We Tested the 5 Best Backpacking Lighters
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We bought 5 of the best backpacking lighters available and set about testing their water-resistance by soaking them in water, their wind-resistance by trying to blow them out, and their reliability by striking them until we got blisters. Our tests confirmed what backpackers have long known: the BIC Mini Lighter (commonly called the “Mini BIC”) is the best lighter for backpacking.
It is ultralight, reliable, decently water-resistant, and a great bang for your buck.
The Mini BIC’s only downside is it’s not wind-resistant. A simple windscreen can usually solve this problem though.
If you need a lighter for backpacking in extremely wet or windy conditions, we recommend the UCO Stormproof Torch. It was the most wind- and water-resistant lighter we tested.
Also, it’s important to point out the Mini BIC earned the top score in our tests by the slimmest of margins. The Clipper Mini Lighter is an excellent alternative. It isn’t as easy to find in the US, however — you’ll likely have to pick one up online or at a head shop.
Read on for our full reviews.
The 5 lighters we tested
Top Pick: BIC Mini Lighter
Supremely affordable and available everywhere, the Mini BIC earned our Top Pick award because of its reliability, value, and ultralight weight.
When I struck the BIC 200 times, it lit a perfect 200. BIC has perfected lighting consistency.
The Mini BIC is also decently water-resistant. After performing 3 “Soak Tests” with it — submerging the lighter in water, shaking it out, and then trying to light it in 1-minute intervals — it took an average of 2 minutes before it started lighting again consistently.
(To dry it out quicker you can also run it up and down a piece of wood or your pants leg for 30 seconds.)
The BIC’s main drawback is how poorly it holds up in windy conditions. The flame is difficult to light in even a slight breeze.
Without some sort of windscreen, a BIC is hard to light in even a slight breeze. The wind was blowing a few miles per hour at the time of this photo.
It’s an easy problem to overcome though — I usually have luck with using my hand or windscreen to block the wind long enough to light my backpacking stove.
If you’re worried that you need something beefier to take into the backcountry, don’t be.
BIC lighters have been put through the ringer countless times by backpackers of all varieties. Every year plenty of AT and PCT thru-hikers complete their hikes having used only Mini BICs. And adventurer Andrew Skurka uses a BIC in his Cadillac Stove System.
Runner-Up: Clipper Mini Lighter
The Mini Clipper is another excellent backpacking lighter.
While not nearly as ubiquitous as the Mini BIC, it performed actually better in our tests.
For starters, like the Mini BIC it lit a perfect 200/200 times.
It is also slightly more wind- and water-resistant than the Mini BIC.
Where it took the BIC 2 minutes on average to start lighting consistently after having been submerged in water, it took the Clipper 1 minute. I was also able to light the Clipper more easily in a slight breeze.
You might be wondering at this point…
“If it performed better in your tests, why didn’t it get a higher score?”
Based on reports I read of backpackers who had used a Clipper for a long time, the general consensus was that a Clipper’s flint wore out quicker than a BIC’s. As such I docked it some points for being less reliable over the long-term.
In my view you still can’t go wrong if you take a Clipper on your next backpacking trip. Let price and availability be your guides if you’re undecided between the two.
Mini Clippers ship pre-filled but unlike BIC lighters they are refillable with butane. You can also purchase replacement flints and replace a used-up one yourself.
Best for Adverse Weather: UCO Stormproof Torch
Most backpackers — whether you’re a beginner or seasoned thru-hiker — don’t need this lighter.
It’s heavy, bulky, and costly relative to BICs and Clippers.
Its flame is impressive but unnecessary for all but the most adverse weather conditions.
But should you truly need a weather-resistant lighter, the UCO Stormproof Torch is your best option.
While neither truly windproof nor waterproof like UCO’s incredible stormproof matches, this lighter was the most wind- and water-resistant that we tested.
When submerged with the cap on, the inside of the lighter remained completely dry and lit immediately after shaking off the excess water. As marketed, the case is waterproof.
When submerged without the cap, it took just one minute of drying in my pants pocket before the lighter started lighting again consistently.
Its wind-resistance isn’t anything to write home about — it was pretty easy to blow out — but it was the best lighter we tested in this regard, just edging out the competition.
I do have some long-term reliability concerns with this lighter however. The more I struck it the more the flame started to sputter. If you do go with the Torch, take a back-up ignition source with you just in case.
There are two versions of this lighter: one comes with a bottle opener, the other with duct tape. I tested the duct tape version.
UST Wayfinder Lighter
The Wayfinder Lighter from UST, like the UCO Torch, is a butane lighter with piezo-electric ignition.
UST says it “performs without fail in the most adverse conditions.”
I found it to be reliably unreliable.
When I struck it 200 times, it lit just 87, the least of any lighter by far. It is marketed as “windproof” and is apparently able to withstand winds of up to 80 mph. I didn’t test it in those conditions, but I was able to blow it out by blowing air at a moderate rate.
The Wayfinder’s performance was heavily affected by being submerged in water. The inside of the lighter got wet even when the cap was on. Also, air bubbles came out of the fuel refill port, which made me wonder if water was entering the fuel chamber.
It took an average of 9 minutes of drying the lighter in my pants pocket before it lit again, and over 20 minutes before it started lighting consistently.
