9 Reason You Need a Butane Cigar Lighter Even If It’s Not Your Preferred Choice
Butane cigar lighters dominate the scene for cigar smokers. Despite the fact that some traditionalists prefer to light their cigars the old-fashioned way, with a match or a cedar spill, smokers have embraced modern butane lighters in droves. By leaps and bounds, technology has increased, producing lighters with flames that are more wind resistant, burn hotter, burn longer, and use cleaner, higher-performance fuels.
Insist on using matches or a spill if you must, but keep a quality butane cigar lighter in your coat pocket as a backup. We won’t tell anyone if you break it out from time to time to admire it - or to use it.
- The convenience factor
If there is one single good reason to accept a butane cigar lighter into your repertoire of cigar accessories, it is for the convenience factor. Matches get wet; they go out; they have a limited lifespan once struck. The list could go on, and it only addresses the shortcomings of matches as a viable light source for a cigar.
Butane lighters are susceptible to none of these drawbacks. For the most part, the light as needed, when needed, and will stay lit as long as needed, as long as they are adequately fueled. They produce little to no mess (realistically, they produce no mess) and can be easily stowed in a pocket, a glove box, a center console, or a cigar case until they are needed.
They’re easy to use - that, far and away, is the greatest virtue of a butane cigar lighter.
- Portability - a butane cigar lighter is tops for on-the-go smoking
It’s also easy to take a lighter on the go with you, and significantly easier than it is to take a liquid lighter, cedar spills or matches, all of which are more difficult to use and can make a mess.
Butane lighters, by contrast, can be stuffed just about anywhere you need them and will be ready to use when you call on them. They won’t run out of fuel or allow fuel to evaporate, the way some liquid lighters will, and they won’t deteriorate or be prone to water-based damage like some other lighters, either.
Light, convenient (see above), and practical, a butane lighter is a cigar-lighting solution in a small, available package.
- Reliability - depends on the lighter, but good nonetheless
When you get a match head wet, it won’t light. When a liquid lighter’s fuel evaporates - which will happen without any help - it won’t light, which is frustrating. Butane lighters pretty much light up just as you expect, every time, with a press of a button.
Now, admittedly, some of them don’t work well in extreme cold or in really windy conditions, but then again, other options for lighting cigars aren’t necessarily reliable in these situations either. As long as your ignition system is clear and functioning and you have a reservoir adequately filled with fuel, it’s hard to beat a butane cigar lighter for reliability. Plus, many models feature tough construction, with heavy-duty materials and proactive lids.
- Butane lighters will not impart flavors into tobacco
This is another extremely important aspect of butane lighters that is best experienced rather than explained. Some methods of lighting cigars, notably liquid fuel lighters, are notorious for adding flavors to the tobacco. Now, since master growers and blenders actually concert the experience of their entire lives to produce delicately balanced and flavored tobaccos, why would you want to throw that all away by adding flavor in with lighter fluid?
You wouldn't, which is precisely the reason that some smokers insist on using butane cigar lighters. Very highly refined butane lighter fuel will not impart flavors to the tobacco in your favorite blends, enabling you to sample them delicately and without outside influence, providing a purer, more pleasant experience.
- Some butane cigar lighters have a directional flame that is ideal for toasting
Not all butane cigar lighters produce a flame that is akin to the soft yellow light of a Bic lighter. Many of them - the most popular ones, actually - are torch lighters that produce a directional, bright blue flame. Many of these lighters have a double or even a triple jet flame that is both hot and directional.
The directionality of a flame means it can be “pointed,” whereas other flames will simply burn “up.” Being able to direct a lighter’s flame is highly valuable for toasting the foot of a cigar prior to lighting, but it can also be useful for touching up areas of the wrapper that have lagged behind the rest of the cigar. You can use them to get an even light out of the gate, but it’s equally valuable that you can use them to correct burn-related issues throughout the life of the cigar.
- Some butane cigar lighters are nearly windproof
There is another benefit to the directional light of butane torch lighters like a triple torch flame. Torch or jet flame cigar lighters are highly resistant to the wind. They’re actually more resistant to the wind than pretty much any other alternative for lighting a cigar.
If you smoke outside, even getting some shelter from a mild, gentle breeze can become a big hassle, as moving air will find its way to you, putting out matches and soft flame lighters alike. A torch flame lighter, by contrast, will light up and stay lit reliably in the wind, helping you get an even light, strong light that will provide a far superior smoking experience, even when conditions simply do not agree.
- Torch lighters make it easy to produce an even light
If you’ve ever experienced trouble getting an even light from some other form of lighter or an alternative, then a torch flame lighter, specifically, may be much more valuable to you. Because you can direct their flames, you can light stubborn areas of the cigar that may be insulated from an even draw, creating an even light that would be impossible to produce with a soft flame lighter or with matches or a spill.
