LAST UPDATED: June 04, 2018

The Best Propane Torch (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020

Best Choice bernzomatic start torch Bernzomatic TS8000 – High Intensity Trigger Start Torch
Premium Pick red dragon torch kit Red Dragon VT 3-30 C Heavy Duty Propane Torch Kit
Best Value worthington propane torch Worthington Trigger Start Propane Torch

Whether you are welding, brazing, soldering, searing – or even stripping paint – a gas torch can be a useful addition to a home garage. There are simply some tasks, such as welding, that cannot be completed without one of these useful tools.

A propane gas torch can be the way to go. Propane is one of the safer gases to work with as it has a lower flammability point than many others, while still delivering a flame of up to around 3,000-degrees Fahrenheit.

There are a range of different makes and models on the market. These days, even a small propane torch can deliver excellent high temperature flames, so choosing the right model is more important than ever – you really can have a high degree of power right in the palm of your hand, so you need to trust the torch you’ve bought to handle it.

Our guide to the best models will help you select the right tool.

The Best Propane Torch

Our first model is this beauty from Bernzomatic, and it is a well-designed tool packing a lot of useful features.

First there’s that extremely handy automatic ignition. Not as many propane torches as you would imagine come equipped with auto ignition, so it’s great to see it in place here. It basically means that you don’t have to search around for your spark lighter all the time – just pull out your torch, click a button to light it up, and away you go.

The flame this model can generate is also impressive. This torch uses a swirl flame technique, something you really only see on premium models. This type of flame gets extremely hot, around 3,000-degrees Fahrenheit, helping to make the most of the propane propellant.

Key Features
  • Auto Start Ignition
  • Swirl Style Flame for High Heat Output
  • Sturdy, Aluminum Construction
Specification
  • Brand Bernzomatic
  • Model TS8000
  • Weight 1.2 lbs
PROS

Easy to Ignite

Well Built

Powerful Flame

CONS

Relatively Heavy

Can only be Hooked up to Smaller Tanks

Not Painted like a Dragon

While it’s made by Red Dragon, it is not painted or decorated to look like one. It’s a multi-use style propane torch with a long handle, which makes it perfect for burning out weeds and other ground-level applications. It generates a heat of 2,000-degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s toward the lower end of the heat scale – but still a useful amount.  It can be used for the usual vehicle-related functions like soldering and light welding.

It’s also a complete propane torch kit and includes a striker lighter. That is actually pretty useful, as it can be an item many people forget to pick up when they buy their first torch.

Key Features
  • Comes with Hose, Burner Head Unit & Striker Lighter
  • Hand Tightened Tank Fitting
  • Generates up to 2,000 Fahrenheit
Specification
  • Brand Red Dragon
  • Model VT 2-23 C
  • Weight 3.7 lbs
PROS

Complete Kit

Hooks up to Larger Tanks for Long Term Use

Multi-Use

CONS

Expensive

Mid Level Heat Generation

This is another multiuse torch, and one of the larger on the list, with a weight of over 7 pounds. Whilst it does come with a very well designed and ergonomic handle, that weight is perhaps going to make accurate burns that little bit harder after a while.

Hot Max have, in common with some other manufacturers on this list, decided to give the heat output for this torch in BTU. This stands for British Thermal Units, and very simply, one BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one Fahrenheit.

Suffice to say this is a pretty powerful torch. It has two burn levels too, which is useful. A standard burn will generate a good flame, whilst a small trigger on the handle can be depressed for the very cool sounding “Turbo Flame” which will knock the torch into overdrive.

All in all then, one of the heavier torches on the list, but if pure power is your main consideration it may be worth a look.

Key Features
  • 500,000 BTU
  • Ergonomic Handle
Specification
  • Brand Hot Max
  • Model 500G
  • Weight 7.33 lbs
PROS

Powerful

Comfortable to Hold

CONS

Heavy

No Built in Auto-Lighter

This small propane torch from Worthington has quite a few notable points. First, it’s pretty small, being about 10 inches tall and weighing in at less than three ounces. In addition, it’s also very inexpensive.

Plus, it has an auto trigger lighter built in, so it’s easy to ignite, while the small dial controls propane flow, so it’s easy to use. That small size also makes accurate burns nice and easy, and this torch is perfect for small soldering jobs, for example.

On the downside, it’s a pretty basic model with less than premium level construction and build materials – it’s not a high-end handheld torch such as our best pick.

That being said, it is a well-designed little tool, and frankly you are getting a lot for a relatively small amount of money.

Key Features
  • Trigger Auto Ignition
  • Stainless Steel Tube
  • Handheld Design
Specification
  • Brand Worthington
  • Model 361552
  • Weight 2.24 oz
PROS

Small & Light

Easy to Use

Built In Auto Lighter

CONS

Very Basic Design

Not Premium Materials

Our next model is another representative from the Multi-Use section of propane blowtorch. What we have here is one of the long necked variations of torch, though this one is a little smaller than some of the others, with a total weight of about 3 pounds.

