July 29, 2021 4 min read

Humans (or some variation of humans) have been sparking fires for longer than you might think. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of what appears to be traces of campfires that flickered 1 million years ago – although no s’mores have been recovered from that time, to my knowledge. These days, no one is waxing poetically about when we created fire by grinding stones and rubbing wood together. Instead, we’ve invented all kinds of new ways to find our spark.  

You don’t have to be a caveman, a smoker, or a toker to invest in a quality lighter. After all, everyone appreciates that person who always has a lighter on them. Besides, lighters aren’t just about smoking. There are a ton of practical needs for having a great lighter. Think about all of those candles, BBQs, and camping trips you’ve ignited. The bottom line is that when you need a lighter, you want a reliable spark.  

In this article, we’ll take a look at how plasma lighters perform versus butane lighters and a few of the pros and cons of both.

What are some pros of using butane lighter? 

  • Easily accessible
  • Cheap
  • Different styles/colors

You Can Find Them Anywhere

Old school butane lighters are cheap, accessible, and easily found at just about any store. They’re what most people are familiar with seeing in the market, making them a practical choice for people who may not know or be familiar with electric lighters. 

They Are Cheap

Price point may appeal to you. After all, you can pick up a disposable lighter for less than $2, and most average size lighters claim they come with 3,000 lights. 

You Can Customize Them & Choose Different Colors 

We get it. There's something incredibly nostalgic about a Zippo. Some people even say that the smell of butane can evoke childhood memories of family time, and most people who have one Zippo collect multiples. Traditional disposable lighters also come in all sorts of cool colors and wraps for showing off your personality. 

What are some cons of a butane lighter? 

  • Messy
  • Unreliable
  • Not environmentally friendly

Refillables Are Messy

Have you ever tried refilling a tiny gas canister with butane? Done improperly, it can be messy, and as we mentioned before, very dangerous. 

Butane Lighters Are Unreliable 

A butane lighter, whether refillable or not, doesn’t have the technological advances found in a plasma lighter. Non-refillable lighters have more parts prone to defect and potential malfunctions that can compromise your safety such as the flint and the button. There’s a reason why they cost less than $2, after all. 

Disposable lighters are not environmentally friendly.

With plasma, or electric, lighters you have the option to recharge and reuse your lighter endlessly. With traditional butane lighters, they only last as long as their fill. Plasma lighters help reduce your environmental footprint while still allowing you to light on the go.

Introducing: the plasma lighter 

Good old butane lighters were due for a digital age makeover after their debut in the early 1970s. Enter the plasma lighter, the technologically suped-up option to their old school butane brethren. Plasma lighters are not your grandma or grandpa’s lighter. Plasma lighters are the technologically suped- up option to their old school butane brethren and recharged by USB cable.

What are the pros of a plasma lighter? 

  • Rechargeable & windproof
  • Eco-friendly
  • Mess-free

Over the last couple of years, plasma lighters have become an incredibly popular option for creating a spark. So, what are some of the big benefits of a plasma lighter?

Plasma lighters are rechargeable & windproof 

Unlike your local gas station plastic butane lighters, plasma lighters are reusable over and over again. All you need is a spot to charge it, and you can take it anywhere. The best plasma lighters come with a three-press safety mechanism that ensures no unwanted misfires happen. Plus, they’re windproof and make lighting outdoors much simpler than a butane lighter. 

They’re environmentally friendlier

An estimated one billion lighters are sold every year in US convenience stores and gas stations every year. That’s a lot of plastic, and let’s face it: you’re more likely to lose a lighter than to refill it, which isn’t exactly a sustainable, green practice. 

We’re not here to be preachy, but it goes without saying that fuel usage and plastics made of petroleum aren’t great for the environment. Buying plasma lighters obviously means you’ll be helping the planet by not adding to the ecological cost of more plastic in landfills. Proper care can ever further extend the lifespan of your plasma lighter.

Butane-Free = Mess Free & Odor Free 

One of the biggest pros of using a plasma lighter is that you get to avoid the messy refill process. When you buy a disposable butane lighter, you toss it in the trash after you use it, but if you’re using a traditional refillable, like a Zippo, well you already know that it can be messy. Butane fingers are not only gross and smelly, but they can be dangerous. If you’re about to spark a flame near gas, you could potentially experience a bigger blow out than you bargained for.  

What are the cons of using a plasma lighter? 

  • Some make a high pitched noise
  • Lighting surface is small

They make a high pitched noise

A lot of the cheaper or older versions of plasma lighters come along with the complaints that they have an incredibly high pitch noise when igniting. That’s because there’s a frequency of the electricity traveling between the nodes that maintain the electric plasma arc. Most make some noise, but investing in a quality lighter like thePower Practical Sparkrwickhelps you avoid those noise issues as a plasma lighter that only makes a slight buzzing noise when you fire it up. 

The lighting surface is small 

Most newer plasma arc lighters cover a larger lighting surface with their arc, but some older ones do not. That means more usage and less battery life.  

The Wrap-Up 

If you’re looking for something windproof, chargeable and pretty cool, go with a plasma lighter. You can still flick your Bic and collect Zippos, so why impress your friends and add a butane-free, eco-friendly reusableplasma lighter to your collection.