The 10 Best Windproof Lighters
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in October of 2015. Whether you're camping, having a backyard barbecue, or trying to get your nicotine fix on a breezy evening, don't let the pesky elements prevent you from accomplishing your goal. Using a variety of technologies, these windproof lighters will let you get a flame going in virtually any circumstances. Some lack comprehensive safety features, though, so keep them far away from small hands. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 02, 2021:
We removed the Zippo Skull as its design doesn't appeal to as wide a range of users as other offerings from the company. New to the list, we have the Zippo Matte, which is available in a range of options. Some feature the brand's logo while others have a plain design. Colors range from nondescript options like black to more eye-catching choices like red and yellow. There's also a "slim" size that holds a bit less fuel but fits more easily into a small pocket. If you're looking for something with a little more personality, the Zippo Ice features vibrant colors with shiny patterns. The exterior has been known to scratch easily, but with many of the designs this shouldn't be too noticeable if you aren't looking closely.
The Hokeki Flexible was removed due to availability concerns and replaced with the TackLife Flexible, a similar model with many of the same useful features. This one isn't meant to be taken on-the-go, but it's a good choice for lighting candles and incense around the house.
We removed the Saberlight Extended because it lacked a child safety lock and reportedly caused minor injuries to some while taking it out of its packaging. Since these extremely hot arcs can be very painful, we decided to replace it with a model that has more safety features. The Ronxs Travel takes three steps to light: remove the cap, slide the safety switch, press the ignite button. This makes it a lot less likely to go off accidentally in a purse or pocket.
Also leaving the list in this update are the ShinySiblings Black Dragon, due to availability issues, and the Bolt Slim, which had a fairly narrow purpose and didn't hold a charge as well as comparable alternatives.
New to the list, the JiaDa YJD is a USB-rechargeable option that is waterproof as well as windproof, so it's a good choice for a camping trip. It also has a built-in flashlight, which can be helpful in an emergency.
The Survive Permanent Match has an unusual design that is something of a hybrid between a lighter and a match. It is reusable, though you'll need to soak the wick in fuel after every use. It can take some time to get the hang of striking it, and success can result in a fairly large flame, so be prepared to put in a bit of effort to learning how to use it reliably and safely. However, the novelty of the design is appealing to many and some prefer the striker to the spinning wheels used by other lighters.
April 26, 2019:
It's a struggle to choose a lighter that would exceed expectations in every single scenario imaginable, given that there are myriad uses you could possibly have for one. The Icfun Explorer earned our top spot because it's durable enough to take into the Great Outdoors, yet discreet enough to carry in a coat pocket when you're back in civilization. Likewise, no one's likely to look at you funny if you pull out the Zippo Skull, regardless of the situation.
The Hokeki Flexible is another story. It's not something you'll carry on your person, but it still deserves a place in your rucksack if you go camping, and it will more than earn its keep around the house. Just don't expect to be lighting a bunch of cigarettes on a windy night outside your favorite watering hole.
If all you're concerned with is lighting up a Camel or two, the Bolt Slim is absolutely perfect for the job, as it's small, discreet, and reliable. That's the only thing it's suitable for, though, which is why it's relegated to the middle of the pack here.
Exotac titanLIGHT Tough and refillable, this is the light you want to use if you're going off the grid to do battle with the elements. A flame guard and matching vents ensure that it will burn in the face of even the strongest winds. exotac.com
The Windproof Lighter: For Convenience And/Or Survival
There are some designed to be stylish, and there are some that are all about function over form.
There are few items out there which can at certain times seem like nothing more than a way to make a basic task simpler, and at other times may well be the fulcrum of a life or death situation. The windproof lighter falls into in this decidedly narrow category, straddling the boundary between convenience and necessity.
Whether you are simply getting a cigar lit in a matter of seconds despite the breeze blowing down the street or you are firing up the grill on a blustery afternoon, a good windproof lighter gets the heat where it needs to be. This is also true if you're trying to get a road flare lit during a storm or you are trying to get the tinder beneath a campfire caught so you can brave the icy night ahead while stranded in the wilderness.
Most windproof lighters are compact and lightweight and are priced to sell, too. There are some designed to be stylish, and there are some that are all about function over form. Choosing the right windproof lighter for you depends on your lifestyle, your hobbies, and your desire for preparation. This is a product category where, you'll be glad to know, budget is hardly a concern: most windproof lighters are pretty affordable.
Choosing The Right Windproof Lighter
There are many types of lighter that fall under the umbrella heading of "windproof," and first, to be clear, no lighter is truly 100% windproof. A hurricane force blast of wind is going to extinguish that flame, so in fact these lighters should more accurately be thought of as highly wind-resistant. (Certain types of electric lighters offer the best wind resistance, but the heat they produce is harder to use to start fires, so this benefit is mitigated.)
A hurricane force blast of wind is going to extinguish that flame, so in fact these lighters should more accurately be thought of as highly wind-resistant.
For the cigarette smoker, an electric "plasma" lighter is an ideal choice. These lighters create a small arc of electric heat so hot it can almost instantly ignite the tip of a cigarette or small cigar, and they work well even in high winds, as there is no true flame to blow out.
For the cigar or pipe smoker, a "jet flame" torch lighter is a better choice, as they require a larger flame to ignite all the tobacco at once.
And for use lighting the charcoals of a grill or starting a campfire (or what might be a survival fire, given the situation), a double flame torch lighter fueled by refined butane is a great choice, especially if it's one with a cap that seals tightly, protecting its flame element when not in use.
Yet another category of windproof lighters uses the same approach as the cigarette lighter (now more commonly thought of as a DC power outlet) in your vehicle, relying on electricity to heat a small element much like a miniature burner of an electric stove. These are some of the safest windproof lighters, as there is no open flame of any type produced, but they are also very ineffective for anything but lighting cigarettes, smaller cigars, or perhaps the fuse of a bottle rocket on the 4th of July.
Thanks to the relatively low cost of most windproof lighters, there may be no need to choose just one type as your go-to heat source; the answer to which windproof lighter suits your needs best might be to reject choosing only one, and instead to keep one lighter on hand for firing up that cigar, and a different type in the glovebox or hiking pack for helping you weather the unexpected storm.
Windproof Lighter Use And Maintenance
A standard windproof jet flame type of lighter requires re-filling from a pressurized bottle of butane once its reservoir is empty. The refilling process is easy and takes only a few seconds. Once these lighters have a problem with their electric ignition system, though, there is usually no cost-effective way to fix them, and they must be discarded and replaced.
They use regular cloth wicks and burn liquid fuel, and in fact it is their physical design, not their burner or fuel, that makes them wind resistant.
An average arc flame lighter requires charging via USB after an average of 200 uses; some last longer, some last less time. An advantage to this type of lighter is that their fuel source is readily abundant, but a disadvantage is that they lose their charge over time, while a butane lighter, for example, retains its fuel for months on end. Make sure to keep the area between the lighter's nodes clean and free of lint or other debris, as of course there's a fire hazard with a lighter.
The iconic Zippo lighter is the most basic item that falls into the windproof lighter category. They use regular cloth wicks and burn liquid fuel, and in fact it is their physical design, not their burner or fuel, that makes them wind resistant. The small holes bored into the windscreen frame around the wick allow wind to pass around the flame, which causes it to dance and flicker, but does not allow for direct exposure to a gust that could extinguish the flame.
These lighters look great and work well in dry conditions, but they require extensive maintenance, with the wick and flint requiring regular replacement and the re-fueling process being involved and occasionally messy.