Tiki Torch2021-08-16T17:35:57-10:00

Tiki Torch Types

Torch Type Depends on Landscape & 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.

Gas Tiki Torches

A natural gas or propane tiki torch head is fed gas at a certain pressure, which then is sent through an internal orifice, allowing the flame to be higher and more wind-resistant than a self-contained liquid-fueled torch. Gas torches don’t have a wick that needs to be advanced between uses. 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. Long term maintenance, similar to that of a gas barbeque 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. Commercial applications where torches are used nightly are also more suited for gas torches.


  • Higher & More Brillant Flame
  • Less Maintenance


  • Higher Initial Cost

  • Inital Trenching Required

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. 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 absorption of a cotton wick. Yet, cotton wicks will actually burn down with the consumption of the fuel. This affects how much kerosene is above the wick-holding fitting. Therefore a cotton wick needs to be advanced upward after so many hours.

The two main advantages of Kerosene type torches are cost and flexibility. Although kerosene torches are slightly less expensive than gas torches to begin with, the savings is 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.


  • Lower Initial Cost

  • Greater Flexibility


  • Smaller Flame Height
  • More Maintenance

Overall Quality

Copper, Brass, or Stainless Steel

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.

Electronic Ignition Tiki Torches

Beachside Lighting does not produce electronic ignition torches, but supplies copper cones and bases to Kohala Tikis for this.


What kind of gas does a gas tiki torch use?2021-07-23T09:48:08-10:00

A gas tiki torch will typically use Propane (LP), or Natural Gas.    The desired gas type needs to be specified.  To achieve the same flame height, each gas type varies in its incoming pressure, BTU consumption, as well as internal orifice sizes.

How much gas does a Natural Gas tiki torch consume?2021-07-23T09:47:32-10:00

Although the incoming gas pressure for a low pressure line can vary, at a typical 7” water column (.25 psi), a natural gas tiki torch will consume roughly 22,500 BTUs, producing a 12” – 15” high flame.

How much gas does a Propane Gas tiki torch consume?2021-08-10T16:51:16-10:00

At a typical low pressure setting of an 11” water column (.40 psi), a propane gas tiki torch will consume roughly 14,600 BTUs, producing a 12” – 15” flame.

How long will a single propane gas tiki torch burn using a 20 lb tank?2021-08-10T16:50:29-10:00

A tiki torch consuming 14,600 BTUs at a typical 11” water column and fed by a full 20 lb. propane tank, also referred to as a “grill” cylinder, should last more than 28 hours.

What type of tiki torch will last longest?2021-08-10T16:47:53-10:00

A tiki torch made from a corrosion resistant metal or alloy will last longest. This includes copper, brass, or a 300 series stainless steel.

What tiki torches are used at Hawaii’s hotels and resorts?2021-08-10T16:46:20-10:00

Most torches at Hawaii’s hotels and resorts are gas torches, using either synthetic natural gas (SNG) on O’ahu, or propane (LP) gas on other islands. Torches are typically either a standard conical shape, made from spun copper and supplied with brass fittings; or a decorative “Malama” series, which features various artistic designs burned into a cylinder made from 304 stainless steel, also supplied with other brass fittings.

What types of commercial grade tiki torches are available?2021-07-23T09:57:34-10:00

While there are manufacturers of specialized custom torches, some manufacturers offer cataloged items which include conical, cylindrical, and “bowl” shaped gas torches, set to operate on either natural or propane gas.

What makes a tiki torch “commercial” grade?2021-08-10T16:44:21-10:00

Any tiki torch built to withstand nightly use, including for hotel, resort, and restaurant applications would be considered commercial grade, but would require its components to be constructed out of corrosion resistant materials, such as copper, brass, and stainless steel.

How much light will a gas tiki torch provide?2021-08-10T16:43:10-10:00

The amount of light given off by a gas tiki torch is dictated by the flame height, which is dependent upon the gas consumption. A traditional conical tiki torch at a 2.3-meter mounting height, and 15” flame with no wind will deliver approximately .48 footcandles (5.17 lux) at a 1 meter radius from the pole. At a 5-meter radius, the light level drops to .13 footcandles (1.4 lux).

How wind resistant are gas tiki torches?2021-08-10T16:41:55-10:00

Wind resistance of gas tiki torches is dependent upon the gas consumption. A typical natural gas torch using 22,500 BTUs / hour (producing a 12” – 15” flame height with no wind) has remain lit after being tested in 40 mph winds at CSA’s Irvine, California facility. However, winds greater than 15 mph will reduce the brilliance of the flame, with the wind possibly making it difficult to even enjoy the outdoors at that level.

How often does the Kerosene / Citronella torch wick need to be advanced?2021-08-16T10:16:41-10:00

With every use. Start off the evening with about 1.5” (38mm) of cotton wick about the brass wickholder fitting.

How long will a Kerosene / Citronella tiki torch burn in one evening?2021-08-16T10:17:52-10:00

A Kerosene / Citronella tiki torch will burn 5 to 6 hours in one evening, with the limit being reached as the cotton wick burns down. With the wick raised approximately 1.5” (38mm) above the top brass fitting, the cotton torch wick will burn down throughout the evening, even with torch fuel still in the torch.

How many evenings of use will the Kerosene / Citronella torch’s fuel capacity allow.2021-08-16T10:18:43-10:00

At 4 – 5 hours of nightly use, the Kerosene / Citronella tiki torch’s capacity should give 5 – 7 evenings of use.


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