View Full Version : Oil lamps - best kind of oil?

10-01-2008, 12:31 AM
I've found a couple of articles that say you can use canola oil for an oil lamp. I'd prefer not to buy and extra item at the store and last I checked lamp oil is kinda pricey.

What do you use? What about mineral oil?

10-01-2008, 12:42 AM
I can't answer your question directly, but I did pick up some lamp oil - for those classic, wick kind - at Walmart for $3.97 a half-gallon. Might be worth checking out...

10-01-2008, 09:56 AM
The smell of canola would really get old in a rush to my ofactory system. While there are many things you can get to burn in a lamp but K1, hands down is the best option. Due to weather here we routinely lose power so I keep 9 chepos and 1 good Aladin lamp with 20 gallons of K1 in the barn for use/SHTF with a little 1 gallon plastic can for filling purposes.


10-01-2008, 10:45 AM
Canola will burn in a lamp but if you aren't using it alot the oil will go rancid on you. Thats the nice thing about mineral based oils for the lamps is it doesn't go bad over time.


10-01-2008, 11:06 AM
Diesel fuel seems to burn OK in both my lamps and space heater. The diesel is a little thicker, and it seems to burn with a somewhat smaller flame because of the extra viscosity. I would assume that vegetable oil would be even worse. I usually only buy lamp oil if someone is getting rid of it at the flea market and I can buy it for just 1$/bottle.

The one thing I will spend money on to buy new lamp oil is making Ed's Red bore cleaner. Thats made of equal parts of lamp oil (or kerosene), acetone, mineral spirits, and automatic transmission fluid. Been using that to clean my guns for a decade now.

10-01-2008, 06:16 PM
We have several oil lamps that we use quite a bit, and I only burn the parafin based oil since it has a lot less odor. I normally buy it in gallons at either Lehmans or the local Ace Hardware, but I have quite a bit put away now since I got 4 cases from someone off Craigslist for $1 a bottle...some of it was even cinnamon scented lol.

I've heard of using canola oil...might have to give it a try myself just to see how it works.

10-01-2008, 11:09 PM
We have made emergency "lamps" from beer bottles, kitchen string and olive oil. We dont smell anything "funny" when we burned them during hurrican eKatrina and we also didn't have smoke. We also use olive oil for the oil burning menorahs (where we got the idea during Katrina) and we don't have a sooty deposit on the window when we do this. I just get the cheapest olive oil I can find.

10-02-2008, 12:08 PM
We burn the Citronella torch oil, from Walmart.
It burns a bit brighter than lamp oil because of the citronella. We think it has a sorta pleasant odor.
I'm not sure of the price comparison.
But it is Much better'n trying to burn salad oil, AISI.
Have fun.

10-02-2008, 12:36 PM
Thanks everyone for the tips! I'm checking craigslist and local thrifts for additional lamps and oil!


10-02-2008, 07:40 PM
As you've discovered, there are a lot of things we can use in a lamp. One important consideration, though, is to not alternate fuels in a lamp without changing the wick. For instance, if you've been using olive oil in a lamp, the wick will not readily transport a regular lamp oil.

10-03-2008, 11:21 AM
Low odor or no odor mineral spirits works well if you can find it cheaper than lamp oil. Some say it burns brighter than lamp oil but I couldn't tell the difference.

10-03-2008, 05:09 PM
Speaking of oil, what would be the best lamp to purchase? Do all oil lamps burn all fuel? Just trying to get some education :)

10-03-2008, 05:17 PM
That's a good question - I have just bought a couple at garage/thrift sales. but I did find som recently on craig'slist that are older (antique probably) that are going for $25 - they all have the separate opening to fill the lamp. So I'm thinking they might be a good investment - I'm sure they are heavier than anything made recently.

I've heard the Aladdins are good but haven't checked them out - I think they are kinda pricey....

10-03-2008, 11:30 PM
Really depends on the wick, the more wick the more light. Of course Aladin when one step further with the mantle which really kicks it up, supposedly to 55 watts. I don't know about that but I can read a paperback book with mine and I can't do that with any of my Chinamart cheapos. Like any tool, guns are junk with out bullets and lamps are boat anchors without wicks, globes and fuel.


10-11-2008, 05:59 PM
Used crank case oil works great.
Its good on popcorn too.

11-01-2008, 02:15 AM
Speaking of oil, what would be the best lamp to purchase? Do all oil lamps burn all fuel? Just trying to get some education :)

Lamps like cars will NOT burn “All” Fuel.
Shape and density of the wick along with viscosity of the oil determine what works and how well !
Like cars you can buy lamps for power { amount of light } and or fuel economy.
Do a lot of study to help determine what you “need” then get the correct fuel.
If you purchase a firearm you would not stash the wrong ammo just because it will go “BANG" !!!

Otter Bob

12-25-2008, 01:21 AM
Go to an airport that sells Jet A fuel. It is the same as K-1 kerosene for the most part. Ask for "Jet A sump fuel WITHOUT Prist". Sump fuel is fuel drained from fuel trucks to check for water and contamination. Prist is an anti-icing additive that is an extreme bio-hazard. You can normally get this fuel for little or nothing and there is normally nothing wrong with it. Even at the full price it is about $4.65 a gallon right now. K-1 Kerosene is almost $10.00 a gallon where I live. I like the Aladdin lamps. Lamps and parts are exspensive for sure. Sometimes you can find them in second hand stores at a good price. I bought a box of bases and parts at an estate sale for $10.00 I was able to make 2 good lamps out of the parts. Less mantles and chimneys. Look for Aladdin #23's, the number is on the wick knob. The light is much superior to standard wick type oil lamps. I wouldn't find it necessary to have one for every room, but I keep one in the kitchen and living room and wall oil lamps in all the other rooms. There are always Coleman Lanterns, too. a little noisy, but nice light and fairly economical if you buy a multi-fuel type lantern that can burn unleaded gasoline.