Compact multi-tool

Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle

Editor's Rating 

Durable fire starter


Editor's Rating

Pocket size and easy to use


Editor's Rating

3 Top Picks

4 Reviewers

4 Hours of Research

19 Products Considered

Reading Time: 17 minutes

The upcoming warm and sunny days make many desire to spend some time off the beaten trail. But no matter how beautiful the scenery, nature is unforgiving to the underprepared. You should always have at least two ways to start a fire with you.

It doesn't matter how nice it is at the moment, the weather may change, or electricity may go out and you may need an emergency fire. So look for something reliable— it may make a huge difference, especially if you are going solo. A fire starter is the ideal choice, and you will want  one the best magnesium fire starters to keep you safe.  

After reviewing the magnesium fire starter market, we've determined that the Survival Spark Starter is the #1  choice (highlighted below, in the middle). It is highly rated and reasonably priced. We highly recommend checking out this product before your next adventure.

A fire starter is an essential tool for anyone who frequents outdoor spaces. While in this current day and age, many people carry lighters on them this is not the preferred method for fire starting. When professionally starting a fire, a magnesium-based fire starting kit is the most fool proof method; this is because the magnesium within the product helps to produce a fire that will burn evenly and be sustainable.

A well-built fire will provide you with necessary warmth and even act as a cooking aid for meals that require heat. The magnesium fire starter is also an excellent emergency tool to have in the event smoke signals need to be sent, or individuals are lost and need rescuing.

Best Magnesium Fire Starters 2021

Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter with Compass and Whistle

Editor's Rating:

Sharp Survival’s All-Weather Emergency Fire Starter will be your best friend. Carry it wherever you go. It comes with an SOS whistle and a mini-compass, which will make it an invaluable part of your backpack. It’s designed for lightweight survivalists. As such, it has proved its significant worth while taking up less than a pocketful of space.

If you choose this product, you won’t even need a knife to start a fire. It comes with a two-sided tool to scrape the magnesium and strike it to get sparks. The entire product is extremely long-lasting. Even more so when we include the weatherproof design, ensuring you may use it wherever you desire.

In essence, purchasing this product gives you a 3-in-1 essential tool for any hike or camping trip. All that, and it's also affordable.

This affordable option is one of the best as it provides incredible value. Also comes with a whistle and a compass. Completely weather resistant, windproof and no match for the cold.

The manufacturer stands behind the product 100% and offers a lifetime warranty and money back guarantee. Starter rod will last over 15,000 strikes.

The only downside of this product worth mentioning has nothing to do with starting fires. The compass and whistle are okay, but not great. You would get better quality if you bought them separately, but that would also cost you more.

Things We Liked

  • Compact product
  • Very easy to use
  • 3-in-1 usage: Features compass, whistle, and lanyard
  • It's windproof and weather resistant
  • The scraper is high-quality

Things We Didn't Like

  • The whistle and compass could be of higher quality


Editor's Rating:

The Doan Magnesium Fire Starter is a convenient fire source for your travels into the wild or camping trips.  It's a rectangular block measuring 3 in by 1 in by 0.25 in  made from magnesium.  On the front face of the block the manufacturer's name and address are imprinted, which is a nice touch and adds to the feel of good quality control and pride in the product. 

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It has a Ferrocerium rod, or ferro rod, mounted into one of the thin faces of the block and there is a hole is drilled through the front face of the block. This is where a metal chain is strung so that this fire starter can be conveniently attached to your other camping or hunting gear. 

The STRIKING INSERT is made from Ferrocerium and can be fun or difficult to use, depending on your experience, the circumstance and the weather, of course.There is a bit more labor involved compared to striking a match, but it's worth it if you can start a fire any time.  The shavings may not fall off all by themselves and it takes a bit longer to create a decent pile. The more shavings you make, the better chance you'll have the sparks to ignite the magnesium.

Things We Liked

  • Effective and well made tool
  • High grade magnesium block
  • High grade flint stone
  • Works while wet
  • Convenient key chain size

Things We Didn't Like

  • The flint piece could be bigger


Editor's Rating:

Se’s All-Weather Emergency Fire Starter is the most compact fire starter out there. No more excuses for not caring about security!

The high-quality materials make it completely waterproof and weatherproof. The bar is solid magnesium, focusing on effectiveness. This will be a crucial part of your survival kit.

It comes with a compass. Instead of a whistle, it comes with a ball chain in this version.

The durability is amazing. The magnesium won't run out for a long time, and that's how long you may use it.

It comes with a scraper as well as the previous product. This one is the mini version of our top choice. SE makes sure that you receive the high quality for a fair price, so you don’t have to worry about it.

The most affordable item on the list and the smallest. This pocket-sized magnesium flint bar has everything you'd need to start a fire. It's completely waterproof and compact.

