The sous vide cooks to perfection, but the appearance out of the bag isn’t all that appealing. The quickest and easiest answer to putting a nice finish on your food, without overcooking it in the process, is a sous vide torch.
Below, I cover the 7 best kitchen torches for sous vide to get that restaurant char or browning that locks in juices and adds a dimension of fantastic flavor. If you’re in a hurry, here are the top three:
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- Very versatile - perfect for searing everything from steak to crème brûlée
- Guards against propane taste
- Fuel efficient
- Slower to sear than some options
I previously discussed the perfect sous vide starter kit with the best sous vide cookers and sous vide containers for different budget levels. Those items will get you cooked to perfection. A sous vide torch is the perfect finishing tool to get your food plate ready.
Side benefit: They’re FUN to use! You’re using a blowtorch! Or in one case, a flame thrower!
Let’s dive into the best sous vide culinary torches out there.
- Related Article: Complete Guide to Searing Sous Vide Food
Table of Contents
7 Best Kitchen Torches for Sous Vide
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One note is the majority of these torches do not come with the gas fuel cylinders. As you read, keep an eye on which of these torches might suit your cooking needs more.
The Bernzomatic TS8000 Trigger Start Torch is the best overall and most professional grade torch to sear those steaks, while still having an all-around multipurpose torch for soldering metal. The high-intensity flame and maximum heat output will cut your searing time to keep the juices in, while also getting the food to the table faster.
The Bernzomatic TS8000 has an adjustable flame control knob to maintain flame size and flame intensity for safety. The longer nozzle also keeps the swirling flame further from your hand, while still keeping the balance for easy one-hand operation.
There’s an on/off trigger that keeps searing simple for quick and easy charring. Press the ignition button and flame on, let go and the flame is off. Doesn’t get much easier. It also allows for a continuous flame if you need it.
The TS8000 is field by either MAP-Pro or Propane gas. Bernzomatic does have their own branded 14.1 oz. MAP-Pro Hand Torch Cylinder they sell, but you can also use regular propane cans. I have torch gas options in the next section below.
With Map-Pro gas, the maximum flame temperature is 3650° F / 2010° C. With Propane gas, the maximum flame temperature is 3400° F / 1871° C.
You can read more about the TS8000 here: TS8000 Review.
Pair the TS8000 with a Searzall Torch Accessory to give you an even better, more even sear. The Searzall gives you an evenly spread flame, while minimizing any of the propane gas taste you might get from kitchen torches.
If you don’t see the Searzall here, it might be out of stock and Booker and Dax took down the Amazon page while they replenish supplies. They sell out quick, so don’t take a long time deciding if you want it. There was a rumor that the Searzall was discontinued; that simply is not the case.
The Searzall is made of stainless steel by Booker and Dax Lab, and it started out as a Kickstarter campaign. If you sous vide a lot and want high-quality sears, you’ll want to get the TS8000 and Searzall.
The Searzall effectively turns the torch into a mini handheld broiler. In the attachment are two metal screens, which disperse the heat into radiant heat. This allows for more even and efficient finishing of food for a pro finish.
If you’re still new to searing, you might want to get the TS8000 by itself first and then get the Searzall later. Do note the Searzall is engineered to mute any propane flavor, so I do highly recommend it.
You can read our full review of the Searzall here: Searzall Torch Attachment: Review and Use Cases.
There is a Bernzomatic TS8000 and Searzall Torch Kit if you want to get them together (below).
If you’re looking for something more like a flamethrower than a blow torch, the GrillBlazer Su-VGun is perfect for you.
The Su-VGun finishes meat faster than any other searing torch on the market behind 240,000 BTUs, which is many multiples of the TS8000. Which means this will do exactly what you want with a sear, that is finish hard and fast.
What the SuV-Gun boasts in power, it lacks in versatility. This is a great torch for searing protein and is fully capable of searing a lot of it quickly. I don’t really see myself using it for anything else besides starting my lump charcoal grill and the fire-pit.
I will not use this torch indoors. It burns anything up to 4 feet away. There’s just too much downside with this machine to use indoors.
The SuV-Gun flame is adjustable and there is a safety valve and trigger lock to help protect you.
All said, the Su-VGun is a really fun torch that’ll make your adrenaline rush like no other. There isn’t a better steak searing torch out there.
