Understanding the Different Types of Gases Used in Lighters

Understanding the Different Types of Gases Used in Lighters

Quick Overview

At Art Brown International, we understand that selecting the perfect lighter involves more than just picking a stylish design. The type of gas used in the lighter plays a crucial role in its performance and reliability. Here's a quick guide to help you choose:

  • Butane: Most commonly used gas, suitable for both soft and torch flame lighters. Ideal for general use and provides a consistent flame.

  • Isobutane: Variant of butane with a lower boiling point. Performs better in cold weather but evaporates quicker, requiring more frequent refilling.

  • Propane: High-pressure gas with a very low boiling point. Best for outdoor and extreme cold conditions.

  • Zippo/Ronsonol Fluid: Refined petroleum distillate, composed of naphtha. Ideal for wick-based lighters, ensuring a clean and steady flame.

Understanding these options can help you make an informed decision. For a more detailed look at each type of gas and how they relate to the premium lighters available at Art Brown International, keep reading below.

Understanding the Different Types of Gases Used in Lighters

When it comes to lighters, whether for household use, cigarettes, or cigars, the type of gas used can significantly impact performance. This blog post will guide you through the different types of gases commonly used in lighters, focusing on both soft flame and torch flame lighters, and how they relate to the premium lighters available at Art Brown International.

Butane: The Versatile Choice

Butane is the most common gas used in lighters. It's a colorless, highly flammable gas that's easy to compress into a liquid, making it ideal for lighter refills. Butane has a boiling point of approximately -0.5°C (31.1°F), which makes it effective in most typical environments.

At Art Brown International, many of our luxury lighters, including some models from S.T. Dupont and Dunhill, use high-quality butane. Butane is used in both soft flame and torch flame lighters due to its clean burn and ease of use.

  • Soft Flame Lighters: Butane provides a consistent and gentle flame perfect for lighting cigarettes and household uses like candles.

  • Torch Flame Lighters: High-quality butane produces a powerful, wind-resistant flame ideal for lighting cigars and outdoor use.

Isobutane: A Reliable Alternative

Isobutane is a variant of butane with a slightly different chemical structure, offering similar benefits. It has a lower boiling point of around -11.7°C (10.9°F), ensuring reliable ignition in low temperatures. This makes isobutane particularly useful in colder climates.

However, because isobutane evaporates more readily due to its higher vapor pressure, it tends to run out more quickly than butane. This means lighters using isobutane will require more frequent refilling. If you live in a colder region, a lighter filled with isobutane might be your best bet for consistent performance.

Some of our high-end torch lighters at Art Brown International are designed to accommodate isobutane, ensuring excellent performance even in winter.

Propane: The High-Pressure Option

Propane is another gas sometimes used in lighters, especially those designed for outdoor or rugged use. It's a heavier gas than butane and is stored at a higher pressure, making it less common in everyday lighters. Propane has a boiling point of around -42°C (-43.6°F), which is significantly lower than both butane and isobutane, allowing it to perform well even in extreme cold.

Propane lighters are often favored for outdoor activities due to their ability to produce a strong, wind-resistant flame in harsh conditions. While propane lighters are less common, they can be found in some specialty models we carry. Notably, S.T. Dupont sells a Butane-Propane mix specifically for their Defi lighters, combining the benefits of both gases to ensure optimal performance in various conditions.

Zippo/Ronsonol Lighter Fluid: A Different Approach

Zippo/Ronsonol lighter fluid is made from a refined petroleum distillate. This means it is a liquid hydrocarbon, derived from crude oil through a distillation process that removes impurities and refines the fluid for use in lighters. Specifically, it is often composed of naphtha, a highly flammable and volatile hydrocarbon mixture.

Naphtha is known for its clean-burning properties, making it suitable for use in wick-based lighters such as Zippos and some older S.T. Dupont  models. The fluid is designed to ignite easily, provide a steady flame, and evaporate quickly when exposed to air, which helps in maintaining the performance and reliability of the lighter. The composition is optimized to minimize residue and buildup, ensuring that the lighter remains functional and the flame remains clean and consistent.

At Art Brown International, we offer a range of Zippo and Ronsonol lighters and lighter fluids to keep your wick-based lighters performing at their best.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Each type of gas has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the lighter's intended use.

  • Butane: Widely available, clean-burning, suitable for both soft and torch flames.

  • Isobutane: Excellent for cold weather but slightly more expensive than butane and tends to evaporate more quickly, requiring more frequent refilling.

  • Propane: High pressure and low boiling point, great for outdoor use but less common for everyday lighters.

  • Zippo/Ronsonol Fluid: Reliable and clean-burning option for wick-based lighters, ensuring consistent performance and ease of use.

Choosing the Right Gas for Your Lighter

When selecting a lighter, consider the type of gas it uses based on your needs.

  • For everyday use, butane is the most versatile and widely available option.

  • If you frequently use your lighter in cold weather, look for one that uses isobutane.

  • For outdoor and rugged activities, a propane lighter might be the best choice.

  • For wick-based lighters, Zippo/Ronsonol lighter fluid provides a dependable and clean-burning solution.

At Art Brown International, we carry a wide selection of premium lighters and accessories, including those from renowned brands like S.T. Dupont, Dunhill, and IM Corona, ensuring you find the perfect lighter for any occasion.


Understanding the different types of gases and fluids used in lighters can help you choose the best one for your needs. Whether you're lighting a candle at home, enjoying a cigar, or embarking on an outdoor adventure, there's a perfect lighter and gas type for you. Visit Art Brown International to explore our collection of luxury lighters and find the ideal match for your lifestyle.