Last updated: August 20, 2021

An investment in an arc lighter definitely pays off. Whether as a small helper for everyday life or as a fixed component of camping equipment, the small power pack always knows how to convince. The modern arc lighters are environmentally friendly and won't let you down even in strong winds.

With our detailed arc lighter test 2021 we want to help you find the best electronic arc lighter. We take a close look at various lighter models and test which one suits you best. To help you with your purchase decision, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of the most important arc lighters.




The most important facts

  • Electric arc lighters are a practical and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional gas and petrol lighters. Arc lighters are windproof and work well in harsh weather conditions
  • Arc lighters are charged via a USB cable, are easy to use and have a long service life
  • Arc lighters are available in a handy pocket shape or in a stick shape. Depending on your needs, you can also print or engrave your arc lighter and give free rein to your creativity when designing it

The Best Arc Lighter: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an arc lighter

What is an electric arc lighter?

If the term "electric arc lighter" doesn't mean anything to you, you might have heard of electric lighters, Tesla lighters or plasma lighters. But don't let this confuse you, because apart from the different names, everything else is the same.

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Electric arc lighters are the latest alternative to conventional lighters. The arc looks like a small flash of lightning and can get up to 1100° hot.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Bas Emmen)

A Kickstarter campaign by the Tesla company brought the idea of a lighter powered exclusively by a rechargeable battery to life. Since then, there has been a real boom in the development of electric arc lighters.

The arc lighters are charged via a USB cable that is connected to a PC or a power bank, for example. You can recharge the battery as often as you like, so you don't have to worry about refilling or disposing of lighters.

Arc lighters are the latest alternative to gas and petrol lighters.

Arc lighters come in a wide variety of shapes, colours and models. One reason for the popularity of the electric lighter variant is certainly the simple and practical operation. Furthermore, arc lighters do not have any wearing parts, which has a positive effect on the life span of the lighter.

How does an electric arc lighter work?

The functioning of electric arc lighters is quite complex, so we will try to explain in a short and simplified way how electric lighters work.

An electric arc lighter is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery. If you now press the button or switch for the "ignition" of the plasma lighter, a so-called electric arc is created via a high voltage (transformer). This arc is the result of the gas discharge.

This gas discharge takes place via several externally visible electrodes. The resulting arc has a temperature of approx. 800-1100 degrees. This is easily enough to light a candle or a New Year's Eve rocket.

To ensure that the plasma lighter works properly, you should shake it vigorously. This sets a small magnet inside the coil in motion and thus provides the necessary induction voltage.

In summary, unlike gas or petrol lighters, arc lighters are powered by a rechargeable battery. This battery can be recharged via a USB cable. Of course, this battery can be replaced if necessary.

What are the advantages of an arc lighter?

Arc lighters are becoming more and more popular, and in our opinion, there are many reasons for this. One aspect that speaks for the purchase of an electric lighter is the versatility and robustness.

Anyone who has ever tried to use a gas or petrol lighter in all weathers knows the disillusionment when, even after the 10th attempt, the flame just won't light.

The ecological footprint is also playing an increasingly important role. The arc lighters do not consume fossil fuels such as petrol or gas, nor are there any wearing parts or high follow-up costs.

One advantage of the electric-arc lighter is accordingly its reliability to function fully even under such extreme conditions.

Furthermore, the small arc lighter models are easy to store and are thus a loyal companion that does not attract negative attention or disturb.

Accordingly, arc lighters can be classified as environmentally friendly and you do not come into contact with potentially harmful substances such as gas or petrol.

Advantages
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Windproof
  • Great look
Disadvantages
  • More expensive than conventional lighters
  • Needs to be recharged more often
  • Not as hot as other lighters

Last but not least, the ease of use also plays an important role for the use of electric arc lighters. The electric lighter is simply connected to the PC or a power bank via a USB cable and charged (1-2h).... Afterwards, it is fully ready for use again (200-400 ignitions) without having to deal with the annoying refilling of fuels.

What alternatives are there to the arc lighter?

The range of arc lighters is now huge, but there are of course alternatives that we would like to introduce to you.

