HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


Crème brûlée - which torch should I buy?

  • 7

I want to make crème brûlée and I am wondering which kind of torch I should buy... the "chef" kind, bought in a cookware store and costing about $30, or the more powerful, cheaper ($15-$20) torch from a hardware store, with the big fuel cylinder.

I do not intend to make crème brûlée very often, but I want to buy a torch that will work well over time.

Looking forward to your recommendations and suggestions!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The butane torch from the hardware store will make your bruleeing much easier. The "chef" ones are smaller and take up less room, but you can just stick the large torch somewhere out of the way if you won't be accessing it often. I think it'll be worth it.

    1. definitely get the larger hardware store style. i bought a "creme brulee torch" and returned it after one use. it just doesn't get hot enough for a nice crust and took far too much time to crisp up the top

      1. A cheap one from the hardware store, hands down.

        1. Yet another vote for 'cheap'. Remember, too, that once the frenzy for the fancy ones dies down, you may have trouble finding fuel refills...but the cheap ones use the same propane bottles as millions of camp stoves and lanterns, so you'll be able to buy them at the local sporting goods store for generations to come.

          1. I agree - cheaper!

            I got a small one from Lowe's (like Home Depot if you don't have Lowe's in your area) which looks just like the ones from the more expensive cooking catalogs/stores and it works great. I use it a few times/year.

            1. I vote for the cheap one as well. I have had a couple of the smaller ones, one didn't work unless you had hours to spare and the second leaked gas constantly.

              1. Another vote for cheap.

                I do have one of those baby "chef" torches, though. It works well. I've had it for a few years now and nothing has broken/burned/whatever. The butane fuel was easily found from where I bought the torch and is easily found in places that sell those torches. All in all, I wish I hadn't spent $30 or so on a tiny torch that doesn't work as quickly as the larger, cheaper ones. On the other hand, I lived in the dorms [at time of purchase] and wouldn't have gotten the bigger one past security, and for the price, my torch is still working and shows no signs of problems.