The venerable lighter hasn’t been around nearly as long as most people think. They first showed up about 100 years ago but have been an essential part of the gentleman’s EDC ever since. Even with the drop in smoking pretty much across the board, a lighter is one of those tools everyone should carry. Afterall, you never know when you’ll need to make a fire. To that end we’ve put together a list of 10 of the best windproof lighters available today to help you pick out the best lighter for you.
- 1 Best Windproof Lighters
- 1.1 Zippo Matte Pocket Lighters
- 1.2 LcFun Waterproof USB Rechargeable Electric Lighter with Flashlight
- 1.3 LcFun Waterproof Explorer Dual Plasma Lighter
- 1.4 Tesla Coil USB Rechargeable Windproof Arc Lighter
- 1.5 SOTO Outdoors Pocket Torch XT
- 1.6 SPPARX Flameless Windproof Plasma Lighter
- 1.7 Bic Mini Lighter
- 1.8 Mantello Catador Triple Jet Flame
- 1.9 Vertigo Triple Torch Lighter
- 1.10 Bolt Windproof Coil Slim Lighter
- 1.11 UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit – Special Mention
- 2 Buyers Guide for Choosing the Best Windproof Lighter
- 3 Final Thoughts
Best Windproof Lighters
Picking a high-quality windproof lighter used to be easy. There were a few big players and lots of imitators but the technology being used was basically the same.
Nowadays there are so many different types of lighters out there that choosing a single best windproof lighter is almost impossible. The list below includes several options from each major category of lighter to help you find one that works for your needs.
Zippo Matte Pocket Lighters
Zippo lighters are probably one of the most iconic pieces of Americana in the world. Who hasn’t seen one in a movie, tv show, or their dads pocket?
They’ve been making windproof naphtha style lighters to the same high-quality design since 1936. They became The American Lighter during WWII and are still beloved tools in use by millions of people to this day. The Zippo Matte line of pocket lighters use the classic Zippo body design in a ruggedized metal case. They have that same flip open lid that’s so satisfying to while away the time with.
They’re available in a huge variety of colors and designs and are honestly one of the best lighters to have in an emergency. The only real downside to a Zippo is how often you’ll need to refill the reservoir. Lighter fluid evaporates, so unless you use your lighter regularly it’s easy to forget to refill it.
Other than that though any Zippo lighter is a living piece of history. A go anywhere, light anytime bit of Americana that’s perfect to round out a classic EDC.
Z-Plus Torch Lighter Insert
Want to carry a Zippo but worried you’ll forget to refill the lighter fluid? The Z-Plus Torch Insert is the answer to your prayers. It’s a standard butane torch style windproof lighter designed to fit perfectly in the housing of a classic Zippo.
Installing it takes just seconds.
Pull out the Zippo original and slip the Z-Plus in. It provides the same satisfying click when you flip it out and close it but gives you a modern torch lighter. You can adjust the size of the flame using a spin wheel next to the butane fill port.
LcFun Waterproof USB Rechargeable Electric Lighter with Flashlight
In a move no one predicted LcFun created a useful hybrid of a flashlight and a lighter. It’s one of those things that’s obvious once someone does it but pretty much inconceivable before.
A plasma arc style lighter, it shares its battery with a small LED flashlight in a waterproof body. The whole thing seals up tight when not in use and is protected from the elements. This gives you both a quality plasma lighter and a rechargeable LED flashlight in one small package.
If you’re anything like us you love multi role tools. This fits that bill in spades. It’s a useful lighter plus a nice little flashlight. What’s not to like?
LcFun Waterproof Explorer Dual Plasma Lighter
The LcFun Explorer plasma lighter is a waterproofed arc style lighter with double the ignition power found on similar products. It uses two criss-crossed lines of plasma capable of lighting just about anything on fire.
The Explorer is a fully rechargeable product with a lithium ion battery. What really sets it apart from the crowd is its fully waterproofed design. It uses a latched o-ring seal around the lighter itself to exclude all water. We wouldn’t recommend submerging it long-term but for accidental drops and splashes it’s good to go.
To get it going just release the latch, flip the lid open, and press the igniter button. Instantly two beams of plasma will light up to get your fire or cigarette going. One thing we really loved was the automatic safety cut off. The Explorer turns off the plasma after 7 seconds of continuous use. The battery is good for around a week or so of standby time between charges.
If you want a ruggedized and weather proof plasma arc lighter the LcFun Dual Plasma Explorer is a great option.
Tesla Coil USB Rechargeable Windproof Arc Lighter
The Tesla Coil Arc Lighter is a plasma lighter that uses advanced technology to light your fires. It includes a USB rechargeable lithium ion battery that provides you with up to 300 uses or a week of standby time.
To turn it on you just press the button on the front. It ignites soundlessly but creates a very interesting purple arc of plasma. You can use it to light cigarettes, candles, or ignite a piece of tinder. One very important safety feature is the ignition disconnect. The Tesla Coil won’t ignite if the lid is close. This keeps it safely deactivated while in your pocket.
