This reliable, well-built lighter eliminates the need for disposable butane models, making it far more environmentally friendly. Rechargeable with the included USB cable. Good for pipe smokers.
Bulkier than other models; awkward to hold in a pocket.
This futuristic-looking lighter is sleek and compact. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery eliminates the need for butane. Comes with a USB cable. Built to last and relatively inexpensive. Excellent overall value (2-pack).
Despite company’s airport-approved claim, some users have reported TSA seizing their lighters.
This simple, elegant lighter is ultra lightweight and excellent for outdoor use since it’s wind resistant and rainproof. Can operate for 4 days on a single charge. More burn area than single arc lighters. Comes in 6 colors and patterns.
Pricier than some models with similar specifications.
This single arc lighter is an excellent, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional butane models. A full charge lasts up to a week. Comes in 6 attractive colors. Designed not to light up if the lid is closed.
Best for cigarettes or candles due to its limited burn area.
Boasts a large, flat surface area, which allows it to light pipes, cigars, water pipes and other challenging items. Works in windy conditions. Doubles as an LED light. Equipped with safety switch. Powerful and lights very quickly.
Questionable longevity. Battery tends to overheat, so it's not the best for large group settings.
Lighters are handy to have around for any number of reasons, but if you’ve ever tried to light one in windy conditions, you know how difficult it can be. Add to that the fact that lighters use butane and contribute to the plastic waste problem, and a lighter may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But plasma lighters solve these problems.
Plasma lighters use electricity from a rechargeable battery to send high voltage between electrodes. This creates a hot plasma arc that can be used to light cigarettes, pipes, candles, or campfires. This results in a more eco-friendly lighter that can be quickly and easily recharged via USB.
This guide can help steer you through the variety of features and other factors you’ll find when shopping for a plasma lighter, in addition to what you can expect to pay. We also recommend several plasma lighters and tell you why we feel they rise above the rest.
One of the primary ways that one plasma lighter differs from another is in the number of plasma arcs, or beams.
Single arc: These lighters have one pair of electrodes and produce one plasma beam that arcs between the two electrodes. Due to the fact that they offer heat over a smaller area, these plasma lighters are better for lighting cigarettes or candles. Single plasma beam lighters have a hard time lighting items with a larger surface area, such as cigars.
Dual arc: These lighters have four electrodes that produce straight or criss-crossed plasma beams. The larger area enabling these lighters to more easily ignite items with a larger surface area, such as cigars. Dual plasma beam lighters are more powerful than single beam lighters and generally better at withstanding wind and moisture.
Plasma lighters recharge via USB and ship with a cord, so you can easily charge them up wherever you have access to a USB port. Recharging typically takes up to two hours. Once charged, you can use a plasma lighter from 100 to 400 times (with an average of 200 to 300), depending on the particular model, at which point it will need to be recharged.
The ionized air between the nodes of a plasma lighter can reach in excess of 1,000°C.
Size: You don’t want a plasma lighter that’s too bulky or heavy. A bulky lighter is both difficult to use and hard to carry around. Look for a lightweight lighter with a slim design if you need both ease of use and portability.
Durability: A plasma lighter should be built to last, preferably out of a material such as stainless steel that’s both durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. A lighter with smooth edges will fit more comfortably in your pocket.
Appearance: Some people think of a plasma lighter as part of their personal image. As such, buy one that matches your style. Most of these lighters are sleek and stylish, with some in a traditional rectangular lighter shape and others with a more rounded, cylindrical shape. In addition to classic stainless steel, many of these lighters come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Button: All plasma lighters have an ignition button, although some are better positioned than others. The button should be near the top of the lighter and positioned so you can easily use the lighter with one hand.
Cap/cover: All the plasma lighters you consider should include some form of cap or cover. A cover helps to protect you from the lighter and protects the inner workings of the lighter from excessive moisture and other contaminants. Caps range from the traditional flip-top design to more creative hinged types.
Safety: Some plasma lighters have an on/off button on the bottom. Some incorporate an additional safety feature and won’t light if the cap is closed. If you have small children and are looking for even more safety features, some plasma lighters have a built-in ignition button. You must press the button rapidly three times to activate the lighter.
Packs: While most plasma lighters are sold individually, occasionally you’ll find some that come in sets of two or more.
Accessories: Some common accessories to look for when shopping include the following:
Cleaning brush for cleaning the electrodes
Lanyard for wearing lighter around the neck for camping, for example
Cylindrical plasma lighters are better suited for lighting pipes, candles, and other hard-to-reach items.
If you smoke cigars, consider using a dual arc plasma lighter.
Prices for plasma lighters generally range from about $13 to $20 and up. At the higher price points, expect to find more durable designs, dual or triple arcs, and a strong battery that can hold a charge for a longer time. With such a narrow price range, it might be worth it to pay more for additional features, accessories, or overall quality. Also check if the manufacturer offers any type of warranty.
Brush residue off the electrodes. To keep your lighter working properly and help prolong its life, gently remove any residue from the electrodes with a brush or a cotton swab soaked in alcohol.
Try a combo lighter for camping. If you’re searching for a plasma lighter to take camping, look for one that combines a lighter and flashlight in one unit.
Read the manual carefully. Manufacturers have different recommendations on the best way to use and care for their lighters.
Keep your lighter away from high temperatures and out of direct sunlight. Both can do long-term damage to the lighter.
Don’t hold down the ignition button. This can damage the battery.
Don’t overcharge your plasma lighter. It can damage the battery. Some lighters incorporate a charging light to monitor this.
We ran across a number of high-quality plasma lighters while researching this guide and wanted to share a few more that caught our interest. The first is the Q&G Dual Arc Lighter, which offers impact resistance and a top clip that locks down to keep out moisture. The Icfun Plasma Lighter is an affordable option with a short 1.5-hour recharge time. It also ships with an attractive box for gifting. Finally, the Scotte Plasma Lighter and LED Flashlight offers up a combination plasma lighter/flashlight that can light cigarettes or candles 150 to 300 times or be used as a flashlight for three to five hours on a charge.
Q. Are plasma lighters TSA approved?
A. Due to the fact that they don’t use a combustible fuel, the TSA has determined that plasma lighters are safe to fly with so long as they’re placed in checked luggage, not carry-on luggage.
Q. What are some of the benefits of a plasma lighter over a traditional lighter?
A. Because there is no flame involved, plasma lighters are pretty much windproof, and moisture isn’t really a factor in terms of using them. Plasma lighters don’t heat up like traditional lighters. Plasma lighters are also more eco-friendly because they don’t use butane and aren’t disposable, which results in less plastic in your local landfill.
Q. How can I tell when a plasma lighter is fully charged?
A. Most plasma lighters include a light that turns on when the lighter is being charged. When the light goes off, the lighter is fully charged and should be unplugged from the power source.
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