Best Charcoal Chimney Starter – Top 5 Picks For 2021

Waiting till the charcoal is lit and ready is the hardest and most not-cool part of the whole barbecue experience. Although there are many reliable ways to light charcoal, we’ve all had a time where it’s just gone all wrong. Using the best charcoal chimney starters will allow you to light your grill quickly and effortlessly every time, without fiddling with matches and lighter fluid.

Why Use A Chimney Starter?

More Reliable

By using a charcoal chimney starter, you’ll be able to light your grill within fifteen minutes or less every time. No more going through dozens of matches or messing around with with lighter fluid. You just simply light the starter and wait for it to heat up the coals, when they turn white and have a layer of ash over them dump the coals in your grill and start cooking.

Cleaner & Environmentally Friendly

Unlike other methods of lighting your charcoal grill, chimney starters don’t force you to burn through matches or lighter fluid. All you need is the chimney starter, a handful of charcoal and some kindling, like newspaper, to start the fire. Light the kindling and watch the charcoal start burning within minutes.

If you like using all natural fuels, check out the best charcoal briquettes, or the best lump charcoal for grilling depending on your fuel preference. 

Much Safer

There are so many painful stories that start with lighter fluid. Charcoal chimney starters offer a safe, reliable way to light your grill without potentially exposing yourself to the flames. All you have to do is light the kindling, then sit back while the chimney starter does the rest of the work for you.

Long Lasting

You’ll notice that high-quality chimney starters are built to last, easily lasting for years without needing a replacement. You’ll save on time and you won’t need to continuously burn through single-use resources like matches, lighter fluid or fight starters. They’re also durable enough to accompany you on outdoor adventures like hiking, camping and fishing, and don’t corrode over time in storage or against the elements.

Top 5 Best Chimney Starters In The Market

Best Overall!

Weber 7429 Rapidfire Chimney Starter

  • Well designed and comfortable handle that makes it easy to pour
  • Made from high-quality aluminized steel
  • Very popular
  • Some reports that the handle gets hot to the touch after extended use.

The Weber 7429 Rapidfire Chimney Starter allows you to heat up large quantities of coal and pour them in the grill with ease, making it easier to cook for large groups of people. The structure is made from strong aluminized steel with a grate at the bottom that allows air to escape. Weber recommends using Weber starter cubes to light the fire, but you can use any type of kindling in a pinch. I personally use newspaper. There are some reports that the handle can get quite hot too touch. But, it’s high quality, a top performer, and all at a reasonable price making it the best charcoal charcoal chimney in the market.

A great addition to your backyard barbecue.

Check Best Price On Amazon.

Largest Capacity

Oklahoma Joe's Half-Time Charcoal Starter XL

  • Hugely large capacity holding up to 100 charcoal briquettes 
  • Large surface area starts a fire more quickly than other chimney starters
  • Heavy-duty stainless steel
  • Not as suitable for smaller grills
  • A little heavier

The Oklahoma Joe’s Half-Time Charcoal Starter is the best charcoal chimney starter for parties, camping trips, family reunions, or any occasion for a feast. You can load up to 100 charcoal briquettes at a time, making it perfect to fill larger charcoal grills in one go. Due to it’s size it’s also great for lighting lump charcoal.

For faster cooking, this starter is specially engineered to heat up your coals in half the time. It’s great for large groups, but might not be necessary if you’re just cooking for a few people.

Check Best Price On Amazon.

Easy Option

Kingsford Quick Start Charcoal Chimney Starter

  • Pre-assembled and ready to go
  • Heat shield keeps the handle from getting hot
  • Durable and rust-resistant, great for camping
  • Some customers have reported that the tray can melt at high temperatures

The Kingsford Quick Start Charcoal Chimney Starter is made from zinc steel that’s durable and rust-resistant, making it perfect for camping trips and hiking adventures. This starter was specially designed to heat up the coals evenly to make sure that your burgers, hot dogs and steaks are perfectly cooked on each side. If you’re worried about safety, this chimney starter comes with a heat shield that prevents the handle from getting too hot and burning your hands. Overall, it’s a versatile tool that’s pre-assembled and ready to use out of the box.

Check Best Price On Amazon.

