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How to Start a Fire With a Battery

Fire, water, and food are essential things that you need for successful survival. You can find food and water in the wilderness, but controlled, natural fire is very rare.

If you do encounter natural fire on your travels, you will almost certainly be running away from it!

Today, in our article, you will discover a very interesting way to create a fire: with a small battery! We hope you will find our article useful and make many survival fires using our methods!

But how does it work?

You have a battery that can light your flashlight or make your TV remote control work, but how can it help you in the dark wood?

Well, the answer is simple: every battery is packed with low resistant energy that can be released and create a small spark for you.

Most of the time, it will be good enough to help you to create a dancing fire that will save you from that horrible death in the freezing cold.

All you need to do to create this spark is to make a path for the electricity in the battery, and it will eventually ignite the material you’ve chosen to set alight.

It can be a piece of steel wool (a very good conductor of electricity) or even gum wrapper with foil.

The main goal is to find a thin enough and conductive enough material that will heat up quickly to create a good spark. So, let’s review our top methods to starting a fire with a battery and be like Prometheus, the God of Fire!

The First Method. Creating a Fire with a Gum Wrapper and a Battery

This method works with a variety of batteries: you can use D, C, AAA, and AA sizes for this, so pick one that is readily available for you.

If you noticed, we skipped a 9-volt battery option this time because it is harder to find, but the method will also work perfectly with this big boy!

A chewing gum wrapper is an essential item for this method, and you need to find a specific one for this purpose. You cannot use just a paper kind: it should be a foiled wrapper to create that all important electric path we need.

When the foil becomes hot enough from the electricity flowing through it, it will ignite, and here you have your fire!

Now, we move to the exciting part.

Preparing Your Fire Starting Materials

First, find a pair of scissors or a knife to cut your wrapper into three parts. It can be difficult to tricky to get everything right first time – this way you’ll have three shots at once!

Next, you need to cut your wrapper into an hourglass shape. We perform this step to narrow the central part of the wrapper and to show a direction for the flames.

But do not make it too thin because you can break the path — 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch should be fine for this purpose.

Now, you should prepare your tinder because we are moving to the fire starting part. Prepare plenty of quality, dry tinder to give yourself plenty of attempts. Also, be prepared to act quickly since the gum wrappers usually burn out fast!

The next step is to put on some fireproof gloves or any other hand protection, since you will contact the fire very near to your skin.

Now, take your battery and connect each terminal with the gum wrapper and watch how the center of your paper wrapper ignites.

Immediately transfer the wrapper to dry tinder, and next, you can enjoy the lovely heat of your newborn fire!

If you do everything right, but there is no fire, try to do the repeat the same process with the other piece of wrapper.

Maybe you made the center part too narrow to conduct electricity, or there’s something wrong with the wrapper itself. Also, experiment with the central part and make it thinner, because there’s a chance that you made it too wide.

And for our last tip on this method. If you happen to have only the 9-volt battery, you can definitely use it, but we’d advise you to make the central part of the wrapper a bit wider.

It is a powerful battery, so you don’t want to create a spark too big and burn down your piece of a wrapper too quickly. Good luck!

The Second Method: 9-volt Battery and Light Bulb

It is actually very easy to start a fire with a 9-volt battery the simple light bulb that everyone has in their houses!

So, if you have a light bulb and a battery with you, the first thing you need to do is to crush the glass part of your bulb to get access to a filament inside it.

This is the part of the bulb that ignites and produces a lot of heat, strong enough to help us ignite our tinder and create a roaring fire!

So, to crush the glass part of the bulb, wrap it into a rug, sweater, scarf, or a simple piece of fabric you can throw away later and smash it with something heavy.

But try to do it very carefully. Now, gently take out the filament and get rid of all the glass. Safety first!

Next, go to your tinder with the filament and battery and ignite the filament by placing its ends on the battery’s poles. Transfer the filament onto the tinder and watch how your fire starts. 