You can read our review of the Su-V Gun here.
The Bernzomatic TS4000 Trigger Start Torch is basically the little brother of the TS8000. In the sibling battle, the main difference between the TS4000 vs TS8000 is that the latter gives you double the BTU’s, which means it gets the searing done faster.
The flame temperature is limited by the type of gas, so it’s no different than the TS8000. With Map-Pro gas, the maximum flame temperature is 3650° F / 2010° C. With Propane gas, the maximum flame temperature is 3400° F / 1871° C.
The TS4000 does not have adjustable flame control, but it does have the on/off ignition button for easy handling with one-hand searing.
You can use the Searzall attachment with the TS4000, but it will be less effective at searing quickly.
The EurKitchen Culinary Butane Torch is a popular kitchen mini blow torch that’s more suited for home chefs. The previous Bernzomatic torches are more professional grade torches and serious sous vide enthusiasts, while the EurKitchen and the rest of the butane cooking torches below are more suited for home kitchens.
That said, if you’re looking to sear protein any larger than strips of steak, I’d stick with the choices above.
The EurKitchen and all other searing torches below use butane fuel, which will push out lower temperatures than propane torches. While sears will take longer due to lower temperatures and smaller flames, it’ll also be better for more delicate foods like crème brûlée, bar cocktails, cigars, camping, and even arts and crafts.
You can refill this blow torch with any brand of butane gas that has the long universal refill tip.
It has an adjustable flame and a fuel gauge, so you’ll know when the butane tank needs a refill. The torch will create a 6-inch long continuous flame with temperatures up to 2370° Fahrenheit / 1300° Celsius. The fuel gauge is great to have so you don’t run out in the middle of creating that crust on your crème brûlée.
The EurKitchen torch has built-in safety features like the finger guard that will help protect your fingers from getting burned by the extreme heat. There’s also a gas flow safety lock button for when the torch is turned off to prevent gas leaks.
Best of all, the EurKitchen comes with a lifetime warranty.
If you’re cooking sous vide more casually and don’t need to sear food the size of a standard steak and the like, look at the EurKitchen butane torch.
The Iwatani Butane Torch is a high-quality torch for the home chef. It’s great for adding flavors and texture when putting the finishing touches on your steaks, chicken, fish, and vegetables.
Adjustable flame size and shape will keep the flame directed or spread out depending on what you want. The Iwatani also has a piezo one touch ignition button for easy use.
An added safety feature is the stabilizing plate that will prevent the torch from tipping over.
Any brand 8oz butane canister will work with this torch.
The Iwantani comes with a one-year warranty.
The Sondiko Butane Torch is one of the most popular kitchen torches as it’s great for baking and desserts like crème brûlée.
Safety features include a safety lock that you turn on when not using the torch. There’s also a wide base to prevent it from falling over. The long angled nozzle and its finger guard will help keep your finger and hand safe from the flame.
The flame is adjustable and can be set to a continuous flame mode. The piezo one touch ignition technology will keep it easy to use with one hand operation.
Any canister of butane, whether long nozzle or short nozzle will work with this torch.
Sondiko stands by its product with a 90-day satisfaction hassle-free full refund and 18 months warranty.
The Authenzo Kitchen Butane Torch Lighter is another popular kitchen torch because of its low price, but popularity doesn’t always signal it’s great. I’m including it here because many will see the price and buy it.
The positives are that it has similar safety features like a security lock to prevent accidental flame ignition. It also has a wider base to prevent tipping over.
For the negatives, I’ve heard from fellow sous vide enthusiasts that it takes a while to sear and can break easily. I’ve tested it out at a friend’s and it doesn’t feel as sturdy and durable. But it did still get the job done on our chicken and vegetables.
It’s a bit of the familiar “you get what you pay for” story with this ultra-budget option.
Torch Gas Fuel Options
Kitchen torches do not usually come with fuel, whether propane gas or butane gas, so you’ll need to buy gas fuel separately. Or look for a package deal with a kitchen torch that includes the gas.
Descriptions will be short because there’s not much that differentiates one from the other. It’s a fuel that’s a commodity. I’ll cover more on fuel types further below.
Propane and MAP-Pro Gas Fuel Cylinder
MAP-Pro fuel gas cylinder for the Bernzomatic TS8000 and TS4000. These are more expensive, so you can also look at regular propane gas fuel cylinders.