One of my main gripes with the Wayfinder is that there’s no way to know how much fuel is left. On backpacking trips, especially long ones, this in an important thing to know.
Overall I wasn’t impressed. The unreliability and high price point make this lighter a less than ideal choice for your next backpacking trip.
Zippo Matte Lighter
The Zippo is a classic, but it makes for a bad backpacking lighter.
The biggest drawback of this lighter is its unreliability.
Now, I don’t mean this lighter doesn’t light consistently. It does. The Zippo was the third most reliable lighter in that regard, lighting 175 out of 200 times.
In this case, I mean it’s unreliable because of the issues that stem from its fuel.
First, I had an issue with the fuel leaking. After soaking the lighter in water to test its water-resistance, the fuel started leaking on my hands, in my pants pocket, and on the outside of the lighter.
This poses two threats when out in the backcountry:
- It increases your chances of running out of fuel
- It poses a fire hazard should you light the lighter without realizing it’s been leaking
What’s more, the fuel evaporates slowly out of the lighter. There are numerous accounts online of people complaining about this and trying to come up with their own fixes to the problem.
This even happened to me when I took these lighters with me on an overnight backpacking trip. The Zippo had fuel in it when I left. When I returned just a day later, despite lighting it only a handful of times, it was empty.
The last thing you want on a backpacking trip is for the fuel in your lighter to leak or evaporate. As such, we don’t recommend the Zippo.
And that’s good news actually — the Zippo has the highest retail price of any of the lighters we tested, you need to buy fuel for it and refill it yourself, and it’s heavier than a backpacking lighter needs to be.
Save yourself a couple ounces and a handful of dollars: pick up a Mini BIC or Mini Clipper and be done with it.
Here are the best backpacking lighters:
- BIC Mini Lighter
- Clipper Mini Lighter
- UCO Stormproof Torch
- UST Wayfinder Lighter
- Zippo Matte Lighter
Alternative Ways to Light Your Backpacking Stove or Start a Campfire
In my experience, lighters are the most popular way backpackers light stoves and start campfires.
There are other ways, though, which we’ve also written about. Consider these other products if you’d like an alternative to lighters (click on the link to see our reviews of the top options):
Even if you do go with a lighter, you might want to take a back-up ignition source just in case. Most backpackers I know who do this will carry one in the form of a ferro rod, magnesium fire starter, or pack of waterproof or stormproof matches.
How to Choose the Right Backpacking Lighter for Your Needs
When it comes to backpacking gear, lighter is always preferable.
The lighters we tested ranged from 0.39-3.21 oz. That isn’t terribly heavy in the grand scheme of things, but relatively speaking the heaviest lighter weighs over 8 times as much as the lightest.
Unless you want to go with our top option for adverse weather, the UCO Stormproof Torch, a lighter shouldn’t cost you more than an ounce in pack weight.
If you’ll be backpacking for an extended amount of time you might want to consider bringing a back-up lighter or, if your lighter is refillable, extra fuel.
Flint vs. Piezo-Electric Ignition
Flint lighters — like the BIC, Clipper, and Zippo — use a flint to generate sparks.
Piezo-electric lighters — like the UCO and UST — use a spring-loaded hammer to hit a piezo-electric crystal and create an electrical charge.
I found the flint lighters to be much more reliable over the long-term than the piezo-electric lighters.
Unless you need a highly weather-resistant lighter such as the UCO Stormproof Torch, I’d recommend you go with a flint lighter.
There are also battery-powered electric lighters (aka plasma lighters). These are not water-resistant and thus are less than ideal for taking into the backcountry.
There is no perfectly windproof or waterproof backpacking lighter. However, all the lighters we tested sported some degree of weather-resistance.
Although, just because you expect to encounter adverse weather on your trip doesn’t mean that you need to bring along a highly weather-resistant lighter.
While I would generally recommend you go with a Mini BIC or Mini Clipper for the weight and cost savings, there are some situations where a highly weather-resistant lighter might be preferable — such as emergency or survival scenarios. Also, if you aren’t concerned with the extra weight and bulk it’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.
Pre-Filled vs. Empty
BICs and Clippers come pre-filled. The other three lighters we tested come empty and you must fill them with the appropriate fuel, which you also must buy.
Pre-filled lighters are less hassle and cheaper upfront. You don’t have to buy fuel or fill the lighter yourself.
Empty lighters you must buy fuel for and fill yourself. They are refillable and thus may work out to be cheaper in the long-run. The two types of fuel we used were butane for the UCO Stormproof Torch and UST Wayfinder Lighter and Zippo lighter fluid for the Zippo Matte Lighter. (The Mini Clipper can also be refilled with butane.)
Type of Fuel: Butane vs. Lighter Fluid
Backpacking lighters are generally butane lighters. The fuel they use is premium butane.
We also tested the Zippo Matte Lighter which uses Zippo Lighter Fluid.
The two types of fuel used by the lighters we tested
After testing these lighters side-by-side, I personally would never take anything other than a butane lighter on the trail.
The Zippo started leaking fuel after being submerged in water. The fuel got on my hands, on the outside of the lighter, and on my pants pocket where I had placed the lighter to dry.
