The best firelighters of 2023 (2023)

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Written byScott Einsmann

Updated December 7, 2022 11:36 am

I love making fire, but I don't always want to go to the trouble of making a feather stick or collecting birch bark. This is where fire starters come into play. They're like pressing the simple button to start fire, but they're not all created equal. The best firelighters are easy to light and stay lit to ignite your kindling.

To help you find the best fire starter, I ranked the top brands on the market in a series of tests. I rated each fire starter for burn time, waterproofness, wind resistance, and ease of lighting. The following fire starters are the best of the best for various applications. The burn time and waterproof rating in the "Key Features" section of each review are based on my test, not the stated time or rating. Here are my top picks:

  • Best Fire Starter:Pyro-Kitt
  • Best for Survival:fire flame
  • Best for camping:Superior Trading Co. Light a Fire
  • Best for the fireplace: Midwest Stove
  • Best Natural Fire Starter: Eco-Stix Fettholz
  • Best Ferro Rod:Exotac fireROD

Best Fire Starter:Pyro-Kitt


Why it made the cut

Phone Skope's Pyro Putty is waterproof, easy to light, glows even in inclement weather and burns for a long time.

Key Features

  • Burn time: 8 minutes
  • Stays lit in strong winds
  • Waterproof


  • Easy to carry in a backpack or survival kit
  • Easy to light
  • Long burn time
  • weatherproof


  • Slow light when wet
  • Not quite natural

Product description

ThePhone Skope Pyro Puttyis a sophisticated fire starter with more uses than just making fire. If your tent leaks, you can rub Pyro Putty on the area to waterproof it. It is available in different formulas optimized for different seasons. Pyro Putty makes a cold and warm weather putty as well as an all-natural and ultra-lightweight version. I tested the warm weather Pyro Putty on a sunny 80 degree day.

The pyro putty I tested came in individually wrapped packages with a small amount of putty in each package. For the first test, I took the dough out of the pack, lit it with a lighter and started my stopwatch. It produced a good sized flame for five minutes and then started to go out. At 8 minutes the flame went out. That's a respectable burn time for only 0.1 ounce of material. It was also extremely easy to light, taking less than a second to catch fire.

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The best firelighters of 2023 (2)

For the waterproof test, I took the putty out of its waterproof packaging and submerged it for 7 minutes. Once immersed, the Pyro Putty was slow to ignite and did not burn as hot as it had fully dried. The good thing is that the waterproof packaging would protect the putty from such a long exposure to water. In my high wind test, the Pyro Putty stayed lit with a leaf blower simulating a high wind. So if you're trying to start a fire when the rain is blowing sideways, Pyro Putty is a great choice.

Pyro Putty is an all round solution to your fire starting needs. It works well in a survival kit, bug out bag, campfire, and fireplace. The only downside to the version I tested is that it's not a natural fire starter, but Pyro Putty has an all-natural formula available.

Best Fire Starter for Survival:fire flame

Why it made the cut

This is a fire starter that will ignite during a rainstorm and after it is fully submerged. It is also lit with either a lighter, a match, or a ferrous stick.

Key Features

  • Burn time: 5 minutes
  • Waterproof


  • Easy to carry in a backpack or survival kit
  • Lights up easily wet or dry
  • natural materials


  • Breaks apart

Product description

Thefire flameFirestarter is a paraffin wax firestarter that is fully waterproof. It contains no harsh chemicals, which is great for starting a cooking fire. It's also lightweight and comes individually wrapped in plastic. In my test it burned for five minutes with a good sized flame to start a fire.

In the waterproof test when I got her out of the water she was completely unimpressed. It burned just as hot and just as long as it dried. It was also just as easy to glow wet or dry. It didn't fare as well in the high wind test, but it fared far better than all other fire starters in the waterproof test. Given how easy it is to light wet or dry and being lightweight, I would recommend it as my choice for a survival kit.

Best Fire Starter for Camping:Superior Trading Co. Light a Fire


Why it made the cut

Light a Fire is a natural fire starter that offers a long burn time to get even the most stubborn fires going.

