A Few Pipe Lighter Reviews     March 2nd, 2010

 

By Bob Tate

pipe-lighters

When it comes to lighting your pipe, there are always discussions about what is the best thing to use. There is the famous debate about lighters VS matches. Because whether to use lighter or matches is mostly a personal preference, I am not going to talk about that here. In this article I am going to talk only about lighters. Hopefully it gives those who are looking for a lighter a little more insight on which lighter to choose.

There is always a lot of talk about pipe lighters in pipe smoking. Which lighters are the best, which ones are the worst, which ones are inexpensive, etc. I am going to give a short review on my experiences with the lighters that I own. I will not talk about or review any lighters that I do not nor have not owned before. The reviews will mainly consist of Pros and Cons to each lighter that I have had experience with. I will be listing the lighters in order from least expensive to most expensive. On to the reviews!

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Bic Disposable Lighter

lighters-003

 

This is a pretty good and reliable lighter. It is not very attractive, but it is very inexpensive and can be purchased almost anywhere for around $1.00 or $2.00.

Pros = 5 / Cons = 7

Pros:
•Very inexpensive
•Lights on the first or second strike
•Easily obtainable
•No big deal if you lose it
•Butane fuel (Some people believe butane is the best lighter fuel, no tainting of tobacco taste)

Cons:
•Does not have an angled/directed flame (Takes some practice to use without burning yourself or the rim of your pipe)
•Butane fuel (Butane fuel is susceptible to extreme temperatures)
•Made of plastic (could explode in high heat such as left in a car in summer)
•Non-refillable
•Not wind resistant
•Non-adjustable flame (a lot of disposable lighters these days are made this way)
•Disposable

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Zippo Lighter

lighters-001 lighters-002

 

This is a very good and reliable lighter that comes with a Lifetime Warranty. They are moderately priced in the range of $15.00 to $45.00 depending on the style chosen. They have a wide variety of cases and are very attractive. You don’t have to have a standard pipe lighter case, you can buy a lighter that you like and get a pipe insert for it. The lighters can be purchased at most retail tobacconist shops and other select locations. The pipe inserts can be obtained from Zippo.

Pros = 12 / Cons = 4

Pros:
•Moderately priced
•Lights on first or second strike
•Angled/Directed flame when using the Pipe insert
•Wind resistant
•Interchangeable cases
•Adjustable flame (depends on how much of the wick you have pulled out)
•Easily adjustable flame
•Refillable
•Liquid Fuel (not susceptible to extreme temperatures)
•Flint and wheel ignition (most reliable and durable ignition system)
•Flame stays lit until lid is closed
•Lifetime Warranty

Cons:
•Liquid fuel (some people say that it taints the taste of the tobacco, I have never experienced this)
•Fuel evaporates from lighter
•Flint and wheel ignition (need to replace the flint when it is gone, old or bad flint may hinder lighting process)
•Non-angled/directed flame when not using the pipe insert
•Flame stays lit until lid is closed

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Xikar Resource

lighters-004 lighters-005

 

This is a pretty good lighter that comes with a Lifetime Warranty. It comes in 4 styles and is pretty attractive. It is priced in the moderate-medium range at about $50.00. I have only owned this lighter for about 3 months and it seems to be pretty reliable so far. This lighter can be purchased at quite a few retail tobacconist shops.

Pros = 9 / Cons = 5

Pros:
•Medium price
•Lights on first or second strike
•Angled/directed flame
•Built in pipe tools (pipe knife, poker, and tamper)
•Adjustable Flame
•Refillable
•Butane fuel (Some people believe butane is the best lighter fuel, no tainting of tobacco taste)
•Electro-Quartz Ignition (No flint to replace)
•Lifetime Warranty

Cons:
•Built in pipe tools are not very good (too small and not very useful)
•Flame adjustment is difficult to use
•Butane fuel (Butane fuel is susceptible to extreme temperatures)
•Not wind resistant
•Electro-Quartz Ignition (can be knocked out of adjustment, has a high chance of breakdown, limited lifespan)

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Colibri Pipe Lighter

lighters-006 lighters-007

 

This lighter is just OK in my opinion. It looks really nice and has a couple of nice features, but the price, functionality, and reliability is lacking. The price on this lighter was in the high range. I paid $70.00 for this lighter at a B&M about 4 years ago. I have mixed feelings about this Colibri lighter. I love the way that it looks and the design. I hate the inconsistencies about the lighting function. If the lighter worked properly all of the time and lit on the first or second strike, I would say that it was worth the money. But since it is very temperamental, I say that it is not worth anywhere near $70.00.

