So I Bought a Cheap "Star" Lighter

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joecobb

New member
Jan 5, 2019
19
0
Norway
So when I was buying Zippo lighter fluid a month ago I picked up a Star "Zippo-style" lighter as it was only 8 bucks.
I own five real Zippos and I can´t really say that I´m too happy with them. My pipe Zippo had to be sent in after about a month due to a bad hinge (would not close properly), and two of my display Zippos have lids that are on a little crooked. The two that I used regularly often had trouble lighting, even with new flint/wick/fluid (also after having been broken in). Flame would either die down or jump/pulsate every time. I missed my Bic.

Payed between 34 and 40 dollars for each of them.
But this chinese made Star lighter is made really well! The cam is strong, so the lid sits on tight, the insert does not ride up like on Zippos, and the fuel seems to last longer, possibly because there is less evaporation up the sides of the insert. No pulsing flame.
And for those who care - this lighter makes a proper "clink"! My Zippos sound like plastic compared to this one.
The insert is not as pretty as on a Zippo, and the holes are 3-1-3 rather than Zippos 3-2-3, but I don´t really care. I removed the left side of the chimney to make it more like the pipe lighter, and after that modification it´s really not pretty, but I have to say that it works like a charm, even better than the designated Zippo pipe insert. It´s also nice to have the right side of the chimney as a roof for the flame when its tilted on its side.
The real deal might be cool and all, but mine will be sitting in the glass cabinet, and I´ll get a few more Star lighters for actual use. Doesn´t matter to me where it´s made.

 

bnichols23

Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2018
2,826
289
SC Piedmont
Hey, if it works for you, it works & go with that. I bought one of cheapo-beepo Chinese "Honest" lighters, & it worked for maybe a day. I like my Vector but it occasionally needs a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th click to get it going, especially if I've just used it. I still like it, though. I've got a Zippo coming, with a Thunderbird insert that I'll replace the kerosene one with. It may need filling more often, but I like the reliability & especially not having to taste charcoal starter every time I light up. :)
Bill

 

briarbuck

Preferred Member
Nov 24, 2015
755
161
Waiting for my fakie to come in the mail from China. Should be here in the next 6 months or so...

 

mau1

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
650
94
Canada
I have a number of zippo's, older and not-so-old, that work well. I also like my Bic's but with what is going on with China, I will actively avoid buying from them in the future. Matches give me the best control.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,557
434
How long is "Star's" warranty? Seems like a lot of modifying to make the lighter comfortable to use.
Not for me. I've got Zippos going on fifty years of age. If they need a repair, still free. And, they were correct in all respects right out of the box, ready to light pipes, cigars, etc. I even do the "squeeze" strike, now and then, popping the lid up and rolling the wheel in one move. That is really hard on a Zippo hinge but, the repairs are free. It was a move calculated, many ... many years ago, to impress the ladies. It really only worked well when everyone was suitably lubricated with adult beverages.

 
Reactions: didimauw

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
4,212
424
As much as I like the feel and 'solidity' of my Zippo, it just looses way to much fuel for me. I've been saying that I will get a thunderbird insert forever...

 

unkleyoda

Preferred Member
Aug 22, 2016
1,119
44
Your mom\\\'s house
I have 20+ Zippo lighters. 2 that I use all the time. The only issue I have had is the hinge on one was crooked. It was my fault, I stepped on it and bent it. I sent it in, the fixed and sent it back. I asked them for the pipe insert, they put that in, and sent back the old insert with it and 2 extra flints. It all cost me $2.85 for postage.
All I can say is you either have really rough luck, or you are had on lighters. Also, if the flame flickers and pops up and down, you either are very low, or very full on fluid. I also have the best luck with genuine Zippo fluid, Rosonal works okay, but not as well.

 

davek

Senior Member
Mar 20, 2014
340
44
As much as I like the feel and 'solidity' of my Zippo, it just looses way to much fuel for me.
Put a little vaseline around the insert to make a better seal.

 

workman

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
1,704
21
I refill my Zippo every morning. It may be a waste of fuel, but a $10 can still lasts for months, so I don't care. Since I started using a Zippo none of my pipes have gotten charred rims. And it works in moderate winds. If it's too windy for a Zippo, it's also too windy for a pipe. I've never had an issue with them.

