Types of Lighters - The Ultimate Guide

Types of Lighters - The Ultimate Guide

Take a peek into any junk drawer, and you're almost guaranteed to find a lighter. Lighters are everywhere, and they come in a range of different shapes, sizes, and designs. With all the different types of lighters available, you may be wondering which lighter is best for you.

There are many factors to consider before settling on a lighter. You may need something durable that will withstand the rigors of use. You may be looking for something extra safe with a large gas capacity. Whatever the case, gaining some knowledge can help you make the right choice. On that note, let's take a deep dive into the world of lighters.

Photo by Elena Rabkina on Unsplash

Different Types of Lighters

Not all lighters are created equal. Some are built for ease of use, others are made for the outdoors, while some are purpose-built for backyard cookouts. 

Refillable Lighters

Most lighters use fuel. A refillable lighter is a lighter that can be refilled when the fuel is finished, which makes it reusable. If you're concerned about the environment, a refillable lighter is your best bet, as a reusable lighter means less waste. Refillable lighters come in various designs, from plastic lighters with flint wheels to ones with electronic ignition.

If the ignition system on your lighter is replaceable, then your lighter could last indefinitely. With the rising tide of plastic pollution, disposable lighters should be at the bottom of your list. Choosing a refillable lighter with a replaceable ignition system will ultimately save you money while helping the environment.

Torch Lighters (Jet Lighters)

Torch lighters, sometimes called jet lighters, are a bit more high tech. The fuel is contained under higher pressure than that of regular lighters. This result is a fast-burning flame, similar to a blow torch. They are generally considered windproof lighters because of the force at which the fuel exits and burns.

Most torch lighters will use more fuel than conventional lighters because of the speed at which the fuel burns, but if used sparingly, a torch lighter can last long. Couple a torch lighter with reusability features, and you have a wind resistant lighter to last indefinitely.

Torch lighters are great for someone who loves outdoor activities such as grilling, hiking, or fishing.

Butane Lighters

Butane lighter fluid is the most common fuel type used in lighters. Butane fuel is essentially liquid petroleum gas. Clipper lighters contain isobutane. It's a more refined form of butane. It burns cleaner (less polluting) and provides a steady flame.

You'll find isobutane in our entire range of Clipper lighters. From our Pocket lighters to our Jet Flame and Utility lighters. If you're wondering which fuel to look for in a lighter, isobutane is smart.

Electric Lighters

When it comes to sparking ignition lighters, you have a few options. The most popular lighter brands offer flint wheels and electric spark ignition systems. While flint is ultra-reliable, electric spark lighters are much easier to use. Most flint wheel lighters require two actions. A spin of a wheel and a press of a button. Better still, electric spark lighters don't need flint replacements.

Most electric lighters rely on a piezoelectric spark ignition system. A tiny crystal is contained in a button system along with a striking mechanism. When the crystal is struck, it creates an electrostatic charge which creates a spark. Piezoelectric lighters can last up to ten years if the lighter is refillable.

Permanent Match Lighters

A permanent match lighter (permanent matches) is what you get when you cross a lighter with a match. A steel rod is contained in the fuel compartment of the lighter, and inside the rod is a wick that ignites when the rod is removed and struck against the outside compartment.

Although permanent match lighters aren’t that popular, they’re definitely unique and reliable.

Photo by Thomas Despeyroux on Unsplash

Zippo Lighters

While the term Zippo usually refers to the brand, it is often used to describe any metal clam shell style lighter. These traditional lighters don't feature a pressurized chamber like you'll find on regular lighters. Instead, the chamber contains cotton swabs soaked in butane.

Zippo lighters do away with the pressure system for a rudimentary wick system. Zippo-type lighters require maintenance like wick trimming and cleaning and are often prone to fuel evaporation.

Plasma Lighters

Plasma lighters, sometimes called arc lighters, are a type of flameless lighter. They rely on a high voltage to create an arc of electricity capable of starting a fire. This makes for a windproof lighter.

While they don't require gas or flint, they aren't the most practical, especially if you use your lighter often. An electric arc lighter has limited battery life and requires frequent recharging unless used sparingly.

While they may not be the most popular lighters, a plasma arc lighter is a great collector's item or conversation starter.

Electric Coil Lighters

The electric coil lighter is yet another flameless lighter. There is no fuel inside. There isn't even a fuel chamber! Surprise, surprise, electric coil lighters don't need flint either. These types of lighters don't make a spark; Instead, they feature a coil that heats up red hot. An electric coil lighter is powered by a lithium-ion battery and requires recharging. 

Why Choose Clipper Lighters?

Now that we've covered the different types of lighters, you may be asking yourself, "which lighter should I choose?" We think the answer to that question is Clipper. Why? We've spent decades perfecting our lighter designs and optimizing them for safety, durability, and reusability. Let's take a closer look.


Reusability is at the core of our design philosophy. With the rising tide of plastic waste, making small changes to our habits (such as doing away with disposable lighters) can make a big difference. A refillable lighter can be used indefinitely, meaning less plastic waste and a cleaner environment.

How does it work?

Refilling a Clipper is easy and can be done in just 5 seconds. Our innovative, dynamic flint ignition system makes it a cinch to replace flints. Check out our reusability guide to learn more.

Forget disposable lighters

Need gas? We've got you covered. Need flint? We got that too. With Clipper, you can keep your bonfires blazing and the grill searing for years with a single lighter.

Not only are Clipper lighters 100% reusable, but they're made from 34% recycled materials.


