Resort Quality Copper Tiki Torches

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Tiki Torch Information

Torch Type Depends on Landscape and Application

While outdoor garden torches (commonly called tiki torches) have dotted summer landscapes for decades, many people have started to install high grade copper-construction models as permanent fixtures.  Torches can be classified as either kerosene or gas fueled.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

Kerosene type torches utilize either kerosene, citronella, or an outdoor lamp oil.  The torch will typically act as the canister for the fuel, where one end of a wick is in contact with the fuel and the other is lit.  The two main advantages of this type are cost and flexibility.

Although kerosene torches are typically less expensive than gas torches to begin with, the savings are really found in the installation.  Generally, when a kerosene torch is installed, costs are limited to the price of the pole (not included with the torch head), and the time taken to dig a small hole for securing the pole in the ground.  This can be done with a post hole digger.  A homeowner then has the option of whether to simply hard-pack the dirt around the pole or to fill the small hole with concrete for a truly permanent installation.

Flexibility is also greater with the kerosene torch.  Because the torch is not dependent upon an underground gas line, the kerosene torch can be placed virtually anywhere in the landscape, bypassing the need for trenching.  For this reason, this type is ideal for those who already have existing landscapes.  Should the homeowner only want to have a kerosene torch out for part of the year, a metal sleeve slightly bigger that the pole diameter can be left in place to allow removal of the pole and torch head.

If a premium quality kerosene torch is less expensive and easier to install than a gas type tiki torch, why would anyone want the latter?  There are two compelling reasons: performance and maintenance.

A propane or natural gas tiki torch head is delivered its source fuel at a certain pressure, which allows the flame to be higher and more brilliant than that of a kerosene model.  In addition, a kerosene model's flame height is dictated by how much fuel is physically present and consumed by the exposed wick above the uppermost fitting.  While fiberglass wicks have a longer life, they cannot match the absorbtion of a cotton wick.  Yet, cotton wicks will actually burn down with the consumption of the fuel.  This then affects how much kerosene is above the wick-holding fitting, therefore requiring a cotton wick to be advanced upward after so many hours.

In contrast, natural and propane gas tiki torches do not need this same type of attention.  The torch's flame is a consistent height for the entire evening, a group of torches can be turned off with the use of a master valve, and long term maintenance, similar to that of a propane grill, is limited to keeping the torch's orifice and burner free from debris.  Because of the initial trenching required for gas lines, gas tiki torches are more ideally suited for new landscapes, or existing landscapes where the trenching would be only minimally disruptive.

Whichever type of torch the homeowner chooses, it is recommended that they be made of either copper, brass, or stainless steel.  Permanent outdoor fixtures, whether they be torches or lighting, should be built of these corrosion resistant materials.  This is especially important in near-ocean locations where the salt air would otherwise eat away at the fittings of a typical "disposable" type torch.

Looking for electronic ignition tiki torches?  Beachside Lighting works with Kohala Tikis to automate torches.