The Best Lighter for Survival: A Comprehensive Guide has been live since September 2011, we specialise in both expert prepper guides, and a daily curated feed of the best prepper content online.

When it comes to survival situations, fire is one of the most essential elements to ensure your safety and well-being. A reliable fire-starting tool can be a lifesaver in the wilderness, providing warmth, cooking capabilities, and a means of signaling for help. Lighters, being small, lightweight, and reliable, make for an indispensable addition to any survival kit. In this article, we will explore the best lighter for survival scenarios, weighing their pros and cons and considering important factors such as durability, reliability, and weather resistance.

The ability to start a fire is undeniably crucial for survival. However, many individuals who prepare for emergencies tend to prioritize primitive fire-making tools while overlooking the humble but practical fueled lighter. It is highly recommended to have a collection of affordable BIC lighters strategically placed throughout your home, car, and go-bags. We suggest acquiring the economical $9 BIC Maxi 5-pack and the convenient $8 BIC Mini 5-pack. If you’re looking for a reliable refillable lighter, the $35 Maratac Peanut is an excellent choice, surpassing both Zippo lighters and butane cigar lighters. For an exceptional everyday carry (EDC) lighter that excels in wind resistance and functionality, the $35 Survival Frog Micro-USB Rechargeable Tesla emerges as the top contender, also serving as the finest windproof and electric lighter available.

While it may be fascinating to ignite a fire using traditional camping techniques, soldiers, seasoned survivalists, and renowned bushcraft enthusiasts worldwide commonly rely on cigarette lighters as their go-to fire-starting tool. Primitive methods, on the other hand, serve as a backup option.

Disposable lighters, apart from being incredibly affordable and widespread, represent a marvel of modern manufacturing. The combination of capitalism and the demands of avid smokers has resulted in a user-friendly, compact, lightweight, durable, reliable, and efficient product that can endure on store shelves for decades.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to include disposable lighters in your emergency fire kit, it’s worth investing an additional $20 to acquire refillable or rechargeable lighters. These options not only save you money in daily use but also offer long-term versatility beyond critical situations.

Although refillable lighters may occasionally experience leaks, making them less convenient for extended storage compared to disposables, the right refillable lighter can accommodate various types of fuel. This fuel flexibility makes them excellent backup provisions for prolonged emergencies, where you might have to scavenge fuel from unconventional sources such as perfume bottles or paint supplies.

Certain specialty products like butane torch lighters are popular among campers and backpackers. However, most of these options possess limitations that disqualify them from serving as your primary fire preparation tool.

The Best Lighters for Survival

1. Zippo Windproof Lighter

Price: $19.58

Zippo lighters have long been a favorite among survival enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. These windproof lighters are known for their reliability, durability, and timeless design. The sturdy metal construction and windproof design ensure that your Zippo will work in even the harshest conditions.


  • Windproof design

  • Refillable with standard lighter fluid

  • Durable and long-lasting

  • Wide range of designs and finishes


  • Requires regular maintenance

  • Not waterproof

  • Fluid can evaporate over time

Check out this product on Amazon

2. UST TekFire Fuel-Free Lighter

Price: $19.39

The UST TekFire Fuel-Free Lighter is an excellent option for those who prefer an eco-friendly alternative. This lighter utilizes a plasma arc, making it windproof, waterproof, and fuel-free. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it can be charged using a USB cable or a solar panel, making it perfect for long-term use in the wilderness.


  • Fuel-free and environmentally friendly


  • Windproof and waterproof


  • Rechargeable battery

  • Lanyard for easy carrying


  • Less durable than some other options


  • Limited battery life, requiring recharging

Check out this product on Amazon

3. Xikar Stratosphere II Lighter

Price: $32.28

Designed specifically for outdoor enthusiasts, the Xikar Stratosphere II Lighter is a high-altitude, windproof, and water-resistant lighter. Its protective rubberized casing helps protect against drops and impacts, while the adjustable flame ensures reliable performance in any condition.


  • High-altitude performance


  • Windproof and water-resistant


  • Protective rubber casing


  • Adjustable flame


  • Requires butane refills


  • Bulky compared to other options

Check out this product on Amazon

4. Exotac Firesleeve

Price: $19.95

The Exotac Firesleeve is an innovative solution for turning a simple Bic lighter into a durable and weather-resistant survival tool. The Firesleeve’s rugged silicone exterior protects the lighter from impacts, water, and dirt. Its gas lock feature allows for hands-free use, and the cap attachment prevents accidental discharge of fuel.


  • Lightweight and compact


  • Water and impact-resistant


  • Gas lock for hands-free use


  • Affordable


  • Requires a separate Bic lighter


  • Not windproof

Check out this product on Amazon

Best Pick for Durability: BIC Maxi

Without a doubt, the top choice for a survival lighter, suitable for most individuals, is the BIC Maxi. Priced at $1.80 each or $9 for a pack of five, these lighters offer exceptional value. With the ability to provide approximately 3,000 lights, which is defined as a one-second flame produced by striking the flint, the Maxi lighters outperform regular BIC lighters by double the duration.

