After extensive testing, we can confidently say the UCO Strike Anywhere Matches are the best strike anywhere matches available today.
They earned our Top Pick award in our side-by-side tests of strike anywhere matches, beating out the Diamond Greenlight and Penley brands.
What made them earn our Top Pick award? Well, simply put, they lit more easily and reliably on all of the striking surfaces we tested.
There is a downside, though. Like many other brands of strike anywhere matches, Industrial Revolution, the maker of UCO products, discontinued the UCO Strike Anywhere Matches:
These matches are now difficult to find, but there are still some out there. I found a box of them at my local Academy store. There might be some for sale online but I recommend you read about why I’ll never buy strike anywhere matches online again before deciding to go that route.
If you can’t find these matches, I recommend you look at our Runner-up pick, Diamond Greenlight Strike Anywhere Matches. They performed only slightly worse than the UCO matches in our tests.
Who & What Are These Matches Best for?
Since the UCO Strike Anywhere Matches earned our Top Pick award as the best strike anywhere matches available today, we recommend them to anyone interested in strike anywhere matches.
We especially recommend the UCO matches to campers and backpackers. The UCO matchboxes were much smaller and lighter than the other two brands we tested. They weighed on average 0.23 oz while the other brands’ boxes weighed over 2.4 oz. The trade-off is that the UCO boxes hold much fewer matches, just 32 per box. But for most camping and backpacking trips one or two boxes should be enough.
If you just want a box of strike anywhere matches to keep around the house or for car camping, I assume matchbox weight doesn’t matter to much to you. If that’s the case, either the UCO matches or Diamond Greenlights will do.
One final note: if you just want a box of matches that are reliable and easy-to-light, know that there are other types of matches out there that fit that description. Particularly, look at waterproof matches and stormproof matches. Or, you can consider a good backpacking lighter or fire starter.
For our side-by-side tests, we struck matches of each brand on a number of surfaces to determine how well they work. We struck 10 on each surface and recorded how many lit successfully. Here are our results for the UCO Strike Anywhere Matches:
- Side of matchbox: 10/10
- Wood: 10/10
- Brick: 10/10
- Rock: 10/10
- Another match: 1/10
The strike-anywhere-ability of the UCO matches was the highest out of the three brands we tested. These matches also lit consistently on the first or second strike while the other brands oftentimes took three to five attempts.
Other Minor Performance Metrics
While strike-anywhere-ability was our most important performance metric, we did track a few others.
The UCO Strike Anywhere Matches had an average burn time of 29.066 seconds. This is 10 seconds less than the burn times of the other two brands.
However, there is an obvious reason for this: the UCO matches we tested were thinner and shorter than the matches from the other two brands.
Out of the 50 UCO matches we struck during our tests, five of them broke. This was the same percentage as the other brands, though, so this performance metric was a wash.
Of course, break percentage is dependent on your striking technique. You might strike more lightly or vigorously than I do, which would increase or decrease the break percentage for you.
Matches Per Box Hand Count
While not a performance metric, we hand counted the number of matches in two UCO boxes and compared the average to the packaging claim. One box had 34 and the other had 30 for an average of 32 matches per box.
The packaging claims that there are 32 matches per box, so it was spot-on.
The Bottom Line
The UCO Strike Anywhere Matches are the best strike anywhere matches available today. However, they have been discontinued and are quickly becoming less and less available. If you find them, stock up.
If you want strike anywhere matches and can’t find the UCO ones, we recommend our Runner-up pick, Diamond Greenlight Strike Anywhere Matches.
If you are open to different types of matches altogether, look for some good waterproof or stormproof matches. You can even consider using a lighter or fire starter.