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Published Sep. 30, 2021

Even if you’re just working with nuts and bolts jobs, a propane torch can go a long way when knocking stubborn hardware loose. And for the enthusiasts in the crowd, it’s only natural that you’ll start messing around with fabrication and bodywork where a propane torch will help you heat up the metal, making it easier to shape and work. In short, there are virtually limitless uses for a good propane torch and that’s why we’re here to help you pick one out. We’ll run you through some of our favorites on the market then walk you through a quick buying guide to help you nail it down.

Best Propane Torches Reviews & Recommendations

We’re kicking off our list by highlighting a propane torch that offers a little more than the basic models. First and foremost, it features an ignitor to prevent you from reaching for that flint striker to get started. What we think separates this from most, however, is the grip design. With this model, you can grab the torch head rather than the bottle and the finger grooves simply make it more comfortable to use and maneuver. That, paired with the adjustable valve, gives you total control over the tool.

As much as this torch brings to the table, there are some concerns to be aware of. Most seem to find this to be above average in terms of quality, but leaks can occur. Also, the grip can prove bulky in some situations, and the lifespan seems to be relatively short in some cases.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Mag-Torch
  • Part Number 418236
  • Fuel Type Propane
PROS

Use of high-quality parts

Ergonomic and comfortable grip

Features self-ignition

CONS

Quality control issues are evident

Relatively short lifespan

Grip can prove bulky in some situations

If you just need a torch, then your best bet is this BernzOmatic, a company known for producing high-quality torch heads. This model is no exception as it’s built exceptionally well, offers unmatched control and performance of the flame, and it’s about as affordable as it gets. The flame control valve is also very precise, despite what pricing may lead you to believe. This torch is perfect for brazing, soldering, melting, and anything else you could use a propane torch for.

Being basic is a blessing and a curse, though, as there is no proper grip, which may impact your ability to use the tool safely. Also, there’s no ignition, meaning you will need to spark the flame with external means, and this model is known for being difficult to light.

Specs
  • Manufacturer BernzOmatic
  • Part Number ‎361540
  • Fuel Type Propane
PROS

Affordable price point

High-quality construction

Control over flame surpasses expectations

CONS

No self-ignition

Can be difficult to light

Cannot be used as a grip

That’s right, we’re going back to back with BernzOmatic, but because you can use this for propane and MAPP gas, you have a far more versatile tool than our other options. What’s even better is that this is a pack of two, meaning you can dedicate one for each in your collection and not have to swap bottles to get the job done. Of course, the high-quality construction you expect of BernzOmatic is also present, including a self-ignitor and a grip.

The cost of this set can be a major drawback, especially when most people just need one for their arsenal. We’ll also point out that issues with the ignitor are somewhat common, and the small vent on the head is close to the hand, making it imperative that you use gloves whenever you handle this tool.

Specs
  • Manufacturer BernzOmatic
  • Part Number TS8000T
  • Fuel Type Propane and MAPP gas
PROS

High-quality construction

Compatible with propane and MAPP gas

Self-ignition

Can be used as a handle

Includes two torches

CONS

High price point

Ignition is known to be troublesome

Poor location of gas vent near hand

The more you use your torch, the more uses you’ll find for it, that is until the bulky tank keeps you from reaching the places you need to. That’s where something like this torch from Tausom comes into play. This is a wand design, which means it uses a hose to separate the head from the bottle and give you a more compact and manageable torch to work with. How much reach does it offer? It offers 3.5 feet of hose, which should be more than enough for most situations.

