My E-Lighter Review

The trouble with cigarette lighters is that they usually stop working pretty rapidly. At my request, my father bought me an expensive lighter for my 21st birthday. It looked really cool. Except that it stopped working after a few weeks. And that was a very deep disappointment. The damn thing even had my name inscribed on it.

I had a similar experience a few years ago, when I bought another (fairly) expensive lighter. And that stopped working after a few months.

So now I always buy cheap £1 or 50p refillable gas lighters. They’ll usually last a few weeks, and then they’ll refuse to light up. Or, more frequently, they’ll get temperamental. Sometimes they’ll light up, and sometimes they won’t. And when they hardly ever light up at all, I throw them away.

So when I bought four e-lighters back in June, at about £1.50 each, I expected that they’d last about as long as cheap refillables. I expected the little electric heating element to burn out or break after a few days or weeks. And I also expected that they’d only light about 10 or 20 cigarettes before needing to be recharged.

In the event, 6 months after acquiring them, I still haven’t managed to wear out the first one that I started using. And I’ve only recharged it 3 or 4 times. But then, I haven’t been using it very frequently. I mostly only use it when sat in the kind of windy pub gardens in which regular gas lighter flames get blown out if not carefully shielded. Otherwise I prefer using gas lighters.

And the reason for this is that gas lighters – if they’re working – are easier to use. You put the cigarette in your mouth, click the lighter to light the flame, raise the flame to the tip of the cigarette, inhale briefly, and, lo, you have a lit cigarette to enjoy. It only takes a couple of seconds.

But with this little e-lighter, it’s not that simple. First you have to slide the heating element out of its casing, then you have to wait as the element heats up and starts glowing, and then you have to carefully guide the tip of the cigarette onto the element, and press it firmly and squarely against the hot element before it automatically shuts off after three seconds or so, and then inhale to draw embers into the cigarette to fully light it, and then finally you have to slide the element back into the casing. And that takes about 7 seconds Which is 3 or 4 times longer than with a regular gas lighter.

Also, it requires a bit of concentration. Particularly to aim the tip of the cigarette at the element, and land it accurately on it in the brief window of opportunity that is available. And that can be a bit like landing an F-15 on an aircraft carrier. It takes a lot of practice. I quite often need to have to steady the cigarette with the other hand.

Any number of things can go wrong. And when the cigarette has been lit, it’s often only one side of the most extreme end of it that is alight, and this needs to be nursed to full flame. With a gas lighter, the flame encompasses the entire tip of the cigarette, and the flame takes hold very rapidly.

Also, my roll-ups are about half the diameter of regular cigarettes, and it’s easy to miss the element, which doesn’t entirely fill the niche in which it’s mounted: the circular niche has a diameter of 1 cm, and the element inside it has a diameter of 0.5 cm. Worse still, most of my roll-ups don’t have tobacco right the way up to the tip, and so the element usually only lights the paper. I’ve found that I need to twist the paper into a knot that can be pressed firmly against the element. So add another 2 seconds doing that. It takes 5 times longer to light a roll-up with an e-lighter.

Which is why I mostly only use it when I have to. Usually I just reach for a gas lighter.

Apart from that, I’m surprised at how reliable it is. As the battery charge runs down, all that happens is that the element glows a duller and duller red. But it always glows, every time. It might be slow, but it’s pretty reliable. And, after 6 months, it’s still working. The element didn’t break or wear out. It sometimes gets clogged with ash, but that’s easy to brush off. And it’s easy to recharge: just stick it in a USB  socket for an hour or two. No need to keep cans of gas. No need to peer through the plastic to see what the liquid level is.

Verdict: Robust but rather slow.

What’s needed, I think, is a quicker way to deploy the element. And a faster element warm-up time. And probably a redesign of the niche that houses the element, so that it helps guide the tip onto the element. Get all those things right, and it could outclass any regular gas lighter.


About Frank Davis

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16 Responses to My E-Lighter Review

  1. Roobeedoo2 says:

    I haven’t tried this but someone on Twitter has bought a smoker one of these as a Christmas gift. Looks damn sexy!

