Ten best fire starters in 2022

Since the dawn of time, man has had a fascination with fire. For millennia, it was the only way humans kept warm, and it kept wild beasts away before we mere mortals had sturdy homes and lockable doors. It did not take long for them to discover the benefits of the fire for cooking its food, and the culinary arts were born.

Go forward a few million years, and humans still love a good fire. As much as we enjoy our cozy homes and modern lifestyle, we still love the idea of spending weekends in nature, camping around an open fire, cooking obscene amounts of meat on a fire. Sounds pretty perfect.

It is pretty easy to light the fire. It takes something to ignite a flame, a little binder, and a few branches, and that’s it. So you add a box or a lighter, and you’re good to go. This is a problem! Matches can get wet, rendering them useless, and lighters can run out of…; again, unnecessary.

Fortunately, the Ice Age has caught up with technology, and now we have fire starters that won’t let you down when you need to start a fire, whether in case of an emergency or survival situation. The best firestarters are reliable, compact, and can withstand extreme temperatures, so we’ve tested some perfect ones for you.

OUR TOP PICK

Don’t let the complex name fool you into thinking this one is difficult to use. In reality, it is one of the easiest, most reliable fire starters out there, rated at over 12000 strikes. Its durable construction means that it can withstand just about everything, and you can rely on it performing under any condition.

Made almost entirely from ferrocerium, a metal alloy composed of cerium and iron, it produces a lot of consistent sparks when it is appropriately hit. According to the company, the sparks exceed 5000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than enough heat to make a fire.

Using the Ferro rod is self-explanatory. We’ve tested it for a while and have had a 95% success rate at starting a fire in the first few seconds. However, you’ll want to start by scraping off the protective coating first.

Like us, most people reading this article have probably played around with a Zippo lighter. If you have, then the zippo EFK Emergency Fire starter Kit is something worth considering, in our opinion. 

The EFK Emergency fire starter Kits are easy to operate and create a shower of sparks that’s about the same temperature as created with a flint wheel ignition system, something that old school Zippos used. However, like those lighters, this one just needs a quick flick of the thumb to rain loads of sparks down on your tinder. 

After some time using it, the only drawback is that the flint peg will wear down after a while, and then it isn’t going to be as effective. Using a Zippo Fire Starter is more accessible than a rod, but take a few spare flints.

OUR TOP PICK

Like us, most people reading this article have probably played around with a Zippo lighter. If you have, then the zippo EFK Emergency Fire starter Kit is something worth considering, in our opinion. 

The EFK Emergency fire starter Kits are easy to operate and create a shower of sparks that’s about the same temperature as created with a flint wheel ignition system, something that old school Zippos used. However, like those lighters, this one just needs a quick flick of the thumb to rain loads of sparks down on your tinder. 

After some time using it, the only drawback is that the flint peg will wear down after a while, and then it isn’t going to be as effective. Using a Zippo Fire Starter is more accessible than a rod, but take a few spare flints.

OUR TOP PICK

4.5/5
SE 2-in-1 All-Weather Magnesium Firestarter Kit - FS374

It is one of the lowest-priced fire starters you could find on amazon because it offers buyers excellent value for money. It also comes accompanied by the ideal fuel source, making it a great entry-level device. 

One of the challenges that many people run into when creating a fire in the wilderness is locating the suitable combustible material in that situation and enough of it to spark a fire. Anyone who paid attention in their high school chemistry lab knows that magnesium flakes not only sparks but burns many times hotter than other elements. That’s why the large rectangular bar hooked on the ferrocerium rod is made from magnesium. But the SE FS374 takes things one step further, with the entire rod being made of magnesium. 

The drawback to the SE FS374 is that the magnesium starter will wear down to the point where it can no longer be gripped. However, our bet is on the Ferro rod wearing out first. But with something costing a few dollars, you can just as quickly buy another one.

OUR TOP PICK

4.5/5
UST BlastMatch Fire Starter with One-Handed Operation and Lightweight Design for Camping, Hiking, Emergency and Outdoor Survival, Orange

The UST Blastmatch uses its directional showering capabilities to shower a concentrated force of hot sparks. What’s more, you can start a fire with one hand, making it an excellent choice for use in rains or other wet conditions because you can hold an umbrella with the other hand. We enjoy using one-handed fire starters and think it is a game-changer. 

Now, because the free hand can shield the tinder and the fire starter allows a steady, precise direction for the sparks, it is an excellent choice for anyone. However, it probably will not last for as many strikes as some of the others we’ve listed in this article.

OUR TOP PICK

4.5/5
Light My Fire Knife With Fire Starter - Survival Fire Starter Knife Kit - 3000 Strikes - Camping & Outdoor Knife With Fire Starter - Swedish Knife Fire Starter Combo - Firesteel Knife with Ferro rod

We consider this more of a survival kit and less of a tool. Users are treated to everything they will ever need to start a fire, emergency signal, or grill. However, it can achieve all of this in a compact, simple design that allows for easy storage in your bug-out bag, gear pack, or can be hung from a keychain. 

