Cigars 101

Cigar Knowledge: Selecting a Lighter

You don’t have to be a longtime cigar passionado to know that the industry has seen lots of changes over the past few years. The most recent trend is the introduction of a sixty-ring format as a staple in a brand lineup.

The size is fascinating, really. If you walk into a given cigar shop and ask the proprietor which size sells best, they’ll most likely respond that the sixty-ring varieties sell most frequently. If you ask the customers why they choose that size more often than others, the response is typically focused on perceived value. If for only a little more money you can get much more smoke-time, why not take the plunge?

Large ring gauge cigars have taken the market by storm and gained massive popularity. The accessory market changed to keep pace with the trend. What good is a cigar cutter that can’t handle anything larger than a 54 ring gauge? Have you ever tried to light a 6 x 60 with a delicate single flame torch?

The purpose of this article is to take a look at the accessory market, butane torches in particular. When it comes to selecting a lighter, bigger isn’t always better.


Lighting a cigar is a fairly simple process. You hold the cigar in one hand, typically at an angle, and the lighter in your opposite hand. The lighter is ignited and the flame is placed near the foot of the cigar.

We try to avoid touching the actual flame to the tobacco to prevent scorching of the wrapper. There is a delicate dance as one hand rotates the cigar and the other dances the flame below the foot. Given a little time, the foot will glow and you are ready to take the first puff.

There isn’t an exact science on how far to hold the flame from the foot. We learn this over time and adjust, on the fly, based on what we see happening. The biggest cause for concern is when we wind up using the wrong tool for the job.

Selecting the Right Tool for the Job:

What happens when we use an old single flame lighter, which we normally use to precisely toast lanceros, to light our sixty ring cigars? If you are anything like me, chances are good that you get impatient and wind up scorching the wrapper by rushing the process.

What about when we use a newer multi-flame torch to toast our traditional size cigars? In my case I wind up holding the tip of the flame a mile from the foot and burn up half a tank of butane trying to delicately light my cigar.

Neither scenario is ideal and we would get better results if we selected the right tool for the job.

Single Flame Torch Lighters:

When it comes to torches, I’m a big fan of the single flame variety. They are precise, elegant, easy to use, and tend to last a long time between fillings.

Single Flame Torches are available in various sizes and can be purchased as a slimline pocket lighter or a more substantial table torch. The pocket torches make for a great all-around lighter; however, they can be underpowered for big ring gauges. When lighting a 6 x 60 with a single flame torch, I always reach for my tried and true Rocky Patel Table Torch (I got it free from a Famous deal several years ago and it hasn’t skipped a beat).

Because I’m not much of a large format smoker, the single flame is what I use most often. It will handle all of the traditional sizes without issue.

Double Flame Torch Lighters:

Double Flame Torches are great, as long as you spend a little time shopping around. Twin jets mean more horsepower than a single flame and because there are only two jets, butane usage isn’t too bad.

When searching for the perfect double flame torch, you should pay close attention to the jets. Look down into the mouth of the lighter and take notice as to how the jets are oriented. I prefer mine to be angled towards one another. This creates a flame that resembles an “A”.

The narrow flame on this type of lighter gives you single flame like precision with the extra oomph needed to get a 60 ring toasted in little time. The one thing to keep in mind is that more jets mean a higher chance of clogging. Be sure to use a high quality fuel which has been refined three to five times.

Triple Flame Torch Lighters & Beyond:

Triple Flame Torches are like driving a Hummer. They are big, manly, and powerful but fuel economy is terrible. A torch with four or more flames is just like the Hummer but picture a set of truck nuts and a supercharger.

In my experience, these types of lighters are notorious for having vertical jets. In this case we’ve got jets stacked together, all of which point straight into the air. When the lighter is ignited, you get a large broad flame.

A large broad flame, with a hot spot approximately the size of a nickel, makes quick work of large format cigars. Wrapper scorching is always a concern but no more than if you were lighting a lanecro with a little single flame thinline torch.

The problem with these torches is that traditional sizes become tricky to light. The hot-spot at the top of the flame is far too large. As a result, I tend to try to tip the lighter and use the edge of the flame. This produces mixed results, so I try to avoid lighting anything smaller than a robusto with these monsters.

Selecting the right torch isn’t a difficult task as long as you use the right tool for the right job. You wouldn’t pound in a little finish nail with a 3 pound sledge, so why light a lancero with a five-jet lighter that looks like it came out of a sci-fi film?

While I’m an advocate of Single Flame Torches, in various sizes, I think the best all around lighter is probably the Double Flame. Get yourself something with angled jets and a large fuel tank and you’ll be lighting lanceros or Super-Toros without issue.

Walt White

Walt White

Walt White lives outside of Reading, Pennsylvania. By day he is a draftsman and a typical work week consists of drafting and designing architectural millwork. By night he is an avid cigar enthusiast and Co-Founder of Stogie Review. In his spare time, Walt enjoys shooting pistol in both the USPSA and IDPA sports. Match video and discussion can be found on his WaltInPA blog. Walt is also the host of the Shooting The Breeze Gun Podcast.

Show all Walt White's Articles
Top New Cigars for Dec 10 2018 Cigar Advisor Cover

CA Report: Top New Cigars – Dec. 10 2018

As we count down the days 'til Christmas, time to make a cigar run and pack the humi with some top-notch sharing smokes...try these hand-picked Top New Cigars, hand-picked to warm your cockles: click NOW to get 3x the Monte, a very robust new Romeo, and a fresh Aging Room delight.
Read More
5 things you need to know about Culebra cigars CACover

5 Things You Need to Know About… Culebra Cigars

Culebras: those snaky-looking cigars, entwined in a set of three. Hard to find and rarely made these days, but they sure are fun to smoke, especially with two friends. Culebra cigars also have an interesting back story. We dig into what makes these time-honored cigars so unique, and demonstrate how to smoke them.
Read More
Brick House Connecticut cigar review MWC cover

My Weekend Cigar: Jan. 8, 2018 – Brick House Connecticut

My Weekend Cigar was the Brick House Connecticut Robusto - it's a DOUBLE Connecticut, with a nice flavor payoff for those who like to try something new - and different. Find out what it's all about: click NOW for the details in my review!
Read More

How to store cigars in a coolerdor

Does a humidor made from a storage box or beer cooler work better than a traditional wooden cigar humidor? Learn how to store cigars in a coolerdor.
Read More