Tiki torches are a cool and clean way to light up your outdoor space. They don’t use electricity like other lighting sources, allowing you to place them virtually anywhere and create the ambiance that you’re after.
Most torches are very traditional in design. They typically feature a small reservoir of flammable liquid and a fully-saturated wick. These two components sit on top of a long rod, which can be implanted into the ground. Once lit, tiki torches create flickering light that’s natural and easy on the eyes.
Originally inspired by the Polynesian culture, tiki torches offer a bit of old-world tropical flair to any backyard gathering. They grew in popularity during the 1950s when the TIKI brand started to create these torches on a massive scale. They have been a backyard staple in the decades since.
While bamboo torches are the most recognizable type of tiki torch, there are plenty of options to choose from. Today, you can easily find torches made out glass or metal in a wide range of designs. Whether you’re looking for something with a traditional Polynesian look or a torch that provides a more modern aesthetic, there’s a torch out there for you. Here’s a collection of tiki torches that can be used to light up your next backyard gathering.
Best Choice: TomCare Solar Tiki Torch Lights
Want the look of a traditional tiki torch without the dangers of a real fire? The TomCare tiki torches use solar-powered lights to recreate the effects of a flame. The light flicker and dance, creating an authentic look. The body of the torches is made out of tough ABS plastic. The unique thing about these lights is that they can be adjusted. Normally, the torches are less than three feet tall. However, you can add a secondary pole to make them a bit longer.
The lights are completely waterproof to stand up to the elements. The solar panels on the top of the lights help to recharge the battery. If the panels have exposure to sunlight for eight hours during the day, you can get up to 12 hours of illumination once the sun goes down.
- Solar powered
- Mimics real flame
- Can remain on for 12 hours when fully charged
- Made of durable plastic
- Adjustable height
- Pack of four
- Maximum height is shorter than most torches
From the TIKI brand is this beautifully designed gunmetal torch. It features a large fuel reservoir and a lattice rim. Attached to the torch is a magnetic snuffer. If can be used to put the fire out and keep the wick protected when not in use. The rim of the torch also has a unique filling system. A twisting mechanism allows you to access the fuel tank without having to deal with messes.
The torch sits on a four-piece pole. It’s made of durable metal for longevity. When fully assembled, the torch is about 66 inches tall.
- 66 inches tall
- Includes magnetic flame snuffer
- Twist and pour filling
- Modern gunmetal finish
- Finish may burn off
Another great option from TIKI is this stainless steel torch. The body of the torch is very modern. It features a teardrop shape, complete with an angled edge. It’s made of stainless steel and is capable of withstanding many years of use.
Inside the torch is a fiberglass wick. It burns slower than traditional rope wicks. As a result, you can expect as many as five hours of burn time when filled.
- Made of sleek stainless steel
- 60 inches tall
- Four-piece pole for height adjustment
- Fiberglass wick
- Includes snuffer
- Can get very hot at rim
The body of this torch has a very polished look that will fit right in with any outdoor decor. It’s covered in metal. A unique pattern is cut out of the material, providing some visual interest. The torch sits on a tall pole. In total, it can be about 65 inches tall. However, the modular pole can be shorted to about 50 inches as well. If you don’t want to stake the torch into the ground, it can also be used with weighted stands.
- Metal body
- Copper finish
- Four-piece pole for height adjustment
- 65 inches tall maximum
- Includes attached snuffer
- Large fuel canister opening for easy filling
With its natural and elegant looks, this torch from Matney can add a lot of ambiance to your outdoor space. The pole and body of the torch are made out of metal. Up top, there’s a metal cage to hold the oil tank. The cage is covered in metal leaves, further cementing the torch’s outdoor status. The tank sits nicely within the cage. It’s relatively large, holding up to 16 ounces of fuel for five hours of burning time.
- Pack of two
- Fiberglass wick
- Pole is speared for easy staking
- Fuel canister can hold 16 ounces of oil
- Includes snuffer cap
- Fill hole is quite small
Add some whimsy to your backyard with this glass tiki torch from TIKI. The glass material looks nice throughout the day. It’s tinted blue, casting colored reflections throughout your yard as the sun hits it. During the night, the clear nature of the oil canister produces a very subtle glow.
The glass sits inside a spiraled metal cage. The unique design holds onto the reservoir for safety while also adding some visual interest to the torch.
- Glass and metal design
- Fiberglass wick
- Four-piece pole
- Has attached snuffer
- Only holds 8 ounces of oil
The Cordoba patio torch from TIKI is a great option for adding some light outside. It has a large durable base. As a result, you can easily use this torch on concrete, stone, or any other stable surface. The torch is made out of durable metal throughout. It’s powder-coated to provide a lasting finish.
The oil reservoir holds quite a bit of oil. There’s also an easy-fill system to help you replenish your oil supply with fewer spills. A double wick inside the oil helps the torch burn strong for up to three hours.
- Powder-coated metal body
- Easy-pour system
- Easy to assemble
- Double wick
- May be too short for those with kids or pets
With its traditional woven design, the Bali torch looks like a standard bamboo torch at first glance. However, instead of bamboo that could become damaged after your first big rain, this torch is made out of tough metal and resin. It will fit right in with any beach setting or tropical paradise. The woven resin jar holds the oil tank. The torch includes an adjustable pole. With all of the pieces together, it’s about 65 inches tall. You can use this torch by staking it into the ground or securing it to your wooden deck with the included clamp.
