Zippo vs BIC: Face-off Between Your Favorite Lighters

Zippo vs BIC
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Last Updated on August 29, 2021 by Mesbah Sakib

Looking for the perfect lighter for lighting your cigar or survival? But just like everyone else, you’re also in a dilemma about which lighter to buy. 

So, which one to choose: Zippo vs BIC?

There are many significant differences between the two lighters. Zippos are a bit heavier than BIC. BIC lighters cost less and have an unlimited shelf life. They also last till 1000 lights and are perfectly safe to use. On the other hand, Zippo lighters can withstand any kind of weather, are windproof, and are refillable.

Not sure about the details yet? To discover the insights, get on board with us, and let’s take a ride through the fire!

Zippo vs BIC: Quick Comparison

First of all, let’s take a quick look at the difference between Zippo and BIC. This will help you to get a quick overview of both of these amazing lighters-

Feature Zippo BIC
Dimensions 2.25-2.38 x 0.38-0.5 x 1.13-1.5 inches 2.28 x 1.28 x 0.22 inches3.14 x 0.5 x 1 inches
Weight 1.5-2.4 oz 0.39 oz0.89 oz
Material Brass Delrin
Safety Less safe Safer
Fluid Naphtha, butane, charcoal fluid Butane
Refill option Yes No
Usage 200 lights 3000 & 1000 lights
Shelf life 1-2 weeks Unlimited
Durability More Less
Price More Less

Not sure yet which lighter to choose for your game? Let’s get into the details and figure it out as we go!

Zippo vs BIC: Head To Head Comparison

Both Zippo and BIC are the leading brands in the lighter market. So, choosing one between them can be as baffling as choosing between leer vs are truck caps.

But let’s see the differences between these firebreathers and let’s see which one suits you!

Types of Lighters

None of Zippo or BIC has a wide range of variety. Almost all the Zippo lighters are made with the same mechanism and material.

The difference is mainly in the design and size. Some of the models are special or limited editions but they are not different.

The same goes for BIC lighters. They have two major types, BIC mini, and classic lighters. They also have some special edition lighters. But they work just the same. The only difference is in the color.

Safety

Safety is one of the most crucial factors that we should look for in a lighter. You might say that all the lighters are safe; else they wouldn’t be in the market.

Well, as much we want it to be real, it’s not. BIC conducted a study about the safety stats of lighters in the US. The study found that almost 70% of non-BIC lighters failed to meet the ASTM standards.

This means, in some cases, these faulty lighters could cause explosions. Not that it’d be a devastating explosion, but it can cause severe damage. Not to mention, when it comes to fire, even the smallest flicker could cause great accidents.

So it’s always better to carry a safe lighter around. So, which is safer between Zippo vs BIC lighters?

When it comes to safety, BIC is the winner here. All the BIC lighters are taken through several safety tests to ensure maximum safety. To name a few, all the BIC lighters go through drop tests, high-temperature resistance tests, etc.

Wait, does this mean Zippo lighters are not safe?

They are safe too. But if you keep Zippos lit for more than 10 minutes, there’s a high possibility they’ll start burning all over the surface. But you’d not keep your Zippo lit continuously for 10 minutes, right?

In that sense, it’s completely safe. However, there have also been some complaints that people have seen Zippo lighters leaking gas.

But there have not been any complaints about the BIC lighters though. All the tests and reviews show that BIC lighters are comparatively safer than Zippo lighters.

Durability

Durability is one of the most crucial factors for a lighter. We have to know how well a lighter performs under different environments.

Though Zippo lighters’ fuel doesn’t last long, it has other features that cover the shortcomings. 

Did you know that Zippo lighters are windproof? You can use Zippos in almost any kind of weather except for the rain.

Zippos can withstand both wind and snow. This is the most amusing thing about Zippo lighters. You can buy a Zippo, light it and try to blow it. It won’t easily blow out until the lid is closed.

Now, it’s not that it’s completely windproof. No fire source is completely windproof. But the blow Zippos can withstand is pretty impressive.

Also, you can even light a Zippo in the snow. The drop in the temperature doesn’t affect the performance of the lighter at all!

On the other hand, BIC lighters are not so good in wind and cold. In fact, it’s pretty frustrating that BIC can’t face the wind at all!

And when it gets cold, you need to warm up the lighter first. Then you can use it which is pretty much a drag.

So when it comes to withstanding tough situations, Zippo beats BIC by a mile!

Lighter Fluid

You may think that fluids don’t matter in a lighter. Because they just…light.

Well, they do just light. But what type of fluid is being used also determines how long the lighters should last.

BIC lighters’ fluid is butane. Butane is a liquid petroleum gas. BIC lighters contain 85% of the fuel tank filled with butane. It’s because butane is a compressed gas that can cause an explosion if pressurized too much.

Classic BIC lighters should burn for about an hour where BIC mini lighters last for about 20 minutes.

Zippo uses naphtha in their lighters initially. Zippo lighter fluid can last around 40 minutes in total.

But Zippo lighters are impossible to keep lit this long. As we’ve seen before, Zippo lighters start burning themselves if lit for 10 minutes.

You can watch videos of Zippo lighters burning themselves on YouTube if you want. But don’t try this at home.

Refilling process

Here comes another deciding factor, “Can I refill my lighter?”

BIC lighters are safe, light, easy to carry, which are great features. But unfortunately, none of the BIC lighters are refillable.

But you can refill your BIC lighter if you’re ready to take the risk of dismantling your lighter.

On the other hand, all the Zippo lighters are refillable. You can use Zippo’s own refill pack or aftermarket naphtha, butane, or charcoal lighter fluid.