How We Tested
For each lighter I did the following 3 times and averaged the results:
- Submerged it in water for 5 seconds
- Shook off excess water for 10 seconds
- Tried to light it
- If it didn’t light, I stuck it in my pants pocket to dry and took it out and tried to light it in 1-minute intervals, recording how long it took before each lighter started lighting consistently again
Submerging a lighter in water for the Soak Test
- Mini BIC: 2 minutes
- Mini Clipper: 1 minute
- UCO Stormproof Torch: immediately when submerged with cap on; 1 minute when submerged with cap off
- UST Wayfinder Lighter: 9 minutes when submerged with cap on; didn’t bother testing with cap off
- Zippo Matte Lighter: 20+ minutes when submerged with lid closed; didn’t bother testing with lid open
(H/T to this reddit thread for giving me the idea for this test, as well as the idea to test a Clipper lighter in the first place.)
This was a straightforward test: I struck each lighter 200 times and recorded how many times each one lit.
- Mini BIC: 200/200
- Mini Clipper: 200/200
- UCO Stormproof Torch: 200/200
- UST Wayfinder Lighter: 87/200
- Zippo Matte Lighter: 175/200
Lesson learned — strike a flint lighter enough times and you’ll get blisters!
Since I didn’t have time to test long-term durability, I then read reports of backpackers who had used these lighters for extended periods of time. If other hikers consistently reported that a lighter was unreliable over the long-term, I incorporated that into my final reliability rating.
Note: I removed the metal safety band from my Mini BIC prior to testing.
I don’t have a fan or leaf blower, but I do have lungs.
I lit each lighter and then tried to blow it out, starting by blowing lightly and getting progressively more forceful. It was an admittedly crude test.
Overall, I was disappointed in the wind-resistance of these lighters. If you’d like something that is truly windproof (and waterproof), read our reviews of the best stormproof matches. Otherwise, just be sure to bring along a windscreen to block the breeze.
Alex is the owner and editor of 99Boulders, and he's been testing and reviewing outdoor gear since 2015. When he's not outdoors camping or backpacking, he can be found at the climbing gym.
Best Butane Torch Lighters
Butane Torch lighters are a favorite item among cigar connoisseurs, but they are also great for a variety of other tasks. They are often used by chefs for searing and glazing foods. Artists find them useful for jewelry making and getting bubbles out of acrylic poured on canvas. They are also handy items to have around for camping, hiking, or anywhere you need a consistent flame. Torch lighters create a precise flame that is hotter and more reliable than an ordinary disposable lighter.
What to Look for When Buying a Butane Torch Lighters
If you are going to use your torch lighter primary for cigar smoking you may have different needs in a lighter than someone who is using it to glaze gourmet desserts. The important thing in both of these cases is that the flame is consistent and strong. Cigar smokers will want a less powerful flame; After all, you want to light your cigar, not torch your eyebrows. A chef or an artist is likely going to want a steady needle-like flame for doing precision work.
Nearly most of our torch lighters are equipped with multiple flames. If you are going to be outdoors in inclement or windy weather, multiple flames are a must for wind and weather resistance. This is especially true for campers or hikers who rely on their flame to cook or get warm. Torch lighters are designed with anywhere from one to three flames. Keep in mind, that multiple flames do require more refueling so you should weigh this factor in with your needs.
Size and Model
Torch lighters come in a variety of sizes. Some models that are explicitly made for cooking or crafting are going to look ridiculous for lighting a cigar. If your lighter needs to go with you, consider a small pocket-sized torch rather than a larger, more powerful torch. Conversely, a pocket torch is not going to get the soldering done on a piece of jewelry, so choose your size and model accordingly.
There are a wide variety of butane torch lighters that fit your need and your budget. Starting as low as $5 for a premium refillable torch lighter, Newport Zero got it all.
If you are going to be using your lighter for projects that require constant flame, an ignition lock is vital. Otherwise, you are going to have to keep your hand on it all the time to maintain a constant flame going. An ignition lock will allow you to hold the torch in one hand leaving your other hand free.
Newport Zero Butane Torch Lighters
Newport Zero Butane Lighters are the top selling, highest quality Novelty Lighters you will find. Our products are available across the US.
Browse our below collection that varies from soft flame refillable lighters to jumbo size culinary butane torch lighters.
How to refill a lighter is actually very simple. Just follow the instructions.
For the vessel, see Lighter (barge). For other uses, see Lighter (disambiguation).
A lighter is a portable device which generates a flame, and can be used to ignite a variety of items, such as cigarettes, gas stoves, fireworks, candles or campfire. It consists of a metal or plastic container filled with a flammable liquid or compressed gas, a means of ignition to produce the flame, and some provision for extinguishing the flame. Alternatively, a lighter can be powered by electricity, using an electric arc or heating element to ignite the target.
The first lighters were converted flintlock pistols that used gunpowder. In 1662 the Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi visited Vienna as a member of an Ottoman diplomatic mission and admired the lighters being manufactured there: “Enclosed in a kind of tiny box are tinder, a steel, sulphur and resinous wood. When struck just like a firearm wheel the wood bursts into flame. This is useful for soldiers on campaign.” One of the first lighters was invented by a German chemist named Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner in 1823 and was often called Döbereiner's lamp. This lighter worked by passing flammable hydrogen gas, produced within the lighter by a chemical reaction, over a platinum metal catalyst which in turn caused it to ignite and give off a great amount of heat and light.
