What Is the Difference Between a Butane Torch & Propane Torch?

Torches are useful tools for any welding purpose around the house. However, there are several types of torches that utilize different fuel sources. Butane and propane torches use different fuels, emit different levels of heat and serve different purposes.

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Different fuel torches are used for different projects.

Heat Difference

Ignited butane and propane torches produce different heating temperatures. Butane can reach maximum temperatures of around 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a useful temperature for most welding projects, however, propane torches can go much higher. The maximum temperature that propane torches can jump to is around 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Design

Propane torches have a small torch head that curves inward. This allows a concentrated flame to emit from the blowtorch. The closer the flame is to an object, the more precise the torch is and the higher the temperature of the torch. However, the farther away the propane torch is, the lower the temperature of the flame. A butane torch has a straight open torch end, allowing a full flame to be emitted. However, butane torch triggers can emit low or high amounts of butane, allowing the user to emit a low or high temperature flame.

Typical Use

A butane torch is much more compact and portable, but the flame is weaker. Hence, a butane torch is mostly used for soldering metals like silver, drying wet materials like clay or cement, and heat-shrinking tubing and wiring. A propane torch comes with a larger tank to store propane. Users often have to wear the tank like a backpack or hold the tank with one hand. Due to the high heat and precision flame, propane torches are mostly used for welding metals.

Unique Uses

Butane and propane torches are used for different purposes based of the ease of handling, size and heating temperature of each torch. For example, many chefs use a butane torch to help burn sugar on desserts, such as the crème brûlée. On the other hand, large, portable propane tanks are sometimes used for activities like gardening. Some gardeners argue that propane tank torches are an effective tool to destroy weeds without using chemicals.