It’s a cool addition to your EDC but one you have to remember to charge. As long as you’re okay with that you’ll definitely enjoy it.
SOTO Outdoors Pocket Torch XT
The Pocket Torch XT from SOTO Outdoors is a technical lighter build for the serious hiker or bushcrafter. It’s a butane torch style lighter on steroids. The XT is a big lighter and looks a lot more purpose built than the classic rectangular lighters most people are used to.
It has a single large butane torch to produce a very hot flame. We’re talking 2,300 degrees fahrenheit hot. If you can’t get a fire going with the XT you’re not going to have a fire that night.
You can adjust the size of the flame and even telescope out the main burner into something resembling a grill lighter. Being able to add several inches between your soft fingers and burning tinder is always a good thing in our book. The XT is fully refillable with standard butane fuel.
Even better, the SOTO Pocket Torch XT isn’t super expensive. You can usually find it for well under $30. All in all it’s a well made outdoor lighter for the committed outdoorsman.
SPPARX Flameless Windproof Plasma Lighter
The SPPARX Dual Arc Plasma Lighter combines the latest lighter technology with beautiful design aesthetics. It’s built to be a space age tool you’re proud to carry every day.
The body of the SPPARX is made from a matte finished zinc alloy designed to resist scratches and fingerprints. It can be triggered by pressing the button on the front of the body. It has two arcing plasma sparks that are perfect to ignite cigarettes and other small objects. For outdoor use we recommend you light a piece of paper or other tinder.
The SPPARX gives you up to 300 sparks per charge. You can top off the lithium ion battery using the included USB cable. Overall the SPPARX Plasma Lighter is a beautifully designed EDC lighter that’s fun to use and hold.
Bic Mini Lighter
There’s not much for us to explain about Bic lighters. They’re ubiquitous, high quality, and available for just over a dollar a piece.
The mini Bic’s are slightly shorter than the originals and fit great in pockets, bags, or anywhere really. For that low price you get a great little lighter that works under most conditions. You can adjust the size of the flame with the knob on the bottom.
If you just want a reliable, low cost lighter the Bic Mini Lighter is the way to go.
Mantello Catador Triple Jet Flame
The Mantello Catador is a butane jet style lighter with three conjoined torches. It’s designed for use as a high-end cigar lighter but is equally capable of lighting campfires or melting off paracord.
It uses a piezoelectric ignition system that lights up on the first push every time. You can adjust the size of the flame with a small knob on the bottom of the lighter. This lets you go from fuel saving basic to a very large and potent flame.
The body of the Mantello Catador is made from plastic and metal with a very nice finish. For the cigar lovers out there it also has a cigar punch built right in.
The Mantello Catador is an excellent cigar lighter that looks good in the boardroom but still performs in the field. Overall a good product that lasts.
Vertigo Triple Torch Lighter
The Vertigo Triple Torch is a high powered lighter with three separate torch nozzles. It’s triggered with a quartz piezoelectric igniter and provides a very powerful flame.
Like all torch lighters the Vertigo is totally windproof and great for outdoor use. With three powerful torch lighters in one it creates a significant flame. The body is made of durable molded plastic and is fully refillable.
If you want a torch lighter that goes to the next level check out the Vertigo Triple Torch.
Bolt Windproof Coil Slim Lighter
For an electric coil lighter the Bolt Windproof slim lighter gives you all the functionality you need in a very small package. It’s just 3.25 inches long and has a USB rechargeable lithium ion battery.
To operate the Bolt you slide open the cover and let the coil heat up. It’s extremely fast and ready to light your smokes or ignite a piece of paper in seconds. Because of its coil design it produces no open flame and is totally safe to use.
If you’re looking for a quality electric coil style lighter the Bolt Slim Lighter is a great option.
UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit – Special Mention
In a wet and windy survival situation lighters aren’t your only option. Titan storm matches are extra large and designed to burn for up to 25 seconds in any conditions. They’ll even keep burning underwater.
The UCO Stormproof Match Kit gives you a full dozen Titan matches, 3 striker strips, and a waterproof carry case with lanyard. The whole thing is just 4.5 inches long and extremely lightweight. One of the best things about this kit is how reusable it is. Once you burn through the included matches you can get more Titan’s or put regular strike anywhere matches in.
The UCO Stormproof Match Kit is a great addition to any bug out bag or other emergency preparedness kit.
Buyers Guide for Choosing the Best Windproof Lighter
The market for windproof lighters has several major technological and functional divides. We put together the most common features and factors to think about when making your decision.
With windproof lighters price is rarely a factor. You can get cheap disposable lighters for under a dollar, and one that will last you a lifetime for $20-$30.
If you want to get into more exotic lighters you can spend more but you definitely don’t have to in order to get a quality windproof lighter.
Common Lighter Terms Explained
Originally there was only one type lighter available. Nowadays though there are butane, fluid, and even fully electronic lighters to choose from. Here’s a breakdown of the major types of lighters on the market and how they function.