The patenting of ferrocerium (often misidentified as flint) by Carl Auer von Welsbach in 1903 has made modern lighters possible. When scratched, it produces a large spark which is responsible for lighting the fuel of many lighters, and is suitably inexpensive for use in disposable items.
Using Carl Auer von Welsbach's flint, companies like Ronson were able to develop practical and easy to use lighters. In 1910, Ronson released the first Pist-O-Liter, and in 1913, the company developed its first lighter, called the "Wonderlite", which was a permanent match style of lighter.
During WWl soldiers started to create lighters of empty cartridge cases. During that time one of the soldiers came up with a means to insert a chimney cap with holes in it to make it more windproof.
The Zippo lighter and company were invented and founded by George Grant Blaisdell in 1932. The Zippo was noted for its reliability, "Life Time Warranty" and marketing as "Wind-Proof". Most early Zippos used naphtha as a fuel source.
In the 1950s, there was a switch in the fuel of choice from naphtha to butane, as butane allows for a controllable flame and has less odour. This also led to the use of piezoelectric spark, which replaced the need for a flint wheel in some lighters and was used in many Ronson lighters.
In modern times most of the world's lighters are produced in France, the United States, China, and Thailand.
Naphtha based lighters employ a saturated cloth wick and fibre packing to absorb the fluid and prevent it from leaking. They employ an enclosed top to prevent the volatile liquid from evaporating, and to conveniently extinguish the flame. Butane lighters have a valved orifice that meters the butane gas as it escapes.
A spark is created by striking metal against a flint, or by pressing a button that compresses a piezoelectric crystal (piezo ignition), generating an electric arc. In naphtha lighters, the liquid is sufficiently volatile, and flammable vapour is present as soon as the top of the lighter is opened. Butane lighters combine the striking action with the opening of the valve to release gas. The spark ignites the flammable gas causing a flame to come out of the lighter which continues until either the top is closed (naphtha type), or the valve is released (butane type).
A metal enclosure with air holes generally surrounds the flame, and is designed to allow mixing of fuel and air while making the lighter less sensitive to wind. The high energy jet in butane lighters allows mixing to be accomplished by using Bernoulli's principle, so that the air hole(s) in this type tend to be much smaller and farther from the flame.
Specialized "windproof" butane lighters are manufactured for demanding conditions such as shipboard, high altitude, and wet climates. Some dedicated models double as synthetic rope cutters. Such lighters are often far hotter than normal lighters (those that use a "soft flame") and can burn in excess of 1,100 °C (2,010 °F). The windproof capabilities are not achieved from higher pressure fuel; windproof lighters use the same fuel (butane) as standard lighters, and therefore develop the same vapour pressure. Instead, windproof lighters mix the fuel with air and pass the butane–air mixture through a catalytic coil. An electric spark starts the initial flame, and soon the coil is hot enough to cause the fuel–air mixture to burn on contact.
As opposed to lighters of the naphtha or standard butane type (whether refillable or disposable), which combust incompletely and thus create a sooty, orange "safety" flame, jet lighters produce a blue flame that in some cases is almost invisible and invariably burns at a far higher temperature. The spark in such lighters is almost always produced by an electric arc (as seen below), but some jet lighters burn with incomplete combustion.
Disadvantages to the jet lighter include a "roaring" noise in operation, as well as higher fuel consumption.
Electric arc lighter
Arc lighters use a spark to create a plasma conduit between electrodes, which is then maintained by a lower voltage. The arc is then applied to a flammable substance to cause ignition.
See also: Automobile auxiliary power outlet
Some vehicles are equipped with an electric lighter located on the dashboard or in the well between the front seats. Its electric heating element becomes hot in seconds upon activation.
Not to be confused with the meaning of match as in matchsticks or the "permanent match" (see below), this type of lighter consists of a length of slow match in a holder, with means to ignite and to extinguish the match. While the glowing match does not generally supply enough energy to start a fire without further kindling, it is fully sufficient to light a cigarette. The main advantage of this design shows itself in windy conditions, where the glow of the match is fanned by the wind instead of being blown out.
A typical form of lighter is the permanent match or everlasting match, consisting of a naphtha fuel-filled metal shell and a separate threaded metal rod assembly—the "match"—serving as the striker and wick. This "metal match" is stored screwed into the fuel storage compartment: the shell.
The fuel-saturated striker/wick assembly is unscrewed to remove, and scratched against a flint on the side of the case to create a spark. Its concealed wick catches fire, resembling a match. The flame is extinguished by blowing it out before screwing the "match" back into the shell, where it absorbs fuel for the next use. An advantage over other naphtha lighters is that the fuel compartment is sealed shut with a rubber o-ring, which slows or stops fuel evaporation.
A flameless lighter is a safe alternative to traditional lighters. The flameless lighter uses an enclosed heating element which glows, so that the device does not produce an open flame. Typical flameless heating elements are an electrically heated wire or an artificial coal.
Flameless lighters are designed for use in any environment where an open flame, conventional lighters or matches are not permitted. The flameless lighter is used in many environments such as prisons and detention facilities, oil and gas facilities, mental health facilities, nursing homes, airports and night clubs/restaurants.
