Yes. A match doesn’t need any unique, striking surface to light. It can quickly light if it strikes against a hard, rough, or dry surface.
Matches ignite by utilising the heat generated from rubbing against a rough striking surface.
Do Matches Ignite in Heat?
Yes. Matches comprise a phosphorous compound coating that catches fire when heated up.
Usually, the friction generated when you rub or strike a match on a hard surface releases heat that lights the match.
Thanks to the white phosphorous attached to the heads, today’s matches ignite fast as they need minimal energy.
Is it Possible for a Match to Ignite on its Own?
A match head incorporates an oxidising agent, mainly sulphur and potassium chlorate.
It’s hard for these chemicals to ignite independently, making it difficult for the match to light under normal friction.
The main reason for this is that the striking surface must comprise red phosphorous, the chemical required for the sulphur and potassium chlorate to ignite.
Safety Matches vs Strike Anywhere Matches
A safety match is the one that only ignites after striking it against a uniquely prepared striking surface, such as the one you find on the sides of matchboxes and matchbooks.
Due to this, it is also popularly known as a “strike on box match.” They are often the common types of matches in the market today, and you perhaps have them in your camping gear or kitchen.
On the other hand, a strike-anywhere match is the one that easily lights when it strikes a suitable surface.
A “suitable” surface means a dry, hard, or rough surface. For example, in my test to determine the surfaces that can light a strike-anywhere match, I was successful after striking it against wood, brick, and rock.
Should You Buy a Strike Anywhere or Safety Match?
I recommend that you buy safety matches if you want to purchase them for camping or other outdoor activities.
However, you shouldn’t buy the ordinary matches you find in the market. Instead, consider purchasing waterproof or storm-proof ones.
Why I Recommend Safety Matches
Well, finding a strike-anywhere match in the market is almost impossible. On the other hand, you can virtually find safety matches in most outdoor stores and big-box retailers.
Is Keeping a Match in a Car Safe?
Yes. Storing a safety match in a vehicle is secure as the red phosphorous cannot ignite at a temperature below 250 degrees Celsius.
However, storing strike anywhere matches in a car is dangerous.
Strike Anywhere vs Safety Match: Which is Better?
When comparing the two, I cannot say that one is better than the other. However, it comes down to your objectives and what you consider better.
For instance, if you need easy to light and reliable matches, several strike-anywhere and safety matches fit that purpose.
If you want a match that can light in adverse climatic conditions, a safety match with waterproof and storm-proof capability suits that better.
But if you are looking for a match that lights on countless surfaces, a strike-anywhere match might be the best bet.
Most people who need easy to light and dependable matches will appreciate a good brand of strike anywhere and safety matches.
What Can You Strike a Safety Match On?
You can only light a safety match by striking the red-coloured head against the provided striking surface.
Why do Safety Matches only Light on the Box?
The main reason why a safety match strikes on a box only is that it requires a chemical reaction from the striker’s phosphate. As a result, you cannot use sandpaper as there is no chemical reaction.
What Matches are Safe?
A safety match is much more secure as it only lights after striking it against a chemically compatible surface with the head.
On the other hand, a strike-anywhere match can light after striking it against any hard surface, meaning is less safe than the safety one.
All in all, the two matches are risky if you fail to store them securely.
Why Matches don’t Ignite When Stored in the Box
As their name implies, safety matches are designed so that they cannot accidentally ignite themselves.
Besides the sulphur component, a safety match head contains an oxidising agent and glass powder.
The glass powder helps generate the friction required to light the explosive components during the striking process.
Can a Match Light Itself in heat?
Yes. A match head includes the chemical known as “potassium chlorate.” Once this chemical becomes hot, it generates heat and oxygen.
With this, the match head burns vigorously and quickly. You get a flame once you combine all elements; oxygen, fuel, and heat.
I am an independent safety and survival expert and consultant. I have over 15+ years of experience working with corporations and individuals to help identify, remediate and prepare for threats and and disasters. I help clients understand risks and blog about my thoughts and techniques at DisasterShelters.net