An electric starter is a looped heating element you place beneath a pile of charcoal. Plug the device in and the coals will be blazing in 15 minutes. The electric starter is clean and easy to work with, but it doesn’t light the charcoal quite as evenly as does a chimney starter. Another drawback is that you need a power outlet near your grill. I like to use an electric starter to light a deep or small grill, like a ceramic cooker or hibachi.