Presto-lite vs Smith acetylene/air torch

Hi again

I am looking to buy a new torch but i am unsure which is the better
torch Presto-lite or Smith, i have looked at many places and i need a
bit of help to decide. The smith one looks more comfortable to use
but when see the different kit they provide im not sure which is the
right one, They all have the torch, regulator and hose but the thing
is some offer regulators with one or two gauges, which do i get? my
oxy/propane setup has two for the oxy and one for the propane. Also
what size tip is best for the average job plus to melt some silver to
cast wire the presto-lite has a #3 tip and the smith a #00 tip so i
take it i need to buy more tips. Would i be able to but the hose
fitting so i can make the hose myself as long or short as i want also
if the hose gets damaged i can just cut it back and put the fittings
back on so that i dont have to stop and order a new hose and end up
waitin a week for it to get here (hope all that made sense).

hope someone can help me out (again)

many thanks and respect to you all


I personally own both torches and I manage equipment for a workshop
where we have both types of air-acetylene torches and I find it is
mostly a matter of taste. This is a good reason to take a class at a
workshop where you have an opportunity to try them both out. There
are several Smith torches but I assume that you are considering the
Smith torch that looks like a small welding torch handle. It is
identified as the Smith NE180A Air Acetylene Torch. Thee are several
factors to consider:

First, the Prestolite and Smith torches have different shapes which
may account for some of the difference in opinions. The Smith torch
is long and slender and the Prestolite is sort of bulbous. Next, the
torches have different hose fittings so you may want to buy the hose
and handle together. (You can go to your local welding supplier and
buy fittings and special crimping tools for hose repair work but it
may be simpler to just take the torch to them for repair.) That’s
also the least expensive place to buy torches and parts.) Also, as
you may have surmised, the torch tips are numbered differently and
are not interchangeable.

In good condition, either torch brand will be satisfactory, however,
as they get older I feel that the double o-ring seal on the Smith
Torch is less likely to be a problem and is easy to replace. The
Prestolite handle has a metal to metal seal that could leak if the
sealing surface on the torch tip becomes nicked. There are also other
brands that look like the Prestolite handle but have a plastic gasket
that deteriorates with age and can cause gas leaks. To me the Smith
torches seem safer but others on this list may wisht to chime in on
this point.

Two stage regulators presumably do a better job of regulating your
gas supply but this may be more significant in a multiple torch setup
rather than where a single torch is attached to a tank and regulator.
Prestolite air-gas torch kits typically come with single-stage
regulator with a single-gauge on the high pressure side of the
regulator. Again, the fittings are all different so you may wish to
buy the torch, hose, and regulator as a unit matched to the Tank you
plan to use. B and MC Acetylene Tanks have different tank fittings so
it is possible to end up with a mismatch.

Your question about tip size for the average job gives me a problem.
I work with a number of different instructors and there seems to be a
variety of opinions regarding tip size for their projects. You might
as well get the tip size that comes with a torch-regulator kit and
work from there. If you plan to melt an ounce of silver in an open
crucible you will want the largest tip size available.

Hope I haven’t confused the issue too much. Ask if you want further


Hi Jason,

I like the shape of the Prestolite (I use a Goss which is the same
shape) as the Smith rolls in my hand. Quality is another story which
I hope others will discuss.

Esta Jo Schifter who wants to win a new bench in the raffle!

I’m still using my original PrestoLite and it must be thirty years
old. I’m certainly not a production person and sometimes weeks go by
with using it but it has given me good service. It came with three
smallish tips and I knew that I would be doing some metal smithing
so I got two big tips at the same time.


Hi I use both also but i prefer the smith for a few reasons 1. the
adjustment dial can be used with same hand that you hold the torch
with, which is a huge when your holding tweezers etc. 2. the smith
torch will hang ona torch hook, which means you dont have to shut it
off as much during soldering which saves alot of time lighting and
relighting etc.

just a couple of thoughts…Frankenstein

I switched from using the Prestolite after many years when I tried
one belonging to one of my students. I prefer the variety of Smith
torch tip sizes.

Ronda Coryell
Studio Manager/Instructor
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts

I have both torches, I like the Smith Silversmith better. The nut to
hold the plastic handle in place comes loose om the Prestolite. I
also like how tips are held in the Smith handle better. The Smith 00
tip has a better tiny flame than the Presto-lite No. 1, The
Prestolite No. 6 tip gives a big fluffy flame that is sometimes good
for doing a heat patina, not much else. The large tip, No.4 for the
Smith works great for annealing and soldering larger pieces.

1 Like
The Smith 00 tip has a better tiny flame than the Presto-lite No.
1, The Prestolite No. 6 tip gives a big fluffy flame that is
sometimes good for doing a heat patina, not much else. The large
tip, No.4 for the Smith works great for annealing and soldering
larger pieces. 

Roger, which size Smith Silversmith torch tip should one use for
melting metal (silver and gold,) when casting?

Alma Rands

compared to the pricey smith (silversmith model recommended for that
brand) torches, the gentec has a solid nickel body with equally good
adjustment knobs as are on the smith’s torches, but is at least 100
dollars less than most smith torches…FDJ tools sells the gentec for
about 80 dollars though I have seen them at 69 bucks on sale… same
tips, same everything as the smiths but a better built torch in my

I used a Prest-o-light torch for 3 years. I tried a Smith and
immediately sold the Presto and bought a Smith. The reason is that
the torch handle and the control knob are more user friendly. I can
control it all with my left hand which frees my right hand to do the
other stuff. I think the flame is tidier, more organized, with the
Smith. I don’t exactly know how else to state that. It just isn’t as

I am using a medium sized tip and have never switched over to the
smaller one that came with the torch handle. Does anyone know for
what reason I would want to use it?

My 2 cents worth on the topic.

Jean Menden

Number 3 or 4 tip on the Smith should work fine for most casting, I
have done some centrifugal casting, ingots and cuttlebone with
those. For casting we have a Uniweld Oxygen/Acetylene with rosebud