Last updated: August 7, 2021

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The Bunsen burner is a small gas burner that has its origins in chemistry. It is used to heat samples of substances or liquids. The Bunsen burner is best known from chemistry lessons in schools. There are two different types of flame. The blue and very hot flame is also called the premix flame, whereas the yellow flame is cooler and is called the diffusion flame.

However, the Bunsen burner has been further developed over time. This is why today it is not only used in laboratories, but also in private households, for example by hobby cooks or in doctors' surgeries for sterilisation. In the following guide, we will discuss the various uses of a Bunsen burner and which one is suitable for you.




Summary

  • Bunsen burners have their origins in laboratories, but are now found as helpful everyday saviours in several areas.
  • An important purchase criterion is the wide range of applications, as these different types of burners can be supportive in many situations.
  • Good products in the medium price range can be found in every category of burners, whether for the hobby cook or the gardener.

The Best Bunsen Burner: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for Bunsen burners

With so many different types of burners, it is sometimes difficult to choose the right one for you. Therefore, the following buying criteria talk about them and describe which Bunsen burner is suitable for which purpose. These should help you to make the perfect choice.

In the following, these individual criteria are discussed in more detail to give you a better overview and to simplify the decision.

Intended use

What should be done with the Bunsen burner? The areas of application are very broad. Is the burner needed for the laboratory, the school, the doctor's office, garden landscaping or the kitchen at home. But what is it for?

In the laboratory, these devices are used for experiments in geology, chemistry and biology. In the kitchen, on the other hand, a so-called flambé burner is used to finalise a creme brulee or the crust of meat dishes. For the removal of weeds, a weed burner or gas burner is more commonly used.

Operation

With the different applications of a Bunsen burner, it is important to know how to handle it. As a rule, the most important thing with this device is to produce a controllable gas flame. For this purpose, there are two screws on the Bunsen burners used in laboratories, one for regulating the gas and one for the air.

However, a Bunsen burner for flambéing is used in a similar way to a lighter.

Both devices use the same ignition, the so-called piezo ignition, which produces the flame. It is then also important to find out how these devices are filled and what gas is needed. A Bunsen burner in the laboratory, for example, is connected to a gas cylinder, whereas a flambé burner in the kitchen is filled with lighter gas.

Handling

Especially with the smaller Bunsen burners, which are found outside laboratories, handling plays a major role. If a flambé burner is used in the kitchen, it is more convenient to be able to operate the burner with one hand so that the second hand is free for the food to be flamed.

A safe and firm stand of the appliance after use is also important, as it would be a potential source of danger if they were to fall over with their hot heads.

Robustness

Bunsen burners develop high temperatures, which the materials used must be able to withstand. For this reason, two very robust and durable materials are often used for this appliance, which include stainless steel or die-cast aluminium.

Frequently asked questions about Bunsen burners answered in detail

In the following, we would like to address the most important questions that arise about this product. In doing so, we would like to delve deeper into the topic to give you a better understanding.

What is a Bunsen burner?

A Bunsen burner is a device that is used in many laboratories to heat material samples or liquids. It is named after the chemist Robert Wilhelm Bunsen.

The burner stands on a heavy base, to which the fuel gas supply is also attached. It consists of a tube through which gas and air flow upwards. This produces a flame, the temperature of which can be adjusted by means of a wheel.

What types of Bunsen burners are there?

In chemistry laboratories, there are the club burners and the Bunsen burners. In addition to these well-known burners, there are also others, such as the Meker, Daniel, fan and welding burners. In kitchens there are the so-called flambé burners and for the garden a weed burner is used.

Bunsenbrenner

Sugar starts to melt at about a temperature of 135 °C. The actual caramelisation process, which also changes colour and flavour, requires a little more temperature, for which the flambé burner is then suitable. (Image source: Alex Munsell/ Unsplash

How does a Bunsen burner work?

The original Bunsen burner consists of a base and a tube, with the gas, usually methane, propane or butane, being ignited at the upper end of the tube.

On its way to the mouth of the tube, the gas passes an adjustable opening where air is sucked in and thus influences the combustion. Depending on the air supply and which gas is used, different types of flames can be produced with temperatures ranging from 300 to 1500 degrees.

What does a Bunsen burner cost?

The price is mainly determined by the intended use. Will the burner be used in private rooms or rather in scientific laboratories. The prices can range from low to medium. The following table illustrates this.

Price range Available products
Low-priced (15 - 30 €) smaller burners, such as flambé burners
Medium-priced (30 - 50 €) medium class, weed burners, soldering burners or similar
High-priced (from 50 €) Bunsen burners for laboratories

This table shows that each Bunsen burner has its own price range. Burners intended for private use can be purchased from a medium price range, where high-quality products are available.

Is it difficult to start up and maintain a Bunsen burner?

With a Bunsen burner such as those used in laboratories or schools, certain instructions must be followed. First, care should be taken to ensure that safety goggles are worn and hair is tied back. Then check that the air supply and gas regulation are connected.

Then a match can be lit and held over the combustion tube. At this point, the gas regulation and/or the air supply can be opened. After using the burner, however, it is then very important to close the air supply and turn off the gas regulation.

With the flambé burners, maintenance and commissioning is not particularly difficult. The main thing here is to make sure that a selection of slip-on nozzles is obtained for the gas cartridges for refilling, so that half of the gas does not go astray.

Conclusion

The Bunsen burner is best known and most popular in the kitchen. There it is used for finishing jobs, such as a layer of caramel on a dessert or crisping up a roast.

Flambéing takes a bit of practice, but once you've succeeded, you'll impress every guest with a perfect dish. But also hobby gardeners used gas burners more and more in their gardens. This is because weeds can be removed much more quickly and efficiently with this device than by hand.

These flambé burners got their name from the fact that they used to be used in professional kitchens to ignite high-proof flambé schnapps.

As we have shown, there are different types of Bunsen burners, but they are all available in a medium price range. However, you should check beforehand whether the desired product meets the safety standards and corresponds to your desired field of application.

Image source: Josh Howard/ Unsplash

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