I have a lot of grilling gadgets, so for me to say that the Looftlighter electric charcoal lighter is my favorite gadget purchase in the last 2 years is saying something. Go back any further than that and I would have to count my Big Steel Keg in what would be a close race for favs. Any who, the Looftlighter has completely changed my weeknight grilling habits. I’ll walk you through the details on how this gadget has changed my grilling in this in-depth Looftlighter review.
How I Started Charcoal Before the Looftlighter
Way back 2 years ago, I used to rotate through several methods to start my charcoal grill. I went through a chimney phase, until the infamous toe burning of 2011 (please don’t be an idiot like me, wear close-toed shoes when handling white hot coals). With or without the charcoal chimney starter, I always used some sort of starter cube or block to start the charcoal. Invariably I would realize I was out of cubes right when I’m ready to grill, so I also used the newspaper and cooking oil technique. All of those alternative methods rely on supplies I may or may not have on hand. Even with the supplies, the charcoal would take around 25 – 30 minutes to get ready for high temp grilling like when grilling a steak.
Starting Charcoal with the Looftlighter
My charcoal grilling life changed when the Looftlighter arrived from Amazon. I prefer charcoal to gas, but a lot of times I would grill on my gas grill on weeknights out of convenience. Now with the Looftlighter, I don’t need anything but an electrical outlet to get my charcoal going. For high temp grilling, I will use the Looftlighter to start the charcoal from two opposite ends. This technique usually has my charcoal grill ready to cook in the time it takes me to season the protein I’m grilling. For smoking and lower temp grilling sessions, I just start the charcoal pile right in the middle.
How the Looftlighter Works
This part is easy and fun (for border line pyromaniacs like me). Simply plug in the Looftlighter, press the end into the charcoal pile and hold until you get a nice glowing red coal.
Once you have started that first coal, pull the Looftlighter back about 2 inches and allow the fan to create what my kids call the flamethrower effect to get the rest of the coals going. I continue to move the Looftlighter to blow the fan in several directions, spreading the lit coals to a larger area.
So as you can tell, I’m pretty giddy about this little flame-producing toy, but are there any “cons”? I’ve honestly only been able to come up with one, the fact that it has to be plugged in. Having said that, it is a pretty obvious need for an “electric” device. If there were some way to make it battery powered, with enough juice to get through a few lightings, it would be much more useful when tailgating and camping. It is still a small detail to me though since my vehicle has a power outlet.