Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

Summary: Hate using lighter fluid, butane torches or chimney starters with your charcoal grill or BBQ? Enter the Looftlighter.

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Looftlighter demo video by Jason Perlow (courtesy of RibsWithin.com)

Now, I realize this is a technology blog, but sometimes I have been known throw a post in here or there that indulges my foodie lifestyle as well. The thing is, I was so impressed with this product, the LooftLighter, that I thought I would share it with my Tech Broiler readers. And well... it's technology, so I think it will pass editorial muster.

I'm sure many of my readers grill and barbecue with charcoal or like to go camping and own fireplaces, but find themselves having to use matches, lighter fluid, butane camping torches, or chimney lighters.

These traditional methods can be a real pain in the neck sometimes, particularly this time of the year when wood or charcoal can be damp from all the cold and rainy weather, or if there is some wind blowing. Some methods, such as the chimney lighter, can be time consuming and also very dangerous. Also, using lighter fluid is very bad for the environment.

And we know that as manly, fire wielding guys which like to occasionally return to our caveman roots, being nice to the environment not only makes us responsible adults, but it's also great for attracting women. Because they are all into that stuff these days.

Enter the LooftLighter ($79) which recently made its way from Scandinavia to the US. While it has been in Europe for five years, It has only been appearing in various specialty catalogues over the last few weeks. You can also buy it at various online retailers such as Amazon.

Basically, the product resembles a handheld hair dryer, but blows superheated air at the wood or coals at 1,250 degrees Fahrenheit. Within 60 seconds, you'll start to see very dense lump charcoal spark, and go to full ignition within 3 minutes, as you'll see in the video above.

I'll note that In this particular video we were dealing with damp lump charcoal and a very cold, moist environment outside. If you were using something like Kingsford briquets in the middle of spring or summer on your charcoal grill, you'd have ignition in like a minute.

Obviously, the only drawback to using this product is you'll need a long power cord and electricity where you are. So if you are in a remote area such as a camping site, you'll need to plug it into a generator or an RV. But I can see loads of American males grinning about the possibilities of this new environmentally-safe toy.

Do you own a Looftlighter yet? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topic: Browser

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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57 comments
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  • Lighter fluid is bad for the environment? You're kidding

    right? Lighter fluid is simply a hydrocarbon. Pour it in the ground and the microbes there turn it into fertilizer in a few days. Burn it and you get plant food released into the atmosphere.

    Oh. Wait. Let me guess. You drank the kool-aid that carbon dioxide is the most deadly substance on the planet. Except for radiation leaking from nuclear power plants (radiation from bananas is safe). Oh, and mercury. But only when it's in fish, not light bulbs.
    fr_gough
    • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

      Was going to post a response, but n/m.
      WarhavenSC
      • Well said

        @WarhavenSC
        nt
        use_what_works_4_U
    • Really??? A harmless hydrocarbon that becomes fertilizer when you spill it.

      @frgough@...

      Lighter fluid is cr@p and it makes everything taste like cr@p... It is as white trash/redneck as you can get. Anyone who uses it is a moron. I can't stand driving through a neighborhood and smelling the nasty smell of lighter fluid.

      But hey.. You think it's just a harmless hydrocarbon.... LOL... Yeah, try fertilizing your vegetable garden with it brainiac. I don't know what you drank, but it sure wasn't kool-aid.. Perhaps you drank some harmless hydrocarbon... Burned off a few too many brain cells, that much is clear
      .
      Why not at least educate yourself?. Hey.. Looky here!!! You can end your ignorance right now? Here is the MSDS for Kingsford odorless lighter fluid?
      http://www.biosci.ohio-state.edu/safety/MSDS/KINGSFORD%20CHARCOAL%20LIGHTER.htm
      Wow.. All sorts of good information on that stuff? I really liked the part about small amounts aspirated into the lungs during ingestion may cause pulmonary injury or death?

      What is that nasty stuff made out of anyway??? Oh? Here it is? It?s made from HYDROTREATED HEAVY NAPHTHA?

      Hmmm.. what is Naphtha?
      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/naphtha
      A colorless, volatile petroleum distillate, usually an intermediate product between gasoline and benzine, used as a solvent, fuel, etc. Compare mineral spirits?.

