Best USB Lighters
For those of you out there wondering, there is an alternative to gas lighters and any of those that require fuel for use. In fact, whether you know it or not, that has brought you here today. For the record, USB lighters are also called plasma or electric arc lighters as they use the power of plasma to deliver heating elements. And, per their name, they can be recharged via USB. However, they have a reputation for being cool devices but not very practical. Yes, you are limited a bit in what you can light with them given their design (as you are not working with an open flame). But, as you will soon learn, you can really achieve the best of both worlds with some of the top-end models on the market. To get there, though, you need to know a few things so let’s get started.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.5 hrs of research
The battery life is very impressive
Does not make a loud or distracting noise
Arguably the best style on the market
- TESLA COIL
- SABERLIGHT SPARQ
- Q&G EXPLORER
- USB TWO-PACK
- KIVORS DOUBLE ARC
- SPARKR MINI PLASMA 2.0
- MANTELLO TESLA COIL
- NOVELTY WARES PLASMA
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Frequently Asked Questions
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST USB LIGHTERS
1. TESLA COIL
The battery life is very impressive
Does not make a loud or distracting noise
Arguably the best style on the market
Only a single arc design
Okay, so even though this is a single arc model it does top this list. One of the many reasons why is the impressive battery life it sports. But, as it is a single arc model, it will not be effective for everyone.Read more
As mentioned, this is indeed a single arc model. While this is slightly inferior to dual arc designs, this is fully windproof and will be effective for smaller uses.
You can clearly tell that this was not engineered using cheap materials. The designers did not skimp any corners let’s just say that.
Various users have raved about the battery life of this model and while it may seem mundane, this is one its greatest selling points. Granted you are not playing with it, it should last quite a while on one charge.
Admittedly, some plasma lighters can be straight up loud. Thankfully, that is not the case here and, additionally, this is equipped with a safety feature that prevents it from being lit with the lid closed.
The style can be summarized in one word here; stunning. There are even additional color options available but most would agree that the gunmetal and black and gold options stand out the most.
Is it unfair to not give this top spot to a dual arc USB lighter? Well, it could be but when you look at everything else, it becomes clear that this model is remarkable for what it is.
It can be rotated 360 degrees
Sports a long handle and a safety switch
Comes equipped with a very powerful battery
It is almost impossible to use in the dark
When compared to other models in the world, this bad boy really sticks out (literally). It is shaped much in the same manner as a traditional long-reach BIC lighter. Due to this, it can be much more effective for various uses.Read more
What is really nice about this design is it does not limit the manner in which you use it (as the plasma beam is free). Of course, it is also windproof and splashproof so that helps.
With the combination of the zinc alloy cover and the ceramics, the build quality will not be brought into question by very many users.
It does not get much better than this. The massive 2600mAh battery is much stronger than other batteries out there and can provide over 1000 ignitions on one charge (which is astounding).
So many features are worth mentioning here including the longer handle, power indicator when the battery is running low and the 360-degree rotational capabilities of the handle. In spite of all these, a light should have been added to the tip to improve visibility when using this at night.
Simply put, this was not made to be stylish. It sacrifices it for a superior design which very few of you will gripe about.
There is so much to love about this that it is almost scary. It very easily could have landed number one on this list and is perhaps the most practical design out there.
3. SABERLIGHT SPARQ
It sports a magnetic top for closing
Uses dual arc plasma rays
The build quality is excellent
It does emit a high-pitched noise
There is no low-battery indication
From one unique model to the next, let’s take a look at the highly regarded Sparq. In addition to sporting a dual arc plasma ray, this is also not limited by a narrow opening thanks to the superb engineering.Read more
Much like the last option, this is not limited by a narrow tesla coil and this enhances the practicality. As such, the plasma energy is free and is also not affected by the wind or by splashes.
Now, this appears to be made of brushed stainless steel. Either way, this will not easily be damaged.
While one user did claim they did not receive the advertised battery life of three hours on a single charge, three hours of real-time use is pretty good.
Now, the magnetic top for closing on this model is ingenious. But, a low-battery indicator was omitted so you will not know when it is close to dying.
Though there are no additional styles available, the brushed stainless steel appeal is utterly superb.
At the end of the day, this prioritizes function over features and if this is something that is okay with you, then you will probably fall in love with this bad boy.
4. Q&G EXPLORER
Designed with an ABS zinc alloy housing
It will spark a flame during wet conditions
Different color options are available
A few users have complained about its ineffectiveness to light cigars
One of the standout features of the Explorer has got to be its external housing. In addition to being made of impact-resistant ABS zinc alloy, it is also textured which enhances the handling.Read more
The Explorer is equipped with dual arc plasma rays and in addition to this, the design as a whole is windproof and can withstand winds up to 80 miles per hour. Some users have complained, though, of its inability to light cigars.
