When you think of a lighter, what's the first thing that comes to mind? More often than not, we see those plastic disposable lighters everywhere. But there are actually a ton of different types of lighters available. Some of them are disposable, and some of them are reusable. Knowing the key differences can help you decide which is best for you. Let's dive in!
What Makes One Lighter Different than Another?
Lighters differ in many ways, from size to shape to the ignition system. But the difference that counts the most is whether it's reusable or disposable. Plastic waste is a major problem for our natural world. Unfortunately, disposable lighters are a major contributor to plastic waste, and one way to combat that is always opting for reusable lighters instead.
There are other factors at play when selecting a lighter. For instance, what you'll be using it for, how often you plan to use it, and other factors like safety and convenience. Let's take a closer look to understand better what's out there.
What Are the Different Types of Lighters?
When choosing a lighter, you'll be spoiled for choice. This section introduces you to the different lighters types and their unique benefits. We'll also highlight some downsides, which should help narrow things down.
Disposable lighters are usually made of plastic. And, like most lighters, they contain gas, but when the gas runs out, that's it. It's time to throw it out and get a new one. Disposable lighters should be avoided to reduce plastic waste. Choosing a refillable lighter over a disposable lighter will also save you money in the long run.
When the gas runs out, you can simply refill it with a refillable lighter. Some refillable lighters have a non-pressurized reservoir that you fill but with lighter liquid fluid. Others have a pressurized chamber, which you refill with butane fuel through a specialized valve, usually located on the bottom of the lighter.
Depending on the ignition system and the build quality, you should be able to use a refillable lighter for as long as you like. Whatever types of lighters you may prefer, it's always best to opt for a refillable lighter. That way, your favorite lighter could last you a lifetime.
Plastic Spark Wheel Lighters
Plastic spark wheel lighters are extremely popular but need to be created equal. As the name suggests, they feature a spark wheel part of a flint ignition system. The metal wheel on these lighters is positioned above a plastic lever, releasing the gas when you strike the wheel, your thumb lands on the lever just after the flint wheel creates a spark, which ignites the gas.
This system is safe to use, hence its popularity. However, some lighters are created using cheap materials, making them less secure. Their cheap plastic pressurized containers are sometimes at risk of exploding. They're also known to fall apart.
Clipper Pocket Lighters
Plastic spark wheel lighters can be divided into two groups. Disposable and refillable. Clipper Pocket Lighters are considered refillable plastic spark wheel lighters. We use high-grade Nylon to make our lighters. It's one of the strongest plastic-based materials in the world and withstands abrasion, heat, and most chemicals.
34% of each Clipper lighter is made from recycled materials, and the fact they're refillable means you can use them as much as you like. They also feature a removable flint housing, which allows you to replace the flint when it wears down.
Check out our reusability guide for more info.
Piezo Spark Ignition Lighters
These types of lighters are also called electric lighters. Instead of a flint ignition system, it uses an electric charge generated by a tiny hammer striking a fragment of PZT crystal (quartz). This type of system is widespread in grills and portable camping stoves. Refillable piezo spark ignition lighters are perfect if you feel the flint wheel isn't for you. Simply push a button on a piezo lighter, and voila, fire.
Clipper Jet Flame
The Clipper Electronic Jet Flame lighter features a piezo spark mechanism, which makes them super easy to use. As with all our lighters, our Jet Flame is refillable. In addition, the flame is adjustable and wind resistant, which makes it great for outdoor use. These lighters are also available in various colors and finishes like Soft Touch, Dark Nebula, and printed.
Butane Torch Lighters
Butane torch lighters are similar to spark wheel lighters in using butane fuel. However, the flame sets them apart, which is more like a blow torch than a flame. Its unique delivery system propels a highly intense flame when a button is pressed. In addition, the flame is controlled and very precise. The downside of butane torch lighters is they run out of gas quicker than regular lighters.
Electric Coil Lighters
These flameless lighters don't use any gas or flint. Instead, they feature a coil that heats up red hot and ignites various materials. The downside to electric coiler lighters is they run on battery. So, if you're heading into the backcountry for an extended period, this is only the ideal lighter to bring along if you also plan to carry a power bank.
BIC lighters are extremely popular and disposable, which is a major contributor to the global plastic waste problem. While a BIC lighter is well-built and safe, once the gas runs out, all you can do is throw it out and get a new one.
A capsule lighter is a rudimentary fire starter often used in emergencies. They have a fuel compartment, a wick, and flint. The compartment is filled with lighter fluid, and the wick ignites when the flint is struck.
Electric Arc Lighters (Plasma Lighters)
Plasma lighters are flameless light with a blue electric arc, which can start a fire or light a candle. They're an alternative to butane lighters, but they require batteries. So, you can only use it if it has battery life. If it runs out, you're stuck.
Windproof lighters are perfect for the outdoors. They usually feature an intense flame that can stay lit in windy conditions. Unfortunately, while flameless lighters like the electric coil and plasma arc lighter may be windproof, they must be recharged and eventually thrown away.
Jet lighters like the Clipper Jet Flame are wind resistant due to their intense flame. They're also refillable, so you can use the lighter as often as you like. These lighters are great for using outdoors, whether you're lighting a campfire or a grill.
A permanent match is a cross between a match and a lighter. It consists of a container and a reusable match-like instrument. The "match" has a wick that soaks up the fuel. It ignites when struck and can burn for a few minutes if needed.
Zippo lighters are made from metal and have a fuel compartment that contains fuel-soaked cotton wool and a wick that leads toward a metal wheel. When struck, the Zippo ignites. It will continue to burn until the fuel runs out. To extinguish the flame, simply close the lid. Unfortunately, while Zippo lighters may look cool, they're prone to fuel evaporation.
Candle Lighters (BBQ Lighters)
Candle lighters or BBQ lighters have an extended barrel, offering an added safety level. They are sometimes referred to as utility lighters and are great for lighting candles, campfires, or grills.
Clipper Utility Lighters
Clipper has a range of utility lighters. The Clipper Wave is available with either a classic or flexible barrel. Both have a large gas capacity and a visible fuel tank and are refillable. They also have an ergonomic design, a trigger ignition system, and a lock for added safety. We also have a wind-resistant version, which is ideal for outdoor use.
Mini Tube and Tube Plus
Clipper Mini Tube and Tube Plus lighters are smaller than our Wave lighters. These lighters are the same size as our pocket lighters but feature an extended barrel for extra safety. They also have an adjustable flame.
The best cigar lighter is a soft flame butane lighter. Cigar lighters provide a consistent flame and a wider surface area than traditional lighters. These lighters also offer the perfect amount of heat and are usually refillable.
How to Reuse Clipper Lighters
Refilling a Clipper is simple. When the gas has run out, turn your Clipper upside down and insert the Clipper gas canister nozzle into the valve. Hold it there for 5 seconds and release it. Your Clipper lighter is ready to light.
Pull on the metal wheel to release the flint housing and unscrew the cap if the flint wears out. Next, remove the spring, insert your fresh flint, and replace the cap. You're all set.
Whether you're lighting candles, campfires, or grills, you need a reliable lighter. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to decide which one is best, from electric coil lighters, jet lighters, candle lighters, and plastic flint wheel lighters. An electric or plasma coil lighter is a good idea, but it must be recharged when it runs out of battery life.
The most important factor when settling on a lighter is whether it's refillable. Disposable lighters like the classic BIC constitute a significant contributor to plastic waste. If you're looking for durable lighters that can be refilled repeatedly, Clipper is a great choice.