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Tiki Torches Guide: Which Tiki Torches Should You Choose?

Updated on March 11, 2011

Tiki torches have stood the test of time and have transformed themselves from being a traditional source of light on the islands to festive outdoor decorations for contemporary designs. Owing their roots to Central Polynesian culture, these torches have now spread light, so to speak, to different parts of the world. These lovely decorative sources of light can transform any outdoor environment into a paradise island with the alluring aura of revelry.

The atmosphere of your home -- especially the patio, garden or yard -- can look and feel colorful and vibrant when you supplement them with outdoor tiki torches, especially during evenings. Tiki torches are used at tropical parties and tropical weddings and virtually any place where you want to create an island-like setting or theme for your party.

Traditional Tiki Torches
Traditional Tiki Torches
Citronella Tiki Torches
Citronella Tiki Torches

The traditional way of making a tiki torch is from bamboo while the contemporary one is made from ceramic, metal or other material. Though these materials are certainly durable and fancy, they cannot replicate the authentic ‘island feel’ that traditional bamboo allowed tiki torches to exude. However, metals like copper for tiki torches are actually enhanced from the vagaries of weather over a period of time. Copper tiki torches will change color with the changing weather over the years, and thus take on a classic, uniquely antique appearance.

Copper Tiki Torch
Copper Tiki Torch

Tiki Torch Construction And Tiki Torch Fuels

There are basically two parts to a tiki torch. The first one is the tiki outer shell and the second part of course is the torch itself, or the flame. The outer part can be made of the traditional bamboo or as mentioned, brass, copper or some such metal.

Most of these torches contain lamp oil, which allows them to burn for hours. Within the shell you’ll find a wick which absorbs the oil that is placed in the bowl. The most common type of fuel for the flame is paraffin oil, an odorless and harmless tiki torch oil. You can also consider using citronella oil, which enables your citronella tiki torches to act as insect guards to keep away the mosquitoes that may irritate your guests.

You can also make use of natural gas or propane gas to create gas tiki torches or propane tiki torches instead of the traditional oil-based tiki torches. In a gas-based torch, there is a tank filled with propane or natural gas with a supply pipe connected to the torch. The benefit is that the flame will burn continuously, though it will not give you the same visual impact of the traditional oil-based flame. For gas-based flames, you may have to maintain the torch well by cleaning the blockages, like carbon deposits, in the pipe.

Outdoor Tiki Torches
Outdoor Tiki Torches

Having Maximum Fun At Parties With Tiki Torches

If you want to host a party with an island theme, tiki torches are a must because the themed lighting can really illuminate the evening and create a wonderful ambiance. You can place these tiki torches around the pool side or where guests will be sitting so that there is always some light but it will be an ambient light to help create a cozy glow for the party.

Electric lighting looks too artificial and sometimes obnoxious.  Plus it doesn't reflect the tropical mood highlighted by these torches. Serve a tropical drink with friends by your side, and you are sure enjoy a festive evening.

I particularly love a patio with outdoor fireplaces and tiki torches providing the warmth and glow to the evening.

Tiki Torch Safety

Remember to keep tiki torches away from flammable materials. Firmly fix the torch into the ground, and keep them away from kids or pets that might be running around.   Do not light tiki torches indoors as they could be dangerous. Tiki torches are meant for use in the outdoors only.

Buy Tiki Torches Online

You can buy tiki torches from any well-known hardware store or online. The bamboo tiki torches are the cheapest ones online while the metal ones are more expensive; but a bamboo tiki torch can feel so much more fun.

It is almost always better to buy tiki torches online because you’ll find excellent prices compared to your local hardware store. You can also buy tabletop tiki torches or tiki lights for interior decorations which can work well as centerpieces during a wedding reception.

You'll find an excellent selection of tiki torches at Amazon, they also have some of the best prices.

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