Don’t let that fool you into thinking it is going to be underpowered however, with the neat little tool able to generate a heat as high as 3,000 Fahrenheit. It hits those heights with the help of a flame booster, activated by the large trigger built into the insulated, and fairly comfortable, handle.

The torch head is a little on the wide side, meaning that the flame itself is consequently a little wider than some that can be found on the list. That makes it well suited to jobs where you need to apply heat over a wider area, but you may struggle with smaller, intricate welds and solders.

Key Features
  • Turbo Blast Trigger
  • Heats up to 3,000 Fahrenheit
  • Insulated Grip
Specification
  • Brand Greenwood
  • Model 91033
  • Weight 3 lbs
PROS

Handle Mounted Boost Trigger

Durable Steel Design

High Heat Generation

CONS

Difficult to Achieve Accurate Burns

No Auto-Ignition

This propane torch has a very simple, straightforward design. There’s no trigger for boost mode, no auto ignition, and no swirl flame. Just hook it up to a 20-pound (or bigger) tank, light it up with the bundled striker device, and away you go.

In operation, it produces a very powerful flame, and the well-designed three-inch head does a good job of keeping the burn area nice and tight – though just as with any larger multi-use model, it will be tougher to achieve accuracy for smaller jobs.

Very well made (here in the United States) with good-quality stainless steel, this is clearly a well put together, very solid tool. It is, however, one of the more basic models on the list, while also boasting one of the higher price tags.

Key Features
  • Generates 500,000 BTU
  • Includes Striker Lighter
  • Steel Construction
Specification
  • Brand Red Dragon
  • Model VT 3-30 C
  • Weight 3.65 lbs
PROS

Light

Powerful Flame

Simple to Use

CONS

Expensive

Quite a Basic Design

This is our second entry from Bernzomatic and it is, to say the least, something of a quirky design. It isn’t, as it might seem at first glance, a modern update of Charlie Chaplin’s walking stick.

Instead, what we have here is a cool mixture of the Multi-Use and hand held models, with a smaller propane torch head at the end of an extended pipe that feeds directly into a smaller propane bottle connected directly to the device.

In one sense that gives this model a kind of “best of both words” design aspect. You have the smaller flame for more accurate burns as typically seen on hand held models, with the large size for easier use in a variety of applications as seen on Multi-use.

It’s certainly an interesting, if slightly underpowered, design.

Key Features
  • Auto Ignition
  • 20,000 BTU Heat Generated
  • Adjustable Flame Control
Specification
  • Brand Bernzomatic
  • Model JT850
  • Weight 1 lb
PROS

Flame Control is Easy

Light & Hand Held Design

Multiple Uses

CONS

Underpowered

The fact a model lacks auto ignition will make more or less difference to different people when they are selecting their model of propane gas torch. Whatever you feel about this however, if a torch is being sold as a kit and comes bundled with a striker style lighter, then you want that lighter to be good quality. 

No such joy here, so do anticipate picking up a new striker sooner rather than later – though in truth, they’re not so expensive or hard to find.

Apart from that issue though, this is all in all a pretty decent torch from the Multi-Use end of the design spectrum. It’s very simple, another of the plug and play varieties with no controls – including for a booster trigger – mounted on the device. Simply plug in, light it up and adjust the flow directly via the small valve on the torch bottom.

What it may lack in refined features however it more than makes up for in raw power.

Key Features
  • 61-Inch Hose
  • Works with 20 Pound (or Bigger) Tanks
  • Generates Up To 500,000 BTU
Specification
  • Brand Mag-Torch
  • Model MT 5000
  • Weight 3.9 lbs
PROS

Very Powerful

Very Simple

Long Gas Hose

CONS

Lacks Auto Ignition

No Booster Trigger

Bundled Striker is Rubbish

Our penultimate model is a bit of a mixture of torches that have come before on the list. So, on the one hand we have a nice wide, steel constructed nozzle that is connected to a very thin flow valve/pipe – also of steel construction.

That is the kind of design we’ve seen on the more basic versions of these models. However, we also have a really well designed, ergonomic handle, with flow control. That is a very good feature to see, as it places flow – and so flame power – control right into the palm of your hand.

This gas torch is also capable of generating a flame with a temperature of up to 3,000 Fahrenheit, making it one of the more powerful on the list. Without beating the same drum, just bare in mind these types of torch may not be the most accurate with that heat.

Also note this model lack a built in auto ignition, and also does not come bundled with an external, striker style lighter.

Key Features
  • Steel Construction in Nozzle
  • Insulated Ergonomic Grip
  • Heat to Up to 3,000 Fahrenheit
Specification
  • Brand Greenwood
  • Model 61589
  • Weight 2.5 lbs
PROS

Very Light

Long Gas Tube

Excellent Temperature

CONS

Wide Flame

No Auto Ignition or Striker

Our final model and it’s another product from Red Dragon, still happily ignoring their own company name. This model is another variation on Chaplin’s walking stick. Just like the version we saw earlier then, this makes for a model with a wide range of uses and functions.

