If you find yourself out in the woods and you need to start a fire you better have plenty of experience or a ferro rod to help. This is a combination of cerium, iron and a few other metals that generates sparks when scraped.
Initially, the alloy was a popular choice for lighters and cutting torches. With time, the application spilled over to the manufacturing of survival gear.
Here, we review the 12 of the top Ferro rods that can be a good choice for starting a fire in any situation.
Let’s get started.
The 12 Best Ferro Rod Fire Starters
1. Swiss Safe 5-in-1 Fire Starter with Compass
- Durable magnesium rod
- Lasts long
- Comes with multiple gadgets
- Two fire starters in a pack
- The handle is too small for large hands
- Poor quality of the whistle
This is a high-grade product from Swiss Safe that comes with a magnesium ferrocerium rod. The rod is 5 inches long and designed to withstand up to 16,000 strikes. The burning temperature is 5,500°F.
The quality of the material is top notch and the tool is resistant to wind and water. It’s also functional in extremely low temperatures. The steel striker has a saw tooth edge that makes it easier to create sparks that light up tinder. Since the rod is thick enough, you need not worry about wearing it out quickly.
Moreover, it’s also designed as an effective multitool. It includes a built-in compass, a 150 dB emergency whistle, and an 8-core paracord. Overall, we consider this Swiss Safe product a top pick that offers excellent value.
2. UCO Gear Survival Fire Starter Fero Rod
- Compact design
- Good spark generation
- Striker has multi-tool functionality
- All-weather functionality
- The Ferro rod durability is not the best
The Survival from UCO Gear is a combination of a ferrocerium rod and a steel striker. All you need to do is shave off some of the material to create a shower of sparks on the tinder. It can generate 5,500°F. sparks in any weather conditions.
The fire starter rod can withstand up to 3,000 strikes, which is not the best we have seen in this category. But the overall quality is top-notch and the sparking action is excellent. The length of 3 inches makes it compact enough for EDC.
Besides, the stainless-steel striker doubles up as a multitool with eight functions. It includes a bit driver, multiple wrenches, and bottle and box openers.
3. Uberleben Zunden Fire Starter
- A top-grade product
- Comfortable hardwood handle
- Consistent spark generation
- All-weather functionality
- Small for bigger hands
This piece of fire steel consists of a durable ferrocerium rod and is available in three different thicknesses. The top performer is the Fatty, which has a ½ inch thickness and lasts for an incredible 20,000 strikes. The two smaller sizes last for 15,000 and 12,000 strikes respectively.
One specialty of this Ferro stick is the tapered hardwood handle that offers a comfortable grip. The spark temperature is 5,500°F and you can use it in rainy or snowy conditions. It also has a 550 paracord lanyard and a 6-function multi-tool that includes a tinder scraper and a bottle opener.
The price is a bit higher than some of the more budget-friendly competitors. But considering the premium quality, this is one of the best Ferro rods that you can pick.
4. Texas Bushcraft Fire Starter
- Durable and efficient
- Well-designed hardwood handle
- Solid build quality
- Comes with a multi-use lanyard
- Not the lightest choice.
If you want a steady flow of sparks, this fire starter from Texas Bushcraft won’t disappoint. The high-quality fire starter rod allows it to last for 15,000 strikes. Moreover, it looks great too.
With the wooden handle, the tool is super easy to use and feels comfortable. And even though it’s compact, the surface area of the rod is large enough to generate sufficient hot sparks.
You also get a 6-in1- multitool along with an emergency whistle with this gadget. Another big plus is the 48-inch long paracord braided through the handle that can be used for multiple purposes.
To sum up, we have no second thoughts about recommending this to any prepper looking for a reliable fire starter for a survival kit.
5. Arcadia Gear Fat Boy Ferro Rod
- Super durable Ferro rod
- Comfortable to hold and use
- Great spark generation
- Wooden handle ensures good grip
- Lacks a multitool
- Long and heavy design
Even though the Fat Boy Ferro rod isn’t the lightest option, it blows out the competition with its excellent durability. With a length of 5.5 inches and extra magnesium content, this rod can last for an incredible 35,000 strikes.
The spark temperature is 5,500°F and it works in all weather conditions. The overall ease of use is great and even a light strike will generate a shower of sparks.
On the downside, the weight of 11 oz and all length of almost 8 inches doesn’t make it the most portable option. However, the large size makes it easier to hold for those with large hands
Since it’s expensive, the Fat Boy isn’t the best choice for beginners, ultralight campers, or for everyday carry. But if you want a reliable magnesium fire starter that will last for a lifetime, go for it.
6. Zippo Emergency Fire Kit
- A great design
- Water resistant body
- Comes with tinder
- The flint can be replaced
- The flint durability is on the lower side
The emergency fire starter kit from Zippo looks simple with an ABS body with a typical flint striker on the top. However, it has a few features that make it special.
Firstly, it comes with five paraffin wax-coated tinder stored inside the container. These cotton balls can burn for around four minutes. Next, the device is designed for one-handed use which offers more flexibility. The textured grip makes it easy to use.
The kit comes with a red cap that makes it waterproof and it even floats on water. The sparking mechanism is super reliable and lasts for around 1,700 sparks. With a height of 4 inches and a weight of 0.1 lbs., the Zippo is ideal for outdoorsmen looking for compact options.
7. UST BlastMatch Fire Starter
- Compact and effective
- Spring-loaded mechanism
- Works in rain and snow
- Proper usage has a learning curve
Anyone looking for a simple and lightweight flint fire starter will find the Blastmatch a great option. It comes with a spring-loaded flint-based bar and an in-built carbide striker. The design is suitable for one-handed operation.
