We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Light the torch and let the opening ceremony of summer commence. Since our days living in caves, humans have used torches to keep the lights on and the party going. The best tiki torches are much more than simple, oversized matches. Torches made of glass and metal bring new artistic options to outdoor decor. Solar-powered tiki torches eliminate the need for fire. Tiki torches with citronella shield you and your guests from annoying (and dangerous) mosquitoes. You now have dozens of options to ignite your outdoor space with bright, beautiful light. 

From the simple bamboo firesticks to the elaborate glass vases, you can mix and match your outdoor illumination to create unique spaces for big parties and quiet nights. While you can pick up a few cheap tiki torches at the grocery store, don’t ignore the potential of specialized troches only available online and in home stores. Learn the pros and cons of these new ambiance staffs and find the very best tiki torches for your yard, deck, event or campsite with this guide.

The best tiki torches: Reviews & Recommendations

Best overall: TIKI Brand Resin Jar TIKI Torch 4-in-1



To achieve the best lighting, including on your deck, you need variety and the best deck tiki torch that does it all is the Jar Tiki. The artful jar can stand on its own as the centerpiece on a table. For decks and porches, the smaller pole height works on railings thanks to the included mount. Each of the metal torches offers up about four hours of flame-time, so keep the fuel handy. It’s the best way to add varying heights to your space while maintaining the cohesive look of matching torches.

Best solar: TomCare Solar Lights



The TomCare Solar Lights are the best solar powered torches thanks to lifelike illumination that flickers and flutters like the real thing. With 8 hours of sunlight beaming on the solar cells atop each torch, the flame will stay lit for about 12 hours. That should carry you through the entire night. The pole stands at 43 inches, which is shorter than most that stretch past the 60 inch mark, so make sure the height works for your space. (They are waist-level, not eye-level.) The waterproof lights stand up against most summer weather, but you want to bring these in during the harsh winter months. Installation is stratightword with the plastic stakes and everything is contained in one well-balanced solar tiki torch.

Best glass canisters: TIKI Brand King Oahu Glass Torch



Bring whimsy to your outdoors with the King Oahu glass tiki torch. The modeled glass looks amazing in the day and shines and shimmers like ice at night. Fifteen ounces of fuel fit into the glass, enough for an evening of tiki wonderment. It can be used on the included pole or as a tabletop torch. It works best as a staked pole torch because on a table it can tip and fall over too easily. If you have pets on leashes, keep the leashes clear of the poles or the torches will topple. The lights are hefty, and feel strong when properly staked. Use them to outline the party space and prepare for oohs and ahhs as guests watch the tiki god, and the tiki god watches back.

Best for bug control: Deco Home Tikki Backyard Torch



The best tiki torches for mosquitoes are ones that stay lit. The Deco Home metal torch is a simple design that can handle the citronella fuel of your choice. It is a basic backyard torch—but it’s well-made and solid. Filling the torch with bug repellent fuel is easy and a full torch will last 6 hours. Loaded with citronella oil, the torch keeps bugs 15-feet away, but some biters will still break through your line of defense. You will want to add some bug spray to your arms and legs.

Best budget: TIKI Brand Luau Bamboo Torches – 12 Pack



Bamboo tiki torches will last long enough for a fun, dry night in the yard and they are easy to stake and fuel. Keep a few torches on hand stored safely in the garage and bring them out as needed throughout the summer. You’ll get 5-hours of flame power with a full 12 ounce tank of fuel. The attached snuffer puts out the flame easily when the party’s over. Don’t expect too much from these cost-effective lights, and you’ll get more than your money’s worth.

How to find the best tiki torches for your outdoor space

Offering quiet mood lighting is just one of the many functions of the best tiki torches. The designs of today have become artful lighting elements with features that add usability to your backyard. Mosquito control is is one of the biggest benefits, and new solar-powered torches even provide realistic flame ambience without the danger of fire.

You can find tiki torches that can be used season after season. Metal tiki torches may lack some of the classic, delightfully cheesy design of the vintage bamboo, but these modern lights provide new, eye-catching style to any backyard. 

Of course, if the torch runs out of gas, what good is it? Tiki torches will use replaceable gas or oil to stay alight and there are a variety of fuels to choose from. Efficient design and top-quality fuel give long life to your nightlight and eliminate the need to stop the party to fill up or replace the lights. And new table-top tiki torches bring big light to the centerpiece of a table. No longer just for the perimeter of the party, these tiny (and safe) torches bring the party nice and close. 

Explore all options and choose the best tiki torches for your specific space. 

What are the best deck tiki torches?

Height is important when shopping for the best deck tiki torches on the market. A 5-foot lawn torch is great for open spaces, but won’t be useful on a deck or if you want to bring the torch closer to the party. Smaller 3-foot ones are easier to use in tighter spaces and can bring brilliant backyard lighting to decks and patios. And tabletop torches can be placed anywhere and make beautiful centerpieces.