Completely durable and able to spark in severe environments, this is the perfect product for those who want something simple that gets the job done.

The only complaint about this product relates to the scraper. The small size of the product causes it to be too small for beginners. So if you're just starting, practice. And a pocket knife is a good alternative.

Things We Liked

  • Very compact design
  • Good for all weather conditions
  • Weatherproof and waterproof tool
  • Must have tool for camping
  • Includes compass and ball chain

Things We Didn't Like

  • The scraper could use some improvement


Editor's Rating:

This magnesium fire starter comes in a kit which contains 2 fire starters, a built-in compass, 150dB whistle, a steel scraper, and 450LB 8-core Paracord. This is a super-handy kit of survival and camping tools to keep you safe and cozy while camping, hunting, fishing or going on survival trips. It uses industrial grade Ferrocerium magnesium which works best when you need those sparks for a warm camp fire.

This kit is great for any camper who doesn’t want to face any unexpected challenges while enjoying their time in the forests, mountains or by the rivers or lakes.In order to make a nice fire, simply use the serrated edge of the striker to shave some magnesium from the rod onto your pile of tinder. Alternatively, cotton balls with some alcohol also work great.

Keep shavings closely piled together to start the fire quickly. Use the smooth edge of the striker to strike the ferro rod several times in order to get those sparks at the magnesium pile until it ignites into a warm camp fire. Overall, a great survival kit to have!

Things We Liked

  • The rods are quite large and thick
  • Plenty of sparks to throw for a long while
  • Well made and versatile kit
  • Added compass and a paracord a nice bonus

Things We Didn't Like

  • The whistle is not that good

UST SparkForce Firestarter

Editor's Rating:

UST’s SparkForce Firestarter boasts its design allowing the most straightforward use so far.

It is created in a way that allows you to direct sparks towards your prepared base. So strike and burn in a matter of seconds, and don't worry about hurting yourself. The striker comes integrated into the product. It's built into a detachable cap, eliminating the fear of accidental sparks.

It’s also durable. There's a flint bar which has a capacity for hundreds of fires. The flint is also versatile, able to set various fires no matter what fuel source - even wet fuel. The manufacturers tested this product against several adverse conditions.

Another strong point of the design is that it's lightweight and compact. It comes in bright orange, which is a significant safety concern and encourages easy and quick usage.

The drawbacks concern the scraper. Our best advice would be to sharpen it before your trips, and it will work just fine. Also, being small, it needs practice before you can use it with confidence.

Things We Liked

  • High-quality design
  • Versatile usage
  • Waterproof and reliable
  • Compact

Things We Didn't Like

  • Takes some practice to get used to

UST BlastMatch Fire Starter

Editor's Rating:

UST created their BlastMatch Firestarter with innovation in mind. You can use this product with only one hand. That makes it simpler and extra helpful in case of emergencies.

The design allows you to direct the hot sparks onto the base you set without any effort. The scraper comes in a cap with a safety button, keeping you safe from accidents.

Tried and tested against many weather conditions, this product proved its capability with all kinds of fuel. Kiss your matches goodbye, because this will do the job for you! There's a flint bar for generating sparks, and it rotates. This means you will be able to use it whole, promising durability.

The primary complaint on this product has to do with the design. While the critical pieces are all highest quality, the box isn't. The package is made of brittle plastic, so the rod tends to fall out of it. But experienced campers are sure to fix it with an adhesive!

Things We Liked

  • Unique, one-handed use
  • Great for all conditions
  • Durable product

Things We Didn't Like

  • The package is a bit brittle

Gerber’s Bear Grylls Compact Firestarter

Editor's Rating:

Gerber’s Bear Grylls Compact Firestarter is, as the name suggests, so compact that you can take it anywhere with you. The design consists of only two pieces. This in itself implies easy usage. And indeed, starting fires has never been more quick and straightforward.

The design is clever - there's a cord to attach the fire starter to your keychain or backpack. It's light so you will barely feel it on you, and it will stay within reach at all times. The package is protected against water so the product will keep both you and itself safe.

Another great benefit that this product offers is that it comes with a life-long warranty. The price is slightly higher than the prices of other products we mentioned. But this warranty proves to you that you will be getting your money’s worth. Faulty design won't let you down if you decide on this product.

The negatives are common and unavoidable with most products. The scraper is not as useful as a knife without sharpening. And the package suffered from being lightweight - it's made of clear, brittle plastic. Again, experienced campers will surpass this without much trouble!

Things We Liked

  • Lightweight product
  • Safe design
  • Easy to carry around

Things We Didn't Like

  • The scraper could be sharper

Aurora Fire Starter 440C

Editor's Rating:

Aurora’s fire starter 440C features an excellent grip which allows you a tight hold even with wet hands. The usage is conventional and straightforward.

