Today, many professionals use an oxygen / fuel torch to get a very hot flame for working the glass. These setups are expensive, and can be difficult to use when working with some colors of glass which can burn if too hot. A torch head that utilizes oxygen from the air, called Hot Head™, has been developed specifically for glass bead making and is easily purchased. The Hot Head™ torch requires only a canister of MAPP gas and you are ready to go. Make sure your table is very stable and the torch is securely clamped to your table before you begin. You will also need a flint striker gas lighter to light the torch; lighting a fuel source with something that has a fuel source can be dangerous.
The Hot Head™ torch can only be used with soda lime glass, otherwise known as soft glass. In order to work with borosilicate glass, you do need an oxygen/fuel (such as oxy/propane) system. There are some glass effects that you can only get using borosilicate glass, however the Hot Head™ torch works fine for most purposes.
Image copyright Maggi Buckler - used with permission