Many advertised so-called flameless lighters are not flameless at all, but the flame is invisible (such as a windproof lighter). If a piece of paper can easily be ignited, it is probably not a true flameless lighter and may not be safe in hazardous environments where smoking is confined to specific safe areas.
The flameless lighter was invented by brothers Douglas Hammond and David Hammond in the UK in 1966 under the "Ciglow" name.
Catalytic lighters use methanol or methylated spirits as fuel and a thin platinum wire which heats up in the presence of flammable vapours and produces a flame.
lighters: the International Standard EN ISO 9994:2002 and the European standard EN 13869:2002.
The International Standard establishes non-functional specifications on quality, reliability and safety of lighters and appropriate test procedures. For instance, a lighter should generate flame only through positive action on the part of the user, two or more independent actions by the user, or an actuating force greater than or equal to 15 Newton. The standard also specifies other safety features, such as the lighter's maximum flame height and its resistance to elevated temperatures, dropping, and damages from continuous burning. However, the standard does not include child resistance specifications.
The European standard EN 13869:2002 establishes child-resistance specifications and defines as novelty lighters those that resemble another object commonly recognized as appealing to children younger than 51 months, or those that have entertaining audio or animated effects.
As matches, lighters, and other heat sources are the leading causes of fire deaths for children, many jurisdictions, such as the EU, have prohibited the marketing of novelty or non-child resistant lighters. Examples of child resistance features include the use of a smooth or shielded spark wheel. Many people remove the child proofing from lighters by prying off the metal with scissors or keys, making the lighter easier to ignite.
In 2005 the fourth edition of the ISO standard was released (ISO9994:2005). The main change to the 2004 Standard is the inclusion of specifications on safety symbols.
In August 2011 Stephen Fry chose the lighter as the greatest gadget in his Channel 4 programme Stephen Fry's 100 Greatest Gadgets, one of the 100 Greatest strand, describing it as "fire with a flick of the fingers".
- ^Evliya Çelebi, Evliyâ Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi eds. Seyit Ali Kahraman, Yücel Dağlı, Robert Dankoff, Yapı Kredi Yayınları, Istanbul, 2006, v. 7, p. 100. ISBN 975-08-0578-X
- ^ abRoald Hoffmann. "Roald Hoffmann, "Döbereiner's Feuerzeug", American Scientist, 86, no. 4 (August 1998)". American scientist.org. doi:10.1511/1998.4.326. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- ^"Dutch Ronson Collector's Club, "History of the Ronson Lighter"". Finepipes.com. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- ^"The Early History of Zippo: The Birth of the Zippo Lighter". Lightermall.com. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- ^Jason Virga (2006). "The Laureate Lighter – A chronological history of the amazing invention". Bugstores.com. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
- ^United States International Trade Commission, "Disposable Lighters from the People's Republic of China and Thailand", Bug Stores Lighters. 1994.
- ^"About Ciglow". Ciglow.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- ^Frank Dutton. "Making Catalytic Lighters Work". Toledo-bend.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- ^ISO, ed. (2005). Safety specification(PDF). Lighters. Geneva: ISO. p. 32. ISO 9994:2005(E). Archived from the original(PDF) on 12 March 2006.
- ^ abThe European Committee for Standardization, ed. (2002). Child-resistance for lighters — Safety requirements and test methods. Lighters. Brussels: CEN. EN 13869:2002.
- ^US Fire Administration (12 March 2008). "Match and Lighter Safety". FEMA. Archived from the original on 6 March 2008.
- ^European Commission (2006). "2006/502/EC: Commission Decision of 11 May 2006 requiring Member States to take measures to ensure that only lighters which are child-resistant are placed on the market and to prohibit the placing on the market of novelty lighters". pp. 41–45. OJ L 198, 20.7.2006.
- ^"Stephen Fry's 100 Greatest Gadgets: The list". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 5 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- Media related to Lighter at Wikimedia Commons
- The dictionary definition of lighter at Wiktionary
When you hear the word “lighter,” do you picture a Zippo? Maybe your mind’s eye goes right to a classic BIC. Well, it’s time to broaden your horizons! There are many different lighters out there, and each is more unique that the last.
From semi-automatic to torch to no flame, here’s a full look at every type of lighter on the planet!
Strikers contained a substance known as ferrocerium, which was used to create the spark. Today, you’ll often hear this type of lighter referred to as a flint lighter.
Manual strikers are similar to strikers as they also used ferrocerium. The only difference is this type of lighter required the squeezing of a handle to ignite the fuel.
A lighter manufacturer named Colibri is credited for inventing semi-automatic lighters in 1928. These were commonly used for cigars and are still popular to this day.
The first automatic lighter was created by Ronson Lighters. It was called the Banjo and worked when the handle was pushed down. When you released, the spark would disappear.
You can think of these early models as the fuel that gave the lighters you use today their spark! Modern designs and brands, like BIC and Zippo, would never have been made if it weren’t for these original styles.
The barbeque lighter is new to the lighter game, having first come out in 2002. It’s well-known for the helpful torch at the end, which makes lighting candles and grills a breeze!
A blue flame lighter relies on butane and piezoelectricity in order to work. The latter is a combo of pressure and heat and is the same principle that causes your stove’s burner to light blue.
