All pocket butane torches are handy, but this Bernz-O-Matic really stands out. It ships with a catalytic burner that slips over the torch head to convert it to flameless heat-blower operation, it includes a soldering tip that screws into the catalyst body. You can also lock the gas valve on with a button so you can set the torch down and pass your work in front of it — especially handy for heatshrink or soldering.
When you add up all the features, it kicks the crap out of most little “lighter” torches, where you’re likely to get a thumb cramp before you get anything done.
My favorite feature, however, is the Bernz-O-Matic’s finger-adjustable gas control. If you’ve ever hunted around for the right size screwdriver to adjust the little brass valve on a lighter, you know how big a deal this is. To top it all off, it’s got a piezoelectric igniter, which means no fumbling with a cap-mounted flint sparker like the one on its closest competitor.
Granted, its kid-proof lighting mechanism is nearly adult-proof, too, but that’s really my only complaint. And while at $35 or so it’s not the cheapest butane torch, the features more than justify the price. My brother has one of these and adores it.
Note: Continuing our series of silly product photographs, check out the fake flame that Tecra painted in over the soldering tip! Sad.