Best Portable

Weber 7447 Compact Rapidfire Chimney Starter

  • Compact size makes it great for smaller grills or for portability.
  • Starts a fire in 15 minutes or less
  • More affordable
  • Not suitable for large grills due to it’s capacity

If you’re looking to cook for a small number of people, the Weber 7447 Compact Rapidfire Chimney Starter is the best option for you. This starter works well with smaller grills and heats up your coals within 15 minutes or less. It’s made from strong, durable steel that could easily last a few years or more without needing a replacement. The only downside is that this starter isn’t optimized for larger grills. It’s definitely better for small get-togethers, solo adventures and date nights.

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Most Convenient

HOMENOTE Rapid Charcoal Chimney Starter Set

  • Includes a full set of products including a chimney starter, gloves and lighter cubes
  • Great for beginners
  • All-in-one no hassle
  • Not suitable for people who only want a chimney starter

Had to mention this as an option simply because it has everything you need. The HOMENOTE Rapid Charcoal Chimney Starter Set set contains a chimney starter, lighter cubes, heat-resistant gloves and an air blower to stoke the flames. If you’re new to the world of chimney starters, this set can help you master your technique in no time at all, without having to buy all the accessories separately.

The chimney starter is made from galvanized steel that’s strong and rust-resistant, so you’ll be using this starter long after the rest of the accessories are gone. This set makes a great gift for those who haven’t made the more to charcoal chimney starters.

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Features To Look For

Find The Right Size

Before you start shopping for a chimney starter, figure out what size you’re looking for. Do you need an extra-large starter that can accommodate big family cookouts or a compact starter for everyday use? You don’t want a starter that’s too small, but you also don’t want to pay for extra space that you don’t need.

Check The Material

You’ll want a tough, durable chimney starter that can stand up to a variety of weather conditions. The best charcoal chimney starters are resistant to rust and corrosion so you won’t have to throw them away and buy a replacement every few years.

Find A Strong Handle

A chimney starter is only good so long as it has a handle that actually allows you to safely pour the charcoal into the grill. Find a chimney starter with a strong handle that’s protected with a heat shield to keep the handle from melting or burning your hands. If in doubt, always where heat resistant gloves.

Look For Ventilation

Make sure that the chimney starter comes with a ventilation system that allows air to flow through the starter. This typically comes in the form of holes drilled along the side. The more holes, the more ventilation. If the holes are to small and scarce there won’t be enough airflow to light all the charcoal effectively.

How To Use A Charcoal Chimney

Step 1: Add Charcoal

Simply add your desired amount of charcoal into the chimney. You don’t need to worry about arranging them, but if you’re using charcoal logs stand them up. 

Step 2: Add Newspaper​

Add a few pieces of newspaper just by scrunching them up and placing them underneath. You can also poke rolled up scraps into the holes at the bottom. You don’t need to use newspaper, as wood chips, paper, cardboard, or wax works great too.

Step 3: Light The Chimney

Using a lighter or a long match light the newspaper in several places. The charcoal at the bottom will catch and the heat will flow through a light the coals.

Step 4: Pour Out The Charcoal

Depending on the charcoal chimney it may take 10-15 minutes. The coals should be glowing and have started to turn white as they get covered in ash. Once you can see the white ash all over the charcoal pour it carefully into your grill and spread them evenly.

Step 5: Start The Grill

Place the grill grate back and if all the coals are covered in white ash you’re ready to get grilling!

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4 thoughts on “Best Charcoal Chimney Starter – Top 5 Picks For 2021”

  1. Hello Blake Dan
    Might I recommend you look into the
    BBQ Dragon chimney starter and the
    BBQ Dragon Blower.
    I started using them just recently on my Weber 22 master touch and they are legit. Admittingly they are a little pricey up front but you gain in speed and convenience is immeasurable.

  2. I love the starters but use a cheap electric starter instead of cubes 6 minutes then unplug electric and pull out 10 more pour out. The only problem I see is if you are too far from an outlet.

    1. You’re right, there will always be a place for electric starters – and they can be even more convenient – so long as you have one that reliably heats up!

  3. I found that the dragon fan was great at first, but the switch fails after a couple of months of (near) daily use. I still use chimney. If I could just replace the switch.

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