How to Refill a Lighter (The Right Way)

How To Refill A Butane Lighter

So, you’ve taken up the hobby of smoking the occasional cigar. It’s awesome, isn’t it? That is right up until your lighter runs out of butane and you let your cigar sit for too long so it went out.

What do you do now?

Luckily for you, pretty much any butane lighter is able to be refilled and reused which means you won’t need to go buy a new lighter each time yours runs out of fuel.

But if you’re new to smoking then you probably aren’t quite sure how to refill the lighter. Luckily it’s a quite simple process we’re here to help you with!

Filling a Butane Lighter (Step-by-step)

Refueling your refillable butane lighter is very easy and nothing to be intimated by. It only takes a few minutes (at most)! All you’ll need is a premium butane gas refill can. Most of these come with a universal nozzle that will fit any refill port.

  1. First, make sure you wait until your lighter is completely cooled off before attempting to refill it. It goes without saying that putting highly flammable gas into a hot lighter is very dangerous.
  2. Most refillable butane lighters have a flame height adjustment screw on the bottom. Set the height to a minimum by turning that adjustment screw clockwise. This will require a small screwdriver. Be careful to not turn too hard as it isn’t difficult to break a tiny screw like these.
    1. Note: Some lighters come with a key for the adjustment or have an adjustment wheel instead of a screw. Regardless of how the flame height on your lighter is adjusted, be careful to not break it.
  3. Push the refill valve on the lighter with a screwdriver to let air inside the tank out. Not doing this is the most common mistake people make with refilling a butane lighter. Air inside the tank prevents new butane from entering the lighter, which can cause the lighter to malfunction.
  4. Always make sure to refill your lighter with it upside down (refill valve pointed towards the ceiling). This prevents injecting more air into the lighter.
  5. Shake the butane refill can. Press the nozzle of the can onto the refill valve on the lighter (again, with the lighter upside-down). Keep the can depressed for 5-10 seconds. You may need to repeat this process 3-4 times before the lighter is completely filled.
    1. Note: When pressing the refill can onto the lighter, press firmly but not too hard. You typically want to hear a little bit of hissing coming from the can. Once the lighter is full the hissing will stop. Pushing too hard can stop any butane from entering the lighter.
  6. Since butane is very cold, you’ll be able to feel your lighter get cold as new butane enters the tank. Allow up to 5 minutes for your lighter and the butane to come up to room temperature.
  7. Once everything has come up to room temperature, adjust the flame height screw once again to your optimal level. Then you can test the lighter to ensure everything is working how you want it.

That’s it! Congratulations, you’ve successfully refilled your butane lighter. That wasn’t very hard, was it?

It’s worth noting that you should purchase premium butane in order to ensure your lighter is working at peak performance. Lower quality brands can have inconsistent burning and even clog up the valve on your lighter causing you to need a new one anyways.

How To Refill A Zippo Lighter

Filling a Zippo Lighter (Step-by-step)

So you don’t have a butane lighter that needs refilled, but rather a Zippo. This means you’re going to need to use lighter fluid rather than butane gas.

It’s worth noting that you should never use a Zippo lighter (or any other lighter that uses lighter fluid) for lighting a cigar. Your cigar will absorb some of the lighter fluid fumes and it’ll ruin the flavor. You wouldn’t want that!


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But how do you go about doing this? It goes without saying that the process is different than a conventional butane lighter. Don’t worry though, we’ll show you exactly how to refill a Zippo easily!

  1. First, make sure you use authentic Zippo lighter fluid with your Zippo lighter. While other lighter fluids will work most of the time, using the Zippo brand will ensure your lighter works at peak potential. If you do use another brand of lighter fluid, make sure it’s premium.
  2. Remove the “insert” from the case. This should be wedged inside a regular case. Just use your fingers to pull it free.
  3. Turn the insert over so the bottom is facing upwards. You will see a felt pad with a designated area used to remove it with. Using a small flat head screwdriver, gently pry up on this area to lift the felt pad.
  4. Keep the felt pad lifted back and squirt lighter fluid into the lighter. Make sure to squeeze gently. Keep adding lighter fluid until the top portion of the rayon balls are damp.
    1. Be careful to not let any lighter fluid leak out or get on your skin. If you have any spills, wipe them up with a wet rag. Adding lighter fluid slowly will greatly diminish the chance of any spills.
  5. Release your hold on the felt pad and push it back down in place. Make sure it’s secure and fully back in its position. Continue to allow the lighter fluid to soak for 45 seconds to a minute before flipping it right side up.
  6. Put the insert back into the metal casing you removed it from earlier.
  7. Light the Zippo to ensure the wick is absorbing the new lighter fluid and everything is working as it should.
    1. No spark? You likely need to replace the flint.
    2. If the flame is bigger than normal, don’t worry! This is typical for the first few lights when fresh lighter fluid has been added.

That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now you’ve successfully refilled both your butane lighter and your Zippo lighter. Nice job!

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if you have a Zippo or a different type of lighter that uses lighter fluid; neither should be used to light up a cigar. Lighters that use lighter fluid are great for other things, but we highly recommend leaving the cigar-lighting to butane.

Wrapping It Up

Refilling a lighter is neither a difficult nor time consuming task. It doesn’t matter if it’s your typical butane lighter used for cigars or your fancy Zippo!

When just beginning your cigar smoking journey, questions like, “Do you inhale cigars?” and, “How do I refill a lighter?” are very common things to ask, and they’re important to know.

However, you can rest easy knowing that most of the questions like these are much simpler than they seem.

And now that you’ve successfully refilled your favorite lighter, you can sit back, relax, and finish enjoying a good smoke. Just don’t light up using lighter fluid!

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