I can not find any information on it now. Colibri did have a Lifetime Warranty, but I am not sure what the deal is with them now. Colibri went out of business a year or so ago, but they are back in business now. I assume the lifetime warranty still stands.

Pros = 7 / Cons = 5

Pros:
•Angled/Directed flame
•Adjustable flame
•Flame adjustment is very easy to use
•Refillable
•Butane fuel (Some people believe butane is the best lighter fuel, no tainting of tobacco taste)
•Flint and wheel ignition (most reliable and durable ignition system)
•Very slim body, not bulky at all

Con:
•High price
•Average strikes before it lights is anywhere from 1 to 15 (very temperamental)
•Not wind resistant at all
•Butane fuel (Butane fuel is susceptible to extreme temperatures)
•Flint and wheel ignition (need to replace the flint when it is gone, old or bad flint may hinder lighting process)

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This wraps up the lighters that I use to light my pipes on a regular basis. I hope that this information and my opinions will help some of you when choosing a lighter to buy. Like I said earlier, these are not all of the pipe lighters that are available; they are just the ones that I own, have used, and know about.

Whether you use matches, a lighter, or you rub two sticks together to get your pipe lit; light up your pipe and Happy Puffin’!

 

 

 

31 Responses to “A Few Pipe Lighter Reviews”

  1. buddhabear said:

    Good info Mr Tate! I have had two Colibris and both were horrible..both beautiful, but 1-15 strikes before lighting is right..tempermental, right! lol and expensive, right! One was a pipe lighter and one not..both were bad..and now the company is in receivership,so you can’t get them repaired. I also own a Vector and when it works, it’s great..lights fast, 1-2 strikes, not so wind resistant, expensive, and tempermental..and I’ve had to send it in once already, got it back and was happy, then the little thingy you use to make it spark broke..so I’m not sure it’s worth my time..ggrr I stick with the Bics! Though I prefer the electronic lighters over the old style..less callouses! lol

  2. cortezattic said:

    Thanks for profiling these lighters in a systematic, side-by-side way. The forum threads on lighters always provoke a lot of responses, most of them very opinionated — but helpful. I know my purchase decision was greatly influenced by our members’ opinions; and this probably happens a lot in e-zines where user input is encouraged. So this topic will always be enthusiastically received — even by devotees of the humble stick match. Again, thanks for your very informative review.

  3. Kevin said:

    It is nice to see the pictures and pros and cons all put together like this.

    I have been disappointed in the past with Colibri too. Hopefully the new company will improve quality.

    I use the old fashioned plastic Bic disposable 90% of the time.

  4. dernebo said:

    Good reviews… Though on the Zippo you had \Flame stays lit until lid is closed\ as a Con… I would put it on the Pros-side… Of all Lighters I have tried I really like Zippo the most. Maybe because I always smoke outside where it can be windy. A Con would maybe be that even with the pipe-insert it can be hard to get the flame to reach the tobacco at relights at the end of the smoke. Sometimes it feels that you have to puff furiously on the pipe to get the flame to reach down. With possible toungebite as a result if you’re not careful.

  5. Bob said:

    Dernebo, I agree that I see that as a Pro side as well.

    The reason that I listed it as a Con is because it could be a fire hazard.

    I like it as a Pro because you don’t have to hold down a ‘button’ and keep your finger close to the flame.

    I listed it as a Pro and a Con because I when I review things, I try to be objective and see it from all sides. Whether it be good or bad.

    I also agree with you about it sometimes being difficult to re-light the bottom of the bowl.

  6. oppie said:

    The BIC disposables work fine for me.

  7. dave said:

    I always used jet-flames as Colibri and Dupont for pipe smoking and cigars.
    I think jet-flames are a good solution because you can be very accurate and effective lighting up the pipe without putting at risk the rime of the pipe.
    And they are a must when you smoke around.
    But yes they are quite “temperamental”. It is not possible to avoid that but only reduce adopting fine quality gas as Dupont or Ronson. I never tried the Colibri one.
    Those lighter are quite sensitive to the impurity of the filling gas, so a cheap gas will occlude the lighter inner pipeline circuit.

