How to Buy a Cigar Lighter

When Shopping, Function More Important Than Aesthetics

Xikar Torch Cigar Lighter
Xikar Torch Cigar Lighter. 2011 © Gary Manelski Licensed to About.com, Inc.

It can be difficult selecting just the right cigar lighter from all of the different styles available. And there are many different manufacturers like Xikar, Colibri, Zippo and more. For the most part, if a lighter is being purchased as a gift by a non-cigar smoker, the appearance of the lighter and its price are usually the determining factors in making the selection. But be careful not to ignore the most important features that are of utmost importance to the cigar smoker who is going to use it.

Torch Lighters Preferred

Although no two cigar smokers are exactly alike, most would prefer a torch lighter with a jet flame instead of a traditional soft flame lighter used by cigarette smokers. However, if the lighter will primarily be used indoors on thinner cigars, then either type of lighter may suffice.

Thick cigars with large ring gauges almost make a torch lighter a necessity and if the lighter will be used outdoors, then a torch lighter is a must regardless of the size of the cigar. Torch lighters are wind resistant but not windproof,unless specifically indicated. Cigars should not be smoked in high winds anyway, so a wind resistant torch lighter should normally be sufficient.

Disposable Bic lighters are not usually given as gifts, but such lighters are used by many cigar smokers from time to time. However, if a soft flame lighter is preferred by a particular cigar smoker, then the lighter selected should run on butane gas fuel as opposed to liquid naphtha.

A butane flame is odorless, and will not infuse a premium handmade cigar with the aroma or taste of gasoline. As an aside, never light a cigar with a scented candle or any other heat and flame source that will interject a nasty flavor into the cigar.

Two Flames Better Than One

When looking for a torch lighter, a double flame is preferable.

Cigars with large ring gauges can take a long time to light, and a double torch reduces that time significantly. In addition, a double torch lighter is more wind resistant than a single flame.

Other Considerations

What other features does a cigar smoker want or need in a lighter? Remember, function takes precedence over appearance. A fancy lighter may look nice, but may not light the cigar efficiently.

The lid should retract when the lighter is ignited, or at least be designed to move out of the way. Another good feature to have on a cigar lighter is a fuel indicator or window. If you know how much fuel is in your lighter before heading out to the golf course, you won't have a problem lighting your second cigar on the back nine because your lighter is empty.

If a cigar lighter will be used at high altitudes, in a city like Albuquerque for example, then make sure to read our article about high altitude cigar lighters.

For most cigar smokers,  a double torch lighter made by a reputable manufacturer such as Xikar, Colibri, Zippo or others having a lifetime warranty. The price range and appearance are up to you, as long as the lighter also has the features that will make its user one very happy cigar smoker.