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The flame of a conventional gas and petrol lighter is very susceptible to wind and rain.
(Image source: unsplash.com /Marek Szturc)

You've probably seen gas and petrol lighters in the supermarket or the kiosk next door. These classic types of lighters are often cheaper than arc lighters, but they often have to be thrown away after one use or, if possible, refilled.

Especially for use with tobacco products, you should think carefully beforehand about which lighter you use. Petrol lighters change the taste of the tobacco, whereas gas and electric arc lighters have no particular effect on the taste.

Alternative Ignition Features Temperature
USB lighter Electric via heating coil By heating a piece of metal, the coil starts to glow.The efficiency is lower than with electric arcs 1000°
Gas lighter Friction wheel Sparks ignite a gas-air mixture. Most gas lighters are refillable. The flame is smaller than with petrol lighters. Does not work properly in extreme cold 900-1300°
Petrol lighter Friction wheel Flame is ignited by a spark.Some models are not refillable and must therefore be discarded. The flame is larger than that of a gas lighter 800-1300°

Another alternative to the arc lighter is the USB lighter. Like the arc lighter, it is also an electric lighter that is charged via a USB cable.

Unlike the arc lighter, a metal coil is heated by pressing a switch. This then begins to glow and can be used to light tobacco products, for example. In terms of price, USB and arc lighters are on a par.

As you can see, there is a really wide range of lighters. Which one you choose is certainly a matter of taste.

Decision: What types of arc lighters are there and which is the right one for you?

The shopping basket in the online shop is full again and you just can't decide on a lighter model? Then you've come to the right place! We will introduce you to the most important types of arc lighters and show you the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

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Arc lighters in the pocket version can look similar to a Zippo lighter. The possibility of customising the plasma lighters makes them particularly attractive.
(Image source: unssplash.com / David Pennington)

Basically, arc lighters can be divided into two categories:

  • Arc pocket lighter
  • Electric arc stick lighter

Within these categories, of course, there are still a wide variety of variants and models. Among the most important are:

  • Single arc lighters
  • Arc lighters with multiple arcs
  • Flexible neck lighters
  • Compact version of the rod lighter with electric arc

What distinguishes a classic arc lighter and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A classic arc lighter, also called an arc pocket lighter, looks very much like a "Zippo" lighter. It is small, light and therefore fits well in the hand. There are versions with one, two or even three arcs.

Advantages
  • Compact
  • Versatile
  • Low power consumption
Disadvantages
  • Danger of getting burnt when lighting
  • Partially less power

The small arc pocket lighters can be used in almost every situation. Lighting tobacco, candles or barbecues is not a big challenge. A big plus of the pocket version of the arc lighter is the possibility to create your very own lighter.

You can almost say that the design possibilities make the plasma lighter a real accessory and certainly an eye-catcher.

What distinguishes an arc stick lighter and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Stick lighters occupy a special position among the arc lighters. This variant is especially visually different from the other models. The long neck is perfect for lighting fireplaces or tea lights. The long neck also protects you from burning your fingers when lighting the lighter.

Advantages
  • Larger battery
  • More powerful
  • Practical for candles that are difficult to reach
Disadvantages
  • Unhandy
  • More expensive
  • Less customisation options

Electric arc lighters are also convincing because of their robust design. The built-in rechargeable batteries are often more powerful than those of pocket lighters.

Once the battery is fully charged, the electric stick lighter can be used up to 500 times before it needs to be recharged.

However, due to its somewhat clunky and long design, this model is only suitable for trips to a limited extent and is simply too big for most trouser pockets.

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate arc lighters

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible LED Christmas lights.

The criteria you can use to compare the LED Christmas lights with each other include:

Below we go into more detail about each of the criteria, hoping to give you a better overview of valuable criteria that are important when buying an arc lighter.

Weight/Size

Before deciding on an arc lighter, it may be worth taking a look at the weight and size description. Most pocket-sized arc lighters measure approximately 7.5 x 3.5 x 1.0 cm. Deviations are usually related to the size of the built-in battery.