Uneven construction is not a common problem with premium cigars, but there’s no reason to let a single, simple, minor flaw like this ruin otherwise superb tobacco. You just need to take advantage of the tools that can correct it, and a butane lighter with a torch flame is among the best of these.
- Soft flame lighters provide a traditional experience without imparting flavor
By the way, torch flame butane lighters are not your only option when it comes to getting a good light for your favorite cigars. If you are proficient in the use of a match, a spill, or other soft flame methods for lighting a cigar, then there is no reason you can’t accomplish the same with the similarly soft flame of a butane lighter.
In fact, there is a distinct advantage to one of these, especially if you are experienced with getting a quality light. Perhaps you are interested in tasting the tobacco as it is meant to be enjoyed, away from the influences of cedar, wood matches, or even the lingering spirit of a match head’s sulfur.
Soft flame lighters provide the same traditional experience as these but are utterly free from flavor, which means you can enjoy a purer experience with them.
- Longevity - a quality lighter will last a long time
Finally, there is something to be said about the durability and longevity of a high-quality butane cigar lighter. Obviously, there are higher and lower quality models, and some are lighter and less durable than others, but for the most part, if you keep them clean and run high-quality fuel through them, a good butane lighter will last a long time. They’ll hold up for many years, at least.
You can’t say the same for a book of matches. You get one light from each, and that is that. Once they’re burned up, they’re done. The same goes for cedar spills, and then there is the question of ash and clean up. Butane lighters produce little to no mess and will last for many years with proper care.
A Note on the Importance of Butane Cigar Lighter Fuel Quality
One thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking about switching over to butane lighters for cigars is that not all butane lighter fuel is created equal, and the quality of the fuel you use can impact the performance of your lighter.
Think of your butane cigar lighter as a high-performance vehicle and the butane as the fuel. The purer the fuel, the more smoothly the “engine” will run. Low-grade butanes that are full of big, heavy impurities will clog up the jets of a butane lighter and significantly hamper the performance of those lighters.
In some instances, prolonged use of low-quality butanes can completely obstruct the lighter’s jets and cause lasting damage. If you are going to use one of these types of lighters, buy the highest quality butane you can - such as triple-refined butane that is largely free of impurities. You won’t be able to taste the difference, but your lighter will know.
Alternatives to Butane Cigar Lighters
If you insist on using alternative methods to a butane cigar lighter, there’s nothing wrong with that. Some smokers prefer butane lighters for travel or when they’re on the road and away from home - so it helps to keep one on hand, but if you’d rather follow another style, there’s nothing wrong with that either, and there are plenty of alternative solutions.
Liquid Fuel Lighters
Most cigar smokers shy away from liquid fuel lighters like Zippos because the liquid fuel they use tends to impart a flavor to the tobacco, and some purists simply won’t accept it. However, Zippo has had success marketing their lighters to pipe smokers, and they have made some impressive improvements in lighter fuel formulation in recent years which has significantly cut back on flavor.
Liquid lighter fuel is still made from a petroleum distillate known as naphtha which can be used in almost any lighter that has a wick (such as the classic Zippo). The old formulas were notorious for the off flavor they produced, but over the years Zippo and others have refined their formulation to the point that it is nearly flavorless.
Given the fact that liquid fuel lighters are reliable in the cold (and that some are nearly windproof), it might be worth giving some of these one more shot - but that’s up to you.
If you’re not interested in a lighter at all, there are still other options at your disposal, notably the classic among classics, plain old matches. Here’s the thing: if you’re going to light your cigar with matches, follow a few basic pointers.
- Use only wooden matches. Paper matches are coated with wax that will alter the flavor of tobacco, and paper matches don’t burn long enough anyway.
- Allow the sulfur on the match head to burn off completely before you attempt to light your cigar or you will regret it. Sulfur imparts a bitter, acrid flavor into tobacco.
- Expect to burn through several matches before you finish lighting your cigar. This is normal.
You can also use a wooden match in conjunction with a cedar spill to light your cigar, and cedar spills have a few advantages over both lighters and matches.
- Cedar spills burn longer than matches and can be lit more than once to light a cigar.
- Cedar spills last a long time and can be used to regulate humidity and season and age cigars in boxes or humidors.
- Cedar spills do impart flavor, but most smokers consider it to be an enjoyable one.
Contact Us for More Details
If you still have questions about lighting your cigar with a butane cigar lighter, or about what type of cigar lighter you should choose, feel free to get in touch with us at 888-216-5834 and we would be glad to help. We’d even be happy to make personalized recommendations, so let us know what we can do to better serve you!