From cooking food to lighting cigarettes and campfires, fire is without a doubt an important part of our day to day lives.
And the most convenient way for us to easily wield fire is through a handy butane lighter.
You don't have to be a smoker to carry a lighter with you wherever you go.
Butane lighters are compact, reliable, and make a fine addition to your side pocket treasure trove.
Whether you are a smoker or just someone who appreciates the beauty of these modern day torches, here's a quick and comprehensive guide that will walk you through the best butane lighters you can buy:
My Top Butane Lighter Picks!
Don't have much time? Checkout my top picks.
Wanna learn more? Keep on reading.
What is a Butane Lighter?
The Butane lighter is the most commonly used and most preferred type of lighter nowadays.
It replaced the "flint lighter", which had a couple of disadvantages such as its odor and the need to replace its flint from time to time.
The butane lighter is being used today in almost all of our indoor and outdoor activities that involve fire.
This special type of lighter works by releasing pressurized liquid butane through a narrow enclosure. Then, it is ignited by a single spark through compressed piezoelectric crystal.
Did you know...?
"Zippo" was derived from zipper because its inventor George G. Blaisdell liked how the latter word sounds.
The history of Zippo began when Blaisdell saw a friend use an Austrian made lighter which looked kind of awkward and at the same time interesting. With his ingenuity, Blaisdell made some significant improvements of the said products from the lighter's chimney and down to its fuel chamber. And Zippo lighters were born in 1933.
But it was rather bad timing for Blaisdell because it was still the time of the great depression when he started distributing his lighters in the United States.
The economic downturn took a great toll in his company which led him to the edge of bankruptcy.
Then, when WWII began, the military comprised most of Blaisdell's consumers.
Soldiers on the field counted on the lighter's reliability even under extreme weather conditions. Since then, Zippo became one of the most popular brands of lighters in the United States.
Today, the company is said to produce around 50,000 lighters a day.
Have a Zippo or want one? Learn how to maintain your Zippo lighter by watching this video:
What You Need to Know About Butane
Butane has become the most preferred type of fuel for lighters nowadays. It is also used as fuel for various heating and cooking appliances at home.
They can be sold in bottles and often used as fuel for portable ovens which make them the ideal choice of fuel for camping activities.
Heating aside, butane is also used as an alternative to halometanes, which are used as refrigerants.
Butane is considered as an eco-friendly fuel. It's only known by-product is carbon dioxide instead of the harmful carbon monoxide which is commonly emitted by other types of fuel.
But be careful. Butane is also known to be a hazard to human health. When inhaled, butane causes cardiac arrhythmia and narcosis.
There are various types of butane fuel. If you are buying a lighter, choose one that works as a jet torch or flameless lighter.
This kind of lighters use the cleaner and more efficient types of butane fuel that can help you save from refilling needs in the long run.
When refilling your lighter with butane fuel, it is best to bleed the device out first. This means that you should first dispose of the air and the old butane fuel inside your lighter's fuel chamber.
This helps make sure that there is proper ratio of air and new butane fuel in your lighter before you are able to use it again.
You can only expect lesser light if more air is present in the chamber.
Lighter Style vs Fuel Efficiency
Admit it, you want a lighter not just because you don't want to run out of flame especially at times when you need it most.
You are looking for "THE" lighter that will make you look awesome every time you light something up.
Modern day butane lighters have redefined the word fancy. Instead of focusing on the lighter's hardware to rev up the device's style and appeal, manufacturers turned their attention on the number of flames.
Multi-torch lighters can muster up to five flames at once, but these hybrid lighters also come with a greater price.
On the other hand, you may want to opt for single torch lighters if you put more weight on the device's fuel efficiency.
Multi-torch lighters are fancy and all, but are rather expensive in the long run because they use a lot of fuel.
How to Choose the Best Butane Lighter
As mentioned earlier, you don't have to be a smoker just to have a lighter in your pocket.
Apart from smoking, we use flames in a lot of things that we do from day to day and keeping a reliable lighter in hand can significantly ease out the whole endeavor.
But with tons of good choices in the market today, landing a nice lighter with quality and functionality that you can count on all the time can be a pretty tough task.
So here are some important factors to consider when looking for a butane lighter:
- Butane is good except...... Butane is the most preferred fuel source of today's lighters. However, it doesn't mean that it is the most ideal in all situations. Compared to other types of fuel sources, butane gives off hotter flame which is excellent in lighting cigars. But if you prefer smoking pipes, it would be wise to steer away from butane.
- Disposable vs Refillable - Choosing between disposable and refillable lighters depends on how often you plan to use your lighter. If you're not really a heavy smoker and just prefer having a lighter in your pocket that you can count on when matches aren't around, going for a disposable would be a reasonable decision. But if you see yourself constantly lighting something everyday, the refillable type is your long term economical choice.
- Windproof. Wind has always been the arch nemesis of lighters. There you are, aching to light a stick. You pull out your lighter from your pocket and positioned it right next to the tip of the cigar. You pressed the ignition pad and out came the clean blue flame. You moved it closer towards your cigar and all of the sudden.....Pfff! A sudden gush of wind put out the flame. Special types of modern day lighters are designed to be windproof and deliver consistent flame no matter how violently breezy your surroundings get.
If it is your first time to buy a butane lighter, it is also a good idea to do a little bit of research.
Come up with a short list of your top choices and do a little homework on them.
Determine each lighter's pros and cons and then you weigh them out against your preferences and reasons of use.
Now that I've covered some of the basics, let's get into some of my favorite products.
If you love cigar, then this could be the ideal butane lighter for you. Not only that it delivers a fancy triple jet flame torch, it also works as your handy cigar punch at the same time.
You can also count on its strong flame power even when you're facing mother nature's tough gusts.
It's compact and lightweight in design but packs awesome flame power. It's a lavish triple flame torch so that you can light up in style even when you are challenged with the strongest of winds.
It comes with a clear see through tank so you know when it's time for a refill.
If you're looking for a better deal out of butane lighters, then this could be it. The package comes with four colorful 4-inch side flame gun lighters.
They're all refillable lighters so one is enough for a lifetime of use and the rest are good as gifts to some close lads.
Here's another side flame gun torch that might make a fine addition to your arsenal of lighters. Its design makes it ideal for various purposes other than lighting cigars and pipes.
The lighter is a refillable type and comes in four color options.
This last entry is perfect for those who don't want to lose their good ol' lighters but could really use a fancy upgrade.
This lighter insert by Blazer is designed to fit most standard sized flip top lighter cases. Step up the game with your old but loyal lighter case and hop into the bandwagon of multi-flame lighters with this lighter insert.
The Final Word
There's practically tons of different butane lighters out there and I'd be fool to say that it's easy to find a device that you can truly count on.
If you still haven't made up your mind with the above given choices, my strongest recommendation would be the GStar TorchZilla Series.
It's a gun lighter but compact in design. It delivers clean blue flame that you can unleash for different purposes. Lastly, it's both waterproof and wind-proof.
Written by Robert Ordway
Raised in the small mill town of Lake Station, Indiana, Robert’s blue collar upbringing exposed him to little if any of the clothing industry. Robert has been following the menswear industry for over a decade and has been significantly influenced by the book, Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser. From 2009-2012, he worked in retail sales at both Brooks Brothers and JCrew. In 2015, Robert received the Custom Clothier certification from the Custom Tailor and Designers Association (CTDA), the oldest continuously operating trade organization in the United States. He is the former owner of Rusted Oak, a men’s retail clothing store in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Today, Robert's mission is to teach men of all shapes and sizes about grooming care, general life style tips, and of course male fashion stemming from his deep career in the fashion industry.