Indeed, this is where the Explorer shines. In conjunction with the aforementioned ABS zinc alloy housing, this sports an O-ring sealed cover that will prevent water from entering inside.
According to previous users, the reception for the battery life has been mixed. It is a little peculiar but some reviewers say it lasts a long time for them while others disagree.
No, this is not loaded with features but two prominent ones are its blue indicator light that shows it is in operation and its 10-second time-out safety feature.
The appeal to this design is there but even if you are not a fan of the black-coated housing, you can choose from other color options.
As a “traditional” design, this is without a doubt one of the best. Its dual arc design and brilliant and impact-resistant housing are proof enough of that.
5. USB TWO-PACK
Comes packaged in an elegant gift box
They work pretty well for cigars and cigarettes
You get two with your purchase
There is no low-battery warning indicator
One user noted how the finish started to peel off on one of theirs
A feature that often gets overlooked with plasma lighters is their style. Sure, it is not the most important but when a model combines impressive features with a stylish design, you can’t help but be enamored by it. Indeed, that is what is present here.Read more
Once again, this is a top-end model (or two because that is how many you receive here) that sports dual arcing plasma. And, it works pretty well for lighting cigars and cigarettes because of it.
It is worth noting that a specific reviewer reported that the finish of one of their lighters was starting to peel off within a couple of days of them carrying it. Other than that, this is built well.
In just two short hours, this will be fully recharged and ready to go. By the time you get around 150 uses out of it, though, it will need to be recharged again.
The protective lid is a nice touch as this will remain safe around children. In another direction, a low-battery indicator was glossed over which is a little frustrating.
First off, both of the lighters you receive come packaged in a gift box. As for the style, there are a few different engravings that you can select from.
As with every other USB lighter in the world, this does possess its flaws. For most of you, they will not be enough to warrant a pass on this model, however.
It arrives in a luxurious gift box
Will light in virtually any weather
Includes accessories to keep it clean
The cap does not flip completely out of the way
You know, this model probably exemplifies why this technology is so enamored and also why it is questioned. Even though it is a fancy device that can pack a punch, it can be awkward to use on occasion.Read more
The dual arc design is nice but here is the thing, this can be awkward to use due to the cap not flipping completely out of the way and the narrow spacing within the plasma rays.
If you are tired of the plastic lighters that you buy at the gas station then you will more than appreciate the quality build that is present here.
The 100 to 300 usage range is incredibly vague but that is the advertised battery life. As for the time it takes to charge, it should be done within two hours.
Some really handy features have been integrated such as the closed lid preventing ignition and the blue LED indicator that will turn off when the battery is fully charged.
This is not the most awe-inspiring visual design on the market but there are a few color options to choose from which is nice.
If you are afraid that this will not place your everyday BIC lighter then you are probably right. Instead, this is a situational device that may not end up being your go-to option.
7. KIVORS DOUBLE ARC
Could be the “coolest” option on the market
The casing is made of zinc alloy
Sports a double arc design
The spacing in between the arcs is slim
No low-battery indicator is integrated
Wow; that is arguably the first word that came to your mind when you saw the photos of this next model. Indeed, the dragon engravings (as there are additional style options available) make this an eye-popping design.Read more
Okay, so the main issue with this design is the fact that the spacing in between the arcs is not very wide. With that said, this is yet another dual arc model.
Being made with zinc alloy, which is a metal, this is not going to break very easily and will hold up to mild abuse.
As with a previous entry on this list, the advertised battery life of 100 to 300 ignites is very vague. Also, the two-hour charge time is about what you would expect.
The main feature integrated is the lid as it prevents the plasma from lighting with it closed. The engineers either forgot or did not care enough to implement a low-battery indicator, though.
Oh yeah, this design just rules quite frankly. What is even better is the fact that there are several different types of styles that all implement different dragon engravings and colors.
The “cool” factor of this option is literally off the charts. Of course, the zinc alloy housing and dual arc plasma rays also help to enhance the quality overall.
8. SPARKR MINI PLASMA 2.0
It also has a 15-lumen LED flashlight in the bottom
Features two arcs instead of one
The area that the bean is exposed is small
The hinge is made of flimsy plastic
Now, this one is a bit different. If it sounds familiar to you, it was a crowdfunded device that landed on Kickstarter way back in 2016. This is actually an upgraded model that has made noticeable improvements.Read more
It seems a bit redundant at this point but the Mini Plasma Lighter 2.0 is powerful with its dual arc design but also limited due to the narrow spacing.
Unlike various other lighters, this is actually made out of impact-resistant polycarbonate. While this is nice, the hinge is made of flimsy plastic and can easily break.
