In this article, I’ll compare two of Bernzomatic’s best-selling torches – the TS8000 vs TS4000. These models are incredibly similar, but there are a few meaningful feature differences worth knowing before you buy either.
Given that Bernzomatic has been making welding torches for almost 150 years, and both of these models can be used in that fashion, you’ll find a lot of reviews that evaluate them from the perspective of a welder or plumber. Not here.
My main interest and experience, with these products, is as a home chef.
Both torches provide an excellent solution for finishing food with a crispy caramelized exterior. I’ve found it’s the perfect way to finish off proteins prepared in sous vide bath.
Overall, these models are pretty similar. The TS8000 costs slightly more, but it also provides more flame control. There are other differences, but I’d pick the 8000 on this feature alone. The TS8000 is our top culinary torch pick against the dozen plus we’ve used.
Read on for a complete comparison of the Bernzomatic torches.
Table of Contents
As I mentioned at the onset, the TS4000 and TS8000 have more similarities than differences. Let’s start there so you get a clear picture of their core functions. If you just need to understand the differences, skip ahead to the next section.
The basic design of both torches is as a screw-on attachment that can be fastened atop a 1-2lb propane cylinder. A base section includes the grip and control functions, and a long spout protruding upward, which emits the flame.
You’ll notice a round hole in the middle of both devices. This is the air intake. Leaving it unobstructed is essential to achieve the correct ratio of air-to-gas for proper combustion.
Although the design is fairly upright, you can actually invert the torch if you need to project the flame downward.
Ignition & Ignition Lock
Both torches include a pushbutton ignition, similar to what you might find on a gas grill. Squeezing the button causes a crystal inside the torch’s body to create a spark, which ignites the gas.
In my experience, the ignition system on both models is very effective. While it won’t light every single push, it’s pretty close. Probably 9/10 fires are successful. Maybe more. The outside temperature doesn’t seem to matter, nor does the breeze.
The ignition button also has a convenient twist-lock safety feature. When twisted into the “locked” position, the ignition mechanism will not fire.
In most cases, I’d prefer to run my torch without locking it ON. I see it as a safety feature: when your finger moves from the ignition, the torch turns off.
But, if you need the torch on for continuous operation, there is a solution for that. The “Run-Lock” button.
This silver metal button is located just above the ignition on both devices. The run lock is engaged with a simple push while the device is running and will keep the torch firing continuously so you can take your finger off the ignition switch.
This can be helpful if you are firing for an extended time, like searing chicken leg quarters for a crowd. Or if you need to set the torch aside momentarily to free up both hands.
The tip geometry on both TS8000 and TS4000 causes the gas to fire out in a tight swirling pattern. It’s like a vortex motion for combustion. This “swirl flame” is particularly helpful for cooking applications for a few reasons:
- Even Heat Distribution: The motion of the flame helps distribute heat evenly across the surface of your food target. When you’re searing, browning, or caramelizing food, you’re probably looking for a consistent resulting texture. This will help you achieve it.
- Enhanced Heat Efficiency: The shape of the flame maximizes the contact area between the fire and the food target, which improves heat transfer. Practically speaking, this means less fuel waste and faster cooking time.
- Reduced Risk of Hot Spots: The swirling action helps minimize the formation of localized hot spots on the surface of the food. This translates to less uneven cooking or scorching.
Overall, the torch tip’s swirl flame design will improve your control, efficiency, and uniformity of the result.
The construction materials are similar across both models. They’re built with a cast aluminum body, plastic knobs, brass fittings, and a stainless steel burn tube.
The bottom line is that they’re both durable.
While I’m sure you could find a way to damage either model with enough abuse, as long as you treat them right, they’ll probably last a decade at least.
The problem with a lot of torches is that when you change the angle you’re holding them, it actually changes the characteristics of the flame.
Not so with these Bernzomatic torches.
