Best Flamethrower | Most Powerful, Underbarrel, & Drone

by Tommy Grant

The military may not use them anymore, but flamethrowers haven’t gone anywhere. Over the years, they’ve been upgraded to have a massive range, attach to your rifle, and even get airborne strapped to a drone. Whether you’re battling a zombie swarm, a controlled agricultural burn, or a wasp nest, having the best flamethrower around by your side can come in handy.

There are a lot of options to consider when it comes to flamethrowers: fuel type, range, handle type, etc. This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best flamethrowers, and are ready to share the results: the overall best, an amazing underbarrel option, and a unique drone option. If you need to start a fire quickly, one of our suggestions will bring the heat.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


Best Flamethrower

Throwflame XL18

Huge Range, Powerful, and Versatile

The traditional flamethrower gets a powerful upgrade with massive range and spray volume.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Throwflame took their basic flamethrower (the X15) and gave it a serious upgrade. This newer model, the XL18 can pump out some flames with an alarming 1/2 gal/second fire rate. This gives it a huge range- close to 4 times the range of other flamethrowers and douses the target with flames. If you are looking to go big or go home, this is the model you’re looking for.

Here is how it measures up:

  • Powder coated steel
  • 110-foot range
  • Diesel/gasoline fuel, 20 oz CO2 Tank, 8 oz Butane Canister
  • 10-second, 3 1/3-gallon capacity (adjustable gallons-per-second)
  • Pilot torch ignition
  • 36″ W x 16″ H x 10″ L
  • 45 pounds

With unsurpassed power and range, it’s easy to see why the Throwflame XL18 Flamethrower is at the top.


Exothermic Pulsefire UBF Underbarrel Flamethrower

Underbarrel Flamethrower

Pulsefire UBF

Lightweight, Compact, and Effective

This standalone or underbarrel flamethrower has plenty of range to roast whatever you set your sights on.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Exothermic sells two models of flamethrowers, their standard Pulsefire and this one. They are virtually identical except for the capacity, so the UBF is the go-to with its built-in versatility. Slide the handle off and it’s ready to mount to a MIL-STD-1913 common picatinny rail. This makes it a serious upgrade to any platform.

Here are the full specs:

  • Powder coated aluminum
  • 25-foot range
  • Gasoline/diesel fuel
  • 20-second, 1/4-gallon capacity (more with optional attachments)
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion electric spark ignition
  • 5″ W x 9″ H x 16″ L
  • 6 pounds

If you are looking for an underbarrel flamethrower, you can’t go wrong with the Pulsefire UBF.


Throwflame TF-19 WASP Drone Flamethrower

Drone Flamethrower

TF-19 Wasp

Game-changing, Lightweight, and Balanced

A close second to owning your own dragon, this drone flamethrower attachment lets you take fire anywhere.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Take flight with literal firepower with this flamethrower drone attachment from Throwflame. It turned some heads when it was announced in 2018, but now you can have one of your very own.

NOTE: Check local drone regulations – these are more strict than flamethrower regulations in most areas.

This convenient attachment can take out wasps’ nests and clear debris far out of reach. It has an impressive firing time and range for being so compact and lightweight thanks to the carbon fiber components. The plasma arc spark system makes it consistently ignite, so you don’t have to worry about spilling or dumping fuel with misfires.

Here are the details:

  • Ultralight carbon fiber
  • 25-foot range
  • Gasoline fuel
  • 100-second, 1-gallon capacity
  • Plasma arc ignition
  • 9″ W x 8″ H x 37″ L
  • 4 pounds

You will need to source your own drone if you do not already own one, this is just the flamethrower attachment. The drones they suggest are any industrial or cinema drone with a 5-pound payload capacity. Specifically, Throwflame recommends:

If you are looking for a badass drone attachment, pick up a TF-19 Drone Flamethrower.


Everything We Recommend

Throwflame TF-19 WASP Drone Flamethrower

TF-19 Wasp

A close second to owning your own dragon, this drone flamethrower attachment lets you take fire anywhere.

Where to Buy

$1,599* at Throwflame

*at time of reviewing


The Flamethrowers We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several types and brands of flamethrowers that we compared: Throwflame, Exothermic, The Boring Company, XProducts, Red Dragon, Greenwood, Flame King, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of flamethrowers and no two of them were alike. First, we had to separate the torches from actual flamethrowers:

What is the difference between a flamethrower and a torch?

A torch ignites gas (butane or propane), whereas a flamethrower is projected and ignites gasoline, diesel, and/or napalm (usually a mix). Torches are meant to light fires or cut within a short distance. Flamethrowers stream fuel medium to long distance and the flames ‘stick’ to the target area. A butane torch is sometimes used to keep a pilot light at the end of full-size flamethrowers.

The range of short-range ‘flamethrowers’ (like the Boring Company’s ‘Not a Flamethrower’) makes some consider them (like the state of California) to not be a flamethrower because their range is less than 10 feet.

