Is a Zippo Suitable for Pipes?

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El Capitán

Lifer
Jun 5, 2022
1,177
4,845
34
Newberry, Indiana
I know some people love their Zippos but I think they are complete crap for pipe smoking.

When I started smoking back in Feb, I bought two MM Prides and went to town. After a couple of months, they looked great and were nicely broken in, I had done some light mods as well with some plaster and stains. Nice little pipes, great smokers.

Well, one day, I acquired an old zippo and started smoking with it. Suddenly, all my blends tasted terrible, and I woke up the next day with a nasty chemical burn all over the inside of my mouth. I took a few days off but didn't put 2+2 together until the next time I went to light one of the cobbs and the dry draw just reeked of lighter fluid. The cobs got reamed back to bare wood as best I could, but the bottom of the bowls were just hideous. Both went into the trash. Thank god I didn't skank out a good briar!

I'll take a refillable, clean-burning butane lighter over the Zippo any day.
Never had this problem and have used a Zippo pipe lighter with Ronsonol fluid for a few years. If you're drawing in too deep without letting the Zippo breathe a few seconds to burn off the excess fluid built up around the top then south-park.gif
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,431
109,328
Same company, different smells. Ronsonol has a lighter smell than Zippo due to proprietary formulas being slightly different. Ronsonol is also cheaper.
Can't tell the difference myself and both are priced the same locally. I mainly use naphtha in mine though.
 

viktor

Might Stick Around
Jan 6, 2024
72
126
57
Ontario, Canada
Lit the pipe with Zippo tilting the pipe and letting the flame just kiss tobacco in the bowl. Still a bit awkward but with much better results: slight taste of fuel in the beginning, then it's perfect. I'm sure I'll get it right eventually. I appreciate your advice. Thanks all!
 

El Capitán

Lifer
Jun 5, 2022
1,177
4,845
34
Newberry, Indiana
Lit the pipe with Zippo tilting the pipe and letting the flame just kiss tobacco in the bowl. Still a bit awkward but with much better results: slight taste of fuel in the beginning, then it's perfect. I'm sure I'll get it right eventually. I appreciate your advice. Thanks all!
Everything takes trial and error.
 
Apr 26, 2012
3,379
5,543
Washington State
I've used Zippos for years. I have one with a standard pipe lighter insert, and one with a butane pipe lighter insert. I use Ronsonol fluid for my standard Zippo, and I don't taste the fuel. At times I will smell it, but I usually let the lighter burn for a moment before lighting my pipe. No issues.
 
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Epip Oc'Cabot

Can't Leave
Oct 11, 2019
440
1,185
Problem #1: when you put your zippo in horizontal position there's not much flame going up. Problem #2, much more important: tasting the fuel in your mouth for an hour after smoking. Not worth it, stick to plastic lighters? Disclaimer: just got my first zippo today, lites sigs perfectly. Ah well, it's just another lighter.


As many others have suggested, the Zippo is a fine lighter for pipes. I have used Zippos for 40 some years. I think that if you allow yourself to practice some of the many pointers people have provided, you CAN find the Zippo quite suitable and enjoyable to ignite your pipe.

That said, you obviously do not need to do so if you are opposed to trying the techniques or you simply do not like the Zippo. It is not really a hugely complex choice.
 
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