The Five Best Cigar Lighters
So, you’ve taken a liking to the wonderful world of fine cigars. Initially, the aromas, relaxation, and fellowship pulled you in so you bought a few sticks. Of course, your collection quickly grew and now you find yourself in a full-on hobby, a tasty hobby, I might add. One thing you might not have anticipated from all this stogie madness is all the little things that go along with cigar smoking: the humidor, cutter, and lighter, just to name a few. And while there are just too many aspects of the cigar world to consider for this article, I thought I might give a few pointers in the way of the all-important cigar lighter, possibly the most important cigar accessory you can own (tied with the humidor of course).
First of all, there are many ways to light a cigar, some better than others, and some you simply shouldn’t try (trust me, I’ve lit my stogies in ways I care not to mention). Now I’m sure you’ve heard this already, but I’m going to mention it anyways – throw out that Bic lighter! Cigars deserve more respect than that, they have special needs… Kerosene and other oil-based lighters (Zippos) should not be used for cigars as it taints the flavor of the cigar. Matches can be used to light up, but avoid sulfur tips (strike anywhere) as they too will have a foul taste. Another downside to matches is you’ll end up using half the box if you’re going to get a proper light. Some will light cedar sticks called “cedar spills” and use these to light the cigar, but most choose a butane torch lighter; clean-burning, easy to carry, and affordable for the most part… this is what you want.
What to look for
When making that vital decision of what lighter to purchase, you’ll notice right away there’s a lot of options out there! From the widely varying prices, to size, brand, and more, there are generally five factors I watch for.
You’re going to be using this thing a lot (I hope), make sure it’s something that catches your eye. It should also be easy to fit in your pocket, so don’t get some ridiculous dragon-shaped torch…
Ease of Use:
Again, you will be using this often, a good lighter should be simple to fill, open, and light. Look for lighters that open and light simultaneously if you really want to avoid a hassle.
This is entirely up to the individual; one flame will take longer to get the cigar started but works great for those fine touchups. Three flames will get you up and running with no questions asked. Like you might expect, two flames are kind of like the best of both worlds! (in my opinion)
Something you might not think to look for, a small fuel size can get rather annoying rather quick. A good lighter should be able to handle a table of cigar smokers no problem. On the other hand, a lighter can get fairly bulky with a large fuel tank, try to find a good balance.
This is the most important factor for a good lighter. What’s the point in a lighter that doesn’t light?! The best lighters light every time, no exceptions. And while the top-of-the-line lighters are generally the most reliable (naturally), a dependable lighter can be found at a decent price, you just need to know where to look. Consequently, a “cheapy” lighter is almost guaranteed to be unreliable, avoid those “great deal” $5 lighters if you want something that will work when it should.
So what lighters are out there? What brands can we trust to deliver on all or most of these aforementioned traits? While I haven’t tried ’em all (who has?), I’ve been around long enough to get a good feel of which lighters are the “real deal” and which ones just… blow. In my opinion, these are some of the best cigar lighters out there for your hard-earned cash.
#5. Blazer Optimus
This is an interesting and unusual lighter in that there is actually a guillotine cigar cutter built in! On the front of the Blazer Optimus is a magnetically held cutter that simply slides off and on. The blazer also has a nice lighting mechanism as the cover doubles as the striking button. On the downside, the Optimus is a little bit bulky in size and doesn’t feel as solid as others on this list, losing the guillotine cutter can also be an issue which compromises the look and feel, be careful to keep this lighter in one piece.
#4. Colibri Evoke
The Colibri Evoke is a single flame torch lighter made with style and class in mind. The Evoke is a slim, metallic lighter that will fit into any pocket with ease. It has a flip-top that feels very solid and smooth, this also reflects the lighter’s higher $55 price range. There is a viewing window on the side to gauge your butane and a punch cutter that opens from the bottom. This is a very solid and reliable lighter with features (and price) that may not be appreciated by the beginner.
#3. Xikar Tech
This is your traveling lighter: durable, easy to operate, and one huge butane reservoir! The Xikar Tech is a single torch lighter that simply gets the job done. With a large flame adjustment wheel on the bottom (no screwdriver!) and a clear body, this thing makes it incredibly easy to manage that oh-so-precious butane. With a fair $30 price range, this is a must-have for the traveling aficionado.
#2. Vector Vulcan
The Vulcan is a solid, triple flame torch lighter. The thing I love about it is the lighting mechanism, located on the side of the lighter, simply squeeze the lighter and the top opens while giving a huge triple-flame burst of heat! The Vector Vulcan has a nice heavy weight in the hand feel as well as extras like a punch cutter at the bottom and an easy fuel gauge on the side. Be careful though, as the triple flame uses triple the fuel, something to keep in mind. At $50, the price feels a little steep, try to find this lighter on sale, you won’t be disappointed.
#1. Xikar Element
This is a beast of a lighter! The Xikar Element is a double-flame torch lighter that seems to have the best of everything. A solid, heavy, metal feel lets you know this thing aren’t breaking, and hey, if somehow it does – it’s guaranteed for life, no questions asked! Go ahead, run this thing through its courses, you’ll never need another lighter. Again, the lighting operation is seamless, press the button on top and the cover slides to expose the double-flame (my favorite)! The Element also has the extra gizmos like punch cutter and fuel gauge, with front and back side-grips to ensure a steady light. With a mid-range $45 price tag, cigar lovers of all levels will find this to be a great mixture of design, quality, and reliability.