The 9 Different Types of Lighters Explained

For most people, a lighter is either a traditional BIC lighter or a Zippo. Although many may not know it, there are more types of lighters than they think, and includes several types with varying designs, ignition, fuels, and even multiple flames. Each type of lighter has its own sets of pros and cons, along with its main purpose and how they are often used. In this article, we list nine different types of lighters and go over some details on each.  

BIC Lighters

BIC lighters, also known as sparkwheel lighters, are the lighters that most would see as bulk lighters in convenience stores. These lighters tend to be made from plastic with a metal wheel that sits atop a flint. Spinning the wheel with enough motion and speed in a downward motion will rub against the flint underneath and produce a spark. As the wheel is spun downwards, simultaneously pressing on the plastic lever will release the fuel through a valve. The released fuel will come in contact with the spark and create a flame. Although some BIC lighters are refillable, most of them are not since they are cheap and generally used as disposables.

Butane Torch Lighters

Butane torch lighters, also known as turbo lighters, cigar lighters, or jet lighters, come with pressurized chambers filled with butane. Serving as fuel, butane is released along with oxygen through a nozzle that forms an intensely concentrated flame. The intense flame allows butane torch lighters to be aimed in any position, including sideways and upside down. This also means a rapid depletion in butane fuel. Also, these lighters are highly practical and can be used in numerous situations given that they tend to be refillable and resistant to wind and rain.

Electric Coil Lighter

Electric coil lighters are also referred to as flameless lighters since they operate on batteries. The battery creates heat towards the coils inside, which are then hot enough the be used as lighters. These lighters are fairly simple to use and do not need any fuel since they run on batteries, which can be charged using a USB.

Pipe Lighters

Unlike traditional lighters, pipe lighters have the flame released from the side instead of the top. This unique design was a result of a struggle to light pipes using traditional lighters with the flame from the top. Some pipe lighters even come with a design that encases the flame in metal to more easily aim it into a pipe.

Candle Lighters

Candle lighters are often referred to as utility lighters given the long neck design that is useful in multiple situations. The extended neck allows more convenient ways of reaching and lighting candle wicks. There are even candle lighters designed with flexible or curved necks, which make them highly practical for lighting flames that would otherwise be risky or out of reach with a traditional lighter.

Permanent Match

Forever match is another name for permanent matches, which come in a hybrid design between a lighter and a match. Permanent matches hold fuel in metallic chambers, which also have a wick and spark stick screwed into them. These matches are proven to be more wind resistant and offer many more lights compared to traditional matches. Also, the gasket ensures against fuel evaporation, making permanent matches excellent for long-term storage since they can retain the fuel inside for years.

Zippo Lighter

Almost a century years old, Zippo lighters have a similar spark wheel function that ignites a flame when the flint creates a spark that comes in contact with fuel from within. The flame remains unless the lid is closed and ceases contact with oxygen. Zippos are designed to retain a flame similar to that of a burning candle. Although zippo lighters may not be the most practical for camping due to the fuel evaporating quickly from oxygen, they are ideal for regular smokers looking for a personalized and visually appealing lighter design.

Piezo Spark Ignition Lighters

Instead of a traditional spark wheel, piezo spark ignition lighters come with a button that generates electric voltage, which ignites the butane filler and creates a flame. Although these lighters may not be suited for wet or windy environments, they do come with childproof safety features and adjustable flame capabilities.

 Electro Arc Lighter

Also known as plasma lighters, electro arc lighters have no similarities with electric coil lighters other than a flameless build. Electro arc lighters utilize high-voltage electricity to produce a charged plasma arc between electrodes. The plasma releases more intensive heat compared to a conventional flame and is even effectively resistant to wind. Also, electro arc lighters are rechargeable, do not need any fuel, and come with uniquely appealing builds.


There are more types of lighters than most people think, and each one serves the main purpose along with its varying designs. Although every lighter serves the purpose of lighting a flame, there are many ways to utilize a flame, especially under varying conditions. Through the list of different lighters above, identifying each one and their qualities is made clear and easy to understand. 

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