Lamp Oil Vs. Kerosene


Fuel-burning lamps and lanterns can be used for various reasons. A tasteful lamp can change the ambiance of your home for a dinner party, while a lantern is extremely useful for a camping trip. Kerosene and lamp oil are the two most popular choices for lighting a lamp or lantern, but before buying either, you should know about the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Red Kerosene

  • There are two types of kerosene, K-1 and red Kerosene. Red kerosene is slightly less expensive than K-1 and has been dyed red for tax purposes. It is generally used for tractors or generators. Red kerosene also burns faster than K-1 kerosene, so it must be replaced more frequently. Burning red kerosene is harmful to your health because of the by-products of the dyes.

K-1 Kerosene

  • K-1 kerosene is an extremely popular choice of fuel because it is easily available and typically very cheap. You can purchase kerosene from filling stations or you can purchase it in prepackaged containers. K-1 contains sulfur and other impurities that make it smell unpleasant when it is burning. If you burn the kerosene outside, you may not notice the smell as much as if you burn the kerosene indoors.

Lamp Oil

  • Lamp oil is in the same family as kerosene, but it has been purified to make it burn cleanly. The burning of lamp oil produces fewer pollutants than burning kerosene. It does not produce the unpleasant odors of burning kerosene and can be purchased in a variety of scents. Lamp oil can be purchased in most supermarkets, but it is more expensive than kerosene. It also does not burn as brightly as kerosene.


  • There are alternatives to using lamp oil or kerosene in your lamp or lantern. One is to just use regular candles, which are relatively inexpensive, although they may not burn as brightly as oil or kerosene and they may not last as long. Another alternative is to use a lantern that runs on batteries. You can buy one at any sporting goods or camping store. With a battery lantern, there's little chance of fire accidents.


  • Using kerosene may be cheaper than using lamp oil, but lamp oil burns cleaner and does not create an unpleasant odor. If you are choosing a fuel for outdoor use, then kerosene may be a better choice. Indoors, lamp oil would be the better option. Other choices are candles or battery-operated lanterns.

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  • Photo Credit "COPY_diya_02" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Stuti ~ (Stuti Sakhalkar) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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