Pressure is well-regulated, so if you point the torch down for searing or turn it upside down, it will still work perfectly. The built-in regulator helps its output maintain a consistent pressure regardless of the orientation, which makes life easier.
Although there isn’t much difference between these torches, you should expect to pay incrementally more for the TS8000. But the features you’ll get for the extra $$$, make the upgrade a no-brainer.
Unlike the TS8000, the TS4000 offers no control over the size and intensity of the flame.
With the TS8000, Bernzomatic added a flame control knob to the back side of the device, which allows you to open up more or less flame.
Having the flexibility to control the flame will grant you better control over whatever cooking technique you’re executing. This feature alone makes upgrading to the TS8000 well worth it.
Either device will put out sufficient heat for caramelization, but the TS8000 works much faster.
I don’t have a thermometer that will measure this high, so I can only speak to the actual results that I’ve seen these torches deliver.
With the TS4000, you should be able to sear a steak in about 45 seconds per side. The TS8000 can do the same job in nearly half the time.
If you’re only searing 1-2 steaks, this might not be a huge benefit. But if you’re prepping for a party, then the time savings add up.
The TS8000 is compatible with a MAP-Pro fuel canister, which is supposed to generate a greater heat output. Both torches work on propane.
The actual advantage of MAP-Pro is unclear to me. It costs more than propane, and the difference in heat output seems negligible. Both sources output more than 3,000 F.
I’ve seen tests that indicate propane actually burns hotter and more efficiently than MAP-Pro, but most of them aren’t exactly “scientific.” The results seem to be very similar.
For my money, propane is the better solution. But the TS8000 will give you a choice if you need one.
Pro Tip: Use the 16 oz green camping propane tanks instead of the skinnier and taller 14.1 oz tanks. The 16 oz tanks provide a solid base for the torch to stand on. The 14.1 oz tanks require a separately sold base.
The Searzall attachment is a torch diffuser designed specifically to be compatible with the TS8000. Though it will work with the TS4000, just with suboptimal results.
It is intended to diffuse heat evenly and prevent torch taste, a sometimes off-putting phenomenon that occurs when unburnt fuel comes into contact with food.
Not everyone likes the diffuser because it slows down the searing process slightly. You can find our full Searzall torch attachment review here.
Still, the Searzall attachment does an excellent job of preventing the “off” flavors and aromas that go hand-in-hand with torch cooking.
The downside of adding a Searzall, is that it effectively doubles the cost of your setup.
If you don’t have the Searzall, there are a few precautions you can take to mitigate against torch taste. Avoid an excessively large flame, and angle the torch. Make quick passes rather than giving any particular spot on the meat prolonged exposure to the flame.
Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby regardless of what torch you’re using. It’s a simple thing to do, and you’ll never regret it.
Find a suitable surface upon which to do the torching. Never torch atop plastic or a wooden chopping block. Those things melt and combust.
I like to torch in an already hot cast iron skillet.
The cast iron maintains a hot environment, making the process go much faster, and the rising air will help push off any uncombusted gasses that might otherwise create a torch taste.
Pat your food product dry before torching it. Any moisture remaining on the surface of the food will eat up a bunch of heat. You’ll burn fuel evaporating water, rather than actually searing the meat.
Always torch outside, if you can. It’s just safer. If you use it inside, it’s best to do so underneath a range hood or vent.
Never leave your torch unattended, even with Bernzomatic’s safety features.
You’ll be happy with either one of these torches. Either one is an excellent compliment to a sous vide station, and you can use it for a dozen other applications.
Although the TS4000 is slightly less expensive, the difference in cost is negligible when you consider the extra features you can get with the TS8000, starting with improved flame control.
I would always reach for the TS8000 if given the option. Below is my go to setup.
Bernzomatic Torch FAQ
The Bernzomatic TS8000 can reach over 3,600 F. It can be used with either propane or MAP-pro fuel canister.
The Bernzomatic TS8000 is ideal for the Searzall torch attachment, but the TS4000 is also compatible.