Butane is a type of fuel that comes from petroleum. Zippos and BICs both use this fuel, but there’s one key difference. A Zippo is designed to be refilled, while a BIC is not.
A capsule lighter, also known as a peanut lighter, is a tiny tool that usually comes with a case and keychain. It’s a useful item to have on hand for hiking, camping, or any trip in the great outdoors.
Sure, you can use a standard butane lighter to smoke a cigar. However, it’s nowhere near as cool as using one that has three torches and is specially designed for your stogies!
Spinning that flint wheel is so old-school! In this digital world, you want an easy-to-press button that will create the flame instead.
Think of Zeus and how his lightning bolts started fires. An electric lighter works the same way, creating a spark via electricity. It’s also chargeable with a USB cord.
You can get portable flint lighters from most stores, but fun fact, they’re also used in Bunsen burners and welding torches!
The floating lighter has a waterproof design and is, as its name suggests, completely buoyant. You can have a pool party and impress all your friends when it floats in the water!
Like most lighters, this style uses butane in order to work. The only difference is the butane interacts with a copper coil, producing the trademark green flame.
Naphtha is a fuel that contains a high amount of chemical energy, It’s the very same fuel that’s used for power stoves, lanterns, and heating units.
How can a lighter have no flame? Easy! It uses a rechargeable electrical current instead. You’ll also hear this style referred to as an electric lighter or windproof lighter.
A novelty lighter is any lighter that’s in an unusual shape. While they’re fun to look at and serve as an easy conversation starter, they’re illegal in some states due to their toy-like appearance.
A vintage lighter is any lighter that came out between 1823 and 1980. Ronson, Zippo, and Colibri were a few of the most popular brands in this time period.
Active people who spend a lot of time outdoors would get the most from a waterproof lighter. It can stay in your pocket for rainy hikes, scuba diving, or extreme jet ski rides.
A windproof lighter, or a no-flame or electric lighter, is specially designed to not blow out. This makes it a great choice on a breezy spring day!
You may have noticed these types aren’t mutually exclusive. For instance, you can have an electric lighter that’s also considered windproof or a vintage lighter that uses butane.
No matter what, it’s worth knowing all your options if you’re looking for a new lighter. You can pick one type for cigars and another for extreme water sports. It’s completely up to you!
What Are the Most Popular Lighter Brands?
BIC and Zippo are the most popular lighters brands, but there are a ton of other names that are well-known and loved.
The full list of popular lighter brands includes:
- Alfred Dunhill
- Black Label
- S.T. Dupont
You might not be very familiar with all of these brands, but that’s okay. It’s worth knowing how each one looks. Here’s a quick overview!
If you’re interested in cigar lighters, S.T. Dupont or Colibri might be the brand for you. Do you just want something affordable? Grab a BIC or Scripto instead!
There is a wide variety of lighters for you to choose from, so think about the type or style you need.
What’s the Difference Between a Refillable and Disposable Lighter?
You have two choices when it comes to lighters: refillable or disposable. A disposable lighter is designed to be used only until the fuel runs out, while the fuel inside of a refillable lighter can be replaced when there’s none left.
A disposable lighter can be used up to the point where a spark is no longer being created. Afterward, it should be disposed of at a hazardous waste collection site so it doesn’t end up in landfills.
A refillable lighter has a valve at the bottom that can be removed and filled with more fuel. You can buy this fuel separately and carefully put it inside the lighter.
Refillable lighters are the more eco-friendly choice, while disposable are the more affordable. Both come in a variety of eye-catching styles that make them fun as gifts, souvenirs, or wedding favors!
How to Refill Lighters
Each refillable lighter works a little differently, but they more or less follow the same steps.
This is how to refill your lighters:
- #1: Remove the valve at the bottom of the lighter.
- #2: Let out any remaining air by putting a thin screwdriver into the valve.
- #3: Insert the stem of the fuel can. This has to be bought separately, and it’s important that you get the right type of fuel.
- #4: Wait 3 to 5 minutes before using your lighter.
Be sure to check the manufacturer’s website for more details on how exactly to fill your lighter up. Every brand is a little different, which means you should do your homework.
No matter what, though, always be extra careful while refilling your lighters*. The last thing you want is to suffer any burns!
*DISCLAIMER: Quality Logo Products® is not responsible for any harm caused while refilling your lighters. If you’re at all unsure of how it’s done, it’s best to speak directly to the manufacturer.
When lighters were first invented, they were designed specifically for cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Today, smoking tobacco is no longer as common, though legal cannabis has steadily been on the rise.
A lighter, particularly a BBQ or torch lighter, comes in handy for your backyard barbeques. It’s the easiest way to fire up the grill and get those burgers going!
Candles are a must for birthdays and relaxing at home during the weekend. A good lighter makes it so much easier to create that flame!
The best celebrations, from the Fourth of July to New Year’s Eve, have fireworks in the sky. These sparklers are lit with a little help from a lighter.
Not everyone knows how to make fire from sticks and stones. A lighter is handy for those bonfires, or at the very least, making sure the lantern stays nice and bright.
Putting on Makeup
You can turn your kohl eyeliner into gel liner simply by holding the tip above a lighter. Wait about five seconds, or until it’s cooled, before applying so you don’t get burned.
