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Comparing Gas and Oil Tiki Torches

When purchasing tiki torches it is a good idea to understand the differences between the common style of torches.

The first thing you sould know is that gas and oil are the most common fuel for torches that you will find.

By understanding the differences in the torches you can choose the best one for your deck or patio. Here are a few things to compare when purchasing tiki torches for your next garden party or luau:


The most obvious difference between gas and oil torches is the fuel source. Liquid paraffin oil is the cleanest and longest burning choice. You can also purchase paraffin scented with lemony Citronella which keeps the mosquitoes at bay after sundown.

Gas torches can be fueled by propane or natural gas. Propane torches are designed to use either camping style propane canisters or conventional propane tanks. Natural gas torches must be hooked up to your home's natural gas line by a professional gas fitter. Both propane and natural gas burn cleaner than oil so there is be no lamp residue or smoke.

Wick and Burn time

Oil torches require cotton or tightly woven fiberglass wicks and burn between six and sixteen hours depending on the torch. Gas torches on the other hand do not require a wick and therefore will burn continuously until the fuel runs out or is shut off.

Wind resistance

Oil torches can be counted on to stay alight in winds up to 10 mph, which is good enough for most normal backyard conditions. Gas torches on the other had will continue to burn strongly above 10 mph. If you live in a windy area, such as near the water, you may find that a gas torch is the way to go.


The flame and brightness of gas torches can be adjusted to your taste, whereas oil torches have no adjustment mechanism.


While gas torches seem to have quite a few advantages, one downside is the subtle but unmistakable hiss of gas when the torch is lit. Oil torches burn silently.


When you consider the specialized fittings, construction, and professional installation that is required, natural gas torches are the most expensive. Prices range from $140 to $240 per torch. Aluminum, steel, or copper torches all range between $60 and $130 per torch. Bamboo tiki torches are around $30 or less.

For more information on lighting your next garden party, please read this article on different styles of tiki torches.

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