One notable advantage of the BIC Maxi is its minimal fuel leakage compared to many refillable lighters. This feature allows the Maxi lighters to remain unused for extended periods, even years, without significant fuel loss. They can withstand being stored in a glove box or emergency bag, tolerate exposure to moisture, and endure the elements without compromising their performance.

Best Pick for Everyday Use: BIC Mini

Another excellent option is the $2 BIC Mini lighter. Despite its small size, this compact lighter can conveniently fit into a dedicated fire pouch or the watch pocket of your pants. While it may not provide as many lights as the Maxi, the Mini serves as a capable backup choice that can come to your rescue in urgent situations. It offers a reliable solution when you find yourself in a tight spot and need to quickly start a fire.

Lighter Accessories

While optional, there are several reliable lightweight accessories that can enhance the functionality of your BIC lighter for both survival situations and everyday use.

The item to consider is the Exotac fireSLEEVE Ruggedized Waterproof Lighter Case, which costs $18 and serves to protect your lighter from moisture and other hazards. This case is designed to float and features a connection point that can be used to attach a carabiner or paracord loop. Additionally, the bright blaze orange color of the sleeve makes it easy to locate, particularly when searching through an emergency kit in the dark or during a power outage.


For $16, the LighterBro is a highly sought-after lighter accessory that resembles a compact multi-tool and comes with a built-in knife, scissors, miniature screwdriver, bottle opener, and keyring. Made of durable stainless steel, this attachment adds toughness and versatility to your BIC lighter, while maintaining a slim profile.

The only drawback to the LighterBro is the lack of a clip. However, a separate LighterBro clip attachment is available for $7, which can be used to secure the accessory in a pocket or on a belt. Many LighterBro users consider this clip to be an essential add-on.

Best Refillable Lighter for Preppers: Anodized Aluminum Maratac

In a scenario where you’re facing a long-term power outage, your stock of BIC lighters will eventually run out. To overcome this challenge, it’s a smart idea to switch to refillable lighters that can use different fuels you find and can hold the fuel securely without any leaks. The top choice for such a refillable lighter is the Anodized Aluminum Maratac Peanut, priced at $35. It’s a reliable option to keep you prepared in case of an extended grid-down situation.

The compact and lightweight Peanut offers all the survival benefits of a classic Zippo lighter without the drawbacks:

  1. Unlike a Zippo, the Peanut has minimal fuel leakage, providing a more reliable fuel containment.
  2. Its durable all-metal construction surpasses both BIC lighters and many specially designed “survival” lighters in terms of sturdiness.
  3. The Peanut is compatible with Zippo-branded replacement wicks, flints, and wheels, allowing you to stock up on these long-lasting and easily accessible items, ensuring the lighter’s longevity.
  4. Similar to a Zippo, the Peanut can also utilize BIC flints, making used disposable lighters a valuable source of spare parts.
  5. You have the option to purchase replacement O-ring kits to maintain the fuel seal and ensure optimal performance.
  6. While it is primarily designed for standard Zippo fuel, the Peanut can also accommodate a wide range of scavenged fuels, including certain colognes, mentholated spirits, and even diesel fuel.

The Maratac Peanut is available in various sizes and metal combinations, offering versatility to suit different preferences. Among our own collection, we highly appreciate the $60 Maratac Peanut XL in titanium, which delivers an outstanding experience. Its ergonomic design provides a comfortable grip, it consistently ignites, and, most importantly, its rubber O-ring and screw-top construction allow for fuel storage lasting months at a time.

While there have been a few online reports of leakage issues with these lighters, with some users experiencing fuel evaporating within as little as two months, it’s important to note that such occurrences seem to affect only a small percentage of lighters, possibly considered as ‘lemon’ units. In our personal experience, and as affirmed by many other reviewers, our own Peanut has stored fuel indefinitely. Additionally, we have witnessed Peanuts that remained unused for a year effortlessly lighting up on the first attempt.

Even if you happen to encounter a Peanut lighter with limited fuel storage capacity and choose not to exchange it, we still believe that the fuel flexibility and the availability of replacement parts make this lighter a worthwhile investment and an invaluable tool to include in your emergency preparations.

Peanut Alternatives

Several alternatives to the Peanut exist in the market, but it’s essential to note that most of them are imitations, some with minor variations, and others with distinct features. However, many of these alternatives suffer from design flaws, quality concerns, or limited availability. It appears that the demand for refillable survival lighters is relatively limited, and Maratac stands out as the sole company dedicated to this niche in the long term.

Numyth Tohil. While the Numyth would have been a viable alternative to the Maratac, it is no longer available on the market. However, there is a possibility of finding one for sale on online platforms like eBay or at local flea markets. So, if you’re lucky, you might come across a Numyth lighter as an alternative option.

Everstryke Pro. The Numyth lighter is not widely accessible, and in addition to its limited availability, we have observed that it appears to be of low-quality construction. On the other hand, we have noticed a trend where the Everstryke lighter is often used as a free giveaway to entice individuals into providing their personal information online or filling out dubious forms. This practice is associated with potentially deceptive or scam-related activities.