Wherever you plan to use the torches, be sure to check that it’s a safe space that’s not directly under an awning, tree or patio umbrella. Unless it’s a small tabletop model, keep the torches 3-feet away from people, patio furniture, and buildings. You also want space between each torch—at least four feet. Too many torches crammed into a small space will lose any flickering light effect and look cluttered.

What about solar lights?

Ditch the fire fuel and draw power from the biggest tiki torch in the solar system. Solar tiki torches provide safe, flame-free/smoke-free light that shines anywhere you need it. Today’s solar torch designs offer flickering light that looks lifelike and many “flames” can be adjusted to provide unique lighting options. 

The biggest benefit of solar tiki torches is fire safety. Pets and children will knock over anything in the yard, so going flameless is a smart idea for areas prone to play. And these cool lights are also easier to use and maintain than gas-fueled torches. The water-proof casing means you can leave them staked in the ground all season. And with a day of sunshine, the solar battery should charge up a full night’s worth of light.

The downside to solar powered tiki torches will become very clear on a cloudy day. They may also be dimmer, even on a full charge, than the standard ones.

Get creative with glass

Many modern tiki torches are sleek and minimal. But a glass torch can help bring some of the fun back to the backyard with lights made to be seen. Because they are basically glass jars, they make for one of the best tiki torch canisters and will hold a lot of fuel. And glass doesn’t rust or warp in the rain. But the real benefit of glass tiki torches is that they become eye-catching works of art. 

If you’re shopping for backyard lights that make an impact, glass tiki lights on a pole or a tabletop are the perfect conversation piece. Tabletop glass torches can “glow up” even a basic picnic table and tall glass torches staked into the ground offer heavy-duty construction that minimizes spills and tumbles.

Can tiki torches help with bug control?

The smells of summer are backyard barbecue, sunscreen, pool chlorine and citronella. Citronella is a natural oil from lemongrass that has been used to deter mosquitoes for hundreds of  years. It’s safe and inexpensive. But is it effective for bug control, including when it’s used in a torch? The answer: Kind of. 

There are plenty of fuels infused with citronella and they all claim to keep bugs away. If it doesn’t seem to be working there are two issues to consider: First, citronella doesn’t work well on windy days. Once the citronella fumes mix with air, it quickly gets diluted and ineffective. Second, citronella works best in close areas. If the torches are spread too far out, it won’t deter the bugs. Keep the torches within 15-feet of the action for best results. 

If you need more help shielding guests from bugs, use the torch in conjunction with a spray-on bug repellent that has DEET as one of the ingredients. Spray your arms and legs and hopefully you’ll stop slapping yourself silly all night.

What if I’m looking for something cheaper?

If all you want is some temporary outdoor lighting, pick up a set of bamboo tiki torches for very little money. The bamboo has a classic look and it works well enough … until it doesn’t. 

While generally safe to use, the bamboo torches may catch on fire, and not in the intended way. They also create a lot of smoke so some fine tuning with the wick is expected. If you don’t need fancy metal material and elegant style, go simple and go cheap with the traditional and temporary torch.


Q: How long does a 12 oz tiki torch last?

A 12 oz tiki torch should last between five and six hours. Sadly, there is no eternal flame for backyard fires. Even solar-powered lights will fade after 10 or 12 hours. Be prepared by stocking up fuel. Don’t try to concoct your own “emergency” fuel with rubbing alcohol or other chemicals. Leave it to the pros. DIY modification of the torch to try and get more life out of the fuel can result in dangerous fires, ruined torches, and horrible, horrible parties

Q: Do tiki torches really keep mosquitoes away?

Tiki torches can keep mosquitoes away, but don’t expect miracles. Citronella oil used in some fuels is a safe and effective bug repellent, but it works best in a small area like a porch or deck. Place the torches in a circle and keep them near the people (but not close enough to burn anyone). For best results, give your arms and legs a light coat of bug repellent. And the best trick to keep mosquitoes out of your yard is to remove standing water on the property: Birdbaths, upturned Frisbees, even small water bottle caps can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Give the yard a daily once-over and if you see anything that collects water, dump it out.

Q: Is it OK to leave tiki torches outside?

Yes, you can leave some types of tiki torches outside. Metal torches and solar-powered torches are designed to hold up against the elements. Glass torches won’t rust, but a strong storm can knock them over and break the glass. You should always bring the torches inside if possible during a strong rainstorm. This will ensure the torches last as long as possible. Wood and bamboo torches should never be left out in the rain or the material will crack and crumble.

A final word on shopping for the best tiki torches

The best tiki torches give new life to the outdoors. Metal tiki torches are sturdy and dependable sources of light. Solar lights/torches are safe and simple. Glass ones add style to the backyard. And the classic bamboo tiki torches bring affordable ambiance to any event. Find the best deck torches, or ones for the yard, around the pool, or for lining a walkway. The beauty of a flickering flame makes any summer night fun and memorable.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.