There comes a stage in every home cook’s culinary journey when they start to decide which specialty tools and appliances they feel are worth it. You’ve already purchased a trustworthy chef’s knife and a dependable cast-iron skillet; now the fun can begin. Will you buy a sous vide, an air fryer, a stand mixer or all of the above? Of course, all of these tools cost money and take up space, so you’ll want to balance the undeniable joy of new gadgets with a realistic desire to avoid single-use tools. A kitchen torch is the kind of tool that you might have looked over because you considered it a one-trick pony — but the applications of a kitchen torch go beyond creme brulee.
You can use a kitchen torch to char veggies, brown a meringue or quickly make a crispy topping for a pan-baked dish like mac and cheese. Basically, your kitchen torch can be a stand-in for bigger, more time-consuming appliances. The right one will let you broil sweet treats or add a char to meat and veggies without turning on the oven or firing up the grill. Kitchen torches even have non-culinary applications.
Frankly, even if a kitchen torch was only good for creme brulee, it’d still be worth it — come on, creme brulee is delicious. We’ve rounded up some of the best kitchen torches you can buy right now, including compact all-in-one options and powerful professional torches.
1. Iwatani International PRO2 Culinary Butane Torch
This option from Iwatani consists of just the torch — you’ll have to buy the right butane canister separately. The brand Iwatani has been around since 1930, and they introduced the first portable non-hose butane stove, so they have a serious pedigree when it comes to butane torches. This torch is a good option for searing sous-vide steaks or glazing a ham, in addition to a variety of other tasks.
2. Bonjour Chef’s Tools Culinary Torch
Some torches are made from light plastic and others look like professional welding tools, but this one from Bonjour has a sleek design and an aluminum build, making it a great gift option. It’s designed to be easily refilled with butane, and you can adjust the intensity of the flame for more precision.
3. RÖSLE Kitchen Torch
RÖSLE was founded in 1888, and the company has been making precision cooking tools out of premium materials for nearly as long. It has a safety switch to keep it from accidentally turning on. The adjustable dial makes it easy to control the intensity of the flame, and it can reach temperatures up to 2,372 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Sterno Professional Culinary Torch
This option from Sterno is designed to be used with a butane canister attached. The safety lock prevents accidental ignition, while the anti-flare design keeps you safe as you use it. The knob allows you to adjust the intensity of the heat, and you can use the torch upside-down.
5. EurKitchen Butane Culinary Kitchen Torch
BEST SAFETY GRIP
This sleek and affordable option is a good starter if you’re understandably wary of playing with too much fire. It has a finger guard that helps protect your hands, and the built-in chamber is refillable. The dial on the back of the torch makes it easy to adjust the strength of the flame. The twist knob helps prevent the torch from accidentally going off.
6. Bernzomatic Trigger Start Torch Head
This option from Bernzomatic is designed for soldering and heat-treating — it’s not specifically made as a kitchen tool. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as one. You can use it to quickly char sous vide, and it works with propane instead of butane. It’s worth noting that this option doesn’t have an adjustable flame, so you have to be comfortable with the powerful flame that it’ll produce.
7. Sondiko Refillable Kitchen Butane Torch
This affordable option has a slider to adjust the torch intensity, allowing you to quickly char meat or delicately crisp sugar without over-burning it. It has a refillable chamber for continued use. Instead of a trigger, the torch stays lit using the dial, eliminating the need to keep your finger on a trigger.