Exotac titanLIGHT. Introduced in late 2017, the Everstryke lighter is aesthetically pleasing and comes from a reputable brand. However, when comparing its design to the Peanut’s compact capsule, we find it less appealing. The main concern with the Everstryke lighter is its excessive use of O-rings. There is one O-ring at the top where the wick is located, another at the bottom where the lighter is filled, and reportedly, an inaccessible one on the inside of the lighter according to a video review. Over time, O-rings tend to deteriorate, especially when exposed to the chemicals used in lighters, making each O-ring a potential point of failure for fuel leakage. In contrast, the original Peanut design features only a single O-ring, minimizing the chances of wear and failure.

Why The Zippo Isn’t Great for Prepping

While the Zippo lighter is often recommended by survivalists and serves as a reliable everyday lighter, it does have a notable issue with fuel evaporation. This means that the fuel container can empty within a week or two due to evaporation. Some aftermarket solutions attempt to address this problem, like the Thyrm PyroVault Lighter Armor case priced at $30, which accommodates Zippo lighter inserts. However, it’s important to note that this case is not completely watertight and does not entirely resolve the evaporation issue.

Another option is the $17 Zippo butane torch insert, which can be placed inside a Zippo case, transforming it into a butane torch. However, we do not recommend this type of torch for prepping purposes. As a do-it-yourself alternative, one can cut a piece of a bicycle inner tube or rubber glove to create an external gas cap-like cover that can be slid over the Zippo lighter.

Best Plasma Lighter (Best Electric Lighter): Survival Frog Tesla Lighter

A rechargeable plasma lighter, which operates on electricity, can be a valuable upgrade for everyday use, camping, and backpacking activities.

However, when it comes to prepping for emergencies, plasma lighters alone may not be sufficient. Technological advancements have made it possible for most individuals to charge small devices using various methods such as solar power, wind power, hand-crank, or batteries, utilizing micro-USB cables as part of their emergency kits. On the other hand, the versatility of Zippo-style lighters, which can utilize a wide range of fuels, surpasses these electric counterparts in terms of long-term preparedness. Personally, we recommend having plasma lighters as a convenient and cool backup option, but we still prioritize primary BIC lighters and refillable alternatives in our emergency supplies.

The Survival Frog Outdoor Tesla Lighter, priced at $35, is a waterproof and windproof lighter that can be conveniently recharged using a micro-USB. It utilizes a small plasma arc to ignite any material you intend to light. This feature makes it resistant to challenging conditions like strong winds and heavy rain, which can hinder the functionality of traditional lighters. Similarly, other flameless lighters share this advantage, providing reliable ignition regardless of external forces.

This type of lighter is rebranded and sold under various names by different brands. We appreciate Survival Frog for their excellent customer service, but it is possible to come across the same lighter with a different name, such as the Tactical Gear Plasma Lighter, at a slightly lower price. Another well-known alternative is the UST TekFire Pro, which is a popular competitor in this category.

The primary concern regarding plasma/electric lighters revolves around their Lithium-Ion batteries. However, it’s worth noting that Lithium-Ion batteries do not fare well when left unused for extended periods, and they have a limited number of charge and discharge cycles before their performance diminishes.

Another aspect we would like to address is the size of the gap where the plasma streams intersect to ignite the material. However, we understand that this limitation is inherent to the nature of Ghostbusters-style energy beams and the associated battery drainage. As a result, it can be challenging to ignite larger objects or objects positioned at unconventional angles since there isn’t an open flame that can be directed towards them. On the flip side, plasma torches offer the advantage of being able to light objects upside down without the risk of flames rising and potentially burning your fingers.

Best Butane Torch Lighter (and Why They Aren’t Great for Prepping): Vertigo Cyclone Triple Torch Cigar Lighter Charcoal 2 Pack

Butane lighters are highly favored by cigar enthusiasts due to their consistent and odorless flame. The powerful “torch” output is marketed as a windproof flame, which prompted the release of survival-oriented variations. However, many users have discovered that these torches do not withstand wind as effectively as advertised, outweighing the supposed benefits.

Reliability is another significant issue with butane cigar lighters. Upon investigating popular survival lighters, we found that they received mixed reviews, and lighters designed exclusively for cigars are not built to withstand harsh outdoor conditions, often failing when used in the field.

Additionally, these lighters tend to deplete their fuel rapidly, making them impractical for longer-term emergencies.

Despite these drawbacks, some preppers appreciate the fact that these lighters can retain their fuel for extended periods during storage. Another advantage is that when the output is maximized, butane torches often perform better in inclement weather compared to standard BIC lighters.

If you want to pick one up anyway, check out the $16 Vertigo Cyclone Triple Torch, a relatively inexpensive portable lighter that’s a popular recommendation on cigar enthusiast forums. These lighters are reasonably durable and reliable at a fair price.


When choosing the best lighter for survival, consider factors such as durability, weather resistance, fuel type, and ease of use. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, we believe that the Zippo Windproof Lighter offers a great balance of reliability, durability, and performance in various conditions. However, the other options discussed in this article also have their unique benefits and may be better suited to your specific needs. Remember that having a reliable fire-starting tool in your survival kit is essential, so choose wisely and stay prepared.