The sturdiness of a Clipper begins with its shape and design. A lighter is essentially a tiny pressurized tank you keep in your pocket. Engineers design pressurized tanks as cylinders, and for good reason. It distributes the gas evenly, which prevents structural failures like cracking. 


We use only high-quality materials for our lighters. Nylon polyamide 66 is used in the construction of our plastic lighters. This is one of the strongest types of plastics.

Durability and safety

Our lighters offer great heat resistance and chemical resistance while also standing up well to abrasion. When choosing a lighter, sturdiness means reliability, durability, and safety.


Clipper uses specialized gas stored at low pressure. This makes the lighter far less likely to crack. Fuel evaporation can be dangerous. Our lighters do not leak or allow gas to evaporate due to their robust and leak-proof construction.

Spark Wheel

Every aspect of the Clipper design is focused on ease of use and safety. The rigid spark wheel on Clipper lighters makes it difficult for a child to ignite the lighter accidentally.


The type of fuel we use in our lighters (isobutane) makes for a reliable and steady flame. It burns clean and is less likely to spark and sputter like other lighters.

Clipper Lighter Range:

Now that you're familiar with the features of Clipper lighters, you might wonder, "which one do I choose?" This section will introduce you to the most popular lighters in the Clipper lineup. Each type of lighter in the Clipper family offers something unique that will fit into your lifestyle. 

Pocket Lighters

Clipper Pocket Lighters are our most popular lighters, and there’s good reason for this. Its classic design is practical and versatile. These lighters can fit just about anywhere. Slip one into your jeans pocket or handbag, or toss it into your toolbox. 

However you choose to use a Clipper Pocket Lighter, it's always ready, and they come in a range of sizes and a plethora of finishes. 


Our Classic Large Clipper is the largest of our pocket lighters. A larger body means a larger fuel capacity. It measures 7.4cm tall and 1.6cm wide. This lighter is perfect for someone who needs a large fuel compartment – for example, someone who wants to hike in the backcountry and wants to avoid taking along a gas canister for refilling. If so, this is the lighter for you.


Our Classic Medium Clipper is our mid-size offering. This will suit you well if you find our classic large Clipper too big and our micro too small. It measures 7.1cm high and 1.4cm wide. As is the case with our Classic Large Clipper, our Classic Medium is easily refillable, and you can replace the flint. Grab your favorite color from our luminescent Solid Fluo color range.


Our Classic Pocket Lighter is the perfect size for someone on the go. It fits perfectly into any hand and offers a smooth action (much like all our lighters). The size sits between our Classic Medium and our Classic Micro. Its dimensions are 6.3cm tall and 1.6cm wide. Whether you have small hands or want a compact lighter, our Classic Pocket Clipper lighter will do perfectly.

It comes in a wide variety of colors and finishes. Choose between Solid, Soft Touch, Crystal, Translucent, Metallic, and Printed.


Our Classic Micro is our most petite offering. While it measures the same height as our Classic Pocket lighter, it is only 1,4cm wide. It doesn't boast the largest fuel compartment, but the dimensions make for a discrete everyday carry. As with all our lighters, our Classic Micro is 100% reusable. Refill the gas in less than 5 seconds and replace the flint quickly.

Choose from a wide range of finishings. Choose your favorite from our Solid, Soft Touch, and Metallic finishes, or collect them all. If you're looking for a small, low-key lighter that will last, this is the one for you.

Electronic Jet Flame

The Clipper Electronic Jet Flame lighter is our answer to the electric lighter. Because it's a piezo lighter, replacing the flint is unnecessary. Better still, it's a refillable lighter. With the word "Jet" in the name, you're probably wondering if it has a strong flame. Yes, it does!

It boasts an ultra-hot blue flame that's ready for anything. From lighting candle wicks to lighting a campfire in windy conditions. On top of that, it has an adjustable flame. Turn it down to conserve gas, or crank it to get that blue flame burning big.

This electric lighter is the same size as our Classic Pocket lighter. It's great for outdoor use because of its high level of wind resistance. If you're looking for a flightless lighter with a jet flame, then the Electronic Jet Flame Lighter is perfect.

Utility Lighters

Clipper utility lighters are perfect for everything. From lighting candles to lighting grills. It offers a high level of safety due to its extended barrel design.

The Wave Lighter

Get the Clipper Utility Wave Lighter with a fixed barrel or a flexible tube. The flexible tube makes it easy to adjust the direction of the flame. We even have a windproof lighter in the Clipper Wave design, perfect for the outdoors.

Clipper Wave Lighter features an ergonomic handle and a forefinger trigger system for added comfort. If you're looking for a large fuel capacity, the Wave offers the biggest. Better still, it features a lock to prevent accidental ignition.

Minitube Lighter

If you feel the Clipper Wave range is too big for your needs. Check out our Clipper Minitube lighter. It's less than half the size of the Clipper Wave and features electric ignition, an extended tube barrel, and an adjustable flame.


Many different types of lighters are available on the market, making it difficult to decide which one is the right one for you. You may feel overwhelmed with everything from the permanent match to Zippo and Electric lighters.

The important thing to remember is to avoid buying a disposable lighter. Disposable lighters contribute to plastic waste. Instead, always opt for a reusable lighter.

Moreover, a Zippo lighter may seem cool, but it needs to be more practical and prone to fuel evaporation. Further still, battery-operated lighters like coil lighters need regular recharging and should be avoided if you want a low-maintenance lighter.

On the other hand, Clipper has been designing and perfecting its range of lighters for over 5 decades. Our dedication to reusability, durability, and safety makes us the world's most popular lighter brands. Check out our full range to find the best lighter for you.

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