The striking rod is durably built and highly dependable in our experience. It produces intense sparks, even when wet, but up to 12000 strikes. That’s why you don’t need to buy any other fire starter just in case this one does not work.

OUR TOP PICK

4.5/5
EXOTAC - nanoSTRIKER XL Self-Contained Ferrocerium Firestarter for Emergency Survival Equipment, Camping, Backpacking, and Hiking (Blaze Orange)

It is the elder sibling of the original Nanostriker, which was and continues to be a hit. However, similar to the Nanostriker, the Exotac XL, throws a large shower of sparks at 5500 degrees Fahrenheit. The fire rod is well built with magnesium and ferrocerium, which can, when worn out, be replaced. When you rub the two together, similar to the Nanostriker, it will start a fire in just about any environment. So, everything does not have to be ideal for it to work. 

The Exotac Nanostriker NL uses a sharp striker made from tungsten carbide housed within the device’s anodized and waterproof aluminum body. It also has lots of room to store fire, starting dry tinder. All you’ve got to do is carry it in your bag before heading out, or maybe hang it on a keychain so that you never leave it at home.

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4.5/5
Lightning Strike Darrell Holland's Standard Red Fire Starter

Now, this is a big boy fire starter, if there was any. It is the largest on our list and one of the easiest to use and very effective. It is designed for those serious about starting a fire and need something so reliable it never fails.

Measuring roughly the size of a tactical flashlight, the device is oversized without a doubt. Still, it also boasts of a replaceable ferrocerium rod, plenty of special tinder, and a fire striker. These features are encased within an anodized aluminum tube housing, which is very easy to use when the time comes.

It’s faster and much more efficient than the competition.

OUR TOP PICK

5/5
bayite 1/2 x 6 Inch Survival Drilled Flint Steel Fire Starter Ferrocerium Rod Kit with Striker-Pro Striker Paracord Landyard Handle Large

EDC lifestyle is one of the leading brands for making tiny tools, and the CRKT Spark’N Sharp fire starter is no different. It is a small fire starter, measuring just 2.8″ in length and weighing slightly under 1.3 ounces. However, this tool throws a decent amount of hot sparks and doubles as a tool to sharpen your knife. 

The fire still is taken from the case, with a sliding plate on end. All you need to do is slide the container to the bottom of the casing to expose the tungsten carbide blade sharpener. You can also slide it to the top and reveal the steel striker, which makes all those sparks. Both pieces can be threaded onto a lanyard, easily carrying around the neck.

OUR TOP PICK

4.5/5
SOG Flint Survival & Defense Tool Safety Whistle, Fire Starter, Glass Breaker (FT1001)

SOG is one of the most well-known brands of multi-tools and knives. It is a brand the outdoor enthusiasts are familiar with for the most part. That’s why it comes as no surprise that they would also have their version of a compact fire starter with an ergonomic design. The 4.3″ wand-style flint fire starter looks like a vape pen with a whistle on the top. But there is no vape juice! 

The fire starter, striker, and the device’s compartment will store the steel wool tinder. On the other side, you have a carbide-tipped tool for breaking glass. It is the perfect multi-tool for when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere and need to find a quick solution.

OUR TOP PICK

4.5/5
Vargo Ultimate Fire Starter

While it may appear like a telescoping pointer, the fire starter is made using a simple stainless steel rod, which measures 5.9″ and will extend to 18.2″. Once you extend it, the ferrocerium flint rod can be removed and then scrapped to create sparks. The hollow rod can then be used to bellow and gently puff on the lit embers, which turns your accidental sparks into a raging bonfire. 

We tried using it on wet wood, and it worked! So, this is undoubtedly a must-have tool in our books.

Emergency kits or survival gear are necessary if you are often caught up in some emergencies. We have listed some features you should look into while selecting the right fire starter for you:-

Type – Firestarters come in various shapes, sizes, and looks. Even the modest lighter is technically a fire starter. However, when we look at the types of fire starters we take with us camping, we can generally break them into three types—magnesium, ferrocerium, and matches. Of course, there are also other different types. 

Some are equipped with accelerators, such as lighter fluid. You can also use straightforward technologies and a magnifying glass to direct the sun’s rays through your lighter to start a fire. Those on this list tend to use a typing method to create the sparks. When these sparks strike the more delicate and the magnesium or ferrocerium shavings,

Weight – When you are packing for an entire weekend, you want to keep the weight of your gear to a minimum. A small light fire starter with a compact design is more practical and desirable. The best firestarters are the ones that can fit in a tiny compartment in your backpack, or better yet, in your hiking jacket pocket or the back pocket of your pants. Most firestarters weigh very little, so you hardly notice them when it comes to storage.

Ease of Use – When camping or hiking, you want all of your gear to be as easy to use as possible. The climate can cool down quite quickly and without warning in the mountains. When you’re in the midst of this change in weather, you want to start a fire soon. An easy-to-use fire starter can make all the difference. Most of the fire starters in our selection are very easy to use. All you need to do is scrape off some magnesium or ferrocerium, add a binder, and spark off this little heap. Once you’ve got that basic fire lit, you can add more giant sticks or logs to get a good fire.

