Can be recharged via USB. Offers up to 300 uses on a single charge. Easy to light with a single click of a button. Will not light when the lid is closed for added safety. Sleek, elegant design gives the lighter a look and feel all its own.
Can be tough to use the lighter for candles. Lid must be placed in just the right position to get the lighter to work properly.
Includes a convenient built-in rechargeable battery and micro-USB charging cable. Lighter is windproof and splashproof. Sleek gun metal finish is sure to grab your attention. Sold in an attractive gift box. Backed by a one-year manufacturer's warranty.
Lid switch tends to break easily. Sometimes results in a pungent odor when in use.
Includes a long, versatile neck that is easy to adjust. Small lighter is portable and offers a great travel option for camping and other outdoor activities. Lighter automatically turns itself off after 10 seconds. Features plasma technology, ensuring you won't have to worry about harmful chemicals.
Directions can be tough to understand. Tends to make a loud, high-pitch noise during use.
Uses a lithium ion cell to create consistent heat. Lighter is airport-approved, windproof and splashproof. Requires only about 1 hour to recharge the lighter. Lighter is both butane-free and chemical-free. Sold with a one-year manufacturer's warranty.
Does not hold a charge as well as comparable electric lighters. May overheat when you charge the lighter.
Works great as a cigarette lighter or to light candles. Features a high-performance lithium ion battery that ensures you can use the lighter at least 500 times per charge. Available in a wide range of patterns and designs to complement your personal style. Instantly produces a double cross arc plasma beam.
Not intended for use with cigars. Metal casing sometimes gets hot during use.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Pocket-sized lighters have been available for decades. They’re easy to carry and relatively inexpensive. Design upgrades for these types of lighters have been minimal over the years. At least until the introduction of electric arc lighters, that is. These new electric lighters make using a lighter even easier and safer.
An electric lighter sends an electric current with a high voltage through ceramic electrodes in the lighter. The electric arc is exposed to the air between the two electrodes. The arc has a high temperature that can ignite combustible objects like cigarettes or candle wicks. It replicates the flame in a traditional fuel-style lighter.
If you’re shopping for an electric lighter, our guide outlines all you need to know. When you’re ready to buy, check out the matrix above for our top five picks.
There are a couple of important design aspects to keep in mind when shopping for an electric arc lighter.
Some electric lighters have a shape that resembles a traditional fuel lighter. These traditional-style arc lighters have a flip top. The arc is generated from the electrodes that are under the top. Rather than spinning a flint wheel like you would with a fuel lighter, an electric lighter simply has a button that you press.
Rectangular electric lighters can be difficult to use for lighting a barbecue grill or reaching a wick inside a candle jar, however. For those situations, you may want a wand-shaped electric lighter. These lighters are long and thin, making it easier to reach into tight spaces. With a wand-shaped fuel lighter, the flame extends out of the end of a tube. With a wand-style electric lighter, the arc also appears at the end of the tube.
Number of arcs
When selecting an electric lighter, you can pick between one or two arcs. Double-arc lighters are more complex than single-arc lighters, using four electrodes. Dual-arc lighters require more hardware and cost a little more than single-arc lighters. A few years ago, single-arc lighters were far more common. However, these days there are more dual-arc electric lighters on the market.
Select a double-arc electric lighter if you want a unit that can light larger objects easily. Cigars or fireworks with thick fuses light better with a double-arc lighter. Single-arc lighters work nicely for cigarettes or candles with average-size wicks.
Electric lighters typically contain a micro USB port that you use for charging the device instead of a full-size USB port.
Although all electric lighters use the same technology to create the arc, they have a handful of different features.
When an electric lighter is plugged into a USB cable and charging, it’s not available to use. So a fast charge time is a helpful feature. On average, an electric lighter needs 60 to 90 minutes to fully charge.
Metal is the most durable material for any electric lighter. If the case has any plastic in it, the lighter may not last as long. A lighter with zinc or a zinc alloy in the case will resist scratches as you carry it in your pocket.
Color and design
One of the best things about a high-quality fuel lighter is the variety of color and design options. Electric lighters are also available in multiple colors and designs, mimicking their fuel lighter counterparts.
If you are taking your electric lighter camping or hiking, you will want a design that stands up to the elements. A waterproof electric lighter has a flip top that locks in place. This ensures that it won’t pop open as you’re moving through rough terrain, potentially getting wet.
TSA regulations allow airplane passengers to carry an electric arc lighter in checked baggage. Fuel-based lighters are not allowed in checked baggage.
Electric lighters do cost quite a bit more than plastic disposable fuel lighters, but they’re similar in cost to high-quality metal fuel lighters that you refill.
For an off-the-shelf electric lighter, you can expect to pay roughly $8 to $20. Lighters with a larger capacity per charge and dual-arc lighters cost closer to $20. Single-arc lighters with a small capacity per charge will cost around $8.
Considering you can use an electric lighter thousands of times and never have to worry about running out of fuel, it’s a good value. Plastic disposable fuel lighters usually cost $1 to $2 per lighter. But buying these lighters will add up quickly versus recharging and using the same electric lighter over and over.
Some electric lighters may cost more than $20. Those sold as keepsakes with engraving will cost more, as will those designed as luxury gifts. You can expect to pay $20 to $50 for these items.
An electric lighter can typically create between 100 and 200 sparks per charge. However, some high-capacity electric lighters can create as many as 300 sparks per charge.
An electric lighter has some specific features you’ll want to understand. Here are some tips to help you use your electric lighter more successfully.
The electric arc lighters listed in our matrix will give most users the features they need. However, if you need a few special features, here are some other units we considered. If you use your electric lighter frequently, having an LED battery power indicator is handy. The Megatriz Electric Arc Lighter uses LED lights to let you know when it’s time to recharge. One of the most rugged electric lighters we’ve found is the Icfun Waterproof Dual-Arc Electric Lighter. The flip lid locks in place until you need to use the lighter. For a wand-style electric lighter, we really like the Ancwzoz Candle Electric Lighter. It has a flexible tube, meaning you can bend it in almost any direction to direct the arc to tough-to-reach areas. If you want a cool-looking design, the Kivors Electronic Double-Arc Lighter fits the bill. It has a Chinese dragon design in a multitude of bold colors.
Q. How does an electric lighter work?
A. An electric lighter uses a small arc of electricity to ignite combustible items. A pair of ceramic electrodes contain the arc. The lighter generates the electrical arc using electromagnetic induction that’s activated when you press a button. As long as you hold the button down, the lighter will generate the arc.
Q. How do I recharge an electric lighter?
A. An electric arc lighter contains a USB port. You charge the electric lighter with a USB charger. Most lighters ship with a USB cord, but occasionally you may have to purchase a cord separately. This is rare, however.
Q. What are some advantages of electric lighters over traditional fuel lighters?
A. Fuel lighters create an actual flame, which means they also release contaminants in the air. A fuel lighter’s body heats up as you use it, while an electric lighter’s body remains cool to the touch. If you’re trying to light something in windy conditions, the electric arc is not affected by wind. An electric lighter contains no fuel, so there’s no chance of it leaking if punctured.
Q. Is an electric lighter safe to use?
A. Electric lighters don’t generate an actual flame, so they’re easier to control than the flame on fuel lighters. However, if you accidentally touch the arc of electricity the lighter generates, you will likely get a slight burn. This is similar to the type of burn you’d receive from the flame of a fuel lighter, just more concentrated. Touching the arc will not give you an electric shock.
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