You can choose among these options as your Zippo refill

Zippo Butane Fuel
Zippo Lighter Fluid
Product Title
Product Title
Zippo Butane Fuel
Zippo Lighter Fluid

Mind you, they are not the only refill fuel for Zippos. They are just some of the best in the market.

In order to refill Zippo, follow these simple steps-

  • Remove the insert from the case.
  • Lift the felt pad until you see the cotton.
  • Slowly pour the refill fuel on the cotton and stop when the whale cotton is soaked.
  • Reinstall the insert.
  • Take cotton or a piece of fabric and completely dry the lighter.

This is how to fill a Zippo. You can also check these Zippo holsters to safe-keep your lighter-

Zippo Lighter Pouch with Clip
Zippo Z-Clip Lighter Belt Clip
Product Title
Product Title
Zippo Lighter Pouch with Clip
Zippo Z-Clip Lighter Belt Clip

And now your Zippo lighter is ready to roll again!

Usage

Usage of lighters is another mega factor. After all, we’d choose a lighter that we can use for a longer time.

We’ve mentioned earlier that classic BIC lighters can burn for around 20 minutes. But when we use lighters, we don’t keep count, right?

It’s said that classic BIC lighters will last up to 3000 lights. And BIC mini lighters can last up to 1000 lights.

On the other hand, Zippos will give you only around 200 lights. According to many survivalists, you should refill Zippos at least once a week. Because they usually run out of fuel in two or three weeks.

So, when you’re in the survival game, you definitely need to use more fire. As a result, the fuel will burn faster than usual.

Dimensions

It’s important to know the dimensions of lighters. Because you have to choose the proper size that’d fit in your pocket or backpack.

Let’s first see, what are the dimensions of Zippo lighters?

When it comes to dimensions, all the Zippo lighters are pretty much the same. All of them are 2.25-2.38” in height, 0.38-0.5” in width, and 1.13-1.5” in length.

The dimensions vary for different types of Zippo lighters. But the range is almost similar as we can see.

On the other hand, BIC lighter dimensions vary a bit more than Zippos for different models. 

BIC mini lighters are 2.28 x 1.28 x 0.22 inches in dimension. Where BIC classic lighters are 3.14 x 0.5 x 1 inches.

Among these variables, see which one pleases your pocket or backpack!

But dimensions are not the only thing we look for when looking for a lighter. There are way more things we have to keep in mind. So let’s move on to our next segment!

Weight

We all know lighters don’t weigh a ton. Then again, none of us would want to carry any extra weight either. So let’s take a look at the weights of these firebreathers!

Among all the Zippo lighters, Zippo slim lighters weigh the least, which is 1.5 oz. And the heaviest lighters that we’ll ever use for survival are weighted 2.4 oz.

On the flip side, a BIC mini lighter weighs only 0.39 oz and a classic lighter is only 0.89 oz.

Now we know both the Zippo and BIC lighter weights. So if you’re planning to cut off any extra weight, BIC is your choice.

If we combine the dimensions and weights, BIC lighters are easier to carry than Zippo lighters.

Material

Ever wondered what BIC lighters are made of?

BIC lighters are made of Delrin. Delrin is a technical-grade resin. It ensures high heat and resistance. This is why when BIC lighters fall from our hands, it doesn’t leak even if the walls are thin.

Because of the thinner walls, BIC lighters can store more fuel than other lighters of the same size. 

On the other hand, most of the Zippo lighters are made of pure brass.

However, there are some special edition lighters of Zippo that are made with other materials as well. Heck, even Zippo has a lighter that is 18 Kt. gold! But that’s not for our Zippo lighter for survival sport though!

Moving onto our next segment!

Shelf Life

Have you ever thought “How long can I store BIC lighters?”

The answer is, you can store BIC lighters for an unlimited time. BIC lighters are made in such a way that doesn’t let the fuel out in any way. As a result, if the outer body is not damaged, BIC lighters’ shelf is unlimited.

But here Zippo gets minus one. If not used, Zippo lighters will run out of fuel within 3-4 weeks. And if used frequently, they’ll run out within 1-2 weeks.

So it’s clear that BIC is the clear winner here.

Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, you don’t actually have to care about BICs that much! BIC lighters are strong enough to withstand a 15 ft fall and 167°F temperature.

However, you can use a lighter sleeve to safeguard your lighter from any extreme damage. Here are some of the top picks from the BIC lighter sleeves

Lucklybestseller Metal Lighter Case for BIC Full Size Lighter
Lighter Sleeve Case Luxury Series for Mini Bic Lighter
Product Title
Product Title
Lucklybestseller Metal Lighter Case for BIC Full Size Lighter
Lighter Sleeve Case Luxury Series for Mini Bic Lighter

Once you’ve put your lighter inside the case, it’s now safer than ever!

However, you need to take some extra care of your Zippo lighters. Let’s take a look at the Zippo maintenance-

  • Clean the spilled liquid from the body after refilling.
  • Don’t overuse the lighter as it may damage the hinge.
  • Clean with brass polish to restore the natural patina of brass.

But if for some reason your Zippo lighter is malfunctioning, you don’t have to worry about that.

You know what? Zippo offers you a lifetime warranty for the repair or replacement of the lighter. So if it malfunctions, you can simply take it to them and get it fixed for free!

Price

The final boss comes last, “how much does the lighter cost?”

BIC lighters are crazy cheap compared to Zippos. BIC mini lighters will cost you less than a dollar per unit. And BIC classic ones will cost you