BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Designed for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities with an included survival whistle and paracord. Recharges in under 2 hours and provides 300 uses between charges. Available in a variety of colors. Dual arc lighting head is protected by a water-tight cap.
The charging indicator light is less exact than other lighters. Emits a high-frequency sound that some can hear.
A single charge can be used up to 600 times thanks to the efficient battery and the automatic shut-off. Multiple safety features ensure user protection. Lighter is wind-proof and splash-proof.
No USB-C charger means it takes longer to charge up.
Huge battery capacity in a USB lighter that can deliver up to 1,000 uses on a charge. Includes a child-resistant switch to prevent accidental ignitions. With the wand-style design in this USB lighter, it's easy to use.
Some problems with quality control, as the USB lighter occasionally stops holding a charge after a few uses.
The long-neck design promotes safety and makes it easy to light up candles and grills. The 15-degree angled head makes it easier to use. Safety features including 3-click activation make this a safer option.
No USB-C charger.
Available in a gold or silver zinc alloy with an attractive dragon design. Features a sloped dual arc head. Up to 500 uses per charge and can be recharged in 1.5 hours. Has 7-second auto-shutoff. Single LED light indicates when it is charging.
Scattered reports of recharging issues soon after purchase.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Whether you keep a lighter near your humidor for evening quiet time or use one to light candles for mealtime ambiance, you’re likely tired of the mess and smell of refilling it or adding disposable ones to the landfill when they’re empty. If you’ve ever struggled to light one in the wind or rain while camping, you know the frustration. The solution is a USB lighter.
Regardless of what you need a lighter for, you can’t go wrong with a flameless USB lighter. These rechargeable lighters can go from mountaintop to cocktail party with the ease of recharging your phone. They’re wind- and water-resistant, and one can really make an impression with its plasma arc display.
USB lighters don’t produce a flame, but they still need a way to light your candles. The technology involves arcs of highly charged plasma (its temperature can reach 1,100°F) that pass between two or more nodes. The number of nodes can vary.
Single arc lighters have one arc of plasma passing between two nodes. Dual (or double) arc lighters have two arcs and four nodes. While less common, you can also find lighters with three arcs and six nodes.
The more uses a USB lighter gives you per charge, the longer you can go before having to recharge it. This use range can vary considerably depending on the lighter, with some USB lighters providing 150 uses per charge and others providing 1,000. The average for lighters of this type is around 500.
You also want to verify how long it takes to recharge the lighter because some can take hours to fully power up. The average recharge time varies, but a few hours is fairly common.
USB lighters come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and styles. While some look like traditional butane-fueled lighters, others are more elegant, and some are long (some with a flexible neck) and excel at lighting container candles. They all tend to be lightweight, but some are more compact and better suited for slipping into a purse or pocket.
Most USB lighters come one to an order, but you can find some in pairs, particularly the long, flexible-necked lighters. If you’re interested in getting more than one lighter, you can usually save some money by getting two. Make sure you know how many you’re getting when you place your order.
While some manufacturers of USB lighter use some form of composite or plastic (for better waterproofing or to keep the price low), the usual material used for the outer shell is stainless steel or a zinc alloy. Zinc alloy is particularly prized because it’s both lightweight and durable and can be easily textured to provide a better grip.
We mentioned some shapes earlier, but we also want to briefly touch on the flip top that some USB lighters have that provides several key functions:
The buttons and switches that operate USB lighters vary, but you won’t find many on most of these lighters. Some use buttons to turn on the plasma; others use a switch or touch-sensitive LED screen. Whatever buttons or switches the device has, they should be easy to use so you aren’t constantly fiddling with a misfiring lighter.
In addition to a lockable flip top, some lighters have a built-in child safety switch that must be pressed and unlocked before the power button can be pushed. This can also keep the USB lighter from triggering accidentally when it’s in your purse or pocket.
Some USB lighters designed to light cigars, cigarettes, and pipes have a dual ignition switch that allows you to change from cigar to pipe safely and comfortably.
Another safety feature on USB lighters is an auto shutoff, which shuts down the lighter after several seconds to keep it from getting damaged by the high temperatures.
Look for a USB lighter with an indicator to notify you when the charge is running low. This can be as simple as one LED that lights up when it’s time to plug in the lighter, or a series of several lights that provide you with a more detailed view of the amount of charge remaining. Some USB lighters have an LED screen that tracks the current charge level.
Your USB lighter should come with a charging cable (which you’ll probably need to use right out of the box). While you won’t find a lot of other extras with these lighters, some common ones include the following:
USB lighters start at $7 to $10. In this range, the lighters are simple and small, often in the form of no-frills, single arc candle lighters. They have fewer uses per charge (usually under 500) and little in the way of special features.
In the $10 to $15 range, you can find more durable USB lighters in more designs, everything from simple personal lighters to sturdier candle lighters. They may be single or dual arc and have more uses per charge (around 500). Safety features like flip tops and childproof switches are common here.
In the $15 to $20 and higher price range, USB lighters have a more accurate charge indicator and more elegant designs. Multipacks and uses per charge of up to 1,000 are common here.
A. Some retailers claim that you can legally travel with their USB lighters, but this isn’t currently the case. While the TSA does say that any final decision rests with the officer screening you, you’re generally not allowed to travel with any type of USB-powered lighter in either your carry-on or checked bags.
A. One unique aspect of USB lighters is that they can make a high-pitched noise that some people find annoying. This noise varies depending on the lighter and the person using it. Some people can detect the frequency of the sound while others can’t.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.