Natural firelighters have gained popularity in recent years.
With more of us turning to real fire as a source of home heating ways to start a fire have become necessary.
The popularity of wood burning stoves in our homes over the last decade has created a new market sector.
As with most FMCG’s natural firelighters have become common place in Supermarket aisles.
With a number of well known brands competing for space, the choice available is abundant.
However, are they all as good at lighting fires as they say?
At Hot Box, we have developed our own. However, how does it compare to the others available.
During the course of this article, we examine the top 5 most popular natural firelighters and pitch them against ours.
Why? Having insight into all of the natural firelighters across category is vital to us.
Natural Firelighters | What are they?
Such firelighters can be described as being made from only naturally occurring resources.
Commonly, they are made from shredded timber, sawdust, wood wool or even compressed cardboard.
Binding agents, also natural are used to create a form, a roll, a cube, a stick, or any other shape.
Usually, this binding agent is wax, beeswax is common as is paraffin wax.
The result is an odourless block which replaces traditional hexamine based firelighters.
A user will need to place two or three of these in their stove with kindling to create a base for their fire.
Or do they?
What are the options when it comes to firelighters?
At the top of the tree, so to speak, we have a few contenders which we have set out as follows:
Wood Wool Firelighters
The sheer volume of companies offering these in Supermarkets and online platform such as Amazon is alarming.
Made from wood wool , which is essentially wood shavings, and bound with wax, they are an effective way to light kindling or smaller split logs.
However, you will still need kindling.
Alternatively you will need to split down your usual logs and arrange them to get your fire started.
Further, you will need a few to generate sufficient heat to get things moving along nicely.
However, there is no denying that they are an effective natural firelighter.
Moreover, they can be quite a messy thing to have in your living room.
Offerings are available fro Amazon for circa £20.00 for a couple of hundred, which should keep you going a while.
Interestingly, we did a little experiment and pitched some against our own natural firelighter, the video below shows the results.
Next up, we take a look at firelighters made from sawdust.
Often, such items use vegetable oil as a binding agent and are compressed into a cube form.
They are super cheap, which is good, however, are they effective?
The answer is yes, they can be effective. However, be prepared to use several and a good amount of kindling to get your fire started.
Further, you will have to arrange the kindling in such a way so as to promote airflow.
Often, these firelighters are available as a loose product in a bag or tube.
Further, they are also available in a block or tablet, designed to be broken by the user.
Unlike wood wood firelighters, they are clean and don’t make a mess.
Offerings are available form most Supermarkets and online via Amazon.
In terms of cost, they are cheap. A tube will set you back around £10.00 for around 100 pieces.
However, it is important to factor in the cost of kindling on top of this to get an average price per fire.
As with sawdust firelighters, these interesting offerings are natural and about the size of a standard log.
However, they are designed to burn for about an hour, some claim more.
Made from compressed sawdust and usually vegetable oil, they are a natural firelighter.
However, when compared to other items they can get expensive.
A recent trip to Center Parks saw these on sale for £4.25 per unit.
Of course, being interested in fires I bought one and had a go.
The results in terms of heat output were disappointing, with the product doing little by way of heat generation.
Further, the flames provided were not very exciting, but the unit did burn for about two hours.
A few images below depict this natural firelighter offering.
In conclusion, heat logs are not designed as firelighters, however, they are an example of a natural product which can be used as such.
We would argue that they are not an effective way of generating any heat, which is surely the entire purpose of lighting a fire.
Flame Sticks | Natural Firelighters
Available via Amazon, these firelighters are a take on other natural sawdust firelighters, they are just a different shape.
However, they seem to work fairly effectively, although kindling is again required to start a fire using these.
It would not be possible to ignite larger logs without smaller sections being added first.
Further, they come packaged in small plastic zipped bags, not very natural or eco?
In truth, we are not sure how they really differ from other natural sawdust firelighters, the premise is the same.
Hot Box ® Firestarter | The ultimate firelighter?
Now moving on to our own take on natural firelighters.
Ok, so it may be a little more complex in terms of its construction.
Further, as a result it does cost more that alternatives. However, when you factor in other costs such as kindling, this is negligible.
This product has been developed based upon our experience of lighting wood burners.
Over the 12 years that we have been in business, we have done this countless times.
Each time, we traditionally used natural firelighters and kindling to generate sufficient heat to ignite larger logs.
However, we often found that our clients could not replicate our methods of firelighting.
In our view, a firelighter should generate sufficient heat to start a fire.
As most of the fires that we start use logs, a firelighter, even natural firelighters, should be capable of lighting them, in our opinion.
All of the above natural firelighters will require you to use kindling to get larger logs going.
Our product does not.
Hot Box ® Firestarter provides a a solution which does not require kindling.
Further, there are a few ways to use it.
- Naked, simply place firestarter in your wood burning stove, light it at the base and wait before adding logs 5-10 minutes later.
- Sit our natural firelighter on top of some logs, light at the base and leave it until the fire is going, circa 10 minutes.
- Stack some logs around our firelighter and light at the base, in around 10 minutes you will have generated enough heat to light all of the logs inside your wood burner.
Importantly, at no point will you need smaller logs, have to split logs, or introduce kindling to start you fire.
Natural firelighters | How much does it cost?
here is the thing, the costs are a little higher than the above natural firelighters.
However, you will not require any kindling, just your usual logs or briquettes.
So, let’s do some maths…
- Our 27 Pack offers the best value at £36.00 or £1.33 per fire. We hope to reduce this as our production scales and our business grows. Delivery costs will apply.
- A pack of kindling based upon 27 fires, will cost around £20.00
- Further, natural firelighters, again for 27 Fires will cost around £8.00, based upon using three per fire on average.
So, in total…
27 x Hot Box Firestarter’s will light 27 fires, without fail and without kindling and they cost £36.00
Natural firelighters, from well known retailers, and kindling for the same will cost £27.00. Further, you will have to build your fire and there may be a failure rate.
So, at the current time, our product is £9.00 more expensive than the alternatives.
Natural firelighters | How does it work?
A video will show you better than we can explain…