Quick — what’s the one thing you need for cooking, a socially distanced road trip, recreation, or home improvement? If you said a lighter, you’re correct! A lighter offers so much flexibility. It’s must-have gear for your next road trip and a useful tool to carry in your car. It can also help you around the house with tasks like lighting the candles on your partner’s birthday cake. Let’s look to upgrade from those cheap, multi-colored gas station lighters that you may have stashed away in a junk drawer. Those work in a pinch, but ultimately are disposable. The lighters in this post are durable and able to work in a variety of conditions. It’s unlikely that they’ll fail you if take care of them, and some even offer great design. Let’s find the right one for your needs with our list of the best lighters.
Best Overall: Zippo Brass Lighter
Durable and refillable, this beautifully designed lighter hark back to the glory days of old Hollywood. Introduced in 1932 and popularized by GIs in World War 2, this is a design that has been well-proven over time. This everyday lighter offers windproof lighting with that distinctive Zippo click to let you know it’s working. Snap the top back on to extinguish the flame safely.
Best Fuel Free Choice: Q&G Dual Arc Rechargeable Lighter
When you’re starting to build a fire or even making use of your wood-burning fireplace or grill, sometimes you don’t need a flame to get things started. Most of the time, you just need a spark. This fuel-free choice uses a plasma arc as the “spark.” Recharge the lithium-ion battery using the included USB charger. The housing is waterproof, windproof, and impact resistant. Plus, it lights even at high altitudes without having to make adjustments.
Best for Cigars: PROMISE Jet Torch Lighter
Lighting cigars sometimes requires a stronger flame than your standard cheap lighter. This torch features a refillable butane tank with an intense single flame designed to light cigars cleanly, evenly, and quickly. The one-button ignition is easy to operate. This is a pressurized design, so it’ll light in multiple orientations for flexibility.
Most Dependable: Zippo Windproof Lighter
With a slim silhouette and durable steel housing, Zippo’s windproof lighter is good to have when conditions get tough. It’ll spark no matter the conditions, making it great for camping or outdoor activities. Zippo’s lighter fluid provides a smooth, reliable flame. Replace the wick and occasionally the sparking wheel to keep the lighter in top shape for a lifetime.
Best Splurge: S.T. Dupont Minijet Chrome Grey Torch Flame Lighter
Sleek and well-designed, this torch-style lighter fits easily into a jeans pocket. Click the sidebar ignition switch, and you’ll get a uniform flame in all orientations, even upside down. The company even offers leather cases as additional accessories to protect your investment. It works in any weather condition, even when it’s wet or windy. The strong flame makes it easy to ignite thicker or denser materials such as cigars.
Best Candle Lighter: HiFan Rechargeable Lighter
This long stem lighter easily reaches into candles or grills, providing a safe way to light a flame. The electric arc start doesn’t need fuel or butane, using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power. You can bend the neck to reach in any direction, and it will light even upside down. A childproof switch on the end makes it safer for families.
Best Torch: Soto Pocket Torch
This convertible standard lighter features a converter that turns your refillable lighter into a torch lighter with a trigger igniter. The converter may fit some other lighter types (not disposable), and the resin housing is meant to last a long time. It’s wind-resistant as well, so you can use it in a variety of conditions.
Best Mini: Limei Mini Thumb Lighter and Knife Set
This is quite a conversation piece! The miniature lighter features a steel and copper-plated housing with a wick. It uses kerosene as fuel, which you’ll need to purchase separately. The mini lighter and the knife fit into a keychain for portable use. It’s best for indoor use, but can be used outdoors in a pinch, even in windy conditions.
Best Permanent Match: SURVIVE Permanent Match
The permanent match method uses a fuel-soaked “match” which is struck against the outside of the case, causing a spark and ignition. The match never burns out, though you’d need to be sure to top off the fuel every so often. A keychain attachment allows you to keep your permanent match near you all the time. It’s waterproof and windproof, lighting in a variety of conditions, and will last at least 15,000 strikes. The two-pack here means you can have one in your car and one in your bag.
Best Heavy Duty Choice: lcfun Waterproof Lighter
This IP56 rated waterproof lighter features a durable housing and a reliable spark. The windproof flameless lighting action can start a fire just about anywhere, and the housing can withstand impacts, weather, and all kinds of abuse. The lid is leakproof, helping to keep this lighter in operational condition when you need it. Also, it comes with a keychain fob so you can attach it to your belt loop or to your gear.
How to Choose a Lighter
There are a few different things you need to keep in mind when choosing your lighter. These are a long way from your cheap gas-station disposable lighters with some having highly robust flames, windproof capability, and some even have waterproof housings.
What type of flame?
Soft flame styles (think: plastic gas-station lighters) are traditional and all-purpose, but they’ll only frustrate you when trying to light a cigar or dense material. Torch-style lighters have enough oomph to get your cigars lit beautifully, though.
What type of fuel?
Butane is a high-powered fuel, but kerosene is more traditional. Flameless options are rechargeable, but that can be a problem out in the wild with no power source.
How durable does it need to be?
A household candle lighter is much different than an “everyday carry” lighter for your bug-out bag. Your lighter’s housing needs to be a durable, waterproof material for the latter, while a soft flame in a pretty casing is perfect for the former. Consider how waterproof and windproof your lighter will need to be, then decide from there.
What are the different types of lighters?
A standard lighter (think: plastic gas-station lighter) is what we typically picture when we think of a “lighter.” Torch-style options will light heavy-duty or difficult materials more easily, as they produce a hotter flame. A candle lighter offers a long, often adjustable neck, while permanent matches create flame using a striking motion.
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