Little torch vs acetylene air torch

I’m going to start using a little torch (propane/oxy) and I’ve been using an acetylene/air torch. I’m curious if there are any tips or things to know that won’t be obvious from just “doing it”.



I use my Little Torch with Acetylene & Oxygen and it works great, so there is that option, though you have to have the Little Torch that is made for it… I have also used a Propane & Oxygen Little Torch as well and other than it not being able to work on Platinum, it is wonderful, much cleaner burning - I have a Basement Studio and a gas water heater, so since Propane is heavier than air, the two don’t work very well together… I don’t want to risk any potential “BOOMS”… :wink:

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My old acetylene and air torch has a fairly hot, bushy flame. My Meco and Little Torch and O2 concentrator have a well defined, easy to control, flame. There is a place for each. As my work became finer and more detailed, I started to use the propane and air torches more. Once in a while I wish that I still had my acetylene and air torch. My solution is to use my EZ Torch or small butane torch. Acetylene, especially with O2 was an accident waiting to happen and I am glad not to have large cylinders of gas in my shop any more. I keep the acetylene torch in my shed where, if it starts a fire, the only loss is the shed and my lawnmowers. In the end you can make any torch work for you. It just takes time and practice. My two cents…Rob


With the air/acetylene torch you don’t adjust the oxygen/air to fuel ration. You change the size of the tip. The air/oxygen to fuel ration is pre regulated. Those torches are also called atmospheric torches because they get their oxygen from the atmosphere.

With the propane/oxygen Little Torch you have to adjust the oxygen/fuel ration just like you would with a gas welding torch.

There are three flames that are commonly used:

Reducing flame (where the flame is starved of oxygen, there will be a kind of yellow tail to the flame)

Neutral flame (a single blue cone that appears immediately after the yellow disappears)

Oxidizing flame (a sharp purplish cone)

Most often a neutral flame is recommended for soldering and general purposes.

The propane/oxygen Little Torch has a different selection of tips than the oxy/acet version. I think the propane version is #3-#7 size tips. No super tiny ones like the oxygen/acetylene version.

Like Jonathan mentions, there are safety issues with propane indoors. There are numerous threads on this topic in the forum.

Hope that helps!



Geez! I can’t believe that every time that I wrote oxy/fuel ratio, auto correct changed it to “ration” and that I didn’t catch it. I hate auto correct! Oh well.

Hope you enjoy your new torch Brennan-AG!



Thank you Jeff. I can assure you that your immensely helpful replies aren’t reduced at all by pesky auto correct!

I am excited to use it as well!


Hi Brennan, I used a little torch for a number of years (much more than an acetylene air torch) and found it too light and intense for my taste. I sold it when I moved to europe and replaced it with a meco midget much to my happiness. Regardless, I think the biggest difference for me is that the propane/o2 torch can easily get too hot in too small of a place if you’re not careful. They’re great for precision work, but take more patience and consideration for larger pieces and general heat management. As in most things, practice is the key. 'luck.


I appreciate that info. I’ll definitely keep my existing torch as I know how to use it but the work is getting more detailed and with the use of mixed metals, I’m thinking the little torch will offer some more control at times. We’ll see!


Hi Brennan,

here are a few tips to learning about your little torch…

…using a soldering board, point your torch flame toward the board…slowly move the flame in and out…to different distances…watch the red hot spot on the board get smaller and bigger…observe where the flame is as the hot spot changes size…and gets redder/ yellower hotter

…get a piece of sheet…fire up your little torch…move your flame as above…observe the flame size/ position…and the heat…

play with different tip sizes/ flame sizes…

the hottest part of the flame is just past the inner blue cone…

you can control the heat by moving the flame…ie: if it is getting too hot, pull back from the blue cone for a second




So grateful for your assistance.