It is also effective. The base of the product is a great ferro rod that creates high heats and a lot of sparks. The effects end up being immense and intense. The magnesium component makes it last longer, though.

The product itself is unique for the material used. Aurora used aluminum, so there is no worry about brittle plastic. It also remains lightweight. This also makes it stand firm in any weather.

Aurora also offers a lifetime warranty, so if you’re not satisfied, they find ways to fix it.

The biggest downside is that it's more challenging to use. The striking blade is poorly set, so you need to place it in an awkward angle to scrape. In cases of emergency or poor conditions, this is not ideal.

Things We Liked

  • Effective fire-starting
  • Aluminum case is strong and light
  • Lifetime warranty

Things We Didn't Like

  • The striking blade is poorly set

Friendly Swede Magnesium Flint Fire Starter - 3 Pack

Editor's Rating:

The Friendly Swede Magnesium Flint Fire Starter comes as a convenient and money saving 3-pack. It makes it super-easy to throw sparks and start a camp fire. This survival tool in any weather conditions - rain, snow, and high-altitude and is perfect for camping, hunting, survival, bushcraft and other outdoor activities. The magnesium bar is also your tinder, whereas a common fire starter requires separate material.

The flint rod throws hot sparks no matter how windy it is and the handy striker can also be used as bottle opener. The ease of use and versatility make this fire starter perfect both for experts and beginners. It's made to last so you'll be able to start a great many camp fires with this bundle of 3 fire steel blocks with chains. We recommend these Friendly Swede fire starters as reliable and handy survival tools at a good price.

Things We Liked

  • The magnesium scrapes off easily and ignites quickly
  • The embedded striking rod generates a good amount of sparks
  • The striking attached tool has a bottle opener, a scraping tool, and a small ruler

Things We Didn't Like

  • The chain could be of better quality

überleben Zünden Fire Starter

Editоr's Rating:

The first thing to notice about Überleben's Zünden Fire Starter is the beauty of it. The handle is handmade of hardwood. Besides looking amazing, it guarantees a more comfortable grip and fewer callouses.

The manufacturer promises waterproof design of this weatherproof product. The excellent performance ratings claim it will create sparks in any conditions.

The scraper is more than just a striking tool, too. It is more of a pocket knife that you can use in a series of situations.

Additionally, this is one of the rare versatile products coming in three size options. The thickness you choose depends entirely on the size of your hands and the number of strikes you need. And all the versions are light, meaning you can keep them close to you.

This is another really well made magnesium fire starter. Not only is it a real bang for your buck, but it works really well and you can have full confidence in this fire starting rod.

The cool feature about it is that it feels really good in the hand due to the wooden handle which has a natural finish. It will get the memorable looks after your many happy camping trips. This fire starter comes with a lanyard, a cool piece of steel with a few very useful features. You will also receive some jute twine to get you started. 

If you want a reliable and well-made fire starting source to add to your survival kit, the Überleben Zünden Fire Starter is a great choice. It takes little practice for you to start a fire if you're an avid camper and it will last you a great many trips. 

However, while they went all out for the quality of materials they used, they seemed to be saving on adhesive. As a consequence, the parts of the product may come apart.

Things We Liked

  • Up to 12,000 strikes from thick 5/16″ rod.
  • Premium 100% hardwood handmade handle
  • Perfect for Hiking, Camping, Hunting, Fishing and Backpacking
  • Serves as a steel scrapper, a ruler, map scale, and a bottle opener
  • 3-ply natural jute tinder to get you started

Things We Didn't Like

  • The adhesive used is weak

Magnesium Survival Fire Starter Military Grade

Editor's Rating:

With a military grade type of durability, this product is waterproof, well made and will last for over 12,000 strikes. Is patented to function in every kind of outdoor capacity.

Whether that be the wind, rain or sleet, this fire starter will provide you with the spark to make a substantial fire. Lifetime warranty to ensure you obtain just the satisfaction you deserve from survival products given their pertinent nature.

Editor's Rating:

Comes with complete instructions, this kit is a bit more detailed and contains more additional parts than the other items on this list.

The torch comes broken down into pieces that can be easily assembled into the torch. This magnesium based product is incredibly safe, waterproof and also comes with a compass.

Editor's Rating:

A great tool for preppers and outdoorsmen, an all-in-one solution. Magnesium fire starter that's compact, lightweight, and starts quickly. Made from premium quality magnesium this product is a great starter and much safer than a match or a lighter. Can start a fire even in damp or wet conditions.

Editor's Rating:

Superior quality designed torch also doubles as a glass breaker and keychain. Complete with a magnesium flint rod, tinder storage compartment and a cotton ball.

Breaks down into screwable parts for easy storage. The non-slip grip which helps to stabilize the bar when lighting it.