The more powerful models are therefore somewhat heavier and larger. The arc lighters in the stick version are about 3x as long as the pocket version (21-25cm) due to their neck. The material used for the case also affects the weight.

The light models weigh between 85 and 100g, the more compact arc lighters are about twice as heavy at 160-200g.

Number of arcs

There are models with one or more arcs. In many cases, one arc is enough to light candles, tobacco or barbecue lighters.

More arcs are not an indicator of good quality

However, double arcs make ignition easier because of the larger contact area. Of course, the price of the version with 2 or 3 arcs is somewhat higher. Apart from the fact that the arc lighters with double arcs are really visually convincing, this version offers only a few advantages in use.

So if the price difference is immense, we think you should rather go for the model with one arc.

Battery

The battery plays one of the most important roles in an arc lighter. A good, powerful and long-lasting battery is a sign of high-quality workmanship. Lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries are usually used, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Lithium-ion batteries have a low self-discharge. Therefore, the charging capacity is not highly stressed. They should not be completely discharged, as this would have a negative effect on the life of the lithium-ion battery (range between 20 and 80% is optimal). In general, however, this type of battery lasts longer than the polymer version.
  2. Lithium-polymer batteries are lighter and cheaper to produce. The risk of overheating is lower, but the polymer battery is much more sensitive to temperature. For this reason, lithium-ion batteries tend to be used in most arc lighters. The charging capacity is also higher.

With a standard model, you can expect 200-300 ignitions when fully charged. Arc lighters can be used up to 500 times with one charge.

Material

There are many different materials that are used in an arc lighter:

  • Precious metal
  • Plastic
  • Aluminium
  • Zinc alloy

Which one you choose depends on your preferences. Precious metal feels good in the hand and is a little heavier than, for example, the plastic version. On the other hand, plastic lighters are a little cheaper.

Features

Almost all arc lighters are equipped with a USB port. There are models with 1, 2 or 3 arcs. The more arcs, the higher the price. It should be ensured that a protective flap is attached to the arc lighter.

Arc lighters in the stick version are equipped with either a compact or flexible neck. The compact version is more stable, while the flexible version is more practical.

There are also touchscreen models that make it even easier to switch on the lighter. A battery indicator helps you keep track of your battery status.
Most arc lighters also have overheating protection and are splash-proof.

Facts worth knowing about the topic of arc lighters

How do I charge my arc lighter?

You can easily charge your arc lighter with a USB cable. Good charging sources are for example:

  • PC
  • Laptop
  • Powerbank for on the road
  • Smartphone power cable with USB port

If your arc lighter has a charging display, you can easily keep track of the charging status of your arc lighter.

Are arc lighters dangerous?

Basically, arc lighters are not dangerous. The temperature of the arc is about 1100°, so you should avoid touching the electrodes. Many models have a protective flap that protects you from accidentally coming into contact with the arcs.

The batteries are also equipped with overheating protection. In addition, a child safety lock can protect you from improper use. All in all, they can be classified as safe, but the arc lighters should not get into the hands of children.

How can I personalise my arc lighter?

There are many ways to personalise your arc lighter. Some suppliers, such as Tesla, allow you to design your own personal plasma lighter during the ordering process. The design options include e.g:

  • One engraving
  • One print with images
  • A choice of colours
  • A protective flap

How do I clean my arc lighter?

There is not much to consider when cleaning the lighter. However, you should be careful not to come into contact with the electrodes when cleaning and it is best not to use water for cleaning.

Are arc lighters waterproof?

There are models that are waterproof. However, since this is not part of the standard equipment of arc lighters, you should read the product description of the respective manufacturer beforehand or contact them directly.

Models with a protective flap are not completely waterproof, but they are protected from splashing water or drizzle.

Can I build arc lighters myself (DIY)?

If you are tech-savvy and like to try things out, there are many helpful tutorials that will help you build your own arc lighter in no time.

IMPORTANT: Your own safety always has the highest priority. If you are inexperienced with any of the materials mentioned above, please consult an expert to help you build your own arc lighter.

Image source: Juthakorn/ 123rf.com

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