You’ve spent time creating the perfect backyard oasis, and now it’s time for the final details; the tiki torches.
A simple lighting solution that doesn’t require electricity, but can also be used to keep bugs away.
Tiki torch wicks usually last anywhere from 3-16 hours. It’s a pretty big difference, but the length of time a tiki torch wick lasts depends on the type of wick that’s used, the thickness of the wick, and the type of fuel that you use.
Keep reading to find out about a wick that can burn almost indefinitely!
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Tiki Torch Wicks
The tiki torch wick is designed to carry fuel from the holding container up to the flame.
It is important that the wick is kept wet, as this will help to minimize the amount of smoke that is released from the torch.
If you notice that your tiki torch isn’t putting out much light, it may be because the wick is too dry.
To properly maintain your tiki torch wick, you will need to keep it trimmed to the correct length.
Depending on the type of tiki torch you have, this may be around 1/2 inch or so.
Remember This – You will also need to keep an eye on the wick material itself, as it can degrade over time. If you see any blackened areas, it is likely time to replace the wick.
So why the big difference in how long wicks last? There are a few reasons why.
What the Wick is Made of
Wicks are most commonly made of two materials:
Cotton wicks are becoming more difficult to find.
Cotton wicks burn much faster than fiberglass, and they aren’t as reliable.
To have a clean burn that doesn’t produce smoke, the wick has to stay wet with fuel.
If there are dry areas, the flame will burn the material causing more smoke than you want while you’re sitting around enjoying your backyard.
Fiberglass wicks will burn almost indefinitely if they are taken care of.
The fiberglass isn’t burned or consumed like cotton is.
As long as they don’t come in contact with water, or the fuel source isn’t contaminated, you won’t have to replace these wicks.
Quality of Fuel
The quality of fuel you use is going to have a huge impact on how long your tiki torch wicks last.
If you use a lower quality fuel, there are going to be impurities in the fuel, which means the wick will smoke quite a bit more, and you will burn through it faster.
Diameter of the Wick
The thickness of your wick will also have an effect on how long the wick will last.
A thicker wick will draw in more fuel, causing the flame to burn bigger, but using more fuel.
A standard size thickness for a wick is 1/2 inch for both cotton wicks and fiberglass wicks.
Although fiberglass wicks seem like they will burn forever, if the flame gets too hot you can char the top of the wick and it will need to be cut or replaced.
Tiki Torch Fuel
Different types of tiki torches use different types of fuel.
Citronella oil does double duty in tiki torches.
Not only does it provide fuel for a tiki torch to keep burning, but it also repels pesky biting bugs.
Citronella works by producing a fragrance that hides the smell humans and animals give off.
This confuses the bugs into thinking there’s no dinner in the area, and they should move on.
Because of the way citronella works, it’s best to stay seated by a tiki torch if you are using it to keep bugs away.
Sitting within 6 feet of a citronella tiki torch will help keep the bugs away from you while you enjoy your time in your backyard.
Paraffin oil, sometimes known as kerosene, is a common choice for tiki torches.
It has a very long burn time and has a very minimal fragrance.
Paraffin oil lasts longer because it is a clean burn.
With very few impurities in the oil, there is also hardly any smoke, which gives you all the benefits of having torches with mini campfires, without having to call out, “white rabbit,” until the smoke passes.
Wickless Tiki Torches
If you don’t want to worry about purchasing and replacing wicks, there are wickless options for tiki torches.
Propane Tiki torches don’t use a wick.
Instead of using a wick to bring the fuel to a fire, the fire is produced directly from the propane- almost like miniature fire bowls on the top of each tiki torch.
Solar tiki torches don’t need a wick because they don’t have a fire.
Instead: There is a flickering bulb inside the torch that charges during the day so they can party all night.
Can You Leave Tiki Torches In The Rain
If you use the wick cap properly, yes you can leave tiki torches out in the rain.
The wick cap can be used to snuff out fires, but it will also protect the wick and fuel from being ruined by rain.
When you are ready to head inside for the night and leave your tiki torches unattended, place the wick cap over the top of the small flame.
This cuts off the fire’s access to oxygen and will put the fire out very quickly.
Take the cap off and let the torch sit for a few minutes until the wick cools off, and then put the wick cap back on.
Don’t Forget – If you put the cap on to stop the fire and leave it, the temperature change can create a vacuum seal under the cap and you might have trouble taking it off the next time you want to use the torch.
If you have a wooden tiki torch that you don’t want looking weathered, you should bring it inside and store it upright so the oil doesn’t spill.
This also goes for storing your tiki torches for the winter. While they can stay outside, it is far better to store them inside to wait out the cold months.
If you are going to use a tiki torch that uses a wick, fiberglass wicks are the superior option, since they can last a lifetime with proper care.
Cotton wicks will last between 3 and 16 hours, which all depends on the thickness of the wick and the type of fuel that’s used.