Having a reliable way to start a fire in an emergency situation is incredibly important. You want something that is compact, credible and easy to use. Many of the options provided for you above are all that and more. Be sure to read multiple reviews before deciding on your best option.

Features to Consider

How to Choose the Right One For Your Needs

We are aware of the importance of fire in our outdoor journeys. There are a few methods for starting a fire, but you shouldn't feel overwhelmed by the options. Of course, a lighter or matches are obvious, easy choices, but you need to have a backup. 

Remember that lighters are mechanical, and something may break. If matches get wet, they instantly become useless. Survival fire starters are much more durable than either of them.

Be sure to consider your needs and skill level when making a choice. If you came here to look for your magnesium fire starter kit, then you should look for simplicity of use. After all, in emergency situations, you can't rely on five-step processes you aren't proficient in to save your life.

Also, be sure to use the weight that suits you. Look for the best mixture of power and convenience. This piece of equipment is something you need to have with you at all times if push comes to shove. So think about how light you want to travel and pick according to that.

Flint and Steel Vs. Magnesium

If you're familiar with the historic, old fire starters, the ones that came out after rubbing two rocks together, you know they don't always yield the necessary results. A flint and steel striker was once the best way to start a fire. However, these two fire starting methods are different in many ways.

With a natural flint and steel starter, it takes a certain level of precision and expertise to get the flame going. It will likely require a couple of tries before you get it just right. Depending on the degree of dexterity you possess, it may prove to be harder than you previously though.

With a magnesium fire starter, though, the sparks are much hotter and more concentrated- this means that the flames are easier to produce. It's a very straightforward method and the most efficient regarding amount of time it will take to start a fire successfully.

Magnesium vs. Flint vs. Ferrocerium

The fire starter kits come in a few forms, but basically, there are three main types varying in the material. Don't choose one just because that’s what Dad always used; figure out which one is best for you. And be sure to practice at home before pursuing the wilderness, whatever method you choose.

A fire started with a magnesium rod fire starter is going to last. Scrapes from a magnesium bar are incredibly reactionary. This method is sustainable because magnesium burns at scorching hot temperatures. The flames will be easy to produce, and it will take very little time and effort to do so.

Flint fire starters are the oldest survival method. Using them will require more precision and expertise. Many people don’t get it quite right the first time. If this is your method of choice, be sure to get good with it before you really need to use it.

Ferrocerium often gets confused with the previous two types of fire starters. But it’s a separate type, and yet a commendable one for dangerous situations. It is an alloy which generates sparks in no time and is great for survival kits. The ignition happens similarly as with magnesium, but the sparks are white and a bit harder to control.

How We Tested

We are stating the obvious, but the best way to test a fire starter is by burning cotton with it. We also focused on any signs of questionable quality and paid particular attention to the ease of usage.

But it's not a matter of the fire starter being able to burn just cotton. That's why we also made fires with using these kits, to make sure you will be able to do so too. During this, we measured the temperature and assessed the fire's stability and duration.

The next step was to test these products in wet conditions. We ensured that the fire starters we reviewed would burn even in the rain.

Of course, great fire starters may be awe-inspiring and high-quality; however, backpackers already carry considerable amounts. We made sure these fire starters are compact and light. We tested different means of transporting them. The information we got will bring you reliable, simple products for any trek you pursue.

How to Use a Magnesium Fire Starter

If you are apprehensive about not knowing how to use a magnesium fire starter kit, don’t worry. It’s relatively simple, but requires a little getting accustomed to. We will provide you with a simple tutorial on magnesium fire starters.

First, you will need the right spot for the fire. As soon as you find it, collect some dry grass or wood to create a base for your campfire. In addition, you will need to get twigs and branches to add onto the fire later.

Next, you will need the magnesium bar and a scraper. Any decent knife will do, and many kits come with tools. You should shave small bits of magnesium onto the base. You don’t need a lot since it’s a reactive element.

Now you have the fuel for starting your fire. You will need sparks. You can get them by striking your knife on the opposite side of your block. The strike creates a shower of sparks, and you direct them towards the base.

The magnesium and the sparks will react in seconds and burn hot. This fire is intense but doesn’t last long on its own. Then you add grass and twigs, and there you have it— a campfire in a matter of minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a magnesium fire starter last?

A magnesium fire starter lasts for hundreds of uses, and will last you anywhere from 6-20 years, depending on how often you use it. Of course, this only applies to quality products and not cheap knock-offs.

How does a magnesium flint work?

A magnesium flint works by first getting magnesium flint (aka a magnesium fire starter), and a scraper, which is a metal stick to scrape against the block to get magnesium shavings. You shave and scrape the shavings onto tinder or paper to easily light the items and start your fire.

What is a magnesium fire starter made from?

A magnesium fire starter is made from a combination of magnesium and flint to help you get the best results in starting a fire.