The BlastMatch is around 4 inches long and weighs 2.3 ounces. The flint can withstand around 4,000 strikes. The sparks are hot enough to light up tinder and wood shavings. There’s also a cap that guards the flint when not in use.
However, some users mentioned that you need some practice to use the right amount of force for pressing down on the button. So, if you want ease of use, there are better options.
8. EXOTAC PolyStriker XL Fire Starter
- Easy to use
- Long-lasting Ferro rod
- Works in wet environments
- Reliable performance
- Lacks a multitool
This product from Exotac combines a ferrocerium rod with a tungsten carbide striker. The handle is made from recycled plastic and is hollow. The striker fits into the handle when not in use.
The flint will last for 10,000 strikes and the rod surface area is wide enough to produce sufficient sparks. At 1.4 oz, it’s not too heavy either. However, the long length doesn’t make it ideal for EDC.
Considering the price, we wish it came with a multitool. At present, you only get a lanyard that connects the striker with the handle.
9. Fire Fast Trekker
- Excellent spark generation
- Top-grade Ferro rod
- Robust build quality
- Reliable performance
- It’s on the heavier side
Fire Fast claims that they use premium-grade Austrian ferrocerium which makes this one of the best Ferro rods in the market. In fact, they also claim that the Trekker will perform smoothly even after being submerged in water for 4 days.
While we didn’t try that, the Trekker felt solid with the wood handle and a layer of paracord wrapped around it. During emergencies, the African hardwood of the handle can be scraped to generate tinder. The striker is made from tempered steel and is super durable.
Survivalists looking for a tough and reliable fire starter to carry in the bug out bag will find the Trekker a great choice. That said, it’s not for buyers on a budget.
10. Bayite Survival 6 Inch Fire Starter
- A thick and durable Ferro rod
- Tough built
- Sturdy paracord lanyard
- Affordable price
- Some users found the striker too small
This Survival has a 6-inch Ferro rod that generates a shower of sparks and is ideal for use in all weather conditions. The striker is made from HSS steel and is hard enough to maximize spark generation.
Since it will last for 12,000 strikes, durability is assured. The sparks are sufficiently hot at 5,500°F. Besides, it includes 9 feet of high-quality paracord as an add-on. Since the striker comes loose, it’s good for both right- and left-hand use.
In short, the Survival offers excellent value and is a great addition to any survival kit. However, it’s not a compact option.
11. Light My Fire Ferro Rod
- A compact design
- Excellent durability
- Completely waterproof
- Integrated whistle
- Too small for large hands
This product has a uniquely designed Ferro rod made from top-grade pyrophoric alloy. The strikes from the stainless-steel Ferro rod striker generates high-temperature sparks consistently.
The rod is designed for 12.000 strikes. The rod and the striker come with ergonomic plastic handles and are connected by a nylon cord. At 1.76 ounces, it’s perfect for ultralight backpackers. However, users with large hands will find the handles small.
Even though this is a small tool, the high volume of sparks it produces makes it a great piece of survival gear.
12. Feuerstock Fire Starter Survial Tool
- Special coating on Ferro rod
- Ergonomic rubber handle
- Works in adverse weather conditions
- Low spark temperature
The Ferro rod fire starter from Feuerstock comes with a patent-pending red coating that improves its durability. It has a full-grip carbide striker to maximize spark generation. The non-slip rubber handle on the striker is a big plus.
The rod and striker are connected by a paracord lanyard. While it’s not compact, the 5-inch-long rod is easy to use.
Note, Feurstock mentions the spark temperature to be over 1832°F. That’s not the best spark temperature we have seen in this category. Feuerstock doesn’t specify the number of strikes the rod can withstand either.
What Is the Proper Way to Use a Ferrocerium Rod?
To start with, remove the black protective from the Ferro rod before you start using it. Once you see the shiny metal surface, the rod is ready for use.
Here are a few tips for using a Ferro stick in the right manner during a survival situation.
- Use the striker and not a knife blade to strike the rod. That will dull the edge in no time. If you have to use a knife, use the back edge.
- Place the tip of the rod near the tinder and hold the striker at a 45-degree angle. You can either move the scraper or pull the rod. The advantage of pulling the rod is you won’t disturb the tinder arrangement
- Make sure you use the right speed and pressure to remove sufficient ferrocerium or magnesium shavings from the rod with each strike.
- Uneven striking pressure will create ripples on the rod. This will reduce spark generation in the long run. In that case, you can use a standard file to repair the rod.
Additional Ways to Use a Ferro Rod
The primary purpose of a Ferro rod is to generate sparks. You can use these sparks to light tinder, or a gas stove. Additionally, it can also be used to generate spark showers as an emergency distress signal.
Fire starters that pack a multitool are useful for various other purposes. Some rods also come with a length of paracord that is effective in various survival situations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Ferro rod?
A Ferro rod is a piece of Ferrocerium alloy that acts as a striker element and generates sparks.
Are Ferro rods fireproof?
Yes. Ferrocerium is not an inflammable material.
Is a Ferro rod better than flint and steel?
Ferro rods are softer and can generate more sparks than a piece of flint. However, they wear down at a faster rate. Flimsy rods are also prone to breakage.
Do Ferro rods run out?
Ferro rods will wear out with continuous use as the material gets removed with each strike.
Can Ferro rods break?
That depends on the quality of the alloy and the thickness of the rod. A high-grade alloy will not break apart easily.
These are some of the best Ferro rods for pro-survivalists as well as weekend warriors. Each of these products offers good reliability and ease of use. The final choice will be based on your requirements and budget.
It goes without saying that a Ferro rod is a handy tool for starting a fire in any survival situation. Just make sure to practice your striker strokes to make the best use of the device.