In the last couple of years, the art of setting something ablaze has reached new heights thanks to a sudden influx of reinvented lighters. Butane-based lighters were once the norm, but nowadays you can get yourself a decent-functioning electric lighter that can be conveniently recharged at the nearest USB port! Nothing is better than being able to charge your lighter, right? Unless you don’t have a charger, that is! But lucky for you, we’ve got you covered there, too, with our super helpful, super thorough reviews of the best AC adapters
, charging stations
, and portable chargers
. Of course, any old laptop or desktop computer will do the job just as well.
Even though battery-operated electronics tend to be heavy, the lighters we've managed to find are both lightweight and small. You can’t really tell an electric lighter from a butane one if you look at them from a distance. Up close, though, these two kinds of lighters are quite different. For example, instead of a flame that's sparked by the combination of fuel and a striker, you get a little electric arc
that's much smaller and emits less heat into its immediate surroundings. The arc electronic lighters can be handy in a number of situations, such as lighting a candle, because unless you place your fingers right on the lighter’s arcs, you can’t really burn yourself.
Although electric lighters come in all types of shapes, sizes, and even textures, you’ll find that some companies market their lighters as being specific to one task (lighting up the BBQ, for example). Of course, you’re free to use your lighter for whatever you’d like once you purchase it (unless you think the company is watching you), but take note of the lighter’s size and shape. A candle lighter, as you may have guessed, will be longer and thinner, and therefore not really suitable for carrying on your person.
If you’re looking specifically for a cigarette lighter—something small and lightweight for your pocket—you’ll likely want a lighter that has a shape similar to the well-known Zippo lighters. But you can also find lighters that are short and thin, which are best suited for those times when you need your lighter to be incognito (if you parents don’t know you smoke, for example. These shorter, thinner lighters will fit right in your shirt pocket).
Electric lighters may sound all high-tech, but if you look at their components, you'll see that they're actually of a simpler construction than their fuel-guzzling counterparts, and therefore cost much less. For about $14, you can get a nice electric lighter that’ll likely serve you well for a few years. You can also spend more—around $40—for a higher quality lighter. Ultimately, how much you spend will depend on what you need the lighter for and how frequently you need it.
This is one of those rare cases where you actually can’t get a cheap USB lighter because the cheapest price does tend to hover around $13 to $15. So, go crazy this time around and buy yourself two lighters since you won’t be needing to shell out extra cash for a slightly upgraded, slightly higher quality model (unless you want to, of course).
In a time where e-cigarettes and vaping have become so popular, it’s rare to see a smoker with an electric lighter. Although butane won’t necessarily hurt a smoker (the cigarettes are doing far more damage anyway), it isn’t good for the environment, especially if you’re using your lighter many, many times throughout the day.
One of the advantages of buying an electric lighter is that the amount of charge the lighter carries is based on the number of times you can light it (for example, some electric ones you can ignite 50-100 times before it needs more juice). If you smoke too much and want to cut back, an electric lighter can help you keep track of how many cigarettes you’ve smoked.
In the list that follows, we've compiled the most important characteristics you should pay attention to as you’re considering which lighter to buy:
- Single or dual arc
- Protective cap or ‘lid’
- On/off switch
- Time it takes to charge
- Charging cable
- Battery life
- Battery life indicator
Whether you need all these features or just some of them will depend on what you want to use your lighter for.
Construction and Design
Electric lighters come in two major variants. They're either big and elongated and used for lighting candles, barbecues, and other awkwardly positioned objects, or they’rethe shape and size of an ‘every day’ lighter and are great for lighting cigarettes and occasionally burning people you don’t like (we’re joking, of course!).
As far as designs go, it’ll depend on the brand you choose to go with. Some brands go all out on their designs, especially if the lighter is square or rectangular, while the more tubular-shaped lighters tend to remain glossy or matte black. You can, however, find lighters with Star Wars characters, Rastafarian themed, woodgrain, Matrix inspired designs, and tons more. Some companies offer engraving, too, so if you do spring for a luxury-priced USB lighter, you may want to engrave at least your name on it just in case you drop or leave it somewhere by mistake!
Performance and Ease of Use
Lighters have never really been difficult to use. Just a simple click of your fingers and viola! You've got yourself a flame. Electrical lighters work on pretty much the same principle, except instead of the striker wheel working in combination with the fuel lever, you just have a single button to push and that's it!
Some models feature an on/off button to help you preserve the battery life, so if pushing your lighter’s button doesn’t work, try seeing if it has a switch on the side or bottom. Similarly, the lighters are usually built with some safety mechanisms in place, like not igniting when the lid or cap is on, so if pushing the button doesn’t work, check to ensure the lid is completely away from the arcs.
It’s worth mentioning that these lighters don't need to be recharged all the time. Your use will determine how often you need to charge it, but charging usually only takes an hour or two. That being said, when you do first charge your lighter, make sure to let it charge for a good, long while to juice up the battery.
Even though electric lighters are still a bit of a novelty on the market, there are already so many different models that trying to figure out which one is best suited for you can get confusing! In order to get you through it, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 USB lighter brands and chosen one lighter from each brand to showcase. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and read!
Having a lighter that’s not only electric, but also rechargeable, gives you more flexibility in a variety of lighter-based situations, whether you need to light up the BBQ, a candle, or even a cigarette. If you'd like to keep yourself from refilling butane lighters, all while saving some polar bear cubs in the process, we recommend you get yourself one of these eco-friendly USB lighters! They look just like the regular ones, but are much more convenient and can easily be recharged wherever.