The Strikes – You need a reliable fire starter when you are in the woods. It’s not something you’re going to rush to buy every time you go out, so you want a device that has a lot of battery life. The minimum number of strikes you should look for should be greater than 3,000. However, many can also do up to 20,000 or more strikes.

Ergonomic Handle/Grip – If you’ve ever been caught in the cold weather, you know how difficult it can be to move your fingers. If a particular piece of equipment is bulky and inconvenient, you may find the most straightforward tasks nearly impossible. A fire starter that fits comfortably in your hands will make it much easier, especially if you have cold fingers.

Weather Resistance – When you’re faced with cold wind and freezing rain, you need a fire starter that works quickly and efficiently in any weather condition. A good fire starter will send a shower of sparks in any sort of weather, no matter how strong are the wind gusts or the cold temperatures, so you can start your fire. They should have waterproof housing, so you don’t have to worry about your fire starter kits getting a bit wet.

Ferrocerium Rods – These rods are made from a synthetic pyrophoric alloy that produces hot sparks. These sparks can reach temperatures of up to 3000 ° C when struck, allowing you to start your fire in the blink of an eye. Ferrocerium rods are generally considered fail-safe when used as a fire starter. So you can be sure that you have a very reliable tool to light those all-important campfires.

Magnesium Blocks – Magnesium is a highly flammable substance, ideal for starting fires. This is why many firestarters are made with a block of magnesium. You begin by scraping or shaving some magnesium to make a bunch of binders, like sawdust, and then you hit the stem to make a nice spark. When these sparks come in contact with your binder and the magnesium shavings, you get the start of your fire. It’s simple and very effective.

Waterproof matches – If you don’t like firestarters, you can also go for ordinary matches. However, regular matches aren’t efficient for hiking and camping. The box and matches can get wet, making them impossible to light. So it is better to choose waterproof matches. They are designed to light up and stay on even in wet weather. Some can even sustain a flame when the end of the match is submerged in water. They are usually sold in waterproof containers, making them very effective in all weather conditions.

How to use a magnesium fire starter?

Lighting a fire with a magnesium fire starter is quite simple. Using the striker or scraper that came with the firelighter, you shave off a few pieces of the magnesium rod to make a small pile. You then add a binder to this stack. The binder can be sawdust, paper, dry grass, or leaves. In principle, anything that can catch fire quickly can be used as a binder. Once you have a small pile of binder and magnesium shavings, you apply the striker in quick, sharp strokes to produce sparks. Once these sparks contact the pile, you should see the first signs of a fire start.

Why not use a regular lighter instead of a fire starter?

A regular lighter is inexpensive and a great way to start a fire. However, several reasons why a standard lighter is not practical to bring when camping. An ordinary lighter is not very reliable. When new, it can work well, but lighter fluid can run out quite quickly. The mechanism that produces the flame can corrode, rendering the lighter useless, and if your lighter gets wet, you can throw it away. A fire starter can generate sparks in wind and rain and generally has waterproof housing and wind resistance, making it more reliable than regular lighters. A good fire starter should ignite a wide range of tinder material.

Should I take a lighter with me?

As a general rule, you don’t need to carry an emergency tinder when hiking or camping. The forest is usually filled with flammable materials like dried leaves, grass, and dry pieces of bark. However, traditional forestry binder tends to get wet early morning or evening when you need to start your fire. It’s tough to start a fire with a damp binder, so to be sure, it’s always a good idea to take some bit of tinder with you. String fibers or even cotton balls can be valuable natural materials for starting a fire. Some other types of tinder you can also rely on are old sawdust or wood chips. Some firestarters have a chamber in the rubber handle to store small amounts of binder, which is practical. However, the binder isn’t heavy, and it usually doesn’t take much to start a fire, so you can always add a bit more to be sure.

Will a fire starter work when wet?

Lighting a fire in wet or poor weather conditions will always be your biggest challenge when camping. The good news is that most magnesium or ferrocerium firestarters work just fine, even when they are wet. 

To be sure it works, it’s best to avoid getting your fire starter wet, but you can expect the best fire starters to work even if they get wet. Choosing a fire starter that comes in an airtight container is always good insurance for you, which will allow you to start your fire.

What is the safest fire starter?

Iron and magnesium firestarters are some of the safest you can use. A flame is not possible until you hit the striker against the rods. Matches can be dangerous, and if you’re not careful, you can burn your fingers. Regular lighters can leak and explode, burning anything they contact. Stick to the ones you need to hit, and you shouldn’t have any problems. However, if you start a fire on a hot summer day, watch where the sparks fly, as one parasitic spark can ignite an entire forest.

A good campfire is essential when in nature, especially at night. It is a necessity to stay alert and to cook near the camp. Remember that you need to use a little caution any time you start a fire. Use whatever stones you can find to create a fire pit to contain your fire and keep an eye out for sparks. Remember to put out your campfire entirely before you go.