Opening a Bottle
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have a bottle opener available, you can use a lighter instead. Simply turn it around and use the bottom to pop off the cap.
Listening to Music
It’s common to hold up a lighter at a concert in support of your favorite band or singer. Make sure yours is ready for the power ballads!
The Bottom Line
The lighter is one of those items you can’t be without. You need it for celebrations, like birthdays and holidays, and everyday activities like cooking and burning candles. Figure out which style is best for you and get to lighting!
Gilani, N. (2017, April 25). What is Butane Fuel? Retrieved from,
Woodford, C. (2019, November 9). Piezoelectricity. Retrieved from,
Buy Lighters Blog. (2011, May 18). What Makes Some Lighters Burn Green? Retrieved from,
Johnson, D. (2018, April 26). Naphtha Uses. Retrieved from,
U.S. Fire Administration. Status of Legislation to Ban or Limit the Sale of Novelty and Toylike Lighters. Retrieved from,
Ranker. The Best Lighter Brands. Retrieved from,
Holt’s Clubhouse. (2019, January 28). How to Refill a Lighter. Retrieved from,
[Photograph of Alfred Dunhill Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
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[Photograph of Calico Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
[Photograph of Coleman Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
[Photograph of Colibri Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
[Photograph of Lotus Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
[Photograph of MK Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
[Photograph of Ronson Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
[Photograph of Scripto Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
[Photograph of S.T. Dupont Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
[Photograph of Xikar Lighter.]. Retrieved from,
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About the author
Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute. More articles by Alyssa Mertes
Pocket lighter butane
The 10 Best Lighters For Everyday Carry in 2021
At its core, everyday carry is deeply personal. That means that what you might carry in your pockets is perhaps vastly different from that which is carried by anyone else. Having said that, there are a few staples that make their way into numerous loadouts — e.g. smartphones, wallets, watches, knives, and more. But those widespread staples are hardly the only options around, nor are they the only useful things you can incorporate into your daily haul.
It might seem a bit anachronistic at this point, with technology all but taking over, to suggest that anyone — save smokers and perhaps survivalists — should carry a lighter. However, that’s exactly what we’re suggesting. Once much more commonplace, lighters haven’t actually lost their utility and can prove remarkably valuable in the right circumstances. Of course, to really find out the value, you’d have to carry one. And that’s why we’ve put together this list of the best lighters for everyday carry.
Why Carry A Lighter?
A Useful EDC Tool
As mentioned, lighters actually offer quite a lot of utility — so long as you actually know how to make use of them as a part of your EDC. It’s with that in mind that we’d like to outline some of the potential uses — both in the day-to-day and as a well-considered backup plan. If you’re interested but not quite sold, the following section might help sway you.
Obviously, the most common use for lighters in this day and age is probably to light up a cigarette — or at least that’s the image that comes to most folk’s minds. Whether your smoke of choice is tobacco or otherwise, keeping a lighter handy will enable you to partake at the drop of a hat. And, if you don’t have one, you’ll potentially struggle to find someone that does, lending credence to the idea that you should always have one.
If you’re familiar with the basic tenets of modern medicine, you know the importance of sterilization. However, there are times when you perhaps don’t have access to, say, alcohol or other sterilizers. But, if you need to sterilize something in a pinch — like a needle to get a nasty splinter out from under your skin — applying a flame can help kill bacteria that could infect you otherwise. It’s perhaps not the best method, but it works when there aren’t other options within your grasp.
Hands-down, a flashlight is something you should have in your everyday carry. However, flashlights rely on batteries and, of course, batteries sometimes die. Should that happen to you when you need light, a lighter can provide some temporary, albeit smaller-scale illumination in a pinch. That goes double if you use it to ignite a torch or lantern — which can offer even more light.
Not everyone lives spitting-distance from a good campsite or a large forested area. But, for those that do, a lighter could be an indispensable survival tool you’ll almost certainly want to keep on you. They can be used to ignite campfires, cook food, sterilize wounds (as mentioned above), and even serve to alert emergency response teams as to your whereabouts. Just make sure, if you’re using a lighter in the great outdoors, that you do so carefully and cautiously. Otherwise, the fire you light could have a devastating, irreversible effect on the surrounding environment.
Zippo Windproof Lighter
The undisputed king of EDC lighters must be the classic flip-top Zippo. These refillable, windproof wonders have been made for decades and are available in just about any color or finish you can imagine. They can even be custom-designed for greater personalization. But, regardless of which one you choose, each and every Zippo is backed by the brand’s steel-clad lifetime warranty. We’re partial to the classics — like this chrome one or even the brass or matte black options — but you can legitimately find them in more options than we could possibly count. Not to mention, they’re all made in Zippo’s plant right here in the USA.
UST TekFire Fuel-Free Lighter
You don’t actually need a flame to create fire — you just need a spark, which can be provided by an electric current. And that’s exactly how the UST TekFire Fuel-Free Lighter works. Rather than relying on butane or other liquid fuels, it has a rechargeable battery — which plugs into any USB port — that creates an electric arc you can use to light anything flammable. As if that’s not enough, it also has an integrated lanyard for easier carrying, grabbing, and attachments. And it boasts a durable rubberized exterior to give it a bit more durability than other, similar EDC lighters. This is one of the few EDC lighters we’d also feel comfortable taking out into the wilderness with us.
