Written by 3:29 pmSurvival

How Long do Lighters Last?

Image of a lighter with lighter flame

When deciding which lighter to choose, there are few things to consider – durability, usability, price, and most importantly, the longevity – how long will it last?

You don’t want to be spending money on a new lighter every day with the hopes that it will last longer than the one before. You want a lighter than can see you through. From Bics to zippos, there are many choices out there that you can decide between.

Butane lighters are great for everyday use, starting fires and are a must have for any survival situation. So investing in one that will last through several uses is important.

They all have different life spans. Some can be stored in certain ways to make them last, others can be refilled with ease, whilst others just have a predicted, general longer life than others. This article will show you some of the things to look out for when deciphering how long yours may last.

We will also guide you with how to get the most of your lighter, and how to make sure it lasts as long as it can.

How Long Will Bic Lighters Burn?

Bic lighters are among some of the most popular and well-known lighters. The reason being, they are some of the best you can get your hands on.

How long does a Bic lighter last? Depending on whether you’re looking at regular Bics or the mini Bic lighter, will depend on how long your lighter will last.

The regular Bic lighter is supposed to be designed to burn for an hour – although not continuously. With the mini Bic lighter being smaller, they contain less butane fuel so will burn for 20 minutes, rather than the full hour.

However, if you do light and burn either of these lighters for more than 10 minutes, the heat will cause the top of the lighter and the plastic to deform. But none of that matters if the flame is still lit and you’re the fire starter in a survival situation!

Although the mini Bic lighter burns for the least amount of time, the flints are replaceable and the fuel is refillable, so they are actually ideal for survivalists who may find themselves in the great lakes needing light or heat at a seconds notice.

How Long Can You Use Bic Lighters For?

Have you ever found a forgotten lighter in a drawer? And shockingly, it lights? Who knows how long it has been there and the last time it was used, but it still takes action. If you did, I can assure you, it was probably an old Bic lighter. It’s not common for them to work months, or sometimes years, after use.

Of course, if you have the sources to refill your lighter, the only limit you have on its life is how fast you wear out the flint. This is why a mini Bic lighter can be better, as this is replaceable on this certain model.

The fill size Bic lighters are said to last for 3000 lights. Smokers have confirmed that it can last at least one thousand lights and sometimes more. Just think how many fires that could get going!

For How Long Can You Store a Bic Lighter?

This is an important question to research. As mentioned previously, Bic lighters can last for a long time, sometimes even years. Providing your lighter doesn’t rust, it should have a long life ahead of it. Good old Bic lighters!

The only thing that will cut its life short, is if the butane fuel runs out whilst it is in storage.

The rate that the fuel escapes and runs out whilst in said storage, depends on the opening of the vent, the temperature where it is kept and the pattern of usage.

Obvious things like fiddling with your lighter, flicking it on and off, wasting fuel won’t help give your lighter the long life it is designed to have. If you want it to last a long time, the best thing to do with your lighter is to not mess around with it, unless you are using it.

Storing your lighters under pressure will help it live a longer life. When stored in a low pressure atmosphere, the lighter will lose fuel. If stored in a high pressure atmosphere, the fuel won’t leak as much. Make sure not to exceed one or two pounds of pressure though, as you don’t want your lighter to break. We don’t want it cracking under the pressure now, do we?

How to Make A Lighter Last Longer:

Warm It Up

If you can heat up the liquid inside your Bic lighter faster than it loses pressure, you will be able to light the fuel and use your lighter.

If there is a small amount of liquid left in your lighter, even warming it in your hands, juggling it around to keep it warm, will increase the pressure and allow you to get more use out of your lighter. Building the warmth and therefore, the pressure, will mean less fuel loss.

If your Bic lighter loses warmth and pressure, even if there is fuel inside, it won’t light. In conclusion, keeping your Bics warm whilst the pressure inside is kept high is the best practise if you’re wanting to make sure your lighters last as long as they can.

Store in a Cool Place

You may have the question, of where is best to store your Bic lighters. Although keeping it warm can help build the pressure, therefore lighting the fuel, storing it in a cool place when not in use is the best place for your Bic to be.

Storing your lighters in a cool place will extend its already long life and help your Bic lighter last. As crazy as it sounds, storing your Bic in a freezer and vacuum packing it, will keep its life long and fruitful. Full of promise for the future.

So if you’re planning a camping trip in the near future, popping it in the freezer will keep it safe until it is ready for action.