 
Reactions: anotherbob

leafsmoker

Member
Oct 26, 2017
299
36
42
Indiana
First, I do not like the smell of that zippo fuel. second, I tried a lot of can butane lighters that were bic style, including vector, all broke. so I bought about 30 mossy oak cheap refillable lighters and that has worked for about 5 years. Within the 5 year span I had to throw 3 away. Not so bad. BEWARE OF ZIPPOS ! Never owned one and never will. My friend had a zippo in his pocket and did not know the lid was open.Having fluid all over the lighter and did not know, lit it and BOOM!! Blew off 3 fingers and metal shards flew and hit and protruded through my other friends neck, who was sitting in the front seat while garret was in the back seat with 3 less fingers. 8O

 

coyja

Senior Member
Feb 10, 2018
301
16
They are hard to find (I think not made anymore or made in exceedingly small amounts), but Bil-Lit lighters are USA made Zippos on steroids.

Usually 7-8oz, machined from a solid block of brass, and supposedly hold fuel much better than Zippos.

Also carry old boy level prices.

I don't know that I ever need one, but I'm sure if I ever held one I'd want it.

I'll stick w my Pipemaster for the time being... I always found Zippos to be more of a PITA than they were worth.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,557
434
My friend had a zippo in his pocket and did not know the lid was open.
Smarter, more aware friends will keep that from happening. I can't imagine a Zippo actually exploding. The fuel simply isn't contained well enough for an shrapnel laced explosion. "Ash" will know better. I can see it flaring, had that happen with a sloppy filling and not waiting for evaporation as the instructions warn. Filling a lighter is like driving or shooting, do it sober for the best results.

 
Reactions: anotherbob

redglow

Preferred Member
Jan 7, 2019
1,649
1,022
Michigan
On the road traveling for work this week. Just bought a cheap zippo and fuel for $11

At Walmart. Then at the gas station next door, they had some Gibson lighters with the 2 inch extension. I bought 2 of those.

I may fool with the Zippo when I get home. Until then, I’m really enjoying this Gibson.
It looks like one of those foot long bic grill lighters. But it’s only about 5 inches long and great for lighting pipes.

 
Reactions: vates and jpmcwjr

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,557
434
I'm guessing Zippo is being forced by their insurance company to redesign after the millions of American dollars, no doubt, paid out to the two friend of "leafsmoker."
In reality, I see Zippo offered for sale in every drugstore still carrying lighters and a lot of kiosks in malls. Zippo just issued a "Super Bowl LIII Champions" lighter just days after the game.

 

workman

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
1,704
21
The only concern I have with my Zippo is the fact that it can stay lit if you drop it. That would be annoying when driving or something like that. But it hasn't happened yet.

 
Reactions: anotherbob

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
4,212
424
The only concern I have with my Zippo is the fact that it can stay lit if you drop it. That would be annoying when driving or something like that. But it hasn't happened yet.
The reason for this is so we can have dramatic explosion scenes in films and television.

 

bnichols23

Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2018
2,826
289
SC Piedmont
did not know the lid was open.Having fluid all over the lighter and did not know, lit it and BOOM!!
I'm blown away (no pun, I swear). Why? I just have trouble visualizing someone having a fluid lighter, open in the pocket, with fluid all over it, & *NOT* being able to smell the totally unmistakable odor & greasy feel of charcoal starter. 8O
Bill

 

judcasper

Senior Member
Jan 9, 2019
306
1
There's really nothing wrong with these Zippo-style lighters - great for modding because they've cost you next to nothing. I have a thread going somewhere trying to ascertain what kind of metal these knock-offs are made of. I watched a guy strip the chrome from his Zippo because he wanted a brass one - turned out really nice. So I tried doing the same with a cheapo. Not quite as nice and definitely a different mix of metals used on the cheapos.
But, the fact is they work like a charm, and in your experience better than the real deal. There's no doubt you're paying for name with Zippo, just like any iconic consumable.
I like to distress my Zippo knock-offs. This is my attempt to mimic a WWII Black Crackle.