Tiki Torch Wicks – Wick Height Matters!

Tiki torch wicks should be positioned as low as possible above the wick holder.  This video was shot to illustrate the effect tiki torch wick height has on the burning quality of tiki torch fuel.

The higher the wick…

1) the larger the flame.

2) the greater the amount of soot and smoke.

3) the greater the usage of tiki torch fuel.

For the test, I used a 1/2″ fiberglass tiki torch wick. I filled the fuel to about half full in each container.

From left to right…

1) A Popular, Big-Box Store Tiki Torch Fuel
2) Firefly Tiki Torch Fuel
3) Firefly Eco-Friendly Safe & Green Fuel
4) Firefly Liquid Paraffin Oil

The fiberglass wick is set pretty flush to the collar which will reduce soot, smoke and fuel usage.

As you can see the smokiest fuel is the Popular big-box store tiki fuel. Not only will it quickly soot up your torch and surroundings but it, quite frankly, stinks.

Now, I’ve taken the wick and it is now about ½” above the collar. Tiki torch manufactures suggest a wick height of less than ¾” of an inch.

The tiki torch wick height dramatically changes the burn characteristics. Much more soot and smoke are emitted. Even the high, high end of lamp oils, Paraffin oil, is producing puffs of smoke.

However, notice the Firefly Safe & Green Fuel. It doesn’t matter in the least the wick height as it relates to soot and smoke.

Therefore, if your tiki torches are smoking like crazy you have options.

1) Reduce the Height of the Wick
2) Select a quality Tiki Torch fuel that best suits your needs and pocketbook.
3)  Make sure you are using  high-quality fiberglass tiki torch wicks.

The most expensive, sootless and odorless fuel is Firefly Safe & Green. This fuel simply does not smoke. It the earth-friendly, organic choice.

Even the crème de la crème of petroleum fuel, Liquid Paraffin Oil, will smoke given a large enough wick and it’s expensive relative to tiki fuel.

Please note: ALL firefly fuels are odorless when burning.

The real value winner is Firefly Tiki Torch Fuel. Our tests have shown it to burn 50% longer than the big-box tiki torch fuel.

So there you go. Enjoy your tiki torches!


  1. Laura Horton Bezdan on July 5, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Hey Susan –
    I am trying to make these wine bottle tikis. The wick needs to be at least 13 inches long to reach the bottom of the bottle. I have many to do, so I looked around for rolls of 1/2 fiberglass wick with mesh casing. The wick I found does not wick up the oil like store bought ones and the company said that I have them too long. I think that’s BS – as the bottle is almost full with fuel, so the wick is drenched. Is there any truth to what they are telling me regarding length of the wick?

    • Susan Tyson on July 6, 2016 at 6:52 am

      Hi Laura,

      We’ve found that a 12″-long fiberglass wick is just about perfect for a wine bottle used as a tiki torch. https://www.amazon.com/Firefly-Bulk-Fiberglass-Replacement-Wicks/dp/B017HUFS3Y?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

      You can see the comments from our customers on Amazon as to their experience.

      Thanks for writing and letting me help!


    • Laura Horton Bezdan on July 7, 2016 at 12:04 am

      I just found information regarding ventilation – that by not having it properly ventilated that it creates a vacuum and makes it go out. But I see these other wine bottle things that have a housing for the wick that I’m sure is snug also. What is the proper science here?

      • Susan Tyson on July 7, 2016 at 7:44 am

        Hi Laura,

        I’ve attached a photo of a product we will be offering soon.

        The 1/2″ wick is threaded into a brass wick holder. All quality torches use a wick holder which helps with stability and fuel flow. The globe shown simply protects the flame.

        As you can see, it works beautifully. Amazon has wick collars that will work with 1/2-inch wicks.

        We will be offering the globe, wick and holder in the future.

        • Laura Horton Bezdan on July 7, 2016 at 10:40 am

          Thanks –
          Here’s what I came up with in my design –
          (The wicks are long in this photo because they haven’t been trimmed yet.)
          I used a brass reduction coupler 3/4 – 1/2 – so that the 1/2 holds the wick and fits inside the bottle and the 3/4 provides the top support from not dropping into the bottle and acts as a protector to the flame as well.
          So – back to the discussion of ventilation – I see yours is also enclosed for the most part – so maybe ventilation isn’t the problem. However last night I tested it with only the wick sticking in the bottle – and it burned better – but am concerned about nothing being a barrier between the flame and the fuel – and smoke was dripping down the wick into the bottle – which looked cool, but I don’t think is what should be happening.
          There is so much science behind all this.
          The comment by Gail regarding length of wick also doesn’t make sense since yours is 12 inches and mine is 13 – that’s a negligible difference – that’s just what reaches the bottom of these bottles –
          Well – I had hoped to be able to piece all this together by just buying the 75 foot roll that I did from you guys – since I have so many of these to do – it was more cost effective – but now it seems to be more trouble than it’s worth. It was expensive to buy the pre-existing kits since I had so many – but now I’ve wasted a lot of money and time on this as it stands.

          Can you comment on the ventilation issue scientifically regarding your holder design vs. mine? Any suggestions, besides just buy online? I don’t see much difference functionally.

          Thanks –

          • Susan Tyson on July 8, 2016 at 10:09 am

            Hi Laura,

            We do not sell 75′ rolls of tiki torch wick.

            Your coupler looks just fine. Perhaps it’s tighter or looser than ours. I don’t know.

            Our collar is not currently in production or I would send you one.

            I suggest browsing some DIY Wine Bottle Tiki Torch sites where folks have experience doing what you are trying to do.

            Good Luck.