The grip is well designed, but the fact that you can use this torch with MAPP gas and propane cement it as a must-have for situations where space is limited. It’s important to understand that this torch does not feature an ignition switch. So you will need to light the flame externally, which can prove difficult in tight spaces and it’s kind of tricky to light. It’s also rather delicate, which is a concern for the nature of work you will use it for.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Tausom
  • Part Number B08ZLLJJ99
  • Fuel Type Propane and MAPP Gas
PROS

Offers extended reach

Easy to maneuver in tight spaces

Compatible with propane and MAPP gas

CONS

No self-ignition

Can be hard to light

Relatively delicate

Every torch we’ve listed so far is great for applying heat to a concentrated area and that’s exactly what you’ll need in most situations for automotive work. However, there are jobs that will benefit from spreading that heat over a significant surface area. This heat torch from Bravex may be just what you’re looking for as the large flame it produces is perfect for melting away grease, gunk, and even undercoating from many different surfaces.

It can also be used to heat up iced-over tarmac and even kill weeds that are growing through the cracks of your driveway. Another excellent detail about this model is that it features a 6.5-foot hose, making it effortless to handle. Throw in a self-ignitor, and you’re in business. That said, it is a relatively expensive torch, and it does seem that durability is something of a concern despite the expense.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Bravex
  • Part Number B08C2NWGNC
  • Fuel Type Propane
PROS

Easily heats large surface areas

Long hose for improved maneuverability

Features self-ignition

CONS

Limited use for automotive work

Relatively high price point

Somewhat delicate

How We Selected The Products 

Propane torches are little more than a valve that taps into a prefilled tank and directs the flow of gas to make for a controlled burn. Yes, a good amount of engineering goes into them, but they aren’t the most complicated device. Still, we took the time to make sure we didn’t recommend just anything. 

The less there is to a piece of equipment, the more important quality becomes. The first thing we made sure of is that we aren’t including leaky, unreliable torches on our list. From there, we considered features, such as the ignition process, compatibility with alternative fuels, and pricing to come up with an option for everyone. 

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

We feel confident in our list. We know that it covers most needs because the selection either directly matches the types of torches we use on our own or come very close to it. That said, we know that it’s not impossible to miss the mark for some. We also understand that you’d like to know as much as possible before you buy. That’s what this buying guide is here for. Reading through will help you understand how to hone in on the best propane torch for your collection and get a better idea of how we came up with our selection. 

What to Consider When Buying Propane Torches

Types of Propane Torches 

To make your selection, you first need to understand the different types of torches on the market. Now, there are a lot of different options, and small tweaks can make a major difference in performance. However, we can generalize the world of propane torches into three different types to help you get started.

Hand-Held Torches

We feel safe in saying that the majority of folks out there are in need of a hand-held propane torch. This type of torch sits directly on top of the propane bottle, which you can use as the handle as you work. It’s as simple as it gets and is perfect for general use. There are variations on flame manipulation and head designs, but all work the same for the most part. 

Wand Torches 

While hand-held torches are extremely popular due to their versatility, there are some limitations to the design. What you’re bound to experience in the automotive world is that they don’t quite fit in the tight spaces you may need to apply heat in. A wand torch is a solution for that situation as it essentially extends the torch head away from the propane bottle with the use of a flexible hose. That gives you a much more maneuverable head to work with, which can be great in wheel wells or under a car. 

Heating Torch 

What we’re classifying as a heating torch identifies with a litany of keywords and phrases. Weed torch, tarmac torch, and asphalt torch are just a few names it goes by. They’re all describing the same basic type of torch, though. This torch is different from the others in that it is much bigger and spreads the flame out over a larger area, allowing you to apply heat over a wider surface. 

Propane Torch Key Features

Now that you know what type of propane torch or torches you need let’s talk about some key features. Don’t worry — there’s little more than common sense required. However, you will want to balance them with your intended use to ensure the torch will perform as you need it to.

Ignition Type

When it comes to lighting a torch, you’ll either need to light the flame yourself or simply pull a trigger to create a spark. For the most part, self-igniting torches are the way to go because they’re much more convenient to work with. 

The issue with self-ignition is that it adds some bulk to the layout. That’s usually a negligible factor, but it can make the torch harder to maneuver in tight spaces. It also tends to add to the price tag, so those without an ignition system still have their place in the world.