Maratac Split Pea Titanium Lighter
If you want to carry an EDC lighter but your primary concern is space and weight, you may be interested in the tried-and-true Maratac Split Pea Titanium Lighter. A tiny version of the brand’s larger, ever-popular Peanut lighter, this version is also made from solid titanium and boasts the same lighter fluid ignition system, but it’s far smaller at just 1.3″ on its longest side and weighing in at only 0.6 ounces. That might make this the ultimate keychain lighter — especially when you consider its o-ring water-resistant construction.
Exotac titanLight Waterproof Lighter
For those unfamiliar, Exotac is responsible for crafting some of the best off-grid lighters and match kits around — they even made waterproof capsules for disposable lighters. However, their titanLight is probably the brand’s best offering from an EDC standpoint. Crafted from CNC-machined aluminum, this refillable lighter is small and light enough to attach to your keychain and uses any kind of common lighter fluid as fuel. It’s also fully waterproof — meaning you could actually submerge it when closed and it will still work afterward — so you never have to worry about exposing it to the elements, whether you’re just wandering the city or you’re climbing a mountain.
DISSIM Inverted Lighter
Traditional lighters are, well, less than ergonomic much of the time. Even worse, many of them only work properly if you hold them upright. the DISSIM Inverted Lighter, however, puts those imposters to shame, as it can be used at any angle and boasts a much more ergonomic design. Its handsome silhouette — including the patent-pending circle grip — and outstanding construction are also backed by a lifetime warranty. Furthermore, it’s refillable, powered by butane, and even has a small viewing window so you can see exactly how much fuel you have inside at any given moment. Of all the lighters on this list, the DISSIM Inverted Lighter might be the most innovative.
Douglass Field-S Lighter
If typically-styled lighters or their disposable counterparts aren’t quite your thing, you might find some interest in the uniqueness of the Douglass Field-S Lighter. This beautiful retro-styled portable torch is precision-crafted from solid brass, boasts a waterproof case (even the ignition can be completely sealed in transit), and (should you neglect to close the ignition) it even still works when slightly wet. At 3″ in height and 2.35 ounces, it takes up about the same amount of space as a more commonplace lighter, but it has a style that far exceeds its counterparts.
MecArmy X7S EDC Lighter Multi-Tool
For some EDC enthusiasts, single-purpose tools just don’t quite cut it. If you’re the type that wants all his or her gear to serve multiple functions, then you may have a keen interest in the MecArmy X7S EDC Lighter Multi-Tool. This clever pen-sized capsule splits into three handy parts: a micro liquid-fueled lighter, a 10180 battery-sized storage capsule, and a 130-lumen flashlight that’s good for six hours of straight operation. Better still, it’s precision-machined and, when closed up, IPX8 waterproof — meaning it can survive full submersion. And, as a cherry on top of the cake, it comes with a pocket clip for easy and secure carry.
Silver Piston Buffalo Nickel Zippo Lighter
There’s no denying that the Zippo Windproof Lighter is the single most iconic lighter in the world. And while it’s available in just about any color or finish you can imagine, there are craftsmen out there — like those at Silver Piston — who are proving that it can be even better. In this case, that can be found in two specific features: the unique oxidized finish (which is different for each lighter) and the soldered-on carved buffalo nickel — giving this particular version of the Zippo lighter even greater character and beauty without sacrificing any of the superb functionality that makes a Zippo worth carrying.
Porsche Design P´3639 Lighter
Straight from the wing of Porsche that makes, well, seemingly everything except cars, the Porsche Design P´3639 Lighter is just further proof of this firm’s exceptional design prowess at work. Categorized as a storm lighter — meaning it’s windproof and more like a torch than a traditional lighter — this fluid-fueled jet flame-producing piece of EDC is sleek and minimalist in its external design in a way that too few lighters are. On top of its metal body, it’s also wrapped with synthetic fabric for better grip and, inside, has a modern quartz mechanism with piezo ignition for a quick and powerful flame with just the push of a button. Just keep in mind that this particular kind of lighter is definitely not travel-friendly and the TSA will confiscate it if you try to fly with it.
S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 Cohiba Lighter
S.T. Dupont is the beginning and the end of the luxury lighter space — and they offer a tremendous number of ultra-high-end portable torches that are exceptional. However, we’re particularly drawn to the Ligne 2 dual-flame collaboration they did with Cohiba. In part, that’s due to the fact that it’s clearly beautiful, gold-plated, and done-up with Cohiba’s iconic branding. But it’s also the resulting implication of the partnership, which is that this is an offering that’s perfect for those who love partaking in the time-honored tradition of smoking cigars. Yes, it’s by far the most expensive offering on our list, but there’s definitely a market for such an ultra-luxe offering. If you’re wondering how that’s possible, you’re probably not a part of the target audience.
The 12 Best Survival Lighters
Should you be interested in venturing into more uncharted territory, a standard EDC torch might not suit your needs. But that’s fine because you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for on our list of the best survival lighters.
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I reached the designated five-story building (Lenproekt) and stopped. Hamlet's question: "To be or not to be?" I thought a little more and decided: we will, be ". Then I took a deep breath and entered the entrance. Yes, this place is rather unpleasant.
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