These mini-propane tanks will work with the TS8000 and TS4000 as a cheaper option than the Bernzomatic branded MAP-Pro cylinders. They are also a little wider and serve as a stable base for the Bernzomatic TS8000 & TS4000. Furthermore, propane also offers more versatility when it comes to use cases. This is my personal go-to choice.
Butane Gas Fuel Cylinder
The Zippo Butane Fuel is popular and can be used with all sorts of lighters. This will work with the majority of butane cooking torches and the butane tanks.
The Ronson Butane Fuel is another popular butane gas cylinder that’ll work with many butane lighters and torches.
This is made for the Iwatani Butane Torches and Stoves, but it’s compatible with several other brands. If you have a different torch, you might want to look at one of the other options above to be on the safe side with compatibility.
Now that we’ve reviewed the details of the best sous vide kitchen torches and gas options, let’s get into more about features, benefits, searing process, and a complete buying guide.
Sous Vide Kitchen Torch and Searing Overview
Previously found only in large commercial restaurant kitchens and used by professional chefs, culinary torches have seen a continued rise in popularity in recent years. Home kitchen torches have become an essential item to own for many home chefs.
Kitchen torches are useful tools with many cooking applications; from roasting chili peppers and caramelizing fruits for desserts, to finishing the delectable top of a crème brûlée.
For many sous vide dishes using the sous vide method, the grand finisher is a kitchen torch right before garnishing and serving. This last step crisps up your steak, chicken, fish or veggies, and upgrades your cooking game.
You achieve the Maillard reaction on your steak with the high temperatures from torches. The outside of your steak browns and creates a crunchy crust on the outside, while keeping it tender and juicy on the inside.
Benefits of Cooking with a Sous Vide Culinary Torch
Using the sous vide method basically means cooking your food in water. As great as it is for locking in the juices and moisture of your food as it cooks, there is no way you can get the charring on the outside, especially if you are cooking meat. Follow your cook with a finishing method.
When you use a sous vide searing torch, you’re able to replicate the effects that you’d normally get from cooking your food on a hot cast iron pan or grill. You get the desirable crispiness on the surface of your food, without risking an overcook.
Preparation Before Searing
Let’s cover the torching process with a Sous Vide Torch. Here’s a list of things to prepare before you fire up the flames on your sous vide steak to achieve that perfect sear.
Ensure That You Protect Your Countertop
Your sous vide red meat can handle high temperatures well and becomes even more delicious when exposed to the flames of your Sous Vide Torch. Unfortunately, your kitchen countertop (or any other dishware you may own) does not share these qualities.
Place a wire rack over a not-nonstick heavy baking sheet before you light up that nozzle, and torch your meat on the wire rack for maximum protection for your kitchen hardware.
If you have a BBQ grill, you can also place the meat on there to sear.
Always Dry Your Food Before Torching
Use a paper towel and pat your food, making sure that the surface is completely dry. Otherwise you’ll be wasting your fuel (and time) trying to evaporate the remaining water left on the surface of your food.
That will also lead to uneven searing because of different burn times across the surface of your steak.
How to Use a Kitchen Torch to Sear Steak
Fire up the nozzle on your kitchen torch and let it heat up to an extremely hot temperature. Once you see a blue flame, rather than a red one, that’s the perfect time to start the searing process.
Hold your torch nozzle about 3 to 4 inches away from the food and then move the nozzle around in a continuous motion. Try not to stay in one spot for any longer than a second or two, or you risk burning your food. The one exception to the distance is if you are using the Searzall attachment, in which case you can be an inch from the food, given the heat is dispersed.
Keep moving your torch around your food until you’ve arrived at the level of crispiness and char that you are looking for. Only you know that perfect char for you.
Once you’re happy with it, turn off your torch, garnish your food, and get ready to eat!
Proper Sous Vide Torch Technique
To get the highest quality sear on your sous vide steak, be sure not to have the torch anywhere near your red meat until you see the blue flame coming out of your torch’s nozzle.
Aim the torch at your steak, and always remember to keep it moving to char the entire piece of meat evenly without burning any portion of it.
Is Searing Safe?
Searing, by definition, means to cook something fast with an extremely hot flame in order to brown the surface of your food. This locs in the juices to keep them from leaking out and adds a layer of flavor.