However, this all depends whether or not there is a leak in the seal. If there is a leak in the seal, vacuum packing it will mean that the fuel leaks faster. So make sure there is no leak and that the seal is secure before storing it in your freezer.

Of course, if there is an unknown leak, once you remove it from its cool storage place, you can refill the fuel. It’s always best to check for any leaks first though!

Store in a Pressurized Jar

Another recommended storage option, is to keep your device in a pressurized jar. You have to be careful as to not explode your component whilst pressurizing the jar and make sure not to melt the plastic body of the lighter in the process.

However, storing your Bic in a cool dry jar with a tightly sealed lid can help keep away rust and fuel leakage. Even a plastic bag can help keep it alive for longer, although it will allow for a little fuel to be lost to evaporation. Nevertheless, storing them in this way, should help your Bic lighter last.

Storing your Bic or zippo in this way, will also keep the dust away which is what can cause your lighters to rust. This is something we want to avoid!


How many times can you use a lighter?

This is an important question to consider when picking the perfect lighter. Whether you’re lighting a fire or a cigarette, it’s always good to know how many times you can use spark your flame. The more you can use a lighter, the more you get from your money. According to Bic, their lighters can light 3000 times. Smokers have said they have noticed it lighted 1000 times or more.

A zippo will give you around 200 quick lights. In fact, survivalists usually refill their zippo’s once a week just in case, as a safety measure. There would be nothing worse than finding your zippo running low in fuel when you needed to start a fire in the name of survival.

However, the benefit of using a zippo, is the fact that it can be refilled. Something that not all lighters have to offer.

Do lighters go bad?

Lighters can rust if they aren’t in the correct storage. You can watch videos showing you how to store Bic lighters and zippo lighters, and any other brand you may desire. This will help you keep the rust away and keep your lighter as fresh as it can be.

It’s all about the flints and keeping them in a good condition, otherwise you will get what is known as flint rot. Pressure and a cool storage place can stop this from happening. You can also replace flints with certain lighters.

If stored under too much pressure, they can explode, but getting it right can give them a longer life and keep them from going bad. As long as there is no leak, they should keep in their fuel and be able to light in years to come, without going bad.

It’s all about the storage when it comes to keeping your lighter from going bad.

What happens if you light a lighter for more than 30 seconds?

This is a question you may all have on the front of your minds. If you keep it lit for longer than 30 seconds, the fuel will of course run out at a faster speed than if you were to use it to quickly light something.

Most lighters are designed to burn for longer than 30 seconds. Bics can burn up to an hour before running out. Smaller ones, like a zippo or mini Bics will burn for 20 minutes.

It is recommended not to burn your lighter for longer than 10 minutes as this can cause the plastic to melt and may cause your fire starter to become deformed. It also means the fuel load will run out much faster than if you were to use it in short sparks. Keeping the fuel load high, is an important step when it comes to elongating the life span of your lighter.

How long does a Zippo lighter last?

The Zippo is one of the best fire starters around, and remains to be after its introduction to the world, nearly one whole century ago.

The Zippo is made with old but trusty technology. It is made with cotton batting to absorb naphtha or similar fuels. These are then drawn through the wick to light the flame, through the chimney.

Unlike the Bic, this fire sparker leaks fuel. It leaks more than you would perhaps expect. Even if you’re just carrying it around in your pocket all day for easy access, or it is left in a dry, hot atmosphere, your zippo will experience a large amount of evaporation. This means that its life span is a lot shorter than others, like the Bic. You should expect around 200 lights.

Of course, this makes the zippo seem like one to keep off your list, especially when you have the Bic which promises a lot more lights. However, the way that the zipper is made, means that the whole thing is basically replaceable.

The simple construction means that you can either replace each part or service it to give it another life span, once it has ran out. It’s almost like a reusable tool that can never run out. The design also allows a wide variety of fuels to be used. Therefore, refilling this little sparker and keeping it going is arguably easier than it is with other models.

Even rendered fat can be used in your zipper. As well as diesel and kerosene, it won’t be hard to find something to keep it lit. There are even old tails from war times, where G.I.’s would tie a string around their zippo’s and dip them in a vehicle fuel tank to refill them and it worked! If these were used in war zone, they are definitely made to last through every day life and survival practise. They just may need more care and more filling than others that are available on the market.

So although it might not have as many lights in it, it’s much easier to refill than others, making it an ideal candidate when it comes to picking the best. The fact that is can be refilled with such ease and with such a variety of fuels means that the longevity of this, is realistically, endless.

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