photo of a chimney starter

Do Charcoal Chimney Starters Work? A Guide to One of the Most Useful Tools

What is a chimney starter? A charcoal chimney starter is a very simple tool used to heat charcoal for grilling. It has a open ended cylinder design utilized to keep the coals together and ensure even heating. The top of the cylinder receives your coals for lighting and the bottom is used to put newspaper or charcoal cubes to light the fire. The “chimney” causes the charcoal to light from the bottom all the way to the top.

The advantages of the chimney starter is a quick and easy way to heat your charcoal and allows for a more even heating surface for your food ensuring a great meal! The coals turn white in about 20 minutes, allowing for fire – hot coals in half the time it takes with coals and lighter fluid. Plus absolutely zero lighter fluid is needed leaving your next meal free of nasty lighter fluid taste.

charcoal chimney starter

What is the best charcoal chimney starter?

I used the Weber 7429 Rapidfire Chimney Starter on Amazon for around $30. This Weber charcoal chimney has over 6,300 reviews and rates 4.9 stars on Amazon.

According to the customer reviews, this chimney starter is worth every penny. Don’t let the initial cost stop you, it takes the guesswork out of starting a lump charcoal fire. The charcoals were glowing hot at ready for cooking without the smell of lighter fluid.

How to Start a Chimney Starter

What to Put Inside a Chimney Starter With the Charcoal

Simply ball up some old newspaper and place it in the bottom of the cylinder. Light the chimney starter through the holes provided from underneath with a long lighter and let the chimney do its magic! You’ll notice right away the smoke will be heavy. The smoke will reduce within minutes and the chimney will produce small flames at the top. Be very careful not to touch anywhere around the top!

How Long Do You Leave Charcoal in Chimney Starter?

The charcoal is ready when you see orange color deep inside the chimney starter, flames flicking at the charcoal at the top of the chimney, and gray ash just starting to form on some of the charcoal at the top. Now grab something to protect your hands and slowly pour the coals out into the grill.

lump charcoal chimney starter

Is a Chimney Starter Worth the Price?

Yes, you can use the chimney starter for a charcoal grill and a while camping. The chimney starter gets oxygen to all of the coals for more even heating and cooking. The chimney starter cuts the time it takes to get the coals hot.