  8. bluedoor said:

    Il Corona Pipemasters rule

  9. nonpareil said:

    Well, definately I prefer Zippo pipe lighters among others, reliable, esy to use and easy to service. Basically you have a lighter for your lifetime.I have tried other lghters with piezo ignition and other kind of crazy crap, but always returned back to the good ol’ zippo.

  10. Jess said:

    I use a Colibri - for about a year now. I like the adjustable flame, and it can be angled down into the pipe, the flame adjusted to reach the bottom. It lights on the first but usually the second strike.

    I also enjoy a wooden match when I have the time and depending upon location. Something extra enjoyable about this quiet, natural way (I call it) of lighting my pipe. Mabye it’s my admiration of many things considered old fashioned. Many such things hold a quality that, while possibly taking a little more time and effort, surpasses modern quick-fast products that are throw-aways.

  11. TomPier said:

    great post as usual!

  12. Joe said:

    I’m glad for all the opinions and comments, it will make my choices easier to make. Thank you very much.

  13. chuckw said:

    What, no write up on the Old Boy, Dunhill or S.I. Dupont lighters?

  14. Bob said:

    Chuck,

    I do not nor have I ever owned an Old Boy, Dunhill, or S.I. Dupont lighter, so I could not review those brands. If you own any of those brands I would love to hear your thoughts on them. I have always wanted an Old Boy lighter, but I just can’t pull the trigger on it because of the price. I would rather spend that money on tobacco, lol.

  15. gigmaster said:

    Zippos rule!

    They are an important piece of America. They’ve been to almost every environment the planet has to offer. They go hand-in-hand with the venerable P-38 Can Opener as one of Americas finest, and most dependable tools.

    I was in the Marines, and the Navy. Seldom was I ever deployed, anywhere, where I did not see someone in possession of (myself included) at least 1 Zippo, and a P-38. We considered them Survival Tools. Zippo Cases have been used as make-shift containers. Polished Aluminum Zippos have been used to signal Aircraft and Ships from great distances, and to signal other units and personnel with the suns reflection. Zippos have lit signal fires, melted solder and plastic for emergency repairs, sterilized blades for emergency field surgeries, and lit the cigars and pipes of Kings, and other world leaders.

    Zippos pedigree is unmatched.

  16. eagleten1 said:

    Odds & Ends–As far as pipe lighters go , a match is really hard to beat.However Zippo’s are everywhere and zippo manufactures a pipe lighter.Available also is a butane insert made specifically for a zippo.This is a great idea,however(that word again),problems might arise when one is limiited to Ronson flints.These are made by Vector,and inexpensive.FYI-don’t buy one of those hand held “torches”.They are considered “drug paraphenalia”.
    The old boy Corona is one of the best around,just don’t lose it.Listen to the voice of experience.
    May the road be kind to ye…

  17. newpuf1 said:

    The Xikar Resource is a very reliable unit but i agree the flame adjustment is very hard to adjust unless you carry a small screwdriver with you and also i find the capacity of the fuel reservoir rather small ,i seem to be re-fueling after 3-4 bowls full ?

  18. Jess said:

    Another comment on my Colibri lighter. My model does not look like the one featured in the above article. I don’t mind using my Zippo with first few lights, but sucking down the flame when the bowl has been tamped a time or two requires an agressive “sucking in” on my part, which is more like work I don’t feel is compatible with the relaxation aspect of pipe smoking. But a similar reflection applies to matches.

    This is the primary reason I use my Colibri 98% of the time. As the tobacco lowers in the bowl, I can easily adjust the flow of the flame to reach it without agressively having to pull it down with sucking in air agressively.

    One significant negative, however, is that it simply will not work with any breeze blowing, whereas the Zippo will. I have to guard the bowl with my hand and occasionally the shifting wind will pull the flame toward my hand.

    I do love the soft flame - not torch - the Colibri offers. The inserted tamper is also nice to have should I forget to have a tamper with me. This reminds me: It’s time to light up again! Enjoy your post-election weekend everyone!

  19. markey148 said:

    I’m really late in reading this article, which I totally agree with the author on his points. I have found the bics to be quite reliable. I actually purchased a bic candle lighter that has a flexible neck. Its really useful when lighting my pipes its cheap and lasted for a long time, its just that it is pretty big.

  20. mrivney said:

    Just bought me a Corona Old Boy Pewter Pipe Lighter (the one that has engravings of pipes on both sides). Outshines any lighter that I’ve ever used. I would say it would review similar to the Xikar review by Bob T (except that there is no Electro-Quartz Ignition, instead, it has a flint, which is a Pro point). This lighter, cost of $120 plus tax, costs more than any of my pipes. Costly, but well worth it to have a nice working, and beautiful, tool! The only minus I see is being very careful not to lose it!

