You might not be allowed to smoke almost anywhere outside of a 10 square foot area located somewhere in Indiana, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a good lighter on your at all time. The advantage to a lighter for everyday carry is that you’re able to start fires for warmth, provide quick light should the batteries on your EDC flashlight die, or melt plastic in a pinch. If you choose something a little heavier, you can also caramelize sugar, work with metal or glass, or do Bonsai topiary.
For most people, a small disposable lighter will be all you need. They’re typically reliable, long-lasting, hard to damage, and lightweight. If you choose something more impressive, then you need to consider what fuel sources you will have available, how often you intend on using it, how much heat it needs to produce, and whether it makes sense to fit it into your pocket. At the end of the day, your personal preference and your daily activities determine what will suit your lifestyle. So that you’re prepared with a Just-In-Case fire starter we’ve got the 10 best EDC lighters for survivalists, ordinary joes, and even the dapper chaps among you.
Pro: Expanded gas release button
Con: Can sputter when lighting
Big Grab: We have two choices when it comes to disposable lighters, and while Djeep is slightly less reliable than Bic, they have a special place in our hearts. The larger size and chunky shape makes them easier to use with cold hands or when wearing gloves, and they are the perfect size to be strapped up with duct tape should you need to ensure they’re secured to a camp stove.
Pro: Extremely inexpensive
Con: Made of plastic and can be crushed easily
Small Fryer: Really, unless you need some flash or specialty to your lighter, you can’t beat a Bic Mini. They weigh practically nothing and take up less space than the smallest EDC pen. You can rely on them to light so long as they aren’t soaking wet, and the interior fuel never evaporates. Best of all, you can buy a brick of them for less than the cost of a pair of wireless earbuds.
Calico Flexible Reach Utility Lighter
Pro: Built-in security switch
Con: Too large to comfortably fit in an average pocket
Yoga Instructor: Due to the size, a utility lighter tends to be awkward for everyday carry, but if nothing else will suffice, we highly suggest going with a Calico. While there are smaller models, and those that are more stylish, few have the die hard reliability that Calico produces. Even when bent over double or reaching into the deepest nooks and crannies, it breathes fire every time. Our only complaint is the lack of ability to be refilled.
Pro: Can use nearly any combustible fuel in a pinch
Con: Fuel evaporates
Timeless: For your basic flick-start flint lighter, you don’t need to look further than a known quantity. As classic as Harley Davidson and nearly as beloved, you can find a standard Zippo windproof that complements your style, will work time and again, and only needs the slightest maintenance and refilling to keep it happy. If it breaks down, Zippo will even fix it at no cost to you.
Ultimate Survival Technologies Floating Lighter
Pro: Windproof flame in winds up to 80mph
Con: Heats up painfully if button is held down
River Monster: When part of your daily routine involves going out into the bay on your wakeboard, hopping on a fan boat, taking your fishing kayak out for some reeling, or lounging around on your yacht, you want a lighter that isn’t afraid to get wet. Not only is this waterproof should it fall in a puddle or be needed during a hurricane, it will also float in case you ever need to retrieve it from the jaws of Davy Jones’ locker.
Pro: Includes lanyard for easy carrying
Con: Latch and hinge tend to break after years of use
Wetness Protection: Even the best EDC lighter can quickly be befouled by a little water on the wick. Using a flip-top lid and hermetically sealed body, the Monarch X assuages water woes and provides a jet flame on demand in the absolute worst conditions. In addition to keeping water at bay, sand and adulterants are kept from interfering with the mechanisms inside so you’ll get the right light every time.
CountyComm Stainless Steel Peanut Lighter
Pro: Can be used as a candle if necessary
Con: Limited fuel capacity
On the Chain: Peanut lighters are an excellent choice for the person who might need a flame or just needs a storage container for their medication. With a bombproof stainless body that won’t corrode, fits on your keychain, and can easily be repurposed to suit your specific needs, this is the lighter for anyone who swore they would never carry a lighter. Can’t be crushed, smashed, broken, busted, or cracked by anything less than an act of God.
Pro: Burns up to 2300 degrees
Con: Fairly heavy
Spin Out: The Vflame is the everyday carry lighter for the outdoor enthusiast. Capable of burning at any angle, including completely inverted, it can also be used to scorch loose ends off of paracord or melt synthetics without depositing black carbon. The dual flames give plenty of heat without sucking up all your fuel in seconds like bigger butanes. All in all, a tough windproof lighter with an extended tank built for action.
Pro: Pinpoint accuracy
Con: Reliability degrades over time
Smooth Operator: Using a hidden jet flame lighting system with a Piezoelectric ignition system concealed inside of impact-resistant polycarbonate, the Asterion is ideal for any gentleman’s pocket. Made by Wenger, a subsidiary of renowned pocket knife maker Victorinox, it’s also rough and ready to be packed alongside your backpacking tent for outdoor excursions.
Colibri Enterprise Triple Jet Flame
Pro: Powerful flame output
Con: Consumes fuel rapidly
Incomparable Style: When you require a lighter to go along with your business suit or your black tie dinner attire, you can’t have some lipstick pink disposable. You want this single-action, windproof chrome accessory at your fingertips. As useful as it is dapper, it is often better at making a statement than it is at starting a fire, so try not to count on it when the chips are down and lives are on the line.