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Matches vs Bic vs Pipe lighter

I am looking at getting a good quality pipe lighter either a Kiribi or Peterson. While looking at them I got to thinking about what the actual cost is of matches vs bic vs refillable lighter. So I ran the numbers as best I could. What I found was matches are considerably more expensive, an "expensive" lighter $70 cost was used is not expensive when averaged over several years, and Bics are by far the cheapest option.

So here is how everything breaks down:
Matches cost $10.50/900 (.0116/match)
avg # used / bowl 20
# of bowls / day 1
# of days per week a bowl is smoked 5
20/day X 5 days / week = 100 matches per week
100 X 52 weeks / year = 5200 matches per year
avg cost per year $60.32

Refillable Lighter
cost of lighter $70.00
avg cost of fuel per can $5.58/320 ml.
1 can lasts 1 year or 12.307 ml. of fuel used every 2 weeks
cost averaged over 7 year lifespan of lighter
Fuel 5.58 X 7 = $39.06
$39.06+$70 = $109.06
$109.06/7 years =$15.58 per year

Bic
avg life span 1,500 lights or about 4 months
1500 lights / 20 lights per bowl = 75 bowls
avg 3 lighters used per year, cost $3.30/ year
7 years cost $23.10

I know many find the price of Peterson, Kiribi, and IM Corona lighters to be expensive and they are but when averaged over several years which I feel is a reasonable minimum lifespan for such a lighter that you are better of buying the better quality lighter than a $20 lighter every year or two if not more often. I also wasn't expecting for matches to be as expensive as they are which makes me question those that use matches because they are cheap.

Keep in mind all these numbers are rough estimates YMMV and I hope you found this interesting.
 

simon1

Self Ignored by Vista
I did find this interesting.

I don't use matches anymore...you can't find any that are worth a crap now since they took the sulphur out of the strike anywhere matches because of the druggies...and you need a lot of them. I do have two boxes of Diamond kitchen matches though but I'm saving them.

I like my little Ronson lighter for the soft flame, but some people don't like the fluid taste. Doesn't bother me. I'll also use a Zippo from time to time. I can't say about a quality pipe lighter as I haven't bought one...yet.

I usually use a Bic though because it's handy, but I do like my Ronson. Classy.

Just get what you want. Looks like a dedicated pipe lighter may be right up your alley. Get the refillable butane one that you like.

 
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I think it's best to have several different ways to light a pipe, not just one. If smoking outside, even a slight wind will give a Bic or other butane type lighters fits. I use matches mostly if it's cold outside and I am smoking inside my den. I use a butane disposable pipe lighter outside on calm days and a Zippo pipe lighter and fluid on breezy/windy days.

By using all three types, my matches, butane and fluid lasts quite awhile and seems very economical to me. And I'm one who likes to squeeze a penny.
 
I think it's best to have several different ways to light a pipe, not just one. If smoking outside, even a slight wind will give a Bic or other butane type lighters fits. I use matches mostly if it's cold outside and I am smoking inside my den. I use a butane disposable pipe lighter outside on calm days and a Zippo pipe lighter and fluid on breezy/windy days.

By using all three types, my matches, butane and fluid lasts quite awhile and seems very economical to me. And I'm one who likes to squeeze a penny.

This is my practice with one exception. I try to NOT use a BIC when smoking a pipe because I always manage to either heat the lighter up while lighting or burining my fingers when the breeze moves the flame toward my hand.

Brian Levine of the Pipes Magazine Radio Show once did a segement on the best type of source for lighting a pipe. The consensus was to use butane. It is a softer flame than matches or lighter fluid type lighters. You want to ignight your tobacco, not incinerate it. If that makes any sense.

@gevans Nice work on the analysis. It was indeed eye opening.
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Interesting but not all that surprising. I have never used a match since no worthy matches are readily available, I'm not likely to special order Swans or other specialty match. I'm usually a Zippo guy, especially if it is at all windy. I have recently started using my Old Boy again, after letting it sit unused for a long time. That soft directed flame is da bomb and least likely to scorch the rims of my pipes.
 
The title of this thread led me here.

I don't smoke and didn't know a pipe had to be relit so often.

Maybe a cheaper way would be to do use a candle and dollar store wooden skewers in a dish of sand (see picture bottom left); like they use in churches.


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I knew my Xikar purchase was economical. The can of fuel is still heavy after months of use and half the time if I run out at the shop I bought it at they refill it for me.

I am going to get one of the jet inserts for a Zippo for Cigars since I find myself having a few a week during the summer weather.
 
100 matches/5 bowls is probably an overestimate. For most people who are in the market for a $100 lighter.
Yeah, 20 matches / bowl seems a bit excessive... if this is your experience, you may need to work on your cadence.

I like to use a match for the charring light - since I'm applying the flame longer, the lower temperature reduces the risk of burning the rim. Then I tamp and use a butane lighter (Old Boy FTW) the rest of the way.

I never liked Bics - too easy to scorch the bowl.
 
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I've been using matches more and more lately. My local shop tosses in a ton of them when you make a purchase haha. I definitely don't use 20 a bowl. Normally somewhere between 5 and 10 for me on an average bowl.

For lighters I have some clipper lighters that get alot of use. Very inexpensive to buy but it is re refillable and re flintable.

I've got a handful of zippos that I like but don't use a ton because of the fuel evaporation. I do have a few other pipe lighters that I like. My favorite being a "sarome" and also have a couple jifeng lighters that work pretty well.
 
I started with book matches. I still like them for classic purposes and less waste. Never was a fan of stick matches because of the waste. Bought a zippo insert, meh. Hated having to refuel it constantly. Did the butane insert, that works nicely but some reason it never was consistent for me to naturally grab. Then came my Old Boy. Wished I'd never bought it. Too nice to use (I got the smooth briar finish). Then came a cheap side flame lighter that has been left outside, rained on, went thru the laundry, and still works and looks like new. But alas, I naturally always grab a Bic and probably always will.
 

Commander Quan

Commander Yellow Pantyhose
Years ago I had an unfortunate experience with the edge of my thumb on a deli slicer, and when holding a Bic at 90 degrees the longer exposure while doing charring lights and the like is really uncomfortable. I keep a box of diamond matches in the garage, and generally use a Zippo when outside, and my old Boy on the enclosed porch.
 
Interesting, but IMHO, a very important intangible was left out of the calculation. It's called "pride of ownership".

Granted, it's value may be greater to some than to others, but for me, life's to short for bad cigars, ugly houses, and Bic lighters.

No offense to Bic lighter users intended.

Of course, YMMV.
 
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