Choosing the right cigar lighter is as important as choosing the right stogie. It can make or break your smoking experience. Think about the craftsmanship that goes into each cigar. You owe it to the artisan to ensure an even burn, tasting the true essence and flavors they intended. That’s why not any old lighter will do.
Lighting a cigar isn’t as simple as lighting a candle or cigarette, but using the correct light to create the flame will help. Let’s look at the different types of lighters so you can get maximum enjoyment out of your stogie.
Why do you need a cigar lighter?
Incredible thought goes into constructing a cigar. Each comprises three carefully selected components (a binder, filler, and wrapper) contributing to the flavor profile.
Avoid using matches, as they will alter the taste and aromas of your smoke. A match is dipped in sulfur to help it ignite so, when breathed in, this will interfere with your entire stogie. Matches also result in an uneven light.
Similarly, stay away from cheap, disposable lighters. They take an age to ignite a cigar, and the foot will only be reasonably hot. Some turn to these lighters to save money (and stress) on a fishing trip or the golf course in case they accidentally drop it in a pond. However, if you can afford it, investing in a good-quality lighter is always best.
Fluid lighters (zippo lighters) can be picked up from your local supermarket, but they’re not designed for smoking cigars. There isn’t one type of fuel used in these types of lighters, but they will inevitably impact the flavor of your cigar. Of course, you will be none the wiser about what you’re lighting up with, so don’t risk potentially spoiling your smoke with toxic chemicals like naphtha.
Cigar connoisseurs will nearly always recommend a butane gas lighter. Unlike traditional lighter fluids, butane is a clean gas that is odorless and tasteless. Lighting your stogie with a butane lighter will bring nothing but the purest flavor from your stick. Cigar lighters come in various shapes, sizes, and prices to suit all cigar lovers, so what should newcomers look for in a cigar lighter?
What should you look for choosing a cigar lighter?
The look and size of your cigar lighter are two factors that can influence your decision. Let’s first look at the two most common types of gas lighter — soft flame lighters and jet lighters (also known as torch lighters).
Soft flame lighters
Burning around 1400 degrees, soft flame lighters have a far less intense flame than a jet lighter. Subsequently, they take a little longer to light the cigar but allow you to enjoy the craftsmanship’s full effect and subtle flavor nuances. A soft flame gives you more control over the light, with some models featuring a double flame for lighting larger ring cigars. They are best suited for indoor environments, as the slightest breeze can extinguish the flame.
This cigar lighter type also requires less maintenance, as they have no jets to clean and fewer components that can malfunction compared to torch flame lighters.
Burning around 1,400 degrees, soft flame lighters require more patience, but the soft flame they produce won’t easily burn or char your stogie. They also make for a great travel lighter, unlike a torch lighter, which would be confiscated due to TSA restrictions.
Jet lighters produce a much hotter and more powerful flame that quickly burns and lights the cigar. They are available in single, double, triple, and quadruple jets. Some are even designed with angled jets to release a more concentrated flame.
The intense hi-temperature jet flame makes these types of cigar lighters well suited to off-grid and outdoor activities such as fishing and golf. Some jet lighters are wind-resistant or wind-proof, so turn to these during the windier times of the year.
If your cigar burns unevenly, a torch lighter is practical for touch-ups. It enables you to accurately zone in on areas where the cigar’s wrapper leaf is burning out of sync with the rest of the stick.
However, they don’t fare well with smaller ring-gauge smokes because of the high flame intensity causing them to burn easily. This is why you should only use jet lighters on ring gauges of 48 and above.
It’s important to remember that jet lighters burn at approximately 2300 degrees, double the temperature of a soft flame. Avoid holding the flame too close to the cigar’s foot and for too long when toasting to avoid incinerating it and ruining its taste.
What else do I need to consider?
No matter your stogie experience, lighting your cigar should be as easy as possible. Single-action ignition lighters are fuss-free and straightforward to operate with one hand, leaving your other hand free to hold your beloved stick.
If you carry your torch lighter in a pocket or bag, the jets can become clogged by lint and dust. This diminishes the flame it creates. If you opt for a jet lighter, choose one with a lid that can seamlessly retract to ensure a consistent flame for optimum performance, and keep the lighter clear of debris.
Nothing is more frustrating than going to light your cigar and finding out your lighter is empty. Lighters with a transparent tank or window panel enable you to see exactly how much fuel you have left.
Cigar lighters are available in a range of colors and patterns, from classic to futuristic designs. Of course, this should never be prioritized above the lighter’s reliability, but you’ll still want a lighter that looks good for the places and times you typically put fire to foot. For example, if you prefer to smoke at your desk at home, a table lighter would be practical.
Whatever cigar lighter you choose, it needs to easily and gently toast your cigar without spoiling it with unpleasant tastes or odors. That way, your face will also light up, leaving you to enjoy your stogies to their full potential.