Charcoal Lighter Fluid vs Lighter Fluid – Choosing The Best

Charcoal Lighter Fluid vs Lighter Fluid
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Charcoal Lighter Fluid vs Lighter Fluid

Without an iota of doubt, lighting the fire is the most important step of the grilling or barbecuing process. It is a daunting process, but it can be made easier with the right lighter fluid.

Charcoal lighter fluid and lighter fluid are the two widely preferred options when it comes to starter lighter fluids. So, which fluid does the job better, and more importantly, are these lighter fluids safe to use?

If you are hosting a BBQ party for the first time, you may go through a dilemma while choosing a lighter fluid. In this article, we intend to compare these lighter fluids hereinafter. Read on to know which one is worth your money.

Charcoal Lighter Fluid vs Lighter Fluid

Comparison Table

FeaturesCharcoal Lighter FluidLighter Fluid
Main ingredientPetroleumNaphtha solution
Ignition timeLessMore
PriceSlightly expensiveCheap

Charcoal Lighter Fluid

Starting with the charcoal lighter fluid, it is a volatile fluid made of petroleum substances used to start a fire on a BBQ grill.

It has been around for quite some time and is a preferred option for many people. It is sold by many brands all over the world. Let’s discuss what makes it so special.


Although most charcoal lighter fluids nowadays are made of petroleum products, some alcohol-based fluids are also available on the market. Both fluids are safe to use for the most part, but some petroleum-based fluids contain toxic chemicals.

This is why some people are skeptical about using this fluid. It depends on the manufacturer, so it would be better to read the ingredients before purchasing a charcoal lighter fluid.


The best thing about the charcoal lighter fluid is that it lights the fire quickly. It is a highly inflammable mixture that ignites the fire in no time.

Mature man lighting barbecue with lighter fluid
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If you have used a BBQ grill, you’d know how annoying and troublesome it can be to start a fire. So, if you are sick and tired of spending hours trying to start a fire, consider opting for the charcoal lighter fluid.

Using the Charcoal Lighter Fluid

Igniting a fire with charcoal lighter fluid is a fairly straightforward process. All you need to do is squirt some fluid on the lumps of charcoal, and that’s it. The fire may take a couple of minutes to start properly.

If you are using a petroleum-based mixture, the flame may weaken after some time. As we all know, petroleum is a highly volatile substance and evaporates quickly. So, consider adding a bit more charcoal lighter fluid when the flame weakens. This will help lumps maintain the flame.

Having said that, it is pertinent to mention that using the charcoal lighter fluid can be dangerous at times. If not handled carefully, it can flare up the fire and cause serious injuries. It is important to add the charcoal lighter fluid in the right amounts for the best experience.

Summer picnic with small charcoal grill in the park
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While adding less fluid will result in weakened flame, over-adding it can cause a fire. Therefore, it is advised to read the instructions given on the package to use the charcoal lighter fluid safely.

Does Charcoal Lighter Fluid Affect Taste?

Another cool thing about the charcoal lighter fluid is that it doesn’t leave a nasty taste on the food item. Seriously, what’s the point of using a lighter fluid if it affects the taste and quality of your food? Moreover, it has a milder odor, making it a perfect option.

Lighter Fluid

Now coming to lighter fluid, it is another inflammable mixture that can light the BBQ grills. It is widely used as a charcoal igniter. Let’s discuss it in detail and see how it is different from the charcoal lighter fluid.


The key difference between the charcoal lighter fluid and the lighter fluid is that the latter is usually made of naphtha solution, which tends to be a bit lighter than petroleum and other alternatives.


Since naphtha is lighter than petroleum, the lighter fluid ignites the fire slowly as compared to the charcoal lighter fluid. However, it also gets the job done.

While this means that it takes longer to start a fire, it also makes it a safer option. So, if you are looking for a safer fluid, the lighter fluid is the right option.

Using the Lighter Fluid

Like the charcoal lighter fluid, the standard lighter fluid is also applied directly to the lumps. Start by arranging the coils in your BBQ grill.

Then, pour the lighter fluid evenly on the coal bed. Once you have applied it, put on its cap and place it a few feet apart from your BBQ grill. Regardless of the fluid type, never apply it to hot coals.

Does Lighter Fluid Affect the Taste?

A closeup view of a charcoal barbecue with raw chicken drumsticks and tongs on the grill
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It is seen that the lighter fluid imparts its flavor to the food sometimes. This can be a potential deal-breaker for many users. This is why many people prefer charcoal lighter fluid, despite it being a safer option.

As far as the price is concerned, the charcoal lighter fluid tends to be slightly pricier than its standard counterpart. However, considering its ease of use and great igniting performance, it would be safe to say that the cake is worth the candle.

Final Verdict

The charcoal lighter fluid and lighter fluid have long been used to ignite fires in the BBQ grills. Both have their own benefits and downsides, but the charcoal lighter fluid wins this battle. It quickly starts the fire without imparting its taste to the food items.

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