Naphtha Lighters – Naphtha, commonly called lighter fluid, white gas or camping fuel, is used in old school camping stoves and lanterns. It’s different from kerosene but has similar properties. Naphtha lighters were the first type of lighters created and are still popular today.
They use a wick wrapped around and through an absorbent material. This is contained in a metal container and soaked with naphtha. The most common naphtha lighter on the market is made by Zippo. The classic flint and wick Zippo Windproof Lighter is still widely used today.
Naphtha is easy to find, inexpensive, and reliable. The only real downside to naphtha lighters is how quickly the fuel evaporates. If you leave a naphtha lighter in your pocket it will be out of fuel in a week or so just from the warmth of your body. Unless you use and refuel your lighter frequently this can be problem.
Butane Lighters – When most people think of a lighter they’re actually picturing a butane one. It’s your classic open flame style lighter. It’s made up of a canister of liquid butane and a small nozzle that expels the gas.
When you trigger the igniter, usually a flint wheel or piezoelectric mechanism, it generates an ignition source and lights the butane gas released. The benefits of this type of lighter over the older wick and reservoir mainly relate to storage.
A butane lighter can sit for years and still light right away. As long as the gas doesn’t evaporate from the reservoir or the nozzle corrode it will light right up. These have a ‘soft’ flame that flickers more in the wind than other types of lighters. Keep in mind what conditions you want to use your lighter in before making a purchase.
Jet/Torch Lighters – A torch lighter still uses butane for fuel. It upgrades the nozzle system by mixing the butane with air before ignition. This helps generate a pressure difference and creates the torch or jet effect of the flame.
It also creates a lot more heat. Torch lighters are great for wet, windy conditions as they won’t go out. They can also dry out materials to help start a fire. Like standard butane lighters jet style lighters don’t evaporate off fuel unless the container is compromised. You can carry one around for years and still reliably light a fire with it.
Plasma Lighters – Plasma lighters, also known as electric arc or Tesla coil lighters, use high-voltage electrical current to generate a small beam of plasma. They have two metal posts on either side of a gap.
When triggered plasma arcs between these posts and generates highly focused heat. They’re battery charged and honestly look really cool when you turn them on. There’s either one or two glowing beams of what is basically man made lightning in your hand.
That sounds a bit ominous but is actually very safe. The plasma instantly generates over 2,000 degrees fahrenheit of heat. This is enough to quickly light just about anything.
The only real downside to this type of lighter is that it has to be recharged regularly and can be vulnerable to water damage if not properly waterproofed.
Electric Coil Lighters – If you’ve ridden in an older car you’ve no doubt seen a dash cigarette lighter. Those were electric coil lighters. They work by running electricity through a metal coil to heat it up.
Most get orange or even white hot and are great for lighting cigarettes, cigars, or creating an ember for a fire. They can be vulnerable to water damage but are otherwise reliable and fully functional lighters.
Disposable Lighters – The majority of disposable lighters are of the butane soft flame style. They’re cheap, reliable, and give you a lot of lights in a very small package.
When it comes right down to it the best emergency lighter is probably going to be a disposable version. You can buy 10 or 20 of them for just a few dollars and put them in your car, house, and emergency bags.
If you want a great EDC lighter you’re probably looking for something longer lasting than a BIC lighter. Any quality windproof lighter will be refillable. Whether it’s a Zippo style wet lighter fluid or the more common pressurized liquid butane.
Find out what fuel type your lighter runs on and if the manufacturer recommends a specific type or variety. Some really high-end lighters are a bit persnickety and can get gummed up by cheaper fuels.
If you have a plasma or other electric lighter find out how many lights you get between charges. Also check how long it will hold a charge just sitting in your pocket. Nothing worse than needing a lighter and getting a low battery signal.
LIghts Between Recharges or Refills
One important thing to consider is how often you’ll need to refill your lighter. Right off the bat we should say that plasma and electric coil lighters consistently require the most charging. You’ll need to top them off at least once a week no matter what.
Naphtha style lighters are next in maintenance. If you carry around an unsealed version you’ll find it out of fuel in a week or even less. Butane lighters are hands down the best in terms of refueling and lighting.
They provide hundreds of lights per tank of fuel and won’t evaporate or discharge when not being used.
When you’re cold and wet outdoors is when you really need a fire. Most lighters are at least partially waterproof. Cheaper ones will rapidly corrode if left submerged but as long as you quickly dry them off they’ll take a splash or quick dunk.
The exceptions to this are some of the plasma or electric coil style lighters. These are more like electronics than traditional lighters. If you carry one of these, check to make sure they’ve got o-ring seals and other waterproofing measures.
You’re definitely not starved for choice when it comes to the best windproof lighters. There are literally thousands of possibilities, in hundreds of varieties.
We’ve done our best to narrow the field and help you pick out some of the features that you need in a lighter. Make sure you know how you plan to use your lighter, where you’ll carry it, and how often you need to use it between refueling/recharging.
As long as you keep the essentials in mind you’re sure to find one you love.