Best Blow Torch For Plumbers and Gas Engineers Buying Guide
When looking for the right blow torch for your individual needs, there’s a few key things you need to consider:
Gas type - choosing the gas type the torch uses needs to match what you intend to use it for. For simple or general soldering on a smaller scale, propane gas is a good choice but for jobs that need a higher temperature Mapp gas is ideal.
Ignition – getting your torch instantly up and running is key to a good solder so look for an ignition that works immediately and is smooth and consistent, without having to put on too much pressure. Also, look for functions that include anti-flare as well as an adjustable flame to get your joints spot on.
Durability – your torch will be put through its paces over time, and needs to be built with durability in mind, to protect it from the knocks of use and being transported or stored away. A burn tube made from stainless-steel will stand up to heavy work.
Weight – as well as being durable, the soldering torch also needs to be lightweight enough to be carried from job to job and also not cause you wrist and hand-strain when in use.
Precision – you will want to get that joint as straight and as smooth as possible, so look for features in the blow torch that makes getting a precision weld as easy as possible. An angled head and consistent gas flow can make soldering at angles or even upside down a breeze.
Price – the price will reflect the quality of the blow torch and its added features and usability, so if you plan to use your new soldering blow torch frequently, go for the best torch you can afford.
A blow torch is an essential piece of kit for any plumber, and you can choose a torch for each of the key jobs – brazing (joining metals at a higher temperature to flow a filler metal into the joints) soldering (using a lower temperature – up to 450c – but a similar method to brazing), and welding (joining metals using the base metal).
To get the right finish, there are actually three main types of plumber’s blow torch to choose from:
A propane-fuelled torch is the most common type and widely used by both DIY’ers and professionals as they are reliable, affordable and easy to use. Propane – or LPG – torches can reach high temperatures and come complete with a disposable steel cylinder to hold the fuel source.
You can get a basic propane model, or a more sophisticated torch, which comes with interchangeable tips and other functions.
These are similar to a straightforward soldering torch but can reach much higher temperatures and uses a brass rod instead of solder for the metal filler. This means they are a little more complex and can also be used with acetylene as well as MAPP gas, which is a modified form of propane. Brazing torches will create a stronger join, that soldering but needs more skill and experience to use.
Mapp Gas Torch
Mapp gas can reach a decent temperature and can be used without the need for oxygen. This type of gas torch is becoming increasingly popular as it is easy to use and will give higher temperature than ordinary propane. A Mapp torch is also convenient as it can be used with copper and brass and also works faster to heat the metal.
Oxy Acetylene Welding torches
The ‘Big Daddy’ of the gas blow torch world, this type of plumber’s torch used oxy acetylene (pure oxygen and acetylene gas) to reach temperatures over 6,000 degrees and can get hot enough to melt iron. It’s main role in plumbing or engineering is where you need that power to loosen heavily rusted pipes. And, by fusing the metal parts together, you get the strongest joints with this type of flame torch.
For everyday use that can step it up for bigger jobs, the LEXIVON Multi-Function Torch Kit is a great buy. With a choice of six heads, adjustable flame, refillable butane tank and a two-hour run time, this is a versatile and hardworking gas blow torch that can turns its flame to a host of DIY jobs around the home. Our best torch top pick for your DIY toolbox.