The Best Fire Starters

Fire starters are one of those inventions that you didn't know you couldn't live without until you tried one. Made with a combination of wax and a blend of recycled and renewable biomass fibers, fire starters light quickly, stay lit, and burn hot. This makes lighting a fire in your fireplace or at the campground fast and easy. Fire starters make the inconvenient combination of kindling and newspaper a thing of the past. They're simple to use, simple to store, and typically more environmentally sound than the other ways of starting a fire. So, say goodbye to burning your fingers with your disposable lighter and hello to a glowing, beautiful fire with our list of the best fire starters on the market.

Melt Candle Company Tumbleweeds Fire Starter, 50 Rolls

The struggle-free method

Affordable, easy to use, and light during transport, these firestarter rolls from Melt Candle Company are our favorite way for getting fire going in no time.
Best Overall

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Melt Candle Company knows fire. Their fire starter rolls, aptly named “Tumbleweeds”, alight quickly and burn steadily. They’re the perfect little trick to spark campfires, fireplaces, and even grills. Of course, you’ll still need to set up some kindling, but these bundles essentially replace the need for tinder when building a fire. We also love how lightweight they are, so feel free to pop a couple of bundles in your backpack the next time you hit the trails.

Pros:

  • Low smoke and odor
  • Comes in a box of 50 rolls
  • Can even be used for lighting charcoal
  • The fibers are covered in a non-toxic wax, so they’re even water-resistant

Cons:

  • If you’re totally inexperienced with fire-building, you may have to practice using them before you get the hang of it

EasyGo Products Eco-Stix Fatwood

Light my fire

As easy to use as kindling, this fire starter offers fast, natural flames.
Most Natural

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Eco-Stix is a resin-rich, all-natural, Ocote Pine fatwood kindling. This unfumigated fatwood contains no petrochemical additives and no methyl bromide, making it a natural and sustainable fire starter. The sticks are harvested from leftover trunks, stumps, or downed and damaged pine trees. The internal resin and added formula allow the sticks to light easily. EasyGo Products offers boxes up to fifty pounds, so they’re good for your wood stove, hearth, fire pit, fireplace, camping, hunting, and more.

Pros:

  • Lights quickly with a match or lighter
  • Made in the USA
  • Easy-to-store box

Cons:

  • Can produce quite a bit of smoke
  • These are not odorless

Lightning Nuggets Super Economy Box, 100 Count

More flame for your buck

This "economy" box from Lightning Nuggets offers 100 fire starters for a bargain price.
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For those that find themselves striking up fires frequently, we recommend this box of 100 fire starters from Lightning Nuggets. These unique little bundles of pine and wax burn steadily for quite a while, so you’ll only need one to light grills, stoves, bonfires, and more. Experienced fire-builders can get a roaring fire in minutes using one of these little “nuggets”. Inexpensive and effective, this option is a bulk buy that we can’t resist.

Pros:

  • Great quantity for the price
  • Safe for use on grills, ceramic cookers, and ovens
  • Burns steadily with a high flame

Cons:

  • For building bonfires, you will still need to know how to place kindling for it to effectively catch

GreenSpark All-Natural Fire Starter

Blaze a trail

Compact, waterproof, and weighing next to nothing, this is the perfect fire starter for backpacking.
Most Portable

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All-natural, eco-friendly, and sustainable, GreenSpark is the safe and non-toxic way to get your fire going. Made from a blend of wood wool and natural stearin with no chemical additives, GreenSpark burns for up to ten minutes with just one match—and with no dangerous flare-ups. Portable, lightweight, and waterproof, it ignites three times faster than commonly-used flat square starters and will even light in damp or windy conditions. Because it can be started with a match, even when wet, GreenSpark fire starters are ideal for camping, hunting, and especially backpacking trips.

Pros:

  • 70 bundles per package
  • Unlimited shelf life
  • Odorless, tasteless, and will not taint food

Cons:

  • Can break apart easily
  • Not all the same size

Bayite Large Ferro Rods, Fire Starter Flint Steel

Spark a blaze in any weather

For the survivalists that know the worth of a flint fire starter, this option from Bayite is a must-have.
Best Flint Rod

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For our hunter-gatherer ancestors, a 6-inch rod of ferrocerium would have been worth more than its weight in gold. Fortunately, we can score such a rod for cheap. This flint from Bayite produces massive sparks when struck with steel, so you can get a fire going even in dire situations. Survivalists prize ferrocerium rods for their weather resistance since they produce sparks even in damp and windy conditions. Considering the price of this simple yet powerful tool, we suggest getting one for your backpack before you hit the trail. After all, it could just be a lifesaver.

Pros:

  • Thick and long, this flint rod will last a very, very long time
  • Includes a hole for attaching a lanyard
  • Produces huge shower of sparks

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include a steel striker, so you’ll have to provide your own

Frequently Asked Questions

Are fire starters really more environmentally friendly than paper and kindling?

Yes. Lighting wood fires with newspaper or kindling produces a significant portion of the total emissions of a wood fire. Using a commercial fire starter to light a wood fire results in faster and more complete ignition of the fire, which in turn reduces emissions of carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

Are the ingredients in a fire starter toxic?

Almost all commercially available fire starters contain no toxic chemicals. Most fire starters are a combination of waxes, natural oils, and wood or other agricultural fibers. However, fire gel starters may contain methanol or hydrocarbons, which are both are toxic in small quantities. We recommend you do a little eco-homework before your purchase to verify the ingredients.

Why don’t I just use old cardboard and printing paper and stuff like that to start a fire?

Because that’s where things get toxic. Cardboard packaging—especially items like pizza boxes—have printing on them, and the dyes used in that process are toxic when burned. The same goes for your old paper. Paper with color printing on it, or paper that is coated, can also release toxic fumes into the air when burned.

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