      Hmmm. Mineral spirits has the exact same ingredients as kingsford lighter fluid. So if you don?t have any kingsford, you can just use mineral spirits on yer grill. It's just a harmless hydrocarbon right??? Yeah... You keep telling yourself that? The rest of us will just laugh at your stupidity.
      i8thecat
  • environmentally-safe?

    Hmmm, sounds like off-loading to me. We will still have to deal with the nukes or the coal that produced the electricity. Besides, if you're cooking with charcoal, I really don't think the environment is on your mind.
    happyharry_z
    • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

      @happyharry_z According to the Looftlighter website, over 10 million bottles of lighter fluid are used in Sweden ALONE. Never mind how much of that is used in the US.<br><br><a href="http://www.looftlighter.com/environment/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.looftlighter.com/environment/</a>
      jperlow
      • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

        Seriously? And how much fuel will it take to fire up the generator? This looks like a solution looking for a problem (ie a gadget for people with too much money).
        joe.johnson@...
    • Nothing new here, said the old man.

      @happyharry_z
      I used to use a regular heat gun to light my ciggys (a thoroughly disgusting habit I quit 30 years ago). It would light in 5 or 10 seconds. Yes, I did use it on charcoal a couple of times, it worked fine, but it was noisy as heck and drew 13 amps. I don't see much difference.
      Papa_Bill
  • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

    That high-pitched electric whine has NO place in my weekend charcoal-lighting beer-drinking ritual. I grill and barbecue to relax. I'm about to crawl out of my skin just from the sound of the video. If my neighbor gets one of these, I'll sneak in his garage and break it. Have we been so emasculated in this country that we can't even light charcoal without a gadget? Sheesh! If you need one of these, get a gas grill.
    darteboy79
    • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

      Agreed, that noise would drive me nuts, too. Personally, I love my charcoal chimney. Just stuff some paper in the bottom, load it with charcoal, light it, sit back with a Boddingtons or Guinness, and in 10 minutes my coals are ready to go. Not at all difficult nor time consuming.
      WarhavenSC
      • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

        @WarhavenSC Remember where this product comes from -- Scandanavia. Where the winters are much, much colder than most parts of this country. This device blasts superheated air at the wood or coal, so they can grill or BBQ in the WINTER. Try lighting a charcoal chimney lighter when it is snowing or windy.
        jperlow
      • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

        @jperlow
        <i> Try lighting a charcoal chimney lighter when it is snowing or windy.</i>
        I have used the grill in the dead of winter, at night to boot. which this product would make no sense to use. Why stand out in that cold for a longer time to start the grill?
        Rick_K
      • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

        @jperlow

        Well, I usually have the whole chimney inside the Webber. If it's rainy or windy, I just put the lid on, open the holes on the top and bottom, and business as usual.
        WarhavenSC
      • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

        @WarhavenSC
        Yup. Chimney + 1 piece of newspaper + 1 match. Prep the food while the charcoal takes care itself.
        bigjuliefromchicago
    • PLEASE, no gas grills!

      @darteboy79 You might as well "barbecue" in your kitchen oven!
      Papa_Bill
    • NO EFFEN WAY

      Fire up the gas generator (BRUMMMMMMMMMM...) to run the Looft lighter (WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE)? Really? I got out of the city to get away from that racket. The chimney lighter is the way to go, and BTW you can make one out of a coffee can. Also, per my experience with the chimney lighter, the windier, the better. That sucker just WORKS.
      Geedavey
  • Oh the irony. Burn a couple buckets full of coal to power the lighter to..

    burn more coal...
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

      @Johnny Vegas

      Charcoal isn't coal. Real charcoal is charred wood. Briquets are ground-up charcoal, mixed with a clay-like binder.

      All the same, this does seem like a silly gadget. As many have pointed out, the electricity has to come from somewhere.

      Now, if you had a backyard windmill to power the lighter...
      Quinletc
      • RE: Barbecuers and Charcoal Grillers Rejoice: Behold, the Looft Lighter

        @Johnny
        He is referring to the fact that the majority of electricity in the world is produced by Coal generating plants.
        Neutron Man
      • Next from IGEA

        @Quinletc Your very own portable windmill generator. Simply mount it to your car and drive 20 m/h. Run an extension cord back to where the power is needed! (If you have a short cord, drive in circles). Voila! Power for your charcoal lighter!
        (pat. C.S.A. 2011 by Reuben Goldberg)
        Papa_Bill