We’re always looking for new and better equipment, so if you have your favorite flamethrower that you swear by let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested equipment annually, so we can always try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it makes the cut and we can see if it will beat out our top picks.


What to Look For

We hinted at it above, but the best flamethrower has several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Fuel Type
  3. Capacity
  4. Range
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a flamethrower that is a blast to use and is versatile for many jobs. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the flamethrowers that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a flamethrower shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. This can be tough, with the UBF being the smallest we recommend and still costing a pretty penny.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, especially something like a niche tool with a specific purpose. It’s better to diversify your tools to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios, but (of course) having a flamethrower on hand is pretty cool.

Fuel Type

Being able to use gasoline, diesel, or a napalm mix is actually one of the defining features of a flamethrower. Anything powered by other fuel, like propane or butane, is just a glorified lighter.

Our picks use gasoline at the least, and they are most effective when using a gas/diesel/napalm blend. Each manufacturer recommends a different blend to get the most range and effectiveness out of the thrower.

Capacity

Typical flamethrower capacity ranges between 1/2 gallon all the way up to 3 1/2 gallons of liquid fuel (gasoline and diesel, as we discussed above). This can be modified to be more using accessories, like hoses, backpacks, and larger fuel tanks.

The capacity of a flame thrower affects its weight and firing time. The latter is also dependent on the gallons per second it can shoot. In our top pick, that adds significant power and range.

Range

The range of a flamethrower is a defining feature of flamethrowers, along with the fuel it uses. Notably, California considers a liquid fuel ignited over 10 feet to be a flamethrower device.

Most flamethrowers have a range between 25-35 feet.

The flamethrower with the farthest reach on the market can shoot over 110 feet (this is our top pick).

Versatility

Versatility in flamethrowers has really taken off over the last decade, with range adjustment knobs and more compact versions being developed to attach to weapons platforms and even drones.


Flamethrowers are legal in most states in the US with the exception of:

  • Maryland – This state has a full ban on flamethrowers with a $250,000 fine and up to 25 years in prison for breaking the law.
  • California – This state requires a permit be obtained through the Fire Marshal for any device that can project flames more than 10 feet. Usually, you can order with a different nozzle to keep it under 10 feet and swap the nozzle back if you move. Or, just go get the permit.
  • Michigan – While legal in most of Michigan, Warren bans them with a local ordinance.

Additionally, the USCPSC (United States Consumer Product Safety Commission) recently published safety guidance for civilians in 2018.

There are no international laws explicitly banning flamethrowers from wartime use, but many countries have retired them from military use, including the US in 1978. The US also agreed to a conventional weapons treaty in 1983 that limits incendiary weapons, including flamethrowers.

Where Flamethrowers are Illegal in the US

What are Flamethrowers For?

Flamethrowers aren’t just for World War 2 and zombie apocalypses- they have plenty of practical everyday uses (besides just being awesomely fun to shoot).

Many people use flamethrowers for:

  • Pest control (light up a wasp nest in a tree)
  • Clearing debris off power lines
  • Controlled burns to prevent wildfires
  • Expedient weed burning
  • Firefighter training
  • Ice and snow removal
  • Pyrotechnics for TV shows and movies

For that last one, you probably have seen one of these civilian-use flamethrowers in survival shows and movies, including:

  • Tremors: Shrieker Island (2020 Movie) – XL18 Flamethrower
  • Yellowstone (AMC TV Show) – X15 Flamethrower
  • Southern Survival (Netflix TV Show) – X15 Flamethrower
  • Free Guy (2020 Movie) – X15 Flamethrower
  • The Punisher (Disney TV Show) – X15 Flamethrower

We’ll probably see a lot more of them too with the upgrades and attachment capabilities being developed.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We have vast prepping and survival experience and bring in outside experts when needed. Hours on end are spent testing gear in stressful conditions and using specialized testing gear to verify claims. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. Learn more about how we test.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best flamethrower is useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical military and prepping experience:

Favarato, L., et al. (2016). Flamethrower Application Time in Weed Control. Planta Daninha. Volume 34. Issue 2. (Source)

Tothill, N., et al. (2008). Does your robot need a flamethrower? Automated astronomical instrumentation in Antarctica. Astronomical Notes. Volume 329. Issue 3. Pages 326-329. (Source)

Van Wyck, D. (2020). Beyond the burn: Studies on the physiological effects of flamethrowers during World War II. Military Medical Research. Volume 7. Article 8. (Source)


The Final Word

Flamethrower technology seems to be just getting started. Researchers are equipping robots with flamethrowers in Antarctica, automated drones are getting flamethrowers- it’s only fair that we have them too to even the robot vs human score!

Here are a few other reads our subscribers have also found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research found the Throwflame XL18 to be the best option given its value, fuel type, capacity, range, and versatility.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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The Best Flamethrower



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