The flames will reach temperatures up to 2500°F with a culinary butane torch, which burns at the low-end relative to other culinary torches, so it can be dangerous.
As with other cooking methods, you always need to take the proper precautions while cooking.
Kitchen Torch for Sous Vide Buying Guide
If you’re planning to add a kitchen torch for sous vide into your cooking arsenal, here are some considerations to take note of before you decide on your purchase.
If you’re thinking about searing and charring your sous vide meat, forget about the butane torches. These are better used for smaller items and excel as pastry torches used to caramelize sugars in desserts.
These torches aren’t hot enough to sear a sous vide dish – the maximum temperature these torches put out is only about 2500ºF, which is far from ideal to sear anything close to a regular size steak. You may be able to get a good sear eventually, but it’ll take a long while and you’re likely to taste the butane given how long it will take.
Ease of Use
Consider how easy it is for you to handle the torch. It is a tool after all and if the tool is too hard for you to use, then you won’t be able to use it effectively.
Sous vide torches come in a variety of sizes and different ergonomic handles.
You want a sous vide torch that puts out a consistent temperature of flame no matter what. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some unexpected burnt bits on your steak that ruins the experience.
Torch Taste is a phenomenon that is often associated with or attributed to the chemicals contained in kitchen torch fuels. There’s a healthy debate in many home chef circles as to which of the more popular fuels such as butane, MAP-Pro or propane causes the worst torch taste.
Searzall says that diffusing the flames and spreading it out, rather than having one direct, continuous flame, will help minimize any of “torch taste.” While the science of it is unclear, I do have to say that using the Searzall does help.
That’s just my opinion, so try it out and see what you think.
Types of Gas Used in Torches
The type of gas used in Sous Vide Torches each have different characteristics. Let’s explore some of the main ones below:
1. Propane Gas
Propane is a popular gas used in kitchen torches due to its ability to generate high heat and its low price point. It also offers more versatility with other uses.
2. Butane Gas
Butane is slightly cooler than the others on this list and is found in smaller, pastry or kitchen torches, and cigarette lights.
3. MAP-Pro (Propylene) Gas
Map-Pro is a type of propane that burns slightly higher than regular propane. It’s more expensive than propane however, and according to some users, the sear quality doesn’t match the higher price over propane. But the higher temperatures do offer versatility like soldering with the Bernozomatic torches.
4. MAPP Gas (Discontinued)
MAPP was discontinued in 2008 and replaced by MAP-Pro. It used to be a good choice because of its high burning temperature and quick searing ability. Now, MAP-Pro offers the same results.
There you have it, the list of the best kitchen torch for sous vide along with the details on what to look for when buying a sous vide torch.
Sous Vide Torch FAQs
The short answer to this common question is no; but if you’re after precision, a torch is the best option for finishing your cook. Finishing is a crucial step when cooking using the sous vide method.
In my experience, a sous vide kitchen torch is more fool proof way to char your steak. The last thing you want to do is overcook your food in the finishing stage, which is easy to do when pan searing. A torch makes it easy to evenly char the steak without raising the internal temp meaningfully.
The main difference between MAPP-Pro and Propane is that MAP-Pro burns at a higher temperature compared to Propane (3730°F vs 3600°F, respectively). Propane is also slightly cheaper than MAP-Pro.
Experts will typically suggest that you would want to sear each side of your steak at least for 45-90 seconds to ensure full sear on every bit of surface on your steak. The time varies a bit due to the type of torch you’re using at the temperatures.
Pan-searing takes about double the time to get a full char on the surface of your steak and needs more attention. It can be tough to balance a nice char without overcooking the food. Undercooking the internal temp (sous vide step) is practically necessary when pan searing.
Yes, butane is a pure alkane, which means that it doesn’t produce any nasty chemicals when it’s burned. This means it’s safe to use on food and food surfaces without risk of any contamination.
Many people may complain about the “taste” of gas, so just be careful about turning the gas fuel knob to the max and overcooking the food. That’s when the
Propane torches put out a lot more heat that butane torches do, due to the fact that it’s a more efficient fuel – this results in better quality searing and charring for your steaks. So, if possible, choose a propane or MAP-Pro torch over butane if you can.
Other Sous Vide Accessories
Looking for other sous vide accessories? See the following posts: