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We recently moved into a home with a wood / coal burner in the front living room. I've always fancied one, they make the home seem a lot cosier - due to both the added heat of the fire, and the smokey, woody fragrance of the fuel, which resonates through the air vent. The whole image of a wood burner blazing beneath the chimney stack, with the cold of winter rattling against the windows, and all the family huddled by the flames, is a very pleasant one. There's a little bit of skill involved of course, when trying to get the fire going. Without a chunk of firelighter I think I'd find it near impossible to get mine lit, even with crisp, dry wood and kindling.
The packaging is essentially a thin cardboard box (complete with 'safety information' [flammable, etc] and 'usage instructions' - a 3 step guide to lighting your fire), and a tear-able plastic bag within - containing the firelighters. It is a ZIP product, and scribed beneath the company name is their motto -'the heart of a fire': not the catchiest of statements. These are the 'original firelighter' variety, and the product its self is a grey colour with specks of black embedded inside. Holding the firelighter, you get a fine, gritty substance on your fingers. The smell of the product is strong and petrol-y. It crumbles easily in your hands, so one tablet can be ripped in two. At the end of a bag, crumbled bits will be left that you can chuck into the flame to give your blaze an extra kick.
Place one or two chunks of the firelighter at the base of your wood burner. Add easy burning kindling on top, whilst leaving an alcove for your hand and lighter to fit through. Light the firelighter - 3 seconds of a match or lighter held to the material will light it, and the flame will gradually spread across the firelighters surface. Once the kindling has caught, add small logs and then larger logs until a substantial amount is present. Shut the door and put the vent fully open until the flames grow large, then bring the vent half / fully shut until the flames reach a pleasant level. You should only need to use one firelighter a night, there are packs of 15 and 30 - so depending on how much you use, that's up to a months worth of material. This product is extremely easy to use. It can also be used to start barbaques and coal fires, using similar technique.
Essentially, this product does the trick, it does what it says on the front. As the packaging tells us, the firelighters are: Powerful, Reliable, and Long Burning. I'm not too sure on the long-burning side of things, they seem to last for a few minutes but this is enough to catch the wood / coal within - maybe it's that I'm burying my firelighter early on in the process and not realizing it's continued to burn. They are certainly powerful and reliable, and that's what counts. A recommendable product.
PRICE: £2.50 for a pack of 30.
AVAILABILITY: Tesco stores and online. 18+
We have a log burner in our lounge and lighting it is usually very easy - some paper, some kindling and then some small pieces of wood on the top and Bob's your uncle.
Sometimes, if there is a funny draught down the chimney or if I lay the fire badly and exclude the oxygen, it needs a bit of help. This is where Zip firelighters come in.
They have been around ever since I can remember - mom used to use them to light our fire at home when I was a little girl and I'm 58 now! They are available in boxes 20 for about a fiver and they also come in multi packs so you can buy any number up to 1,920 firelighters for a whopping £229.99 on Amazon!
From what I remember the box has hardly changed in all the years they have been making Zip firelighters. It is black with a picture of a heart of flame on the front. Inside the heart it has the words 'Zip the heart of a fire - energy - original firelighters'. They are advertised to be powerful, reliable and easy burning.
Inside the firelighters come as white cubes all joined together but with each cube partly separated from the ones adjoining so that they are easy to break apart. These are all sealed in a cellophane wrapper.
To use the firelighters just place one or two cubes in the fire as you lay it and then you just need to touch the edge of the cube with a lighted match or lighter and they will burst into flame. Each cube has a burn time of around twenty minutes which is plenty long enough to ignite the rest of the fuel in the fire.
They work on all fires and bar b ques and will make a roaring fire out of wood, coal, smokeless fuel you name it Zip will burn it!
I tend to find that these firelighters are really useful when I have a fire burning well which then almost disappears because I have put a piece of wood on it which is a little on the large side! I then use the poker to lift the edges of the log and slip a cube or two of Zip underneath and light it. Once the firelighters have burned through the log is usually well alight.
There are warnings to be heeded when using these firelighters. They are, by their very nature, highly flammable as they contain kerosene. They must be kept safely away from the fire and must never be lit whilst they are in your hand.
It is advisable not to breathe the vapour which I have found to be quite strong and you must avoid contact with your eyes and skin. If by any chance any of the firelighter is swallowed you must seek medical advice immediately and take the container with you to show exactly what has been swallowed. You are warned not to induce vomiting as this will cause further internal damage.
The final, very obvious, warning is to keep these well out of the way of children! The repercussions of children playing with these do not bear thinking about!
In conclusion I would recommend these firelighters as they work very well - they have been lighting fires for many years after all! The only thing that I would add is that the same type of firelighter is available made by less well-known companies at a cheaper price. I have certainly bought a job lot from a seller on EBay and they work just as well as Zip.
So I will be giving Zip four stars for their performance losing one star for the price.
Living in a static mobile home this time of year it is the number one priority to get the woodburner going asap with as little fuss as possible so we don't we freeze before breakfast ..
These little firelighters from Zip are a godsend . No more fussing , no more returning to extinguished fires , no more god awful smell or unwanted smoke .
They come in a box about the size of a video cassette box . Black with a very eye catching design as you can see from the photo . I can always spot them on the supermarket shelves , even when they insist on forever moving things around ..There are 30 in a box and they are all pre scored to make getting them apart all that easier .The box carries relevant warnings and even gives you hints and little pictures on starting a good fire .
Unlike most firelighters these are not white , instead they are a off grey colour with darker black flecks throughout . Another thing I noticed is they do not carry the terrible smell that alot of the other brands do , specially the white ones . They also have a different texture to them and I like the fact they don't crumble as bad when your trying to take them out of the packet .
You will need no more than 2 pieces to get a nice fire started , before I changed to Zip I would easily use 4 or more and found myself buying a packet of 15 every couple of days .. They ignite really easily and quickly and do not give off any bad smoke or fumes. A reason I have changed from the cheaper white brands , the smoke/fumes would sting my eyes and would end up getting horrid taste stuck in the back of my throat for hours..
You can simply light these little blocks and chuck some kindling in on top and walk away with no babysitting needed . They burn at a much slower rate and the flame they give off is a lot smaller than I was used to from the others I have tried.
I'm very pleased with these and will not be going back to the other brands . You can also get them in 15 piece boxes instead of the 30 .. They can be found in most of the supermarkets and I currently pay £2.50 for a box of 30 in my local Tesco .. 2 blocks a fire so a box sees me through a fortnight :) if not longer as sometimes the fire will stay in through the night so no relight needed .
Give them a try
Step into the old cottage. Take your shoes off by the door. Walk across the slate floor. Brr its cold in here. You had better light the fire.
The wood is slow-burning and difficult to get going at all. You light match after match but it just won't take. You tear off pages from the newspaper that haven't been read yet. You'd had every intention of sitting in the comfy chair with your feet up in front of a roaring fire. Stop! Save the newspaper. Take a look into the wood stack basket beside the fireplace. There you'll find a packet of Zip, natural and kerosene free, firelighters. . They don't come cheap in supermarkets so shop around when you're ready to buy more of these. I've even found them for under a pound in smaller retail outlets. Believe me after seeing the speed in which these firelighters work you'll be stockpiling them.
Inside the cardboard and plastic cover are thirty blocks of firelighters, made with wax and fibres of wood. The firelighters can be purchased in various sized packages. They are white and speckled with grey. Just snap one off. Gently does it so that it doesn't break into crumbs. Place half under a log and if required the other half at the other side of the fire. Put a match to it. That's it - only one match is needed. Careful, don't scald your fingers. Here's the beginning of the flames for your fire.
Watch the new flame from the fire lighter catch hold of the logs. Open the draught up on the log burning stove. Whoosh there it goes. Already the fire is roaring fire as so desired and most of your newspaper has been saved. Now close the burner up and snuggle down with the remainder of the newspaper and a favourite tipple.
Notice there's no smell from the zip firelighters just the woody aroma of logs burning. In summer you can use these firelighters to light your barbeque with ease. So swiftly do these work that all the labour has gone. Take a sip of your tipple, snack on some chocolate, and listen to the crackle of the fire. Feel the warmth spread around you. The lighter will burn for fourteen minutes though often I'm sure it's less than that. Don't worry if the duration of the burning firelighter is less than the packet claims because the fire is looking strong. The logs won't need any more help. No alternative to fires can beat the real thing. It's quite beautiful.
Oh, don't forget to read that newspaper after saving it from burning but, I know, it's peaceful and hypnotic watching the yellow and orange flames dancing in the fireplace thank to Zip firelighters.
I have now had two successful BBQs so far this year, a good start when you take into account the Scottish weather! This time we decided to try it on our Balcony and by the time we had finished work and bought the food, drink etc. the sun was going and the wind was picking up, but we persevered and if it wasn't for these Zip Firelighters we would have gone hungry!
We bought these Zip firelighters late last summer time and kept them as we didn't get much chance to get the BBQ out given the rubbish weather last year! The pack we have contains thirty individually sealed firelighters. The firelighters are an off white/grey speckled colour to look at and have a solid liquid looking appearance. They come in a cardboard box with the zip branding and black background with flame detail around the name. All safety instructions and directions for use are on the box.
These firelighters can be used for home fire (indoor and out) as well as BBQs, however my experience is only with the latter. To make your BBQ charcoal or briquettes light you place a layer of them on the bottom of your BBQ tray, then take a firelighter and crumble or half the piece in between your fuel, you can use as few or as many firelighters as you need or feel comfortable using. As myself and my friends are quite useless we use lots! once you have placed the lighters all around the BBQ you can then add another layer of charcoal and use a match or piece of newspaper to ignite the firelighters.
These are very easy to light and set fire to, so you do not have to worry about burning your fingers holding them in a BBQ inferno. Once the firelighters have caught they burn for more than enough time to heat the charcoal pieces and get them burning. Once this starts happening I tend to place the coals in triangular piles, with the hottest at the bottom and ones that haven't quite caught on top. This makes sure you have an evenly heated BBQ grill for cooking. You can also stick a firelighter in the middle of the triangle to get them going even
The great thing about these Zip firelighters is that they are clean and don't give off nasty fumes or smoke and they are very simple to use. We had quite strong winds on our balcony and without these the BBQ would definitely not have started at all! I am no firelighter expert being a fair-weather BBQ user but these really are good value, simple and safe to use.
These are available in most major supermarkets retailing for about £2.50 for a box of thirty (we used about 8 cubes for a medium sized BBQ) and online at sites such as Amazon.
Lighting fires is something over which we fight. Basically my wife is crap at it, whereas I am totally brilliant at the task. Of course, I can't help but gloat which never helps and I didn't really think it through because now I get the job of lighting the fire all the time. I quite like it though - most men do, I think.
A multi-fuel burner is a secondary source of heating for us, but what with the severity of the cold weather this year we have lit it most nights in the last couple of months and gone through a lot of logs and coal. Not so many firelighters though because I take a certain pride in being able to light a fire with minimal combustible materials and as small a piece of firelighter as anyone, I suspect. I have also tried out many firelighters, including Zip.
Zip firelighters have been around for over 60 years and have been a market leading product for the majority of that time. Zip Energy Firelighters claim to release more energy into a shorter flame over a longer period of time and therefore operate to better effect and a greater efficiency than competitor products. Zip is a trademark of Standard Brands
My thoughts on ZIP is that they are moderately good and do last a decent time. However, a pack of 40 original firelighters costs £2.30 in both Tesco and Asda and I find this prohibitively expensive. I therefore no longer buy them and have only ever used 1 packet. I have also dispensed with Drummer firelighters which are similar to Zip (funnily enough, they are also made by Standard Brands!) and I now regularly use Quickfire Firelighters from our local Boyes Stores at 59p for a pack of 14 (only 49p before the Big Freeze) and I only use half a firelighter per fire so that's pretty damned cheap and very good value. One box for the whole of February.
Based on the high price, I feel obligated to deduct a star and give it 4.
My house is an old cottage and we are still in the olden days with a coal fire and a back boiler as our main source of heating. The back boiler heats five radiators in our small house. So in winter is very important for us to get fires going quickly and well. I just don't have the time to try and light a fire with rolled up paper and mess around it never works and I just get very mad. So over the five years we have lived in our house we have tried different brands of firelighter to see if we could save the pennies but we have always ended up going back to Zip firelighters.
Zip firelighters claim to be powerful, reliable and long burning and I couldn't agree more. They do just as they say on the pack. A normal size box you find in a supermarket holds 30 firelighters. The firelighters are grey with darker coloured speckles in them. They come in two sheets and are scored into 15 squares on each sheet. Pulling them apart isn't too difficult if you're gentle.
How many you need to get a fire going depends on how good you are at making fires! My fiancé says two is enough to get a good fire going were as I am rubbish at fires even after five years of doing them and I need at least three! This doesn't impress my fiancé but he is your typical bloke 'me man me build fire'! Within a few minutes of lighting the firelighters the fire is starting to go.
Zip firelighters are suitable for indoor and outdoor fires and barbecues. Zip say there energy original firelighters release more energy into a shorter flame over a longer period of time where as other firelighters release less energy in a taller flame. When I have done a fire I have noticed the flame isn't as big as when using other firelighters and the Zip ones seem to light the fuel a lot better.
The black box they come in stands out. It has a picture of their firelighters on the box and has the name Zip in yellow and orange colours on it. It does have a warning on the box that it contains highly flammable product which made me chuckle. I really should hope so! On the side of the box are the usage instructions and several warnings on the use of their firelighters. The instructions are quite good and give you some useful tips on lighting fires.
As I have mentioned I have previously tired other firelighters most recently Co-op's own brand and found you needed at least 6 firelighters to get anything going and that was my fiancé trying! Nothing seems to compare to Zip firelighters but as with most things you have to pay for that.
Zip firelighters can be found in all major supermarkets and they usually come in the box of 30. You will pay about £2.30 for a box. The Co-op ones I bought the other week were around £1.40 for a box so quite a bit cheaper but not in the long run if you are using that many.
I love my coal fire and as much as I moan about having to keep one going through the winter I do miss them in the summer. There is something cosy about a coal fire don't you think?