Fuel Compatibility 

It can seem redundant to highlight fuel compatibility when we’re talking solely about propane torches but hear us out. The amount of heat a torch can withstand plays a big role in the type of fuel it can burn. In other words, there isn’t much of a change to the overall layout when you opt for something that can work with propane as well as other gases. 

For example, a torch that can burn MAPP gas can typically burn propane. Going with something more capable does drive up the price point, but it boosts the versatility of your tool and prevents you from having to buy more torch heads in the future when you decide more heat is necessary. 

General Design 

Here’s where personal preference comes into play. What might seem like an insignificant or superficial tweak to the layout can actually make a major impact on the working experience. Something like a 90-degree bend in the torch head can prove extremely valuable for brazing or approaching anything from an awkward angle. 

Take a look at your options, and think about your intended use of the torch. If you don’t need any bells and whistles and are comfortable using the bottle as your handle, stick to the most basic layout and save some cash. Otherwise, invest in those fancy grips and designs. Remember that you are working with an open flame, and control is everything. 

Propane Torches Tips and Tricks

You’re ready to pick out the propane torch of your dreams. You can spend some time sorting out a few more details, but what we’ve covered here is going to get you in the ballpark. Before we move on, we do have a couple of basic tips to keep in mind while you’re applying heat. 

Consider the Surroundings 

Propane torches do a wonderful job at directing heat, but things surrounding your target are still going to feel the burn. Always be careful of what’s within your workspace. If plastic parts, fuel lines, or other things that shouldn’t be exposed to a flame are present, you will need to remove them or consider an alternative method. 

Be Mindful of Storage 

Coming from experience, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for a propane torch to start leaking when it’s bounced around or colliding with other objects. Not only is that a waste of fuel, but it can be extremely dangerous. It’s best to remove the torch head from the bottle in storage and always be careful not to store the bottle near any sharp objects or sources of heat. 

Safety Gear is Essential 

Do yourself a favor, wear safety glasses and gloves when using heat. It’s very easy to burn your hands, and it’s not uncommon for grease or other materials on the surface to start popping while you heat things up. Also, be careful of the subject area after heat is applied. We’ve made that mistake before, and it’s a fast way to ruin your day. 

FAQs

While propane torches are simple, and we think we have enough to get you started, you’ve definitely got a few questions on your mind. Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. By answering these frequently asked questions, you should have everything you need to get burning.

Q: Is a propane torch better than a butane torch?

For automotive work and general repairs, propane torches are generally the better choice. However, it really does depend on the work you’re doing. Propane does burn hotter, but that’s not always ideal, and you need to be considerate of what’s appropriate for your project.

Q: Are propane torches safe for use indoors?

So long as you’re careful, propane torches are safe for use indoors. Obviously, controlling the torch and avoiding anything that can catch fire is a must. You should also always make sure the room is well ventilated and that there are no leaks on your torch to prevent risks, which is important for using any torch indoors.

Q: How long does a propane torch last?

Most tanks used for torches can offer anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours of burn time. How long that will last you depends on how often you use your torch. It’s possible to have the same tank for months on end, but you can easily burn through them in just a couple of weeks or even days if you use torches extensively.

Q: Can you braze steel with a propane torch?

Propane torches are an excellent choice when it comes to brazing most metals. In fact, it’s the go-to fuel for most situations. Brazing steel with brass or bronze is not out of the realm of possibility with this type of torch.

Final Thoughts

We stand behind the Magna Industries MT 535 C Regulated Self Lighting Propane Torch as our top pick because the quality and thoughtful design elevate it from a lot of the competition. However, the  BernzOmatic Basic Use UL2317 Brass Pencil Flame Propane Torch is a highly dependable tool you can take home for an exceptionally low investment. Which do you prefer, though? Make sure to fill us in on the propane torch you think ranks higher than any other!

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