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Matt and I both grew up in homes where getting the woodstove going and keeping it going was necessary to stay warm. When my Dad and I lived in the North Cascades we never used any other type of heat. There were electric baseboards when we moved into the house but I never remember anyone ever even turning them on.
Getting a fire started can be frustrating at times no matter if you have a woodstove or fireplace. If you have wet wood or larger pieces than you would like or just want to get a good bed of coals fast, it can be nice to have something to fan the flames and speed things along.
Matt and I talked about bellows for years. I even had some in hand at the store once. They looked cheap and like they would not hold up to a home where wood is the main heat used. We left them on the shelf. For years we did without. The bellows available online just looked like they would start leaking. The really nice leather and wood ones were an outstanding $80 in many cases. That was a lot to pay for something to help out with fires.
Well, this year I started looking at bellows again. The difference is that I found this set of Zippo battery-powered “bellow”. Zippo products have a good reputation so why not try it out? It is basically a fan in a cage that directs airflow to your fire. I was impressed that it took AA batteries and was under $20. Why not try it? It was appealing to me that instead of having to manually pump bellows using both hands in the process, the Zippo version could be operated one-handed by simply holding and pressing a button.
Matt and I have been using the Zippo Bellows for about month now and feel it was well worth the money.
Zippo states that you get up to 180 1 minute bursts per set of AA batteries. You don’t have to use it for a solid minute in most cases so you get a lot of action out of a single set. I would say you can easily get double that number of uses. So on a set that would be 360 uses at 30 seconds each.
Since AA batteries are the most common type of rechargeable out there, it easy to see keeping this handy device going without any major hassle. If you use the bellows daily to get your fire going, you may only need a single set of good batteries.
These barely weigh anything and they are small enough to be practical for anyone to keep around. I cannot say the same thing about the beautiful yet very large bellows you see out there for fireplaces.
If these had not been a Zippo product I would have probably been more hesitant to spend the money.
When buying any gadget that you intend on using a lot, it is good to see a name brand that you can trust to stand behind their product. I definitely read more than a few reviews before buying. I am pretty good at spotting fake reviews on Amazon at this point in my writing career. I was glad to see that people that burn wood for heat regularly seemed to really like these. The reviews that were positive were not just from people that burn a campfire or light a BBQ occasionally.
If you use wood heat, I highly recommend owning a set of Zippo Bellows. We have been using them even while I am typing this so we can get a good bed of coals before the cold rain sets in. At this price point, you are not going to find anything better to help get your fire going fast.
I also think that Zippo Bellows could really help out someone that doesn’t have as good of use or strength in their hands and arms as they used to.
I believe we will be keeping a set of Zippo Bellows around. Sure it takes batteries but that doesn’t mean it is not worthy of being in our daily survival kit.