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Kingsford Charcoal Starter: 10 Things To Know

Kingsford Charcoal Starter

A Kingsford charcoal starter chimney is a must-have accessory for any serious charcoal grill enthusiast. When you set it up properly, you don’t need to use any lighter fluid, which maximizes the charcoal flavor, while also saving a little money on your backyard grilling budget. 

When you consider that a 32-ounce jug of Kingsford lighter fluid costs around $5 to $7, and will only light 10 to 12 grilling sessions, the $15 charcoal chimney will gradually start to pay for itself in just a single summer. Yet the chimney has an average lifespan of 3 to 5 years with proper storage. 

Kingsford only offers one size of charcoal chimney. It is made from heavy-duty zinc steel and measures 10.74” x 6.8” x 11.25” which is big enough to hold enough charcoal for a typical 22 to 26” kettle grill. 

Using the Kingsford Deluxe Charcoal Starter chimney to light your charcoal briquettes is safer, easier, and more cost-effective than light fluid or their quick light fire starters. 

Several competitors also make charcoal chimneys worth considering. Of them, Weber is a strong alternative and might be the better choice if you like to work with lump charcoal. 

Lighting briquettes in a charcoal chimney is very easy and doesn’t require any lighter fluid. You just need to tear up two sheets of newspaper, drizzle a little oil on them, and stuff them into the lower chamber before lighting. 

After 10 to 12 minutes, the top charcoal briquettes should be lined with white ash. This is a sign that they are ready to pour into the lower portion of your charcoal chimney. 

Should You Buy a Kingsford Charcoal Starter?

A Kingsford charcoal starter chimney is a great way to ignite your charcoal briquettes without having to use messy, smelly, and potentially dangerous lighter fluid. You just need 2 typical sheets of newspaper and a tablespoon or two of cooking oil to light a full batch of charcoal. 

Though if you like to grill with lump charcoal, you might want to also look at the Weber Rapid Fire Charcoal Chimney. While it performs the same way, the interior wire at the bottom of the chimney is less likely to let a small piece of lump charcoal fall through, and it has a better safety handle for dumping burning lump charcoal.  

How Much Are Kingsford Charcoal Starters?

Kingsford Charcoal Starters retail for $15 to $17 for the 10.74” x 6.8” x 11.25” chimney.

What Kind of Charcoal Starters Does Kingsford Sell?

Kingsford sells three different ways to start their charcoal briquettes. This is the Charcoal Starter chimney, their Quick Light wooden fire starters, and their classic lighter fluid. 

Of these, three methods, the Kingsford Charcoal Starter chimney is the safest and most effective way to light their charcoal briquettes. It also tends to be the most long-term cost-effective option, as all it requires is a one-time purchase.

Kingsford Heavy Duty Deluxe Charcoal Chimney Starter

The Kingsford Heavy Duty Deluxe Charcoal Chimney Starter is made from heavy-duty zinc steel, which has most of the rust-resistant properties of galvanized steel. With proper storage, it will last roughly 3 to 5 years before metal fatigue or corrosion cause it to fail. 

You can find the Kingsford Charcoal Starters at licensed retailers like Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Amazon for $15 to $17. 

Though it’s only available in one size measuring 10.74” x 6.8” x 11.25” with a small metal heat shield and a stay-cool handle. Some of their competitors sell smaller and larger models with handles that are slightly safer for pouring out large loads of charcoal briquettes. 

How Do You Start a Kingsford Charcoal Chimney?

You don’t need any lighter fluid to start charcoal in a Kingsford Charcoal Starter Chimney. You can use two sheets of newspaper, a tablespoon or two of cooking oil, and the following steps. 

Step One: Remove the top grill grate to access the lower portion of your charcoal grill’s firebox. 

Step Two: Roughly tear the sheets of newspaper into quarters, and loosely ball them up. 

Step Three: Lightly drizzle a tablespoon or two of cooking oil on them, and stuff the newspaper into the lower section of the Kingsford charcoal chimney. 

Step Four: Dump two to three handfuls of charcoal into the top section of the charcoal chimney. 

