I think most home cooks could get away with using a small welding torch, since creme brulee and baked Alaska is rarely on the menu. If someone were going into the catering business or worked in a professional kitchen, then buying a butane cooking torch might make more sense.
I took an online cooking class last year and one of the desserts we made happened to be creme brulee. My neighbor just happened to own a professional cooking torch, so I borrowed it to finish off the dish. There's definitely a learning curve, but the results were amazing. I couldn't have done that under a broiler.