At its core, everyday carry is deeply personal. That means that what you might carry in your pockets is perhaps vastly different from that which is carried by anyone else. Having said that, there are a few staples that make their way into numerous loadouts — e.g. smartphones, wallets, watches, knives, and more. But those widespread staples are hardly the only options around, nor are they the only useful things you can incorporate into your daily haul.
It might seem a bit anachronistic at this point, with technology all but taking over, to suggest that anyone — save smokers and perhaps survivalists — should carry a lighter. However, that’s exactly what we’re suggesting. Once much more commonplace, lighters haven’t actually lost their utility and can prove remarkably valuable in the right circumstances. Of course, to really find out the value, you’d have to carry one. And that’s why we’ve put together this list of the best lighters for everyday carry.
Why Carry A Lighter?
A Useful EDC Tool
As mentioned, lighters actually offer quite a lot of utility — so long as you actually know how to make use of them as a part of your EDC. It’s with that in mind that we’d like to outline some of the potential uses — both in the day-to-day and as a well-considered backup plan. If you’re interested but not quite sold, the following section might help sway you.
Smoking: Obviously, the most common use for lighters in this day and age is probably to light up a cigarette — or at least that’s the image that comes to most folk’s minds. Whether your smoke of choice is tobacco or otherwise, keeping a lighter handy will enable you to partake at the drop of a hat. And, if you don’t have one, you’ll potentially struggle to find someone that does, lending credence to the idea that you should always have one.
Sterilization: If you’re familiar with the basic tenets of modern medicine, you know the importance of sterilization. However, there are times when you perhaps don’t have access to, say, alcohol or other sterilizers. But, if you need to sterilize something in a pinch — like a needle to get a nasty splinter out from under your skin — applying a flame can help kill bacteria that could infect you otherwise. It’s perhaps not the best method, but it works when there aren’t other options within your grasp.
Ilumination: Hands-down, a flashlight is something you should have in your everyday carry. However, flashlights rely on batteries and, of course, batteries sometimes die. Should that happen to you when you need light, a lighter can provide some temporary, albeit smaller-scale illumination in a pinch. That goes double if you use it to ignite a torch or lantern — which can offer even more light.
Camping & Emergency Use: Not everyone lives spitting-distance from a good campsite or a large forested area. But, for those that do, a lighter could be an indispensable survival tool you’ll almost certainly want to keep on you. They can be used to ignite campfires, cook food, sterilize wounds (as mentioned above), and even serve to alert emergency response teams as to your whereabouts. Just make sure, if you’re using a lighter in the great outdoors, that you do so carefully and cautiously. Otherwise, the fire you light could have a devastating, irreversible effect on the surrounding environment.
Zippo Windproof Lighter
The undisputed king of EDC lighters must be the classic flip-top Zippo. These refillable, windproof wonders have been made for decades and are available in just about any color or finish you can imagine. They can even be custom-designed for greater personalization. But, regardless of which one you choose, each and every Zippo is backed by the brand’s steel-clad lifetime warranty. We’re partial to the classics — like this chrome one or even the brass or matte black options — but you can legitimately find them in more options than we could possibly count. Not to mention, they’re all made in Zippo’s plant right here in the USA.
UST TekFire Fuel-Free Lighter
You don’t actually need a flame to create fire — you just need a spark, which can be provided by an electric current. And that’s exactly how the UST TekFire Fuel-Free Lighter works. Rather than relying on butane or other liquid fuels, it has a rechargeable battery — which plugs into any USB port — that creates an electric arc you can use to light anything flammable. As if that’s not enough, it also has an integrated lanyard for easier carrying, grabbing, and attachments. And it boasts a durable rubberized exterior to give it a bit more durability than other, similar EDC lighters. This is one of the few EDC lighters we’d also feel comfortable taking out into the wilderness with us.
Exotac titanLight Waterproof Lighter
For those unfamiliar, Exotac is responsible for crafting some of the best off-grid lighters and match kits around — they even made waterproof capsules for disposable lighters. However, their titanLight is probably the brand’s best offering from an EDC standpoint. Crafted from CNC-machined aluminum, this refillable lighter is small and light enough to attach to your keychain and uses any kind of common lighter fluid as fuel. It’s also fully waterproof — meaning you could actually submerge it when closed and it will still work afterward — so you never have to worry about exposing it to the elements, whether you’re just wandering the city or you’re climbing a mountain.
DISSIM Inverted Lighter
Traditional lighters are, well, less than ergonomic much of the time. Even worse, many of them only work properly if you hold them upright. the DISSIM Inverted Lighter, however, puts those imposters to shame, as it can be used at any angle and boasts a much more ergonomic design. Its handsome silhouette — including the patent-pending circle grip — and outstanding construction are also backed by a lifetime warranty. Furthermore, it’s refillable, powered by butane, and even has a small viewing window so you can see exactly how much fuel you have inside at any given moment. Of all the lighters on this list, the DISSIM Inverted Lighter might be the most innovative.
Maratac Split Pea Titanium Lighter
If you want to carry an EDC lighter but your primary concern is space and weight, you may be interested in the tried-and-true Maratac Split Pea Titanium Lighter. A tiny version of the brand’s larger, ever-popular Peanut lighter, this version is also made from solid titanium and boasts the same lighter fluid ignition system, but it’s far smaller at just 1.3″ on its longest side and weighing in at only 0.6 ounces. That might make this the ultimate keychain lighter — especially when you consider its o-ring water-resistant construction.
MecArmy X7S EDC Lighter Multi-Tool
For some EDC enthusiasts, single-purpose tools just don’t quite cut it. If you’re the type that wants all his or her gear to serve multiple functions, then you may have a keen interest in the MecArmy X7S EDC Lighter Multi-Tool. This clever pen-sized capsule splits into three handy parts: a micro liquid-fueled lighter, a 10180 battery-sized storage capsule, and a 130-lumen flashlight that’s good for six hours of straight operation. Better still, it’s precision-machined and, when closed up, IPX8 waterproof — meaning it can survive full submersion. And, as a cherry on top of the cake, it comes with a pocket clip for easy and secure carry.
Douglass Field-S Lighter
If typically-styled lighters or their disposable counterparts aren’t quite your thing, you might find some interest in the uniqueness of the Douglass Field-S Lighter. This beautiful retro-styled portable torch is precision-crafted from solid brass, boasts a waterproof case (even the ignition can be completely sealed in transit), and (should you neglect to close the ignition) it even still works when slightly wet. At 3″ in height and 2.35 ounces, it takes up about the same amount of space as a more commonplace lighter, but it has a style that far exceeds its counterparts.
Silver Piston Buffalo Nickel Zippo Lighter
There’s no denying that the Zippo Windproof Lighter is the single most iconic lighter in the world. And while it’s available in just about any color or finish you can imagine, there are craftsmen out there — like those at Silver Piston — who are proving that it can be even better. In this case, that can be found in two specific features: the unique oxidized finish (which is different for each lighter) and the soldered-on carved buffalo nickel — giving this particular version of the Zippo lighter even greater character and beauty without sacrificing any of the superb functionality that makes a Zippo worth carrying.
Porsche Design P´3639 Lighter
Straight from the wing of Porsche that makes, well, seemingly everything except cars, the Porsche Design P´3639 Lighter is just further proof of this firm’s exceptional design prowess at work. Categorized as a storm lighter — meaning it’s windproof and more like a torch than a traditional lighter — this fluid-fueled jet flame-producing piece of EDC is sleek and minimalist in its external design in a way that too few lighters are. On top of its metal body, it’s also wrapped with synthetic fabric for better grip and, inside, has a modern quartz mechanism with piezo ignition for a quick and powerful flame with just the push of a button. Just keep in mind that this particular kind of lighter is definitely not travel-friendly and the TSA will confiscate it if you try to fly with it.
S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 Cohiba Lighter
S.T. Dupont is the beginning and the end of the luxury lighter space — and they offer a tremendous number of ultra-high-end portable torches that are exceptional. However, we’re particularly drawn to the Ligne 2 dual-flame collaboration they did with Cohiba. In part, that’s due to the fact that it’s clearly beautiful, gold-plated, and done-up with Cohiba’s iconic branding. But it’s also the resulting implication of the partnership, which is that this is an offering that’s perfect for those who love partaking in the time-honored tradition of smoking cigars. Yes, it’s by far the most expensive offering on our list, but there’s definitely a market for such an ultra-luxe offering. If you’re wondering how that’s possible, you’re probably not a part of the target audience.
The Best Survival Lighters
Should you be interested in venturing into more uncharted territory, a standard EDC torch might not suit your needs. But that’s fine because you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for on our list of the best survival lighters.