This article is from the Model Rockets FAQ, by Wolfram von Kiparski with numerous contributions by others.
Copperhead used to ignite single composite motors; not
good for clustering. They will light most
black powder motors. Requires strong 12V
Electric Match a type of electric igniter requiring
little current to ignite. As little as 200ma
of current will set them off. Used for
igniting high power motors and motor
Thermalite a type of fuse used extensively in pyrotech-
nic applications. May be ignited by nichrome
wire or flash bulb. Plain thermalite ignited
by nichrome wire is often used in black
Firestar Igniter kit which has proven popular in general
use and is easily shippable. Uses low or high
current (6-12v) depending on which bridge wire
you dip in the partially pre-mixed solution you buy.
Flashbulb/thermalite some types of camera flashbulbs ignite
with very little current (typically as
little as 50ma) and burn very hot. These
are used to ignite a piece of thermalite fuse
running into the motor. Used for igniting
high power motors and all forms of clusters.
Magnelite medium to high current requirements. Sold
by Rocketflite to ignite Silver Streak
motors. Works well to ignite single high
power motors. These are magnesium tipped
igniters that burn at a very high temperature.
In general, almost any current source from a 1.5V 'C' battery up might
ignite a flash bulb or electric match. For the other igniters, a 12V
system capable of delivering several amps of current to the igniter is