It is touted that this sports a top-rate lithium-ion battery cell and given the fact that it is rated to handle over 500 charge cycles, you can see why.
This has been upgraded with a three-button click system to prevent accidental activation. Also, this is equipped with a handy 15-lumen flashlight that is located in the bottom.
Truth be told, this is not designed for style. Most of the focus went into the functionality and features which is certainly not a negative.
This upgraded Sparkr Mini 2.0 certainly sports an improved design over the original and is quite effective overall. Yet, still, version 3.0 could fix some flaws that went unchecked.
9. MANTELLO TESLA COIL
It will not light when the lid is closed
Features a zinc alloy shell
The battery is fantastic
Not the most practical option out there
This really is a great design but due to the structure of it, it is not the most practical option when it comes to lighting certain candles and anything you can’t physically place inside it.Read more
If the lid would come back farther this would probably be a bit easier to use. Of course, many of you will appreciate the double arc plasma rays.
First off, the housing is made of zinc alloy and this adds impact resistance. Additionally, the actual head of the lighter is made of ceramic.
In around one to two hours, this will be fully recharged which is pretty fast. When at a full charge, you can expect this to last for right around 200 to 300 ignites.
As with virtually every other model on the market that sports a lid, when it is closed, this is not going to ignite accidentally.
Really, you can’t go wrong with the all-black appeal of this lighter. Then again, there is a lack of variety as there are no other colors to choose from.
It can be said for many others as well but this would be a lot better if you had more area to work with in regard to actually lighting items. As is, in spite of this, it is just another solid, yet slightly-flawed, option.
10. NOVELTY WARES PLASMA
Features a dual arc design
Many style options are available
Comes in a gift box with a USB charging cable
Not the best battery
The opening is not very large
It is really ironic that this model is presented by Novelty Wares as many users have felt that this is merely nothing more than a novelty item. Then again, its sleek design can still be effective.Read more
Not only will this work in all weather conditions but the dual arc design enhances its power. Then again, do not expect to light thick items with this.
Despite your thoughts about this design, you really can’t criticize the build quality too much. Thanks to the corrosion-resistant metal housing, this will be ideal in all weather conditions.
Expect anywhere from 100 to 150 uses out of this. When compared to others, this is not the best, admittedly.
With the integrated indicator light at the bottom, you will know when this is functioning and when it is charging the battery.
If nothing else, most of you will appreciate the thought that went into the visuals here. Oh yeah, and your model also comes packaged in an elegant gift box.
Let’s just be honest; if you are seriously looking for replacements to your gas lighter then there are superior options. This is nice as a novelty item that can still be useful.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Various factors will affect the performance of any given model so you need to know what to look for.
If you have been paying attention thus far then you probably are starting to get the idea that these types of lighters may not be as effective as gas models. While this section is not intended to debate between the two, it is worth noting. However, that does not indicate that plasma lighters are insufficient in what they are designed to do. But, a few factors will come into play. Firstly, they will either sport one arc or two arcs. This just references how many electrodes there are as with dual arc designs, there will literally be two of them running across each other (while there will only be one with a single arc). Clearly, dual arc models are a little better at lighting larger items.
Yet, this can mean very little if the shape of the device is not optimal for your needs. For the most part, the most common shape is that of classic flip-top lighters. The main issue with this design is when you want to light candles and other such items, it can be downright impossible to get the plasma rays to touch what you need. In this case, models that sport longer necks will be preferred. Oh, and one other thing, all plasma lighters out there will be windproof due to the nature of plasma (as it is not affected by mild or even heavy gusts of wind).
It is simple; look for models that are made of high-quality materials.
There is a good chance that you will be intending to use your brand-new USB lighter outdoors. And, quite frankly, even if you this is not your intention, you should still prioritize this section right here. Because it is so easy to drop any type of handheld device, you will want to ensure the housing is durable and here it is no different. Look to avoid cheap housings that are made of plastic and, instead, look for superior durability like you would find in metal housings. And, while you may expect aluminum or steel to be the dominant metal here, it is actually zinc. This is actually a silvery-white metal and it is a constituent of brass. It is most generally used for protecting other metals against corrosion so you can see why it is popular.
Of course, oftentimes, engineers will use zinc alloy and this merely means that they combine the elements of multiple metals to make one. What this does is create a housing that can not only withstand abuse but also resist corrosion.
Not only is the battery life important but how long it takes to charge the battery is as well.
This section right here actually comes down to two factors. The first is the actual time the battery is going to last and the second is the time it takes for the battery to charge. To start, let’s address the former first. Okay, so, every single model on this list and every single USB lighter on the market will need to be recharged (as that is the point of their designs). Even though this is the case, not all engineers will equip the same exact batteries (clearly). This becomes important because how long a battery will last is dictated by its capacity (and other variables but those are dependent on usage). And, this is measured in milliamp hours (mAh) and the higher this number is, the more capacity a battery will have. So, higher-end batteries may be able to deliver upward of 1000 ignitions a charge, while others may only reach 100 to 300.
