How many different types of blow torches (or blowtorches) can you name right off the top of your head? We bet not all.
Blow torches are fantastic tools that can be used in all kinds of different settings, from your backyard to the kitchen. They’re great for cooking food, welding steel or other metals, and making ceramics. You might even use one for fun!
They are available with many different types of fuels, including gas and liquid forms. In this article we will review the different types of blow torches.
We will also discuss the basic function of how they work and hopefully we will also give you some surprising facts about them. So grab your favorite beverage and snack and let’s get reading!
Table of Contents
What Are Blow Torches?
Blow torches are almost exactly what they sound like. They are torches that contain fuel and fire and can be used to quickly and easily ignite the fuel in small quantities.
For example, a home welder might use a blow torch to start up a welding machine or a copper or brass working torch to polish metals. With a blow torch, a welder can rapidly work on a small area.
How Are Blow Torches Used?
Blow torches are mainly used for lighting up small flames. You’re likely to see them in small outdoor fires in backyards, stoves or in the kitchen.
If you use a blow torch for cooking, the first thing you’ll need to do is light the fuel before you start. There are different kinds of fuel for different purposes. A wood or charcoal torch burns slowly, while a propane torch is quick and powerful.
Types of Blow Torches
1. Propane Gas Torch
This type burns propane for fuel. Its main benefit is that it can burn for a very long time.
As the torch heats up, hydrogen gas is released in a blue flame that’s relatively slow moving. The distance between the flame and the surface of the material being heated is rather long (less than a half inch), so you don’t need to be super close to the surface of the material.
The flame produces light that gets absorbed by the surrounding air, which is bright yellow. Since hydrogen is highly flammable, it’s not recommended for use indoors.
2. Butane Gas Torch
The most common fuel for blowtorches is butane gas. Butane is a liquid gas that burns quickly and easily.
It’s readily available at most hardware stores. You can also find butane in refillable cylinders at many pharmacies.
Although it’s lighter than propane, it’s very flammable so be very careful when using it. This kind of torch is typically used for welding.
3. Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) Torch
An LPG torch is another type of propane torch. The fuel of course, is lightweight, bright orange, capable of burning anywhere from a few inches to several feet depending on the fuel.
This is simply a liquified version of a propane torch. It’s used the same way as any propane torch.
You can pick up cartridges for this torch from most fine home or hardware stores. This type of torch is usually available in two different sizes: small and large.
The torch canisters are usually made of steel, but some are made of more flexible materials.
4. Oxy-Gas Torch
Another common type of blowtorch is an oxy-gas torch. Oxy-gas torches burn a mixture of gas and air that gives off a loud noise when extinguished. .
These torches are typically fueled by propane gas or petroleum liquid gas. Oxy-gas torches are popular because they have an easy ignition that is quick to build up a flame.
They are normally used for cutting and welding since the gas can produce very high temperatures.
1. Kerosene Torch
As far back as 1882, a Swedish doctor named Carl Emil Nyberg published a patent for a torch fueled by a paraffin-soaked rag. Paraffin is a petroleum product similar to kerosene, but cheaper and easier to work with.
Kerosene is cheap too, and it burns quite hot, which is useful when you’re trying to blow a spark in a tightly confined space. There were also some health concerns related to kerosene fumes back in the day; many users chose to use paraffin because it was lighter.
Kerosene torches are still used in modern day applications such as Tiki torches, but you still need to use caution, because they can ignite quite easily.
A diesel torch uses both regular gas and diesel gas fuels for power. The flame produced is more than powerful enough to cut right through steel and other metals with ease.
In some applications there are diesel torch models that can cut through several inches of steel as easily as if it were cutting a cake.
The main benefit of using a diesel blowtorch is that it can burn for an extremely long time.
This type of torch uses biodiesel. You can light this torch with an alcohol burner, and the flame spreads across the surface of the fuel.
You can then place an object on top of the torch to heat it up. It’s a well liked product due to the fuel’s renewable properties. We wouldn’t consider it mainstream just yet, but it is coming along rapidly.
How Do Blow Torches Work?
Blow torches use super compressed fuel inside of their canister or container for power. Once the fuel is slowly released and ignited, it quickly heats up to very high temperatures, depending on how much the fuel heats up.
One fuel type, gas, is known to have a higher burn rate than the other two, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to “blow up” your torch with it.
The same can be said for any type of torch, but the difference here is in how hot the flame actually burns.
Liquid fuel (propane, most likely) tends to burn hotter, while gas burns slower. It’s likely that you’ll be able to see the color and flames change the more you turn the flame on, since gas burn changes in color to more of a yellow color.
What Type of Fuel Is Best for Use With a Blow Torch?
What Type of Fuel Is Best for Use With a Blow Torch? That depends on what activity or task you are performing. Propane and butane are the most common types, but you’ll need something like Oxy-Gas for tough tasks such as cutting through thick pieces of metal.
Thanks for reading our article about the types of blow torches. These tools can be used in many different ways, whether they’re being used to craft or cut or simply for fun. They’re an essential tool that many people should own in their toolbox.
It really doesn’t matter if you are a DIYer or professional welder, there are plenty of uses for the blow torch. They’re inexpensive to buy, and they make for quite a powerful tool in anyone’s arsenal.