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Key Features

  • Burn time: 14 minutes
  • All natural
  • Great performance in the wind test


  • Long burn time
  • Big Flame


  • Not a good option for a backpack
  • Not waterproof

Product description

When testing is theLight a firestood head and shoulders above the rest in high wind and burn duration tests. It burned longer - with a huge flame - than the other firelighters. It stayed lit even in strong winds. With all the good things comes the downside that it didn't like getting wet. It struggled to light and remained unlit after being submerged in the water.

Its design is not suitable to be carried in a backpack. But the Light a Fire is an excellent choice to keep at home, in a cabin, or when car camping. With its long burning time and wind resistance, it will start a blazing fire for you under the conditions you want to enjoy a campfire.

Best for the fireplace:Midwest Stove


Why it made the cut

The Midwest Hearth's long burn time and natural materials make it a great option for your fireplace or campfire.

Key Features

  • Burn time: 11 minutes
  • Naturally
  • Flat design is easy to store


  • Easy to light
  • Safe to use for cooking fires


  • Not waterproof

Product description

TheMidwest StoveFire starter resembles a thick piece of cardboard. But don't let the appearance of the pedestrians fool you - these little flat squares make excellent fire starters. In the burn time test, it lasted 11 minutes, which is enough time to get all but the most stubborn fires blazing. It is not waterproof and became soaked with water like cardboard after being submerged for 7 minutes. It didn't fare well in the wind test either. But my favorite feature of the Midwest Hearth is that its low-profile design and mess-free construction make it ideal for home storage. This combined with its natural materials and long burn time makes it my top choice for a fireplace lighter.

Best Natural Fire Starter:Eco-Stix Fettholz


Why it made the cut

Fatwood is a classic natural fire starter that can be harvested or purchased. The high resin content in fatwood makes it easily hot and easily combustible.

Key Features

  • Burn time: 6 minutes
  • natural wood


  • Consistent
  • Acts as an igniter and fire starter


  • Takes longer to light than other lighters

Product description

Fettholzis obtained from the heartwood of dead pine trees. It is naturally rich in resins that make it easy to catch fire and burn even when wet. In the burning time test, a piece of Fatwood burned for 6 minutes. When wet it took longer to light - but once lit it burned well. I think it's best to use several pieces of fatwood as a kindling and fire starter all in one. With a normal lighter, the wood ignites in a few seconds. If you want to make it really easy to start a fire, combine the fatwood pieces with any of the other camping fire starters on this list.

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Best Ferro Rod:Exotac fireROD


Why it made the cut

The Exotac FireRod sparks better than any other fire rod I've tested and is beautifully finished.

Key Features

  • Tinder Haircut
  • Waterproof
  • Milled aluminum body
  • 5/16 inch diameter ferro rod


  • Ferro Rod is easy to replace
  • Easily light tinder
  • Ergonomic handle


  • Preis

Product description

The best firelighters of 2023 (8)

While you can start fires with lighters and matches, a ferrocerium staff is an excellent survival and skill-building option. They're a great survival option because they're waterproof, portable, and you can start hundreds of fires with a ferro staff. They take time to master, but building the skills necessary to use them is a worthy investment for outdoor enthusiasts. There is no better ferro rod on the market than thisExotac firestick. The aluminum handle is ergonomic and gives you a secure grip in all weather conditions. Whether you're wielding a square-backed knife or a custom striker, the 5/16-inch diameter Ferro Rod throws a hail of sparks. It also has cool features like a tinder capsule that contains Exotac quickLIGHT tabs so you'll always have fire-igniting tinder. If you ever wear out the ferro rod, you can easily replace it by threading in a spare. The downside of the FireRod is its price. It's more expensive than other ferrocerium fire starters, but has properties others don't and will last indefinitely with spare ferrorods.

Final Thoughts

Each of these tried and tested firelighters will help you get a roaring fire started, so you spend less time building a fire and more time enjoying it. The key is to choose the best fire starter for your applicationBasics of starting fires, and always put safety first when starting fires.

How to choose a fire starter

All of these fire starters are awesome, but the key is choosing the best fire starter for you. Need a packable and weatherproof fire starter? Then thePyro-Kittorfire flamewould be your best choice. If you are looking for a fire starter for your home, cabin or car camp, you have a wider choice. It's also a good idea to consider the ignition source for your fire starter. Will you light it with a lighter, matches or an iron stick? Even the best ferro rods won't light certain fire starters like theseMidwest Stove, but they catch fire easilyPyro-Kitt.