The Third Method: Steel Wool

This method works only with powerful batteries, so using a 9-volt battery is your best choice in this case.

First of all, you should always keep a good amount of high-quality tinder near you, since all the fire starting methods that involve batteries usually give you a very quick result.

Pro Tip: you need to make sure that your steel wool is completely dry and your batteries have enough power to ignite it. Otherwise, the method will not work.

So, first and foremost, you gathered some tinder, right? Good!

Now you will need a ball of steel wool to connect to your battery. The safest way to do it is to take your ball of steel wool and place it over the tinder.

Next, take your battery and touch your wool with it on both sides of the battery. If you do everything right, the wool will immediately spark and ignite the tinder.

This method is useful in a lot of cases because you can also execute it with less powerful batteries (but 9-volt is preferable).

The Fourth Method: Your Cell Phone Battery!

Having a couple of AA or 9-volt batteries in your pocket is a winning situation if you suddenly ended up in the middle of nowhere and need to start a fire.

However, in this scenario, it would be very possible that you wouldn’t have any traditional batteries on you, but you might have your phone in your pocket instead!

So, your first step in this process should be removing your battery from your phone and to examine it. Find negative and positive terminals on your battery and then go and prepare some tinder for the flames.

The phone’s battery is a lot more powerful than a regular one, so in this case, if using a gum wrapper (assuming you have some!), you don’t need to trim it in the center at all.

With all that being said, you should be extra careful when you use this method because it is easy to burn your hands with such a powerful battery.

You can also use steel wool for this method but make the ball a little bit bigger because it will ignite really fast.

Also, we advise you to gather a large amount of tinder in this case because you may underestimate how great this method works!

As for a gum wrapper, for the Cell Phone Battery method, do not cut it into three pieces; just fold it into a long roll to give it a thicker base for the initial spark.

This time, do not connect the wrapper or steel wool piece with your hands. It is better and safer to put your wrapper or wool piece on the tinder and form it into a letter “U” shape.

Next, connect the ends of the “U” and watch how quickly the flames splutter into crackling life! At this point, you’ll thank us for our advice on the tinder!

The Fifth Method: AA Battery and a Paper Clip

This method is not really popular amongst survivalists, but it works, so we thought that there is no such thing as too much information!

For this one, you will need a AA battery from around the home and a regular paper clip used for documents. As usual, we remind you to prepare your tinder beforehand and to prepare a lot of it!

And now, let’s proceed to the fire starting!

Firstly, prepare a little bit of your tinder or a ball of cotton that you can ignite with the paper clip to transfer it to the main tinder.

Take your battery and clean up a little bit of the plastic around 2x2 millimeters of plastic on opposite sides of the battery.

Now you can grab your paper clip and connect it to the poles. You will immediately see how the clip starts to smoke!

Touch it with your piece of tinder and Voila! You have a fire, and now you can transfer your tinder to the main batch to make a decent campfire.

We must warn you that this is one of the most dangerous methods to make a fire because the tinder piece will ignite really fast, so carry out all the necessary precautions before you use this method.

It is not for newbies, and we recommend you to use it only if you have some decent experience in this field.


We hope you’ve enjoyed our article on how to start a fire with a battery.

We’ve gone through a variety of different methods over the course of this piece to ensure that you are fully prepared for any unexpected event, or just want to try for fun!

If you do happen to be lost in the wilderness with a single battery and a small piece of metal, you know what to do. Always keep a couple of these little friends in your backpack!

About Tom Bell

Hi - I'm Tom, the owner and founder of TheSurvivalSpirit.com! I'm a passionate outdoors enthusiast and am dedicated to bringing you the hottest online survival advice.  


The Survival Spirit is an independent review business. I am not affiliated with any manufacturers and do not accept paid reviews. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission which helps me to invest in this website and keep producing great content!

About The Survival Spirit

TheSurvivalSpirit.com is run by survival enthusiast, Tom Bell! This website features all of the latest hints and tips on survival, prepping and the great outdoors.

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