Lighter Cubes Make Charcoal Grilling Easy

Lighting charcoal can be daunting. These simple cubes make it a breeze.

Published Aug. 23, 2022.

Grilling on charcoal can be intimidating. And for many of us, the most intimidating part of all is just lighting the charcoal in the first place. 

In the past, we’ve told readers that the best way to do this is to stick a crumpled sheet of newspaper or two in the bottom of a chimney starter and ignite it.

But who has newspaper these days? With fewer and fewer of us actually subscribing to print editions, we’ve investigated alternatives to newspaper, including magazine pages and corrugated cardboard, neither of which did the trick.

Newspaper itself can be fussy to use even when you do have it. You may have found that it burns too quickly to light the charcoal or that a sudden gust of wind blows the fire out before the charcoal can ignite.

Fortunately, there’s a better way: Use a charcoal starter cube

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Our favorite, the Weber Lighter Cubes, makes the lighting process supereasy. Just stick one under your chimney starter (or inside a pyramid of charcoal, if you lack a chimney starter) and light it.

The cube will produce a good-sized flame instantly, and because it’s made from paraffin, it’ll burn for a few minutes, ensuring that your charcoal will ignite. In no time, you’ll have the fire you need to get grilling. 


Weber Lighter Cubes

Resembling mini marshmallows, these starter cubes ignited quickly. Because they were made entirely of paraffin wax (and individually packaged in foil and plastic), they were the most water-resistant product we tested.

Here’s why I love them.

  • They are incredibly reliable. They always work, no matter how finicky your charcoal is. (I should know; I’ve spent all summer testing different types of charcoal for an upcoming review.) 
  • They’re not very expensive. They cost less than $6 for a pack of 24 cubes.
  • They produce very little waste. No ashy bits of paper blowing in the wind when you’re done–just a tiny husk of the cube, which is easy to remove with the ash from your cooking fire. 
  • They’re great for hiking and camping trips. Their use isn’t limited to starting up your charcoal at home. Lightweight and waterproof, they’re easy to stash in your backpack for any trips where you plan to start a campfire.
  • They don't transfer any off flavors to your charcoal (or your food). We tested this just to be sure!

So if starting a fire has given you pause in the past, consider a charcoal starter cube. It’ll make the process a lot easier.

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