This model is a bit more of premium design than the one we looked at earlier however. Whilst that does mean we have a higher price point, we also have a number of useful features built in.

The flame in particular is a step up. Not only is it more powerful, it is also easily adjustable and also remarkably accurate. The torch comes bundled with a decent quality striker to get it started, and it runs off of 1 pound canisters that are easy to attach.

Those canisters do keep the overall weight down, meaning this really is a true hand held model, but do bear in mind that 1 pound of propane is not going to give a particularly long burn time.

Key Features
  • Adjustable Flame
  • Hand Held Model
  • 25,000 BTU
Specification
  • Brand Red Dragon
  • Model VT 1-32 C
  • Weight 2.4 lbs
PROS

Steel Construction

Easy to Use

Small, Accurate Flame

CONS

Weak Flame

1 Pound Gas Canisters

Best Propane Torch Buying Guide & FAQ

It’s pretty obvious from our list that there is a wide variety in the types of models currently on the market. Everything from small and accurate propane torches to big beasts you could use to storm a World War 2 bunker, there is a lot of variety out there.

We’re just going to go through a few of the features of the different types, and then tackle some of the most frequently asked questions about these models. Stick with us, and we’ll light a fire for propane torches.

Get it?

propane torch

Features To Consider When Choosing The Best Propane Torch

These are the main features to consider when making your decision. The more features, typically the higher the price – but also the better job it could end up doing for you.

Swirl Style Flame – A premium model will employ a swirl style of flame. This type of flame gets much hotter in a smaller area, allowing for high accuracy for precision weld and solders without affecting performance.

Turbo Boost Trigger – usually found on larger models, a boost trigger is an easy way to quickly increase the gas – and therefore flame power. It’s easier and more convenient than having to fiddle with the supply knob, especially if it’s mounted on the tank connector valve.

Auto Ignition – Click a button, get a flame. Faster and more convenient than the old fashioned, external Striker style of ignition.

Construction Material – Either Steel or Aluminum will be employed in the construction of the pipe and torch head. Both are fine, but premium models will usually employ aluminum, as it’s a little bit lighter.

How to Properly Use a Propane Torch

One of the key elements of using a torch is getting the sucker lit up in the first place. After all, without a flame at the end, a propane blowtorch is just a fancy metal tube.

Here is a great guide to getting the torch-started from our friends at How Stuff Works.

Naturally, since you’re here on Car Bibles you’re probably checking out a propane torch to use on your car. In that case, the use is probably going to be limited to welding and soldering – here’s a great guide to welding from Popular Mechanics.

best propane torch

Safety Precautions When Using a Propane Torch

A propane torch puts a lot of power straight into your hand – the power of fire! But it doesn’t really take much in the way of safety precautions to keep you safe – apart from common sense of course.

So just make sure you:

1) Wear safety equipment

2) Work in a well lit and well ventilated area

3) Adjust the flame so it is appropriate for the work you’re doing

4) Be aware of flammable materials in your workspace

5) Always be aware of the propane tanks location, as well as any connecting cables or pipes.

Best Propane Torch FAQ:

Got a question about propane torches?

Q:  What Can The Propane Torch be Used For? 

A:  As we mentioned above, if you’re buying this tool to use on your car it will probably be used for welding and soldering.

They can have other uses however, such as loosening tight or rusty bolts, melting snow and ice off the driveway (how cool will you look doing that? Very cool is the answer) and even tackling stubborn weeds in the yard.

Check out this video guide here which outlines some of the other uses that a propane torch can be put too.

Q:  Is it Safe Buying a Propane Torch Online?

A:  Of course! Just make sure you buy one with the flame strength appropriate to the task you want to complete, with the types of control and tank hook up you feel confident using.

Q:  What Temperature does a Propane Torch Burn At?

A:  It depends which model you go for of course, but a propane torch can reach a temperature of a little over 3,000 Fahrenheit.

Q:  Why is My Propane Torch Ticking?

A:  A ticking or pinging sound is usually an indicator of an uneven mixture of propane and air. It could also be a faulty valve.

Either way, the issue lies with the propane tank, not the torch, so contact the manufacturer or supplier of the tank for a replacement.

Our Top Pick 

You’re going to have to scroll all the way back to the top of the list, because the best product on it is right at the top of the tree – Item Number 1, the Bernzomatic TS8000.

For our money (and yours) no other product on this list so successfully combined ease of use with such a powerful (and therefore useful) flame. It also boasted an excellent construction of robust materials meaning it should give you a nice long life span. All that and it’s not even the most expensive product on the list should amply illustrate why it’s Number 1.

Related Posts: Best Welding Helmets and Best MIG Welders

Sources:

  1. BTU Explanation – Sciencing
  2. Guide to Torch Lighting – How Stuff Works
  3. 5 Uses for a Propane Torch – YouTube
  4. Basics of Welding – Popular Mechanics