Ferro rod, short for ferrocerium rod, is a foolproof and trustworthy tool for starting a fire by hand. The only materials you’ll require to start a fire are the ferro rod, a striker (a small implement shaped like a file), tinder, and some persistence. The process is simple: by moving the striker back and forth along the rod, you’ll create enough sparks to set the tinder alight.
Ferro Rod (Also Called Fire Steel) – Why We Recommend Them
Ferro rods are one of the best ways to start a fire. Read our reasons why below.
- They’re reusable. One rod should be good for tens of thousands of lights.
- Unlike wood or a Duraflame log, it will still work if it gets wet.
- You don’t need to depend on a fuel source to use it.
- They’re portable and can’t jam or break.
Ferro Rod – The Most Essential Characteristics
To buy the right ferro rods, you’ll need to understand their characteristics.
- Harder rods, which tend to have less magnesium, tend to create a smaller and more controlled shower of sparks per scrape and thus last longer.
- Conversely, softer rods that contain more magnesium usually lead to larger bursts of sparks and have a shorter lifespan.
- Rods made with harder compounds will require a faster hand movement and greater exertion to produce a spark. After continued use, these rods tend to have a grooved texture, which makes for easier lighting.
- Rods composed of softer compounds don’t require as much exertion and sleight of hand as a harder rod. These soft rods flatten out over time, which makes them more challenging to use as they age.
- The only way to be sure whether a company makes a hard or soft rod is to purchase it and test it yourself.
How to Maintain a Ferro Rod
If you want your fire steel to last a long time, try these tips.
- Coat it with oil, petroleum jelly, vaseline, or nail polish to protect it from oxidation. Alternatively, use a sheath.
- Keep away from salt, acid, and moisture. It will still work if wet, but all of these elements will degrade it.
Best Ferro Rod in 2021
Now that you’re more familiar, we’ll list off the best buying options.
Consumer’s Pick of the Year: The Friendly Swede Magnesium Fire Starter
These magnesium ferro rods won’t last give you as many strikes as some competitors – but there’s significant compensation for this. When you’re camping in the bitter cold, you’re probably thinking about getting the fire started as quickly as possible.
With this rod, you sacrifice longevity for the ability to start a fire quickly and easily. You can expect about 1,000 strikes out of each ferro rod (it’s a two-pack), but because of its magnesium frame, you won’t need to strike it endlessly to produce enough sparks for a fire.
After some practice and with the right amount of tinder, you should be able to produce a fire after a few strikes. The ergonomic grip will be a major asset in cold conditions and fit comfortably in hand.
Budget Pick: Schrade SCHFS1
Our cost-effective pick (just $5.29) is also a choice for the more experienced hand. It’s a hard ferro rod and will take some practice for anyone who’s using a ferro rod for the first time.
However, it will last longer than a soft fire steel, so any buyer who has the time to familiarize themself with this product will surely get the bang for their buck.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is a smaller ferro rod (two and a half inches in length), and the sparks won’t fly far from the rod, so keep it close to the tinder when lighting.
Upgrade Pick: Bushcraft Survival Jumbo Magnesium Rod and Ferro Rod Combo
This product is a fantastic innovation on the standard ferro rod. First, scrape some magnesium shavings onto your tinder, then strike the ferro rod once to start an instant fire. This method preserves the ferro rod while still making it easy to create a fire.
You won’t need to scrape off too much magnesium, but it will help as an additional source of tinder. The multipurpose striker is a nice touch: it can also serve as a bottle opener, hex wrench, and ruler. Included is a hemp rope to produce tinder.
Twist the fibers to unbraid the rope, and you’ve got enough tinder to build a small fire. This dependable product has everything you need to start a fire and will last for a while.
Portable Pick: ASkinds Fire Starter Stick
The unique design of this ferro rod is what makes it our portable pick on the list. It can be conveniently attached to a keychain, making it hard to lose and easy to carry. Just unscrew the top half to remove the sheath, and unscrew the bottom half to use the striker. Then strike away to create your fire.
The built-in sheath will protect against oxidation and rust. It’s also bright orange, which is a good color choice because you may need to find this without the help of the sun or your phone for light. Because it is composed of flint, it will be harder and last longer than a softer magnesium rod and will favor a more seasoned hand.
Bonus Pick: Texas Bushcraft Fire Starter Survival Kit
You can’t get much more utility out of a ferro rod kit than this. The ferro rod produces 15,000 strikes and features a user-friendly hardwood handle. The striker is extremely tactical: one can use it to scrape tinder, open a bottle, and take a measurement.
One can use the water-resistant leather pouch to store tinder along with the ferro rod and striker. The kit also includes a survival bracelet made from paracord. When unwound, one could use the paracord to tie materials together, secure equipment to a bag or vehicle, or create a brace or splint.
Best Striker: Bayite Striker Pro High-Speed Steel
The Bayite striker is the highest quality striker for anyone trying to start a fire with a ferro rod. Because the striker contains commercial-grade carbon steel, it will last longer than a cheaper counterpart.
Its design features a six-edged blade, so you’ll produce a lot more sparks with each strike. The user can easily attach it to a keychain for quick access. One can also use the Bayite Striker to shave tinder off of a log.
Best Tinder Source: Kingsford BB12068 Fire Starters
You can’t start a good fire without some tinder or fuel. These fire starters contain a potent combination of natural hardwood and paraffin, which ensures a lasting blaze. It’s also environmentally ethical and has a stamp of approval from the Forest Stewardship Council.
Ferro Rod – Conclusion
Bushcraft is an age-old technique that looks simple but requires practice and patience. There’s no single answer for which ferro rod you should buy because starting a fire is a technique that depends on what the individual is comfortable working with.
Some people would rather have a harder rod which requires more practice but lasts longer. Others may prefer a softer magnesium rod which is easier to use but won’t last as long. The basis of our search criteria is price, materials, customer reviews, design, and durability.
In addition, consider the situation in which you’ll be starting the fire. Will you be in the backyard grilling? Or will you be starting a fire over moss and bark on a cold and wet mountain? Will you be with an expert survivalist or going at it alone?
Once you’ve determined the fire setting, it should be easier to pick which ferro rod you’ll want to help you start it. We wish you the best of luck in your bushcraft endeavors!