Step Five: Light the newspaper with a stick lighter and allow the flames to envelop the lower charcoal briquettes. 

Step Six: After 7 to 10 minutes the edges of the charcoal briquettes at the top should be burning and tinged with white. 

Step Seven: Carefully pour the charcoal into the firebox of your grill, and use a pair of tongs to set up the coal bed in the shape you want. 

It’s worth noting that the oil drizzled on the newspaper creates a wicking effect that allows it to burn longer than the newspaper normally would on its own. It greatly reduces the risk of the newspaper burning away before the charcoal fully lights. 

Is a Charcoal Chimney Starter Worth It?

A charcoal chimney like the Kingsford Deluxe Charcoal Starter is definitely worth it when it comes to a clean, safe, and cost-efficient way to start your charcoal. 

When you do the math, the starter itself costs around $13 to $17 and will hold enough charcoal briquettes in one batch to light a typical 22 to 26-inch kettle-style charcoal grill. Since you just need two sheets of newspaper and a tiny bit of cooking oil, the cost to ignite each load of charcoal is essentially free. 

Compare this to the 32-ounce jug of Kingsford lighter fluid which retails at $5 to $7. At most, it will be able to light the same volume of charcoal 10 to perhaps 12 times, before you need to buy a new jug. 

Most avid outdoor chefs will grill out at least 2 if not 3 times a week over a period of time from mid-spring to the early fall. This translates into roughly one 32-ounce jug of lighter fluid every 4 to 6 weeks over a span of roughly 18 weeks, and an average lighter fluid cost of $21.

This means the charcoal chimney starter will pay for itself in the first summer. Yet it still has a typical lifespan of 3 to 5 years, which is a savings potential of up to $100. 

How Long Do You Leave Charcoal in Chimney Starter?

Ideally, you want the leave the charcoal in the chimney starter until the top briquettes are lined with white ash. 

For a medium load of charcoal, this might be 7 to 10 minutes. For a large, full load of charcoal, it could take 10 to 15 minutes for the top briquettes to be ready. 

Do You Need Starter Fluid for Charcoal?

Lighter fluid is unnecessary in a charcoal chimney, as you can start most loads of charcoal briquettes with just two sheets of newspaper and two tablespoons of cooking oil.

Using lighter fluid would defeat the purpose of a charcoal chimney which was basically invented to keep petroleum fumes out of the natural aroma of burning charcoal. 

Final Thoughts

Charcoal chimneys like Kingsford Deluxe Charcoal Starter are considered a “Must-Have” accessory by most experienced outdoor chefs. It lets you start a full load of charcoal briquettes without having to use any lighter fluid. 

Throughout the average 3-to-5-year lifespan of a zinc steel charcoal chimney, you can save up to $100. Especially when you consider that the 32-ounce jug of Kingsford lighter fluid retails for $5 to $7, and will only last for 10 to 12 grilling sessions.

Yet the Kingsford Deluxe Charcoal Starter costs $15. This means if you grill 2 to 3 times a week in summer, the charcoal chimney will pay for itself in lighter fluid savings in less than a year. 

However, Kingsford only sells one size of charcoal chimney, measuring 10.74” x 6.8” x 11.25”. This is large enough to hold enough charcoal for a typical 22 to 26” kettle grill. 

Though major competitors like Weber, also sell charcoal chimneys in a variety of sizes, with engineering features that are worth considering. The internal wire basket and handle system of Weber’s RapidFire charcoal chimney might be a better and safer option for lighting lump charcoal than the Kingsford Charcoal Starter chimney.  

Lighting briquettes in a charcoal chimney doesn’t require any lighter fluid. All you need to do is tear two sheets of newspaper into quarters and ball them up.

Then lightly drizzle the newspaper with a little oil on them and stuff them into the lower chamber. Load the top chamber with the desired about of charcoal and light the newspaper below. 

The oil and newspaper replicate a natural wicking effect that should light the top charcoal briquettes in 10 to 12 minutes. Once the top briquettes are lined with white, you can carefully dump the entire load and start preheating your charcoal grill like normal.