Refilling Cigar Lighters | Zippo & Torch Flame

June 22, 2015

Refilling Your Lighter

Whether you are smoking a Torpedo, Churchill, Maduro or Claro, you are going to need a way to light your cigar. Unless you have that matchbook from your great uncle’s 60th birthday party, chances are you’ll be using a manufactured lighter powered by liquid fuel.

While this type of lighter has the advantages of portability, reliability and safety, there will come a time when your trusty, fiery companion will run out and need to be topped off again. Below is a short primer on the proper way to refuel the most common styles of lighters.

Disposable Lighter - Soft Flame

Though most often used as a cigarette lighter, many a young (or desperate) cigar aficionado may use a disposable (think, Bic®) to light his cigar. So how do you refill it? Short answer: you don’t.

Get yourself to the nearest convenience store and simply buy a new one. Take it from us; it’s not worth the time and effort needed to refill a plastic disposable. They’re very cheap, after all.

Zippo® Brand (Soft Flame) Lighter

One of the most well-known, non-disposable, soft flame lighters is the Zippo®. Unlike the disposable Bic®, the standard Zippo® uses common lighter fluid to produce its flame. While Soft Flame lighters in the past have been begrudged for the scent and flavor they impart, more modern and refined lighter fluids are near odorless. When buying fuel for your lighter it pays to spend a few extra dollars for the good stuff. For instance, filtered fuels will significantly prolong the life of your lighter.

Filling a Zippo® lighter can be tricky, but follow along and you’ll have it down in no time.

First, you must remove the inner metal tank from the outer shell. To do this, flip the top of the lighter and pinch the flint wheel between your thumb and index finger. With your other hand, pull the outer casing away from the inner tank.

Next, turn the inner tank upside down so you expose the felt flap on the underside. With a pin, or any small object, pry the felt back to expose the loose cotton underneath. Take the tip of the bottle of lighter fluid and push it into the soft cotton.

Finally, squeeze the bottle once into the cotton and wait 5-10 seconds for the fluid to come out and be absorbed. Repeat this step as many times as necessary until the loose cotton is completely saturated, but not so much that the fluid overflows out of the canister.

Now put the felt flap back over the cotton, turn the inner tank right side up and re-insert it into the outer shell. Wait 2-3 minutes for the cotton to fully absorb the fuel. While you are waiting, be sure to thoroughly wash any excess lighter fluid from your hands with soap and water.

Torch Flame Lighter

Most seasoned cigar aficionados prefer a torch flame lighter because of its direct, wind-resistant flame and even-heat application. These high-performance lighters come in a variety of shapes and sizes – some even contain two, three or more flames.

Like the disposable Bic®, torch flame lighters use Butane fuel. Butane is widely available for cheap, but we recommend spending a few extra dollars on a higher quality fuel. Again, the more times it’s filtered, the better.

Here’s how to refill a torch flame lighter.

First, make sure the flame adjustment setting is on “low” or “off”, depending on the model. To do this, you will want to take a small flat head screw driver and turn the adjustment knob located on the bottom of the lighter all the way to the side with the “-” sign.

Once this has been adjusted, turn the lighter right-side up and with a small Phillips head screwdriver press on the refill valve to release any excess air or left over fuel from the tank. This is crucial, as air in the tank will prevent you from a proper refill.

Next turn the lighter and the Butane refill canister upside-down and press the canister’s refill tip into the lighter’s refill valve and hold it for 10 seconds. Here, the Butane is being released into the lighter.

After 10 seconds, pull the refill canister away from the lighter and allow the lighter to sit for 2-3 minutes so that the fuel can warm up to room temperature – this is an integral step before trying to light your cigar.

Now you know how to fill your lighters. It’s a very important task for the young aficionado. After all, you can’t smoke a cigar without one!




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