  2. Lecroix says:

    I doubt it. Gas (or fossil fuels) are always preferable to batteries 99% of the times. I favor piezoelectric ignited gas lighters. Of course there are drawbacks. Moving parts wear out. And gas kinda tends to leak. But all in all, gas lighters, like gasoline cars, perform better than anything in almost every circumstance.

    There is of course one lighter that lasts forever: the electric cigarette lighter in a car. If electric power is “unlimited” as in a car, there’s no better way to light a cigarette.

    Now problem is, as climate change fans like to forget, behind every electric thingy, there’s a fossil fuel power station.

    But if robust, simple and indestructible is prefered, there are solar lighters. Problem is they only work when enough solar light is available.

    See what I just did right there?

  3. garyk30 says:

    Seems to me that the things are a single purpose product.

    They are about useless for candles, cooking fires, or candles.etc.

    Nor are they of any use if you are trying to see in the dark.

    My Bic lighter handles all of those events quite nicely.

    Besides, a flame can be quite pretty. Even a little one.

  4. Ben Palmer says:

    I also had such a lighter with heated coil but I found the coil to be very fragile. If you push too hard on it, it breaks.. Now I have found one with an arc which is much more robust and reliable and lasts a long time.

  5. Timothy Goodacre says:

    I use Poppell lighters from most newsagents. They cost around a pound and last ages.

  6. nisakiman says:

    I always use Bic disposable lighters. They last for ages – a couple of months I guess (although I’ve never really counted), and that’s with smoking roll-ups, which generally get lit several times per cig. The only minor inconvenience is removing those stupid ‘child-proof’ bits which cover the flint wheel, but they pop out easily enough. I think they cost about a Euro. I buy packs of three from the supermarket and de-child-proof them all at once.

    Slightly off topic, I’m now living in a city, and so I get a regular flow of flyers through the door for local shops, takeaways and supermarkets. Yesterday, I got one for a coffee shop nearby called ‘Smoke’. They had the list of drinks (including a few cocktails) with prices, plus they said on the leaflet that they also sell cigarettes and smoker’s requisites, and they listed all sorts of different brands of cigarette papers, filters, tubes etc, all at very competitive prices. And everything can be delivered! So if you wanted a beer or coffee or whisky and a packet of fags or rolling tobacco & papers, it’s a phone call away – delivered to your door!

    Heh! I love this country! ASH? I don’t think they’d get much traction here. I haven’t yet walked into a bar or restaurant here in Patras that didn’t have ashtrays on the tables.

    • Timothy Goodacre says:

      You are lucky ! I expect you can buy George Karelias Virginia Ovals too eh ! Boy would i love a packet of those !

  7. Igromyown says:

    Can’t beat a zippo

  8. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Anti smokers beaten up in Greece trying to take cigs from smokers mouths

    • Tony says:

      I think that was in Russia. Here’s a Google translate effort:

      Two activists of the informal movement “Lion vs.” suffered a beating by unknown assailants in the area of ​​the Kiev railway station in Moscow, said the law enforcement bodies of the capital.

      Popular content

      In Moscow, beaten by active opponents of smoking in public places
      ” Lion vs. “Group participants held informal movement night before near the shopping center” European “their action, during which young people are taken away from smoking, in their opinion, in the wrong place cigarettes citizens. During the action between young people and smokers scuffle ensued, during which the two activists were injured and have been hospitalized, “- said the source TASS.
      The press service of the police the fact of injury two young men in the area of ​​the Kiev station confirmed, without specifying further details. “The police received a telephone message from the medical institution that to them with various injuries were taken to two citizens. On this fact the police are checking the circumstances of the incident are established “, – said the press service.

      Informal youth organization “Lion vs.” opposed to smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages in public places, calls for a healthy lifestyle and an end to the negative information influence on others, especially on the younger generation. Recently, in Moscow, there were several serious incidents involving the beating of members of the organization on the shares held by them.

      • nisakiman says:

        Heh! Warms the cockles of your heart to read about sanctimonious, interfering busybody anti-smoker activists getting a good slap for their troubles. We could do with a bit more of that in other countries, just to remind them that their attentions are not welcome.

  9. Lepercolonist says:

    8 years ago I bought 100 lighters for $10.00 at Sam’s Club. Now you can get 50 lighters for $ 14.00 on EBay. I love butane lighters but to much refilling for my liking.

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