Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Choosing the Right Cigar Lighter

There is no more important tool in the cigar smoker’s arsenal than the cigar lighter. A good quality, dependable lighter is indispensable to enjoying your favorite stogies. Good cigar lighters provide tremendous convenience and they allow you to dependably light your cigar in any conditions – indoors/outdoors, windy/calm, warm or cold.

This article should outline some key elements to look for when selecting a good cigar lighter.

Type of Lighter:

We know premium cigars are different than cigarettes. Cigars require more heat to ignite and they take much longer to light, primarily because they have vastly different tobacco ingredients. Because of this, it is advisable to use a cigar lighter to light your cigars, rather than a cigarette lighter.

Cigar lighters use butane fuel rather than lighter fluid, as butane fuel burns hotter and cleaner. It is perfect for cigars because it has enough heat to ignite them and it is odorless, so it does not add any unwanted flavor (like its lighter fluid counterpart will). Beware of using a Zippo lighter on your cigars. Standard Zippos use lighter fluid, not butane. An inexpensive insert (Z-plus) can be purchased to convert your Zippo into a butane torch.

Cigar lighters are often referred to as torch lighters, as the flame exiting the lighter is wide and strong, resembling a torch. The strong flame allows the lighter to stay lit in most any conditions, including wind.

Torch lighters come in a variety of sizes, fire power and number of flames. A pocket lighter is a convenient tool to bring to a cigar dinner, for example, but a table lighter might be your best and most reliable option in the comfort of your own home.

Cigar Lighter Features:

Once you are set on buying a good quality cigar torch lighter, it is time to consider some of the features to look for to add convenience, comfort, and functionality. To that end, here is a list of the features I would include, if I could custom build the very best cigar lighter (not necessarily in order of importance):

1) Large fuel tank – no one likes to refill the butane fuel every other day.

2) Fuel level viewing window – it is very handy to see how much fuel is left so you have a heads up on refilling before you leave with your lighter

3) Ergonomic, side trigger for igniting lighter – more natural position for trigger

4) A second trigger to allow for a second flame, when needed.

5) Cover for lighter, but no flip top lid – the flip top lid protects the lighting implement when the lighter is not in use, but they always get in the way when you try to use the lighter. I would find a lighter with a cover that recesses when lighting so it is out of the way.

6) Recessed lighting nozzle – lighters are often difficult to keep lit in a breeze. It is important to find a windproof lighter, but equally important to find a recessed lighting nozzle as this contributes to keeping the flame alive in inclement weather. It also helps keep dust and debris out of the nozzle to keep it in working condition.

7) Large flame adjustment knob that can be adjusted with one finger – it is often necessary to adjust the flame on your lighter, depending on the conditions you are in. An easy, finger touch adjustment knob is essential. It is absolutely useless to have a flame adjustment that requires a small screwdriver.

Purchasing a good quality, reliable lighter should not result in breaking your bank. Vector, Firebird and Coleman make excellent torch lighters for less than $20. If you feel more self-indungent, brands to consider include Lotus, Bugatti, St. Dupont or Xikar.

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