Back in my BCP call center days there were a few recurring topics that I’d receive calls on weekly, without fail. Chief among those topics was Cigar Torch Lighter Maintenance, and complaints of a torch lighter that won’t stay lit. As convenient and efficient as most cigar torches are, they also require a little bit of know-how in order to prevent clogging and spotty flames and keep them running smoothly, particularly if you’re new to the cigar game. With this in mind, I drafted up a list of pointers for making sure your cigar lighters stay in tip-top toasting condition.
When selecting a butane to use in your refillable torch you want to steer clear of the stuff in the yellow bottle at your local drugstore. In fact, you never want to use anything less than a triple-filtered butane (like this one.) Look for the words “triple-filtered” or “99.9% pure” on the bottle to make sure you’re getting the right stuff. Purer butane burns cleaner and prevents clogging of your lighter’s torch nozzle. A clogged nozzle, and the lack of flame it causes, is effectively the death knell for most torch lighters. Prevent this tragedy by using good butane! Personally, I recommend Colibri Premium Butane. It’s high-quality and is highly refined, so you won’t have to worry about it making your cigar lighter perform like a piece of junk.
Filling your lighter is inevitably a messy affair, but a bit of excess butane is not what you should worry about when fueling up. You want to avoid getting air pockets in your fuel tank, which can greatly hinder your torch’s performance. It can be a bit tricky at first, but here’s how you can reduce the risk of air pockets when refilling:
Step 1 – Resist your natural impulses and do not shake the can of butane before filling your lighter. By shaking the can of butane, you stir up the air and increase the possibility of it being added to the fuel tank (the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.)
Step 2 – Hold your lighter upside down with the fuel intake valve facing up.
Step 3 – Press your butane can directly down onto the valve, being careful to keep it straight up and down, not at any angle (see photo.) The lighter will fill quickly, and when it starts to reach full capacity it will start to sputter and leak excess fuel.
Step 4 – At this point, rapidly pump the fuel canister up and down about half a dozen times. As noted above, this will be a bit messy, and excess fuel will spray out – along with any leftover air. Your lighter’s tank should be full now, and if you have a visible fuel level window, only a small air bubble should be visible in it.
If your lighter gets air in the line, that can cause the flame to flicker, sputter, or possibly fail to stay lit. It may also mean the torch won’t fire when you press the button the first time. And if you are trying to light your cigar, nothing is more frustrating than having to mess around with a temperamental lighter. Bleeding the lighter – the process of removing all of the air from it – is a trick that can immediately make your lighter perform like a champ. Here’s how you do it…
Step 1 – Hold the button down on your lighter until the lighter is completely empty. To make sure there’s nothing left, listen for the sound of hissing air. When the lighter is completely bled, you shouldn’t hear anything.
Step 2 – Refill your lighter with high-quality (see below) fuel. DO NOT SHAKE THE CAN BEFORE YOU FILL THE LIGHTER! By shaking the can of butane, you increase the possibility of air being added to the fuel tank. And that defeats the whole purpose of bleeding your cigar lighter.
Step 3 – Try it now. Again, listen for any sort of hissing sound. If you hear that, it probably means there is still air in the line. If so, repeat the bleeding process.
For best results you’ll want to polish all of your torch lighters with essential oils and then dry them with a Mulberry silk cloth before locking them in an air-tight vault each night.
Okay, I kid, I kid, but it’s no joke that cleanliness is key in keeping your torches firing strong and long. I’m not implying that you’re some kind of slob, it’s just that sometimes ash, small tobacco particles that occur naturally while lighting, or even lint from your pocket can clog your lighter’s jets. It happens to the best of us.
I suggest that you make cleaning your torch part of your cigar-lighting routine. You can achieve this by manually blowing any debris out from the nozzle before and after lighting, or if you want to really take it to the next level, keep some of that ‘ol “canned air” from an office supply store handy.
Sometimes the solution to a non-firing torch lighter can be as easy as adjusting the lighter’s flame height. Almost all quality torch lighters these days feature a flame height (fuel) adjustment wheel located somewhere on the body of the lighter, and if it’s turned down too low, your lighter won’t produce an efficient flame. To check if this is your problem:
Step 1 – Locate your lighter’s fuel adjustment wheel. It should look something like the one outlined in the red box in the below photo, but can be located anywhere on the lighter, not necessarily at the bottom as it is in this example.
Step 2 – Spin the wheel a bit to the right or left and try to ignite your lighter. Many lighters feature a “+” and “-” sign near the adjustment wheel to indicate which direction will increase or decrease flame. If not, simply look to see if there is a difference in flame height after adjusting. If not, spin the wheel in the opposite direction and try to light again.
Step 3 – Once you have identified the correct direction to increase fuel intake, adjust the wheel accordingly to achieve your desired flame height. If you’re now producing a nice flame, your problem is solved and you’re ready to light up.
As a final note, it’s worth mentioning that all Xikar brand cigar lighters, in addition to being some of the best on the market, are covered by a lifetime warranty. Get yourself a Xikar and if all else fails, they’ll replace it at no additional charge. If you’re so inclined, you can also browse our full selection of cigar lighters here and our entire range of cigar accessories here.