The best firelighters of 2023 (9)


Whether you're starting a fire in your fireplace or on a remote backpacking trip, you need a fire starter to easily light and get your fire started. To find the best firelighters, I tested them under the same conditions to measure their performance. I wanted to find out how they behave under the following conditions:

  • Burn time (How long does it burn?)
  • Wind power (Will strong wind put out the flame?)
  • Waterproof (will it glow when wet?)
  • Easy ignition (Is it easy to light?)

To test burn time, I lit the fire starter and determined how long it took for it to burn out. This test is helpful because a longer burn time means there is a greater chance that your fire's fuel will ignite. This was also a good baseline test to see the size of the flame and how well each burned. How each performs on the burn time test is shown in the Key Features section.

For the wind power test, I lit the fire starter and then idled a leaf blower ten feet away. The steady flow of air simulated strong winds.

For the waterproof test, I immersed each fire starter in a bucket of water for 7 minutes. For the individually wrapped fire starters, I opened the packaging before submerging them. Then I tried to light each fire starter.

The last thing you want is a fire starter that's hard to light. To test how easy the first starters were to light, I used a Bic lighter and timed how long from the moment the flame touched the fire starter to how long it ignited.

Fire Starting Tips by Kevin Estela: Types of Fire Layouts

The best firelighters of 2023 (10)

Assuming you have identified the place where you want to make a fire, you need to think about what kind of fire will help you achieve your goal. There are several ways to arrange your fire so that it produces maximum light and heat, burns long and other ways you can control the amount of heat you cook with. How you compose your fire is called "starting the fire". Here are the common fire locations and what they are best for.

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Das Tipi

Perhaps the most iconic and recognizable fire is the tipi fire, which takes its name from the cone-shaped configuration of firewood. This fire burns quickly, much like a wooden match turned upside down, producing a high, bright flame. It's a good fire pit when you need to warm someone up or when you want to light up your campsite at night.

log cabin

An alternative to the tipi is the log cabin fire laying. Similar to Lincoln Logs, this fire consists of vertical logs forming a box and can be used for cooking as it burns very evenly and does not flare up.

platform and support

A hybrid of log house fire is another called "platform and support". Think of this firelay as a single corner of a log cabin built on a heavier log that allows airflow. The corner of the platform and strut faces the direction the wind is blowing, and the initial fire is lit on the inside of the corner. This forces the flame into the material you wish to burn.

long fire

Additional layers of fire include long fires built down the length of a body and resting alongside it. The long fire is popular with winter camping enthusiasts and bushcrafters, who use it when temperatures drop and wood resources are plentiful.

Starfire Similar to the long fire, the starfire is used by groups of outdoor people who camp next to a fire for the night. The Starfire has a central fire with long tree trunks protruding from the center like spokes on a wheel. The campers sleep between the spokes and throughout the night each camper can push the nearby spoke into the fire to keep it burning.

Click here for Estela's full article on starting a fireHere.

Continue reading: How to make a fire

frequently asked Questions

The most pressing questions - and answers - about buying your next kindling.

Q: What is the best fire starter for a fire pit?

The best fire starter fora fireplaceis theSuperior Trading Co. Light a Fire. It burns for 14 minutes with a large flame to easily get a fire going and is excellent in strong winds too.

Q: Do you need a fire starter?

You absolutely don't need to buy a fire starter, but you do need some kind of tinder, be it a feather stick, birch bark, or harvested fatwood.

Q: Do fire starters expire?

Some lighters can deteriorate and others can absorb moisture if not stored properly. Refer to the manufacturer's information on expiration dates and proper storage.

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Outdoor Life editors not only enjoy hunting and fishing as hobbies — pursuing those passions is what makes us who we are. Our authors are also inveterate outdoor men and women. For more than a century, OL has been rating the latest and greatest in outdoor gear, providing our readers with No-B.S. Reviews. We test products in the field under real conditions. We write about the pros and cons of each product we review so you know exactly what you're getting when you decide to purchase the gear we cover. Only the best hunting, fishing, backpacking, camping and survival gear makes it into our reviews and round-ups. When we report it, you know it's legitimate.


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