- Adjustable height
- Made out of metal
- Can be used with a stand
- Fiberglass wick
- Includes deck clamp for safety
If you prefer a polished and elegant look, consider the Cataline torch from TIKI. It has a very detailed design. The upper part of the pole features a woven ball. It’s very reminiscent of old wrought-iron fencing. Above that, there’s the cone-shaped oil tank. It has a brushed copper finish, helping it stand out from the dark metal pole.
The torch’s tank is quite large. It can hold as much as 26 ounces of fluid. With all that fuel, the torch can burn continuously for as long as 10 hours.
- Elegant design
- Tank holds 26 ounces of oil
- Made of metal
- Snuffing cap
- Up to 63 inches tall
This torch from TIKI has some unique old-world charm. It features a copper-colored oil tank that’s sitting inside a dark metal basket. The oil tank is very large. It can hold up to 32 ounces of oil. This results in an impressive 25-hour burn time.
Like other options from TIKI, this torch features a modular pole system made of metal. You can easily adjust the height based on your personal needs. With all the parts together, it measures about 61 inches tall.
- Made of powder-coated steel
- Extra-large oil tank
- 61 inches tall
- Snuffing cap
- May be difficult to pour oil without making a mess
Tiki Torch Buying Guide
The tiki torch market is quite vast, so you’ll have no problem finding plenty of products to choose from. However, the sheer number of options can make it difficult to find something that works for you. While these outdoor torches are rather simple in design and functionality, the overall quality of the torch can affect the light it produces and its safety. Here are some things to consider before you buy.
The first thing you should consider is how the torch provides light. Traditionally, tiki torches use a flame to illuminate your surroundings. Even today, most torches on the market are fire-focused. However, there are alternatives.
Tiki torches with solar lights are a safer option for those who aren’t comfortable with flames. Small children and pets can easily knock down a lit tiki torch, posing a safety risk. Solar lights eliminate that issue completely. At first glance, they look very similar to flame torches. However, instead of an oil reservoir and wick, there’s a battery and LED bulb. The main downside with solar torches is that they aren’t as bright as real flames. Also, they require several hours of sunlight to fully charge.
There are a couple of different types of fuels used for standard garden torches. Each one can provide its own perks.
The most affordable and readily-available fuel source is oil. Torches can be used with either kerosene or paraffin oil. The latter is the preferred choice, as it has more of a clean burn than kerosene. Both of these oils burn adequately for several hours depending on the size of the reservoir. Luckily, kerosene and paraffin oil are very cheap and can usually be purchased at your local supermarket.
Citronella oil burns the same way as traditional tiki torch oil. However, it has the added benefit of keeping bugs away. While the odor this oil produces is quite pleasant for us, bugs absolutely hate it. As a result, this oil can keep mosquitoes, flies, and other pests out the immediate area. Many oils, such as BiteFighter Torch Fuel, are capable of protecting as much as 15 feet away from the tiki torch. With an array of torches lighting up your outdoor space, you can enjoy a bug-free party.
Torches that use gas for fuel are almost always the most expensive. This is because they offer more features and can light up the night for several hours. Most gas tiki torches use small gas canisters that are used for blow torches. They have a small knob that lets you adjust the flow of gas, thus making the flame bigger or smaller. The great thing about a gas torch is they are completely wick-free. You won’t have to worry about the maintenance that comes with a wick or constant replacements.
Material and Design
While tiki torches are commonly associated with tropical decor, you don’t have to settle for standard bamboo products. Bamboo tiki torches are the most affordable. Many of these torches are made out of a single piece of bamboo that has been frayed at the end to support the metal fuel canister. If you want a more metal urban look, you can easily find torches made out of copper, stainless steel, brass, and iron. Some of these torches incorporate elements of glass, resin, or ceramic.
The material of your torch isn’t just about looks. How the torch is made will have a direct effect on how long it can last. Bamboo torches aren’t known to last very long. However, metal torches are capable of lasting for several years with proper care. Keep this in mind when you’re shopping.
Tabletop vs. Pole?
Finally, you’ll need to decide whether you want a tabletop torch or a standard pole torch. Table torches look just like the top or a normal torch. There’s a fuel reservoir and wick. However, many of these patio torches also have some kind of decorative housing. This helps to add some more visual appeal to your table setting while keeping the surrounding items safe from the heat.
Pole torches come with a support rod that can be staked into the ground. The quality of the pole will vary based on the material. For example, bamboo torches are usually made of a single piece of bamboo. Thus, it may have some inconsistencies in length and straightness. Metal torches, on the other hand, are perfectly sleek and may have prongs on the bottom for extra support. Usually, pole torches stand about 5 feet high so that the flame is away from any potentially flammable materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long do torches burn for?
This all depends on the design of the torch. If the torch is capable of holding a lot of oil, it will burn for a very long time. Usually, you can expect between 3 and 5 hours of burn time with a standard torch. However, there are some products that can burn for more than 24 cumulative hours before needing a refill.
Q: What makes Citronella oil effective against bugs?
Contrary to popular belief, citronella oil doesn’t contain any potentially harmful chemicals. Its made from different types of lemongrass, which is why it has a distinct citrus smell. That citrus smell is what keep bugs away.
Q: How do you light a tiki torch?
Before you light the torch, the wick needs to be fully soaked. The best way to do this is to fill the oil reservoir and wait a few hours. The oil will travel up the wick over time. Once it’s saturated, you should have no problem lighting the torch with a lighter or match. It’s best to use a light with a long neck so that you can avoid burns.
Q; How do you distinguish a tiki torch?
Most torches have an included snuffer. The snuffer is meant to distinguish the flame without the need for water. Pouring water on the torch will only ruin the wick and cause issues with your oil. The snuffer deprives the flame of oxygen, causing it to go out instantly.