Whether for one night or for a permanent decoration, tiki torches add fun flair to any backyard landscape. Conjuring up images of exotic, tropical locales and midnight roasts in the sand, tiki torches come in a full range of prices and materials. Most tiki torches are made of bamboo, or a bamboo-like material, and stand around four to five feet tall. At the top of the torch stands the fuel reservoir, usually made of plastic. A decorative covering is woven around the top to hide the fuel reservoir and make the torch more attractive.
Most disposable tiki torches use paraffin, citronella, or kerosene, although higher-end models that use gasoline are an option. Gas tikis are more permanent in nature, as underground gas lines are necessary. Tiki torches include cloth wicks that can be adjusted for longer or shorter burn times. In general, the shorter the wick, the longer your tiki torch will stay lit. Mini tiki torches about three feet tall are available, as are higher-quality items made of aluminum or other metals. For the “green-friendly” customer, solar tiki torches are available. When purchasing tiki torches, especially online, it is important to read through the product details carefully before buying, as pictures can be misleading.
Bamboo Tiki Torches
The basic tiki torch comes in a variety of lengths, but is essentially a plastic bottle covered in bamboo, sitting atop a hollow pole of bamboo. Inexpensive brands will come in packages of anywhere from three to twelve. Amazon offers a three-piece set of Bamboo Polynesian Torches with shell decorations, which stand about three feet tall. This type of tiki torch is great for one-time use at a themed party or summer barbecue. One drawback, however, is that bamboo is flammable, and a little too much fuel or a strong breeze can make these tikis go up in smoke. Some bamboo tiki torches may last a season or two, but in general, they are a short-term option.
Metal Tiki Torches
For a more durable option, choose a tiki torch made of metal or glass. These are more modern in appearance, but are less likely to catch fire. Metal tikis come in a range of styles, from brands that mimic the appearance of bamboo tikis, to those that look more like pots or bowls. Many brands also come with poles that can adjust in height. For a metal pole tiki, Amazon offers the Stone Resin 4 in 1 Multi Use Tiki Torch made by Lamplight TIKI, which comes in two color options. This torch stands 60 inches tall and is sold individually. These metal tikis are sure to provide several years of worth enjoyment and decoration.
Solar Tiki Torches
Solar tiki torches are an option for avoiding the mess and inconvenience of filling fuel reservoirs. Available mostly in metal and in a more modern appearance, these torches can be sold individually or in sets, and are more expensive than traditional fuel tikis. Amazon offers Newhouse Lighting’s Solar Flickering Tiki Torches in a two-pack and a four-pack, with the choice of light or dark finish. One drawback to solar tikis, however, is that they are dependent on the sun. A run of cloudy days will leave solar tikis dark. Additionally, solar tikis require rechargeable batteries, which can be a costly replacement item since they are more expensive than regular batteries.
Tabletop Tiki Torches
A fun variation on the traditional tiki is the tabletop tiki. Meant for use atop an outdoor table, these tikis come in all three varieties outlined above, and make for very attractive centerpieces. Inexpensive models come in sets, which are perfect party table decorations, while more expensive models are sold individually. For an inexpensive model, Amazon offers a set of 12 Mini Bamboo Tiki Torches made by Fun Express. These are meant to be secured in a pot of sand or soil first, and then placed on a table.
A more permanent option is the Codson Park Table Top Torch by Backyard Bargain, which comes with its own stand. It can burn for up to 6 hours on one filling of fuel. It also comes in a variety of colors such as chocolate, turquoise, terracotta, and mother of pearl.
When using any tiki torch, be sure to exercise care and caution around open flame. Never place tikis too close together or near other sources of fuel, such as plants or trees. Following basic fire safety rules will keep your tikis safe for years of fun and enjoyment.