I love the taste of char-grilled food, but the charcoal is such a hassle to light. A charcoal chimney starter can help you create rapid fire charcoals that can speed up your grilling process and reduce your frustrations with lighter fluid and long lighting times.
Best Chimney Starters
There are many chimney starters available with very similar features. We have picked our favorite chimney starters and have offered reviews along with pros and cons of each one. Check out these products and see if you can find one that appeals to you!
1. Weber 7429 Rapidfire Chimney Starter
This rapid fire chimney starter from Weber is designed to produce extremely hot coals quickly for immediate grilling. In fact, it only takes about 20-25 minutes before the charcoal will be hot enough to pour into your grill.
This chimney starter has a special cone-shaped grate and has durable construction for longevity. It has an ergonomic two-handle design which provides more control when pouring lit charcoal into your grill.
A large heat shield protects the handle from extreme temperatures so there is no risk of burning your hands while handling the chimney. It’s compact design makes it ideal for small or large grills. It measures 7.5-inches in diameter and only 12-inches tall.
If you are looking for a tough rapid chimney starter, consider the Weber 7429 Rapid Fire. You will be grilling over hot coals in less than 30-minutes, saving you time and frustration waiting for coals to heat up!
- Produces hot coals within 20-25 minutes
- Cone-shaped grate
- Durable construction
- Heat shield to protect the handle
- Ergonomic handle
- Handle may still get too hot
2. Weber 7447 Compact Rapidfire Chimney Starter
This is a compact chimney starter that lights coals in under 15-minutes. The compact design works well with smaller grills or for short grilling sessions. It has a wire grate on the bottom that is cone-shaped which helps the coals heat up more quickly.
The plastic handle is protected by a large heat shield which helps ensure your hands do not get burned when you are handling the chimney starter. At only 5.75-inches high and 8-inches wide, this smaller chimney size is ideal for portable grills. With this chimney starter, you won’t have to deal with the frustrations of waiting for your coals to heat up for a long time!
- Compact design
- Lights coals in under 15-minutes
- Includes wire cone-shaped grate on the bottom
- Includes a plastic handle protected by a heat shield
- Handle may still get too hot
3. GrillPro 39470 Chimney Charcoal Starter
This GrillPro charcoal starter can hold up to 2-pounds of charcoal! This chimney is ideal for small grills or if you need to get your grill started in a hurry. It is designed with a metal plate with several holes in the bottom. This allows the fire to breathe as the coals are starting to heat up.
With this chimney charcoal starter, you can be on your way grilling with hot coals in 10-minutes! There is no assembly required, and it is easy to clean out after each use. You will love the ease with which you can quickly heat up your charcoal with this chimney starter!
- Holds up to 2-pounds of charcoal
- Made of galvanized steel
- Heats up coals within 10-minutes
- Not very large on the bottom for holding crumpled paper
4. Beau Jardin Charcoal Chimney Starter
This is a large-capacity and rust-resistant galvanized steel charcoal chimney starter which holds up to 4-pounds of charcoal. The base and air vents in this chimney starter help to shorten the amount of time it takes to heat up the charcoal. The vents allow air movement so oxygen flows through the charcoal heating up the flames.
With this chimney design, you can have coals that are extremely hot within 15-20 minutes. The nylon handle is protected by a large heat shield. This chimney starter will give you fast grilling results so you can enjoy more time grilling and less time fighting to get hot coals.
- Holds up to 4-pounds of charcoal
- Heats up coals within 15-20 minutes
- Nylon handle protected by a heat shield
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Requires assembly
5. BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity Charcoal Starter
This chimney starter from BBQ Dragon is fast and easy to operator. The innovative design of this chimney allows the charcoal to be lit in as little as 3-minutes! There is a 90-degree elbow and opening at the base of the chimney which creates a turbo effect that draws in more air than other chimneys.