Now, this is just part number one as the second part is analyzing how long it takes the battery to reach full capacity. Most models will fall right between the one-to-two-hour range but it is always a good idea to double check.
There are actually quite a few features present here so pay attention to this section.
As opposed to other technology devices or tools, these really will not be outfitted with several groundbreaking features. In spite of this, however, there will be a number of minor features that you can look for that can actually separate good models from great ones. For instance, what about some safety features? Look, plasma can burn you much like fire so it can still be considered a safety hazard. Common features that you may see to enhance the safety are the prevention of ignition when the lid is closed and also a time-out feature that prevents the electrodes from staying on for longer than a certain time (which can be anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds most generally).
Of course, past the safety, some other subtle important features are a low-battery indicator and an LED indicator that will go off when the battery has reached full capacity. Both of these are more for convenience to ensure that you know when the battery is running low and so you can avoid overcharging it.
Do the "visuals" really matter that much? Only you can answer this.
Why not end this section with a little bit of fun, right? Even though traditional lighters have never really been fashions statements, some USB models on the market can really sport fantastic visual designs. Of course, it also helps that plasma rays simply look “cool”. But, back to the topic at hand, this is all about you and how important you deem it. It is perfectly fine if you find no attachment to this section in the slightest and if you do not, then you can move on.
Yet, these really can be stylish. There are even certain models on the market that will engrave certain symbols and art to really put the design over the top. You know that you are going to care about this section, though, so you might as well be real with yourself.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
How effective any one product is will literally change everything, right? So, why should this be any different when you go to buy a USB lighter? The answer; it should not so do some research here to ensure that the model you pick will be effective for you. On top of assessing how many arcs there are, you also need to pay attention to the shape as this can dictate what you can and can’t feasibly light.
Just as with the effectiveness of any one model, do you really want to buy something that is cheaply built? Of course, you do not, so pay attention to the details here. First and foremost, analyze the type of housing that is in play. This is what encases all the internal components of the lighter so it needs to be made out of durable materials (such as zinc).
Not only do you need to make sure that you are happy with the battery life but you also want to be satisfied with how long the battery takes to recharge, in the first place. Both are critical to your satisfaction and, quite frankly, both can and probably will vary from model to model. After all, battery lives on these babies can range anywhere from 100 to 1000 ignitions per charge (ouch).
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are some benefits of using them?
In general, let’s analyze some of the major reasons why you want one of these lighters, in the first place. Probably the most prominent reason is that they are reusable. Due to the fact that they do not require fuel and instead require electricity, they can merely be recharged and used until interior components begin to fail. And, much like other types of lighters, they are generally very compact and easy to transport.
q: How do you clean them?
This is a great example of a device that can be negatively affected by how you choose to clean it. In reality, you should not choose and you should only do what is advised. What you really want to avoid is using liquid cleaners or abrasives. These are simply not necessary and will do more harm than good. Instead, use a soft brush (a toothbrush will work) to clean any residue or dirt that is located on the ceramic tip of the lighter itself. Getting rid of this will enhance performance in the long run.
q: Can you stick your fingers between the two electrodes?
Does this seem like a stupid question? Is it like asking, “Should you stick your hand in an open flame”? In a way, yes it is but it is a question that comes up on the web. Here is the reality of the situation; the plasma ray that is emitted from a USB lighter should be treated much as an open flame would. So, this means it should not come in contact with your skin. The good news is if it happens to, the area that comes in contact with your skin with plasma is not as large as it is for an open flame.
q: Are they allowed on planes?
For the record, rules and regulations for airlines are authorized by the Transportation Security Administration (or TSA). So, with this in mind, do they authorize these types of lighters? This one is easy because, on their webpage, they clarify that these devices are not acceptable for either carry on or checked baggage. About the only thing you can do is check them in.
q: What about some general disadvantages?
As you already know, arc and plasma lighters, in general, can have small surface areas to work with and this can make it difficult to light certain items. Looking past this, are there any other negatives to them? One of the biggest ones is actually the noise that can be emitted. This has not really been discussed and although not all models will emit ear-piercing noise, some will be rather annoying to listen to.
q: How hot will they get?
Oh yeah, these bad boys can get pretty darn hot. As an example, let’s look at a model that actually did not appear on this list. It is known as the ArcLighter and it can heat up to around 2012 degrees Fahrenheit. Yep, you read that temperature reading correctly. What is also nice is due to the plasma energy, the heat is going to be dispersed evenly. Can you see why you should be careful with a device such as this?