Tiki Torches: Lighting up, Adding Flair to Your Outdoor Space

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Every garden needs the right mix of accessories to enhance its form and function. It doesn’t matter if your yard is tiny or massive. So long as it contains eye catching planters, sturdy furniture or bird houses or baths, it’ll serve you well throughout every season. One other essential accessory to add is the tiki torch.

What Use Will You Have for Tiki Torches?

Tiki torches serve more than outdoor lighting for your social gatherings. Stylish torches, like this 65” Cabos metal torch in bronze from TIKI Brand, also add style and ambiance to any yard or porch. Image from Amazon.com

As Outdoor Lighting

Most people use tiki torches as mood lighting for backyards. Others buy them as functional lighting for patios, garden paths and decks. The pole-mounted outdoor light is lit at the top of the wick, which absorbs the fuel stored in a casing. The casing is usually embellished, making the tiki torch a perfect accessory for any garden. It’s not only functional but stylish, too.

These Polynesian torches are not your everyday outdoor lighting. Although tiki torches are safe, fire is still involved. And where there’s fire, some hazard will be attached to it and caution is necessary. Fuel from the tiki torch could spill vapor, igniting your garden and spreading fire rapidly. So you don’t want to be lighting those torches every night.

As Ambiance Setter

People tend to install them strictly for special gatherings, adding ambiance to backyards for laidback dinner parties or summer barbecues. Some people also stake them on the ground on both ends of a table for a romantic meal for two in the garden.

Torches offer you an affordable option to set the right mood for those social gatherings that go well into the night. Instead of pricey fire pits and placed in the right spots, they may also warm up crowds during fall or winter soirees.

As Pest Repellant

Al fresco meals are appealing, especially if your delightful garden is perfumed with all sorts of colorful flowers and dotted with plenty of visual interest. But any outdoor gathering, for two or twenty, can be marred by the buzzing and biting of mosquitoes. Tiki torches burning the right kind of fuel can deter pests from hovering over your party.

Torches with citronella-infused fuel are perfect for ensuring bug-free outdoor parties. Be warned, though, a single tiki torch isn’t enough to keep those buzzards away. Your guests will also need to stand close to the torch because it can only repel mosquitoes when you’re standing in front of or directly below the flame. If your yard happens to be home to an unusual number of bugs, you’ll need other pest control measures to repel mosquitoes.

Now because this pole-mounted lighting now comes in different designs with varying features, shopping for the right one may be overwhelming.

How do you know you’re buying the best tiki torches?

Buying Your Tiki Torches

Stores like The Home Depot stock tiki torches in different materials and with varying features, from weather-resistant metal torches to renewable bamboo tiki torches. Photo by Ajay Suresh on Wikimedia Commons

Modern tiki torches no longer come in the typical bamboo material. You’ll find metal tiki torches standing alongside glass tiki torches in your local Home Depot or online stores. Contemporary designs have also veered away from the traditional features that have made the tiki torch a tiki torch.

For example, tiki torches in glass can be shaped in the form of a cactus, a beacon or a pineapple. Clearly, such designs may not work for gardens that follow a tropical island look. They’re more suited to quirky or avant-garde landscaping. The bottom line is you’ll have plenty of options for tiki torch designs to match your outdoor space.

So where do you start? Before figuring out where to buy your tiki torches, list the features you’ll want from the outdoor lighting.

Size

A standard tiki torch will come in 60 inches. These would be perfect to set up all around your yard if you like to host barbecues or cocktails more frequently than the average person. But if you only do a few parties a year and need the torch more for functional lighting (and still want that ambiance), go for tiki torches that adjust down to about 30 inches. These short torches are just right for lining up those dark pathways in your yard.

Not all tiki torches have to be lengthy; some can fit your garden tables. This 9” table fire torch from TIKI Brand is designed for outdoor use. Its 8 oz. canister will burn for up to five hours. Image from Amazon.com

Material

The most affordable ones tend to be wood, but you may worry about these torches catching fire. If you are, try metal or glass. Metal is durable and can be treated against harsh weather. If you use fire torches frequently, metal may be better than wood. Glass tiki torches may be pricier than wood or metal. But they tend to come in more sophisticated designs, and so you’ll have more options to create eye-catching corners in your garden.

If your landscaping design is patterned after an island resort, this 57” luau bamboo torch from TIKI Brand will fit right in. It comes in a pack of four or 12 with fiberglass wicks and 12 0z canisters that burn for up to five hours. Image from Amazon.com

Fuel

You’ll have three options for tiki torch fuel:

  1. Paraffin
  2. Bio-ethanol
  3. Citronella

All torch liquids will burn for up to five hours in a 12 oz. canister; some may burn faster, especially when your torch has a cotton wick instead of the fiberglass kind. But some fuel will do more than provide mood lighting for those outdoor gatherings.

Citronella-based fuel will help keep mosquitoes away as well as provide a nice citrus scent. You can also opt for paraffin oil that’s formulated for sootless, odorless and smokeless performance. But make sure that the product is fit to use for tiki torches, not just lamps.

Another thing to look for in your fuel is the design of the bottle. Make pouring easy by choosing products with easy-pour system, so you avoid spilling the flammable liquid on any surface. If you do spill some around the rim of the canister, wait a bit for the liquid to evaporate before lighting up the torch. You’ll want to follow tiki torch safety precautions before, during and after use.

This Bitefigher torch fuel from TIKI Brand combines citronella and cedar to keep bugs away. The best thing about it is you can pour the liquid in canisters without risking spillage. Image from Amazon.com

 

Are Solar Tiki Torches Worth It?

The Flortorch8 LED Island Torch from Newhouse Lighting is solar-powered, designed in bamboo finish and features flickering dancing flames, offering your outdoor parties a similar ambiance as that of a tiki torch — without the hazard or cost of one using fuel. Image from Amazon.com

If you’re a bit freaked out about using fuel around the house, you can still enjoy the look of a tiki torch without worrying about the flame. Try solar lighting for your outdoor space.

A solar tiki torch creates fake flames using LED lights powered by solar cells. Although you don’t get that effect of a flickering flame, you do avoid refueling a solar tiki torch. You also don’t have to relight the torch when it’s windy, as you do with a traditional torch. Solar torches feature sensors that automatically turn on and off the lighting device.

The sun-powered torches are also easy enough to assemble and their rechargeable batteries may provide up to eight hours (shorter during winter) of illumination. Most products will come in plastic or a combination of plastic and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, which is a kind of thermoplastic polymer that’s impact- and chemical-resistant. So these energy-efficient lights will last a long while outdoors.

What’s the Best Tiki Torch?

Tiki torches come in different materials and varying sizes to suit your outdoor lighting needs. Choose torches that are easy to install, use and store, so you don’t have to spend any more time than you have to when using them. And look for versatility, like this 65” King Oahu glass torch from TIKI Brand, which features a removable top that’s perfect as a centerpiece. Image from Amazon.com

Easy to install. Easy to use. Easy to store. The best tiki torches don’t have to take up too much of your time when you’re setting up for a luau, camp or a romantic al fresco dinner.

Although a majority of torches come under $50, make the most of your purchase by choosing products with extra features. For durability, go with a tiki torch that’s waterproof, corrosion-resistant and made from high-quality materials as well as premium wick. For safety, choose tiki torch sets with snuffer caps and canisters with easy-pour systems. For going greener, pick torches made from sustainable wood. Alternatively, you could make your own with recycled bottles.

When you want to capture the relaxed atmosphere of an island resort or enjoy outdoor parties well into the night, the best tiki torches will create the mood you desire. List the necessary features you want, set a budget and follow safety precautions when using your tiki torch.

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