Comparing Torch & Soft Flame Lighters

Many cigar lovers have a preferred lighter style for sparking up a stogie. Some use triple-jet torch lighters, others are fine with cheap Bics, and then there are purists who only use cedar spills. While the spill users may not pay it much mind, other smokers have asked the question: is it better to use a soft flame or a torch lighter to light my cigar? Let’s lay out some pros and cons for each style of lighter.


Torch lighter
butane torch lighter

Torch lighter are likely the most popular tool for lighting up a cigar. They offer pin-point accuracy that soft flames simply can’t match. Plus, their forceful blue flame is much more resistant to wind. Considering how often cigars are smoked outdoors, wind resistance tends to be a major selling point for lighters.

There are some downsides though. You can expect your torch lighter to burn through butane significantly faster than a soft flame lighter, so make sure you always have extra lighter fluid (preferably premium butane) on hand. It’s also worth noting that the intense heat of a torch lighter can burn the tobacco too harshly. However, this is something that can be avoided by simply bringing the flame to the cigar slower and from a greater distance.

Soft Flame Lighters

Soft flame lighter
flip lighter with soft flame

If there is one thing almost all soft flame lighters have, it’s value. They are inexpensive and last a surprisingly long time, which is a winning combination if you want bang for your buck. A soft flame can also heat up the tobacco slower to prevent scorching it.

By far, the most common complaint about soft flames is that the slightest breeze can snuff them out. Still, you can find wind-resistant soft flame options if you look for them. The Xikar Ex, for example, not only bills itself as wind-resistant but as a “windproof lighter.” Other than a vulnerability to wind, some folks have found that soft flames make it tougher to get an even burn. Without the accuracy of a torch, a uniform burn may take a bit of practice.

Take some time to look over our collection of lighters and find the perfect selection for your budget and style.

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