This side elbow and opening also allows you to light the coal without lifting the chimney or using lighter fluid. It features a heat-resistant nylon handle with a thick heat shield to protect your hands from the heat. The main cylinder of the chimney has a beautiful embossed dragon logo which gives the chimney starter a professional and sleek appearance.
- Coals are lit within 3-minutes
- Coals are ready for grilling in 20-minutes
- Nylon handle is positioned 5.25-inches away from chimney
- Features an embossed dragon logo
- Nylon handle is too hot to touch without gloves
6. Char-Broil Half-Time Charcoal Starter
The Half-Time Charcoal Starter by Char-Broil uses an innovative design which is ideal for heating up lump charcoal. It has a large diameter of 8-inches and is right around 8-inches tall.
This charcoal starter comes with a plastic handle and a large, thick heat shield to protect your hands from the heat. It works well with crumpled paper or Char-Broil Fire Starters. Simply add the paper or Fire Starters at the base of the starter and light it. You will have hot coals within half the time compared with a standard chimney starter!
- Has a large 8-inch diameter opening
- Works well with crumpled paper or Char-Broil Fire Starters
- Features a plastic handle with thick heat shield
- Handle has to be manually attached
7. Cuisinart CCC-100 Charcoal Chimney Starter
Cuisinart’s CCC-100 Chimney Starter allows you to light charcoal without the use of lighter fluid. It will heat up the charcoal so it is ready for grilling within 20-minutes.
It has a flat bottom with large holes to allow oxygen to flow through the charcoal. Small holes throughout the sides of the cylinder chamber also enable oxygen flow to light the coals more evenly and quickly.
This chimney starter features a wooden handle with the Cuisinart logo and has a thick heat shield to protect the handle from the heat. Use this chimney starter to speed up your grilling preparation time!
- Has a 6.75-inch diameter opening
- Chimney starter is 11-inches tall
- Heats up charcoal within 20-minutes
- Flat bottom with evenly spaced air vents
- Features a wooden handle with a heat shield
- Wooden handle gets pretty hot
8. HOMENOTE Rapid Charcoal Chimney Starter With Accessories
This is a great Chimney Starter set with accessories to help you get fire-hot coals in a short amount of time. This set includes a chimney starter, lighter cubes, a portable air blower and heat-resistant gloves.
The chimney starter has several evenly spaced air vents to help maximize oxygen flow. The wooden handle is protected by a thick heat shield. It is recommended that you use heat-resistant gloves when handling this chimney starter.
With this chimney starter and portable air blower, you can light your coals within 3-minutes without the use of lighter fluid. HOMENOTE even provides an 18-month warranty. If you are not happy with the results, you can get a refund or product replacement.
- 7-inch wide diameter opening
- Includes a portable air blower
- Includes heat-resistant gloves and lighter cubes
- 18-month warranty
- Chimney starter requires assembly
Frequently Asked Questions
The hardest part of charcoal grilling is getting the coals heated up to the right temperature so your food cooks quickly and evenly. Here are some additional questions and answers to help you pick the best chimney starter for your needs.
How Do I Light A Chimney Starter?
Lighting a charcoal chimney starter is quite simple. Place the chimney starter on top of the lower charcoal grate and fill it up with charcoal briquettes. Add some crumpled newspaper or lighter cubes at the bottom of the chimney.
Light the paper using a match or long lighter and then wait until the fire from the paper transfers to the coals. Once the coals are covered with a light, white-gray ash, you can grab the chimney by the handle and dump the charcoal onto the grill.
How Long Does The Charcoal Need To Burn In The Chimney?
Some chimney starters take longer for coals to heat up than others. At the most, it should take only about 20-minutes for charcoals to become hot enough. The amount of time may also depend on how many charcoal briquettes you place in the starter. The diameter of the starter and the number of air vents can also vary the heating time.
If you are in the market for an easier way to fire up your grill quickly, then a chimney starter is a perfect option for you. Be sure you get one that sits evenly in the bottom of your charcoal grill. You also want one that holds enough charcoal to fill your grill. You will soon be on your way to faster grilling and less charcoal lighting frustrations!