Charcoal starters also known as chimney starters, or charcoal chimneys are very handy at one thing, getting your grill ready for cooking! Do you hate having to use lighter fluid on your grill, and prefer a safer less toxic method?

Read our reviews of the best chimney starters below!

HINT: The best way to get your chimney started is to ball up a few dry pieces of newspaper and sprinkle with a few drops of vegetable oil. Place the newspaper underneath the chimney and the coals on top and then light the newspaper. In 15-20 minutes you will have perfect charcoals for cooking.

Weber 7416 RapidFire Chimney Starter Review

The Weber 7416 is the long standing king of the charcoal starters.

Made out of aluminized steel and utilizing a handy stay cool handle the 7416 has a solid customer rating on with over 4,000 reviews.

This burly chimney is the tallest of the top 5 coming in at 12 inches tall, and can hold enough charcoal for a 22.5 inch kettle grill.

I love the cone shape on the underside of the starter (you can’t see it in the picture) because it allows the coals to get hotter quicker.

Weber 7447 Compact Rapidfire Chimney Starter Review

A common question we get is what is the difference between the 7416 and the 7447? So when you are looking to set up a competition of 7416 vs. 7447 the larger 7416 model will always come out on top.

However the smaller 7447 model is a great sturdy starter in its own right. It is smaller with a capacity of about 52 cubic inches compared to 125 cubic inches of its bigger brother. It is shorter coming in at 8 inches high compared to 12 inches of the 7447.

This model works great with Smokey Joe and Jumbo Joe grills.

Weber is known for making quality products, so if you are looking for a smaller charcoal starter this is the one for you.

Char-Broil SureFire Electric Charcoal Starter Review

Another handy way of getting hot charcoal without using lighter fluid is this electric version of the SureFire starter by Char-Broil.

Built with a stainless steel sheath and a heat resistant handle, this starter is designed to give you hot coals in minutes.

This electric starter also creates less smoke than a standard chimney starter.

One downside of this electric starter is that it has a rather short cord. So if you plan on getting this starter make sure you have an outlet near by.

Collapsible Camping Grill and Chimney Starter Review

This great model by Outset is perfect to take camping, or to the beach. This starter folds up to take up a lot less space than a traditional starter. The price is a bit higher than the other reviewed starters, but you are making up for it in convenience.

If you plan to keep your starter by your grill at home and not take it anywhere you should stick with a different model but if you plan to travel a lot with your starter than this model is the best.

There is a capacity for approximately seven pounds of charcoal. It is made out of an aluminum plated carbon steel and has a nylon handle that will not get hot when in use.

A nice touch that I really like is a metal grate is included so you can cook a small meal right on top of the charcoal starter!

Charcoal Starter Buying Guide
When looking to buy a charcoal starter there are a couple of things to look out for they are:

Price: – Almost all starters are under $25 and good quality models are available in that price range, you don’t need to buy more expensive models to get better products.

Durability: – Because they take a lot of stress and heat when being used, you want to make sure that any potential starter is made out of durable long lasting material. Virtually all models are made from a strong steel. But there is variation in types of steel in many models.

Capacity: – The capacity will change depending on the size of the starter. If you want to use a lot of charcoal for a big grill make sure the starter can handle it.

Electricity Needed?: – Most starters are not electric but some models like the Char-Broil that is reviewed above do need a power outlet near by. If you do by a powered model, and they are very handy, make sure you have a power source close to you.

One final note: It is important to not leave a charcoal starter unattended.