Rechargeable gas lighters

I use a rechargeable gas lighter to light our wood stove, BBQ etc. I have noticed over the years that when I first begin using them, they put out a usefully long flame (usually adjustable), but after using them for a relatively short time the flame gets shorter and shorter, despite recharging the lighter with gas from the appropriate canister. Redheads lighters seem to be the worst offenders, don’t know how many I’ve had to (responsibly) chuck away. Can’t recall what other brands I have used, but my current one is a Bic with a flexible igniter tube. It has lasted longer than other brands, but now, after about 5 months, the flame is very short despite the unit being full of fuel. It seems as though some part of these lighters become gradually blocked with residue or something, over time. Does anyone know of a good reliable lighter? I suppose I shouldn’t worry, because they are cheap enough to buy. But they are a dangerous and possibly toxic product and many, I fear must end up in landfill. Yes I know I could use matches, but they are not as convenient and won’t readily reach in to ignite our wood fired room heater.


Perhaps a build up of carbon narrows the tube, or clogs the air supply.
Tried pipe cleaners?


Pipe cleaners are too thick. Tried apiece of fuse wire (a remnant from the days when we had fuses) but that made no difference. maybe Choice couls test some to see which had the longest life.


Have a look at gas torch tip cleaners available at tool stores, and many hardware stores.


Not sure if they go fine enough.
There are similar sold on line as carburettor jet cleaning tools.


It sounds like you may have contaminants in the lighter tank. It is easy to inadvertently push dust or other particles into the lighter tank during the refilling process. The dust/particles sit in the connector (either refilling cylinder or on the lighter) and is pushed into the tank under pressure. It sits in the tank until it lodges in the tank outlet blocking gas flow, hence smaller flame.

Contaminants on the connectors can occur readily if the lighter or refilling cylinder is stored or used anywhere there is dust etc…which means anywhere. A way to reduce contaminants entering the lighter tank is to blast the connectors with compressed air (such as a air compressor with hand nozzle) such that the airflow removes any loose particles from the connectors. Another option is to place a small piece if tape over the connectors on the lighter when brand new and place a cap on the refilling cylinder between uses.

If you don’t, the only option is to discard the lighter when the flame performance is poor.

That do you use the lighter for, this will determine alternative solutions.

If it is for the wood fired heater only (to light a firestarter), you can get long matches which will work equally as well. Most supermarkets, hardware stores and camping shops sell these.

For our own wood fired heater, the fure starter is placed at the front of the wood in the heater and we use standard matches with no problems. If you want to place your fire starter further in, consider using paper as well.


Interesting topic, and one which flags a bigger problem - none of the products that I see on supermarket shelves have any indication of volume of lighter fuel contained, nor an estimate of how many ignitions can be expected. It is thus impossible to tell how long they will last. Surprising that lighters slip through the cracks of ‘unit pricing’…

A further conundrum is that while most lighters seem to be refillable, the supermarkets do not stock the fuel. And I bet most people, like me, just throw away expired lighters and buy a replacement lighter every time. So much for “Together to zero”!

PS: matches are not a great option in the humid tropics


Welcome to the community @JBtaco.

The cans of butane are usually secured away by those retailers who do stock them. Smokers supply stores are one source. I’ve previously purchased from Newsagents and hardware stores. Jaycar Electronics is another option.

The one annoyance is that the gas lighters do not usually come with a suitable adaptor tip to match the refilling valve to a standard butane can tip. The last can I purchased came with a selection. Some trial required.

Note also for those new to the process, the cans contain liquid butane as do the lighters. It’s important to read the instructions with or on the can for proper and safe use.


Bunnings have cans of butane, under $10. I haven’t found a can yet which will not fill a lighter without the need for attaching an adaptor. I have just tried (again) using a piece of fuse wire to clean the jet, but it makes no difference to the flame length. However, maybe the fault lies in the flame control slide switch, because I have noticed that in most cases, sliding it to and fro vigorously can often increase the flame a little. Anyway, it would be good if Choice could run tests on on gas firelighters one day, and see if some are superior to others.


I stopped using gas lighters after having similar issues when I discovered a new type of lighter which produces a high voltage spark from a battery. Mine is rechargeable from a USB port and lasts quite a few weeks between charging. These are available on ebay but I haven’ seen them in storeslighter


Sounds like a modern form of the old piezo gas starters/lighters.

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Bunnings sells a rechargeable ARC lighter for BBQs.

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But will they actually ignite kindling in a wood fired stove? I doubt it. I assume they are only meant to ignite a gas flame like any piezo lighter.

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Piezo or arc type lighters won’t start a solid material, they are designed for gasous fuels. They might also light volatile fuels as well under the right conditions.

Do you use fire starter? We use the Woolworths homebrand ones broken in half (makes 48 starter blocks for $2.99 - about 6 cents per fire) and these light very easy as soon as they are touched with a lit match. We also use these ones as they don’t leave a hydrocarbon type smell on the fingers like many others do.


I find they light a candle quite well
I start my fire with newspaper and as long as I can get the spark on the edge of the paper it lights OK

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I just use Samba firelighters from Bunnings. Mitre 10 have the same thing under a different name. They are made in the Netherlands. Surely we should be able to make them here. They are made from wood and wax. A piezo lighter would be unlikely to ignite them. The BIC lighter still works ok. Just down a bit on flame length.