An electric firestarter can help with starting the charcoal for your barbecue because this can be a little challenging sometimes. Find out all about them here
More and more people do not like to use lighter fluid or starter blocks anymore because of the chemicals. A charcoal chimney starter is easy to use as you can read in my how to start a charcoal grill without lighter fluid, but some people do not like the use of them because of the newspaper that can blow away and they can get pretty hot.
Updated: February, 2024
The next option I discuss here in my electric firestarter reviews is the use of an electric fire starter for charcoal grills, which is becoming more and more popular to use.
Top 5 Electric Firestarters reviewed:
Although there are probably a lot more electric fire starters that I can mention here I narrowed it down to the ones with the best customer ratings.
looftlighter Electric Firestarter
The electric charcoal starter and all the reviews I read show that it is, without a doubt, one of the most popular electric firestarter blowers. Some people even call it the best electric charcoal starter.
This electric barbecue fire starter does not use a flame, but a stream of very hot air that according to the manufacturer reaches 1256 °F (680°C). There are over 170 ratings on Amazon with an average of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
There was one user who described the Looflighter as a blow dryer on steroids and I think that is a good description.
I just have seen a few problems with the durability of this electric charcoal starter, but they were most of the time caused by keeping it too close to the fire.
The Looflighter is 1800 Watts in Europe and 1500 Watts in the USA. The difference is caused by the difference in voltage. The cost of using the Looflighter is about 1//2 cents per minute.
See if this is what you are looking for since the price is higher compared to some other products I looked at.
If you need another brand you can look at my page with choices in a Looftlighter alternative.
Char-Broil Electric Charcoal Starter
With its 550 Watts, it is a little lighter than some of the other ones.
The heating coil is also made from stainless steel but is just straight.
The plastic handle will keep it cool to the touch. The cord is a little short so you probably need an extension cord for this electric charcoal starter. see our recommendation at the bottom of this page.
Most of the over 3500 ratings of this Char Broil electric charcoal igniter I have read mentioned they are happy with the performance and they mentioned it works great even in windy circumstances.
This is one of the pros of this type of starter compared to a chimney in my opinion and with a price of around 15 dollars, this is a good buy in my opinion.
Better Grill Rating: 4.6
WishDirect Electric Fire Starter
You definitely need a quality extension cord for this WishDirect charcoal starter.
The cord is too short to reach any outlet you have while in the grill. I could not find the Watts for it at first but found later that it is 600 Watts about the same as the other charcoal starters.
The claim is that it will start your charcoal in about 10 minutes and I read that that is pretty much right on the dot and many even mentioned it takes only 8 minutes.
With an average of 4.3 stars and covered by the Charcoal Companion brand there is not much wrong with this electric charcoal starter.
Better Grill Rating: 4.7
KITOSUN Electric BBQ Fire lighter
The KITOSUN electric fire starter is the only one I found that was 700 Watts and a 5 5-ft cable.
The cord is 5 feet long, so if your outlet is close enough you don’t have to use an extension cord.
Since the shape is bent like some other brands you can bury it in the charcoal in any direction you want.
For the rest, this electric starter works as expected.
One person uses it to light her fireplace logs and that works well she says. So you can probably also use it for your over-the-fire cooking campfire starting I guess.
Better Grill: 4.4
Afoosoo Electric Fire Starter Lighter
I found this on a little later when I started looking for more 700 Watts charcoal starters.
This one has a 4.6-star rating from over 150 people which is pretty good.
I also looked at how many are sold and this one came with 100+ sold in the last month
What I like is the 5 feet cord. This will make it easier to find an outlet without having to use an extension cord.
Better Grill: 4.6
How To Use An Electric Firestarter
The most used and safest way to start your charcoal with the help of any electric BBQ starter is to make sure that there is no technical problem with the charcoal fire lighter.
Check the wiring and make sure these are okay. Also, use a good-quality extension cord if you have to.
Now build a pile of charcoal big enough to stick your whole burner part in there. Make sure the handle is not straight above it but place the starter at an angle, so it does not get burnt.
The exception is the Looftlighter. This one works like a torch and needs to be kept in your hand.
Now all you have to do is plug it in and wait till the charcoal starts to burn. After that remove your charcoal fire lighter and place it in a safe place where it can cool off.
If you use this method there is not much that can go wrong. Just look at my recommendation about the best extension cord if you have to use one.
Electric Firestarter vs Charcoal Chimney
I personally use a chimney starter, because most of the time I use charcoal for my smoker.
I can, however, imagine that if you live in a city or are close to neighbors the change of pieces of burned paper flying around is not a great option.
It can also be that your yard is next to a dry field in the summer and you do not like to use an open fire. In those situations, an electric charcoal lighter is a better option.
The biggest difference is, in my opinion, that with a chimney starter, you light all the charcoal and with an electric grill starter you light only the charcoal that is touched by the heated tip and it will take longer for all the charcoal to be ready to use.
This can be an advantage when you are using the snake method on your charcoal grill.
It is up to you to decide the best electric charcoal starter for your grill or smoker. I just hope you will use it in a safe way.
I noticed that in general, this type of starter gets a little lower ratings. It is strange since most people like to use them. I guess that is because in most cases you need an extension cord unless you have an outlet next to your grill.
Electric Firestarter Recommendations
Never exceed the time that is given in the manual. I think this is a safety feature to prevent the handle and or cord from getting too hot and maybe melting.
If you have to walk away and leave your electric grill lighter, make sure to use a timer. I read a story about a bad fire that got started by leaving an electric grill starter unattended. The best way, of course, is to stay with it at all times.
Also, make sure that you have a place to put the electric grill starter after using it as a Charcoal lighter because it is still hot and needs to cool off in a safe spot to avoid a fire.
The use of a quality extension cord is a must since most starters come with a really short cord that most of the time does not reach the outlet.
I found a high-quality 12 gauge extension cord that came recommended form 260 people with a 4.8-star rating.
I am sure there are many more charcoal electric lighters & firestarters. My goal was to find the top 5 with the highest ratings and customer satisfaction.
If you have any experience with an electric starter for your charcoal let us know in the comments below.
There are of course more ways to start a charcoal grill but these electric fire starters do a good job.
Eddie van Aken
Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he can find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews he is doing. You can read more on the about page for Eddie van Aken