Value for money



Bord Na Mona Eco-friendly  €3.09 for 24, 13 cent each

These are the new kid on the block and are made with a combination of wood fibre and wax. We were promised 24 firelighters and as the pieces are so easy to break off intact, that is exactly what we get. There’s not a trace of kerosene in the mix so they are ideal for getting a barbecue started. Unfortunately the clocks are going back so it’ll be a long time before we need them for that purpose. They are pricey, not the best at getting a fire going and, while we are well disposed to them, they did finish last in our firelighter Olympics and were the first to burn out.

Verdict: The feelgood firelighter ***

Zip Firelighters  €3.48 for 16, 22 cent each

Zip is undoubtedly the best-known firelighter brand on the market and can be bought in almost every convenience shop in the land. The individual fire lighters now come wrapped in plastic so you don’t have to break them off a solid block and your hands won’t smell like a petrol station after you’ve lit the fire. We do, however, have to wonder how environmentally sound it is to introduce plastic to the mix when it is not strictly speaking necessary. They burned longer and more violently than any of the competition and were the most effective at getting a fire started.

Verdict: Long lasting, dear ***

Drummer Firelighters €3.99 for 80, 5 cent each

Technically you get the most firelighters in this big box. We say technically because we found it all but impossible to break these little cubes off as the manufacturer probably intended and we ended up with shards of firelighter rather than dainty little cubes – and a lot less of them too. They were the second brand to burn out in our test, despite the fact – or maybe it is because of the fact – that they absolutely reeked of kerosene.

Verdict :Cheap but unreliable **

Tesco Value Firelighters  €0.93 for 30, 3 cent each

Verdict: Good value ****

Is there something you would like us to test?

E-mail suggestions to