  21. tatanka said:

    Interesting discussion guys. I have read quite a few negative comments about the Calibri lighter being hard to light. I have owned one for over two years and have not had this problem. I think I would be correct in saying that I “Usually” have to strike it two times, and less times more than twice, with a hit and miss one strike only. I don’t see any photos of Calibris that are the design/shape of mine. I like the easy, quick way of refilling it with LP.

    I do have a Zippo. I need to refill it with lighter fluid more often than I would prefer, and I never know when I’m about to over-fill it! :( The notable difficulty of trying to re-light when the tobacco is low in the bowl, for me is an irritation. But hey! I get irritated when my wife announces there is no more gravy for the biscuits she made! :)

    I find it very unfortunate that prices over $100 for a lighter seems to be the pattern. Zippo’s are more reasonable.

    I enjoy using a match. something about “the old fashioned way” is appealing to my historic romantic side; but the frequency soon triggers my impatience.

  22. jsmith said:

    I blew $5 on a cheap silver butane jet out of a Walgreen’s when I was getting one of my meerschaums (which at the time was my second pipe and I still have and use it). The thing is the best lighter hands-down that I have ever had, after I adjusted the flame. I hold the jet away and first light the tobacco with ambient heat but I can get right in there for any re-lights.

    It is as accurate as a laser-pointer and I can do any relights one-handed if I am doing something else. Next time I make my way into the Walgreen’s again, I will get another just in case I lose the one I got. Works wonders on my cigars too.

  23. Marg Daniels said:

    Hello I am looking for a pipe lighter to help my father in law enjoy his pipe
    He has ALS and he says “it’s like trying to light your pipe with oven mitts on”
    He can’t hold a match nor does he have the strength to push down a button
    Any suggestions? Is there any such thing as a ’self lighter’?
    Thank you in advance for your help

  24. Bob said:

    jsmith, I am glad that you found a dependable lighter. Just be warned that torch/jet lighters can damage your pipe beyond repair if you are not careful. That is why I never recommend using them on pipes.

  25. Bob said:

    Marg, Sorry to hear about your fathers affliction. I wish that I had a recommendation on a lighter, but the fact of the matter is that there is going to be a mechanism for lighting on every lighter, especially the disposable lighters that are mandated to have a child safety device installed on them.

    The only thing that I can think of is to go to a retail tobacconist shop that carries lighters and try different ones to see if he can find one that is easy for him to use.

  26. slingshot61 said:

    Great discussion. I haven’t had any problem with the cheap old Bic Disposable Lighter.

  27. slingshot61 said:

    Can’t beat the Zippo. however in a crunch the old Bic is can be purchaced cheap everywhere.

  28. jp57 said:

    Corona Old Boy Flint Lighters are the BEST!!!! Fire on the firt time and with the right angle for a pipe. As well they have a built in Tamper that pulls out and you don’t have to carry a separate tamper. Butane lasts quit long and is not tempermantal with the change of climate from hot to cold. I Own 2 of them and would say that they are my best 2 lighters I own. A little pricey but, money spent well over time.Buy One and you will Love it!bought a Porsche PD-2 for over a Hundred Bucks and have had it back to them for repairs twice already. Will Not work in cold weather at all!

  29. kashmir said:

    Every couple of years, I buy a new Corona Old Boy lighter for myself. I use it exclusively multiple times per day, and treat it without concern, only to have it faithfully generate a flame, no matter the weather, time after time. As long as it is fed properly with flint and butane, it performs its task. I never could get used to using a cheap disposable Bic Lighter to flame up fine tobaccos in equally fine briars. Of course wooden matches also have their place.

  30. bubblehead said:

    I finaly broke down and spent the money on an Old Boy as well and so far I love it, very reliable. It doesn’t do well on a breezy day, but then I’ve never seen a butane lighter that does, so outside I use my Zippo, or (I’m going to date myself here) my old Nimrod lighter, similar in operation to the Zippo, fluid and flint, but very different style. They aren’t made anymore but you can see them and bid for one on e-bay.

  31. nhseidlereidler said:

    I must say that I´m very pleased with my Dunhill Unique lighter. Works great with my pipes. I find the narrow flame good for “precise” lighting.

 

 

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