively sear steaks after a sous-vide bath—especially if you're looking for more than a light char. The solution? Bust out the blowtorch, whose higher temperatures can sear a steak in seconds. A little assistance helps, though, because a blow torch isn't designed for careful close-up work.
Enter the SearTeq, which attaches to the torch tip and directs and focuses the flames. Despite the serious firepower, your steaks won't wind up smoky or overdone. Plus, the MAP-Pro fuel leaves no taste behind, ensuring you won't accidentally dine on butane or propane.
Yes, a torch is required for searing success. The company recommends the Bernzomatic TS800, whose tip fits perfectly inside the SearTeq.
Best Professional-Grade: Bernzomatic TS3500KC Multi-Use Torch Kit
Bernzomatic TS3500KC offers the best of both worlds: a comfortable, ergonomic handle attached to a professional-grade propane tank. Why propane? Propane provides more consistent heat than butane, which simplifies caramelization, cooks more quickly, and ensures an even exterior. That's extra-important when your kitchen torch skills graduate to steak-searing, which needs to happen quickly, otherwise, you'll be eating a crispy, yet somehow cold, dinner.
The Bernzomatic tip is pressure-regulated, so no matter how much you twist and turn, your food remains consistent. But there are some drawbacks to this pro option: You'll need to connect the propane tank yourself, and at 2.8 pounds, long bouts of brûléeing might strain your hands.
Best Ergonomic: Williams Sonoma Kitchen Torch
Laboring over a meal of seared steaks and blackened tomatoes can be back-breaking, finger-aching work. An ergonomic kitchen torch takes away the pain. At eight-and-a-half inches, Williams Sonoma's kitchen torch perfectly fits your palm, and the comfort grip keeps your joints pain-free. The angled nozzle means you don't have to twist your hand awkwardly for even burning.
Use the adjustable switch to change the length of the flame, depending on what you're searing. Steaks? You'll want as much fire as the torch will provide. Tiny marshmallows for tiny s'mores need much less. Reviews do say it can be tricky to fill, so make sure you're flipping it upside down before adding the butane, otherwise, it may spill.
Best for Novices: Fox Run Crème Brûlée Chef Torch
If you're just toying around with the idea of introducing fire to your kitchen, there's no need to splurge on a fancy blowtorch attachment or full canisters of propane or butane. Instead, pick something that just works, without too much fiddling.
The Fox Run kitchen torch has an easy-on push button that assures you have a fire when you want it—and never when you don't. Many butane models instead use a dial to adjust the strength of the always-on flame. That's great if you're comfortable with fire, but if you're still getting used to the concept, a push-button is key.
This model will support you throughout your home kitchen career. An adjustable flame makes it easy to upgrade to blackened tomatoes and seared meats, and the rubber and stainless steel construction mean it's durable enough to last for years to come.