Start Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid

how to start charcoal without lighter fluid?

You can start charcoal without lighter fluid very quickly and safely when you want to have a barbecue. Besides a good Charcoal BBQ Grill, you need to use the right method to get your charcoal going quickly.

How to Start Charcoal The Fast Way?

There are several ways to light a charcoal barbecue fire and many barbecue experts will claim that their own favorite method, is the best way to start charcoal.

brazier grill
Charcoal ready in the grill

Lighter fluid…

Some might use lighter fluid to light charcoal and think that this is the fast and easy method……Yea, maybe, but not my favorite choice, and you will see why I say so just in a moment.

Lighter fluid. Photo by JeepersMedia

In my opinion, lighter fluid or any type of chemical should NEVER EVER be used to ignite your charcoal. It could be dangerous if you don’t use it correctly and it is just not safe!


..adding lighter fluid to boost your charcoal; Taboo…….it is dangerous!


The Traditional Method…

Of course, you can use one of the oldest methods there is to light your charcoal, and here I am NOT referring to this ancient method…….

The way Bushmen will be starting a fire

………but you could try out this method on a day you have nothing to do!

Instead, you can use old sheets of newspaper that are lying around the house. On the other hand, a newspaper is less expensive and safer than those harmful lighter fluid, isn’t it?

Newspapers. Photo by Flickr NS Newsflash

Simply crumple the newspaper and place them on the charcoal grate, add and arrange the charcoal on top, and light the newspaper underneath the charcoal. You will get results…

…BUT, still not my ideal choice of getting your charcoal ready fast.

This Is My method….

The easiest, fastest and the best way to start a charcoal fire is with some sheets of newspaper and briquettes. You can also use lump charcoal, but I found that briquettes work better for me. Then you need one of those helpful barbecue grill accessories known as a Charcoal Chimney Starter.

A chimney starter is one of those essential bbq tools I recommend you should have next to your barbecue grill. Once you get used to a chimney starter, you will find it difficult to be without one, starting your charcoal fire. I reviewed different types of Chimney Starters on my website, the common cylinder starter and the folding starter.

Charcoal Chimney Starter is easy to use and with a few easy steps, you will have your coals hot and ready in no time.

Hot charcoal ready for grilling

This is the Charcoal Chimney Fire Starter….

Weber Chimney Starter

Using this tool, in my opinion, is the fastest, safest, easiest, and the best way to start charcoal without using fire starters, fire lighter fluid or chemicals!

Fastest? Air drags through the holes in the chimney burning the charcoal quicker

Safest? NO chemicals are used

Easiest? Anyone can use it. Even a lady, at her own risk (kidding ladies!); or a child, under the supervision of an adult (but not recommended)

Just a quick tip: A good idea is to slip on your favorite BBQ apron, before preparing the barbecue grill and handling the charcoal; you don’t want your clothes to get dirty while entertaining your BBQ guests, do you?

How do you use a Chimney Starter? – Follow these easy steps ~

Use 2 or 3 sheets of newspaper, crumple or fold them and place them in the lower part of the chimney (Tip: Add some vegetable oil on the newspaper to let it burn longer if you want to)

Next, place the chimney on the charcoal grate with the newspaper inside the chimney.

Then, fill the chimney steadily with charcoal but do not overfill.

Next, you want to ignite the newspaper through the bottom holes of the chimney on either side to make sure the newspaper ignites all around.

Then you can sit back and enjoy your favorite drink, or two!!!

Wait for about 10-15 minutes until you see glowing charcoal beneath the chimney

chimney starter

Then you can slowly dump out the charcoal on the charcoal grate, and spread them the way you need to arrange the charcoal for your specific grilling needs.

Now you are ready to grill on your red hot charcoal!

Hot Charcoal Ready

The Chimney Starter works perfectly even on small size grills.

Chimney in a small grill

…or you can double them up on larger grills to burn more coals if you like. It all depends on what you are going to grill and for how long.

Double chimneys

Where to get one of these very helpful tools?

These days there are several brands and varieties of Chimney Starters to choose from. Some can fold up for easier storage. Some have a cylinder shape and others are rectangular. They ALL do exactly the same convenient job.

***Here are my top recommendations ~

The Stainless Steel Folding Chimney Fire Starter available on

Price and Availability

Stainless Steel Folding Chimney Starter


New Stainless Steel Folding Charcoal Starter Outdoor BBQ Grill Chimney Starter on eBay

Price and Availability

Folding Chimney Starter on eBay

TOMSHOO BBQ Chimney Starter on

Price and Availability

 Or, choose one of the Weber variations here!

The Weber Charcoal Chimney Starters Black available on eBay

 Price and Availability

Weber Chimney Starter Black on eBay


The Weber Charcoal Chimney Starters Rapidfire available on eBay

Price and Availability

Weber Chimney Starter Rapidfire on eBay


Final thought…

There you have it! This is a quick, safe and easy way to start your charcoal barbecue.

I think I have answered your question on how to start charcoal without using harmful chemicals or other types of fire lighters.

I hope you will enjoy your next barbecue startup!

If you found the information here helpful, please be kind and share so others can benefit from this website as well.

Feel free to leave a comment below about your Charcoal Chimney Starter experience, or let me know what method works best for you.



6 thoughts on “Start Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid”

  1. Hey Jacob,
    Crumpling several pieces of news paper and using the charcoal chimney, I would have never thought of that, awesome tips!

    I used to take an hour just to burn my charcoal because it just won’t heat up no matter how long I was trying to light it and I even finished one whole stick of fire starter too. The chimney would have saved me so much time, thanks for sharing this with us. Going on another trip soon, definitely implementing this 😀

    1. Thank you Riaz for visiting my page. Thanks for your comment!

      I have seen so many people struggling in lighting a charcoal fire on so many barbecue occasions I was invited to. When I tell them, “Hey man you should use a chimney starter!” , they will just look back at me with a frowned face not knowing WHAT am I talking about….and struggling on getting the fire going…making me wish I had my chimney starter there to make it easier for them.

      This is the reason why I wrote this article, and I hope to sell some of these helpful chimneys, too!!



  2. I had never thought of this method! It is actually pretty easy else it takes more than half an hour to get the charcoal on fire.
    I wish you could have more on how to burn wood without any lighter fluid so that would help us in lighting a bonfire anywhere. Do give some suggestions. Thanks.

    1. Good day Shrey and tank you for the visit here on my page! Now you know how to light a charcoal fire the easy way!! I would recommend to get one of these chimney starters on eBay.

      Spread the news!

      I will get to burning wood similarly in the near future!

      Many thanks for the suggestion (reminder)!



  3. Great article and quite educational. I like using lighter fluid because it’s just plain easier. But now I’ve been taught a better way! I normally just lump up my charcoal and use a lighter. It’s ok. It get’s the job done but a chimney would probably be much more effective. I’ll be referring my friends to this site as well. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Thank you Trent for visiting my page! I am glad you have learned a better, and faster way to light a charcoal fire. Yea, I used to apply the same method, but now I am so used to my chimney starters and cannot do without them. Very frustrating to watch others at invited barbecues trying to light charcoal without a chimney!

      Super grateful for the referral,… or more!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *