When it comes to lighting your cigar or pipe tobacco, you have two main options: soft flame lighters, or torch lighters, both of which serve the basic purpose of providing a source of fire so that tobacco can smoke. Both types of lighters come in all kinds of variations, including different sizes, designs, and more, but the key is figuring out which of the two is right for you before making any other choices. As you’re about to find out, certain lighters are best left for certain types of tobacco products.
Soft Flame Lighters vs. Torch Lighters: What’s the Difference?
Your smoke won’t be much of a smoke unless you can get it lit, so having a good lighter on hand is important! Now, keep in mind that we’re focusing on butane lighters, as both soft flame and torch lighters can use butane for a cleaner-tasting smoke.
Torch lighters use a torch flame that is much larger, and far hotter – that’s why you’ll see hues of blue when lighting it, which means that the heat is higher than the typical yellow-orange color you get from a soft flame lighter. These lighters look more powerful, with more robust designs and sizes. You can find a variety of them out there, including single, double, triple, and quadruple flame options, and some with angled jets that allow you to zero in on a smaller area for a more concentrated and direct hit of fire.
Torch lighters also happen to be wind-resistant, so that’s handy if you like to smoke outdoors a lot. They can light your cigar more evenly, reducing the risk of canoeing. And, in general, they tend to require less refilling because of their size.
But, torch lighters are so hot that they can be too much for you. Since they can reach about 2300 degrees, which is twice as hot as soft flame lighters, they can easily burn that which you’re lighting, essentially ruining it. Holding the flame on your cigar for too long can basically ruin the entire smoke, causing a bad flavor. Also, these lighters do require more maintenance, and are generally more expensive. So, to recap:
Torch Lighter Pros:
- Hotter temperature
- More even heating
- Prevents canoeing
- More high-tech
- More aesthetically pleasing
- Less frequent refilling
- More options and features to choose from
Torch Lighter Cons:
- Can be too hot for certain tobacco products
- Easier to burn your tobacco and end up with a bad taste
- More expensive
- Requires more maintenance
Torch lighters are typically reserved for larger cigars, and hand-rolled cigars, where the higher temperature and more even heating really comes in handy.
Soft flame lighters burn at about 1400 degrees, so the heat is definitely lower, and the flame itself is not nearly as powerful. This does mean that it can take longer to heat your tobacco, but because of the cooler temp, you don’t have to be as careful about holding the flame to your tobacco, either. People typically find that the flavor is better with a soft flame cigar, although ultimately, that’s a very subjective opinion. While most soft flame lighters use a single flame, some do use 2, typically to accommodate wider cigars.
Non-disposable soft flame lighters can last and last, and they’re easier to refill, generally requiring less maintenance than torch lighters. Because they’re smaller and more lightweight, they’re also more travel-friendly.
However, as many people already know all too well, soft flame lighters can be a pain if you’re smoking outdoors. A breezy gust can instantly knock out the flame, and if you’re smoking outside on a windy day, trying to light a cigar or pipe can be downright annoying.
Soft Flame Lighter Pros:
- Easier to travel with
- Less chance of burning your tobacco
- Better flavor (arguably)
- Easier to maintain
- Less expensive
- Some offer 2 flames for wider cigars
Soft Flame Lighter Cons:
- Not wind-resistant
- May need to refill more frequently
- Not as hot, so lighting your tobacco can take longer
- Fewer options to choose from in terms of tech and design
Soft flame lighters are definitely ideal for smoking tobacco out of a pipe, or for smoking smaller or machine-made cigars.
Which Lighter Type Will You Choose?
The bottom line is that both types of lighters do a perfectly fine job at lighting tobacco, but it’s clear that each type is best equipped to handle the needs of specific tobacco products. Even with that being said, it truly comes down to personal preference, since each one has distinct pros and cons. Overall, we recommend checking out both kinds, to see for yourself what works for your smoking needs.
At BnB Tobacco, we carry a large selection of lighters to choose from, each with its own features, design, and other factors that can have a lot to do with how easily you’re able to light your tobacco products.