A quick DIY heat bead igniter

A quick DIY heat bead igniter

If you’ve ever cooked with a camp oven on coals before, you will know that you have to keep up constant attention to ensure that your food stays at cooking temperature. To circumvent this issue, you may like to use heat beads. Heat beads or charcoal briquettes provide heat a lot longer, almost enough to cook an entire roast without needing to re-stock halfway through!

BUT!! Heat beads are a bastard to light! If you have a nice hot fire going already you can just toss them in and remove them once they are white, but you might not want to light a fire just for the sake of getting your heat beads going. After playing around with a few methods, I came up with this brilliant idea to get em going.

coffee-can-heat-beads-lighterPictured left are all the tools and supplies you will need to get the project completed. A Milo can or any other can of a decent size will do, doesn’t have to be a coffee can. Heat beads aren’t gonna crack the shits and refuse to light based upon your choice of tin. Also, the step drill is handy so as you can drill massive holes without changing drill bits, but again; you can complete the job with any old bit.



Get started by drilling the can full of pilot holes all around the sides and the base. Now get finished by smashing it through with the bigger drill bit. The more air you can get through this thing the better.

That’s it! Done! Now have a look on the internet at how much money you have saved by making your own heat bead lighter. You will notice that they look nearly exactly the same as this, except for the bit where they cost you money and this costs you nothing.

Drop a couple of fire lighters in the bottom and star the fire, then fill the can with heat beads. Set it aside preferably raised on an uneven surface as shown to aid airflow to the bottom. So far this device has not failed to ignite a can of heat beads, which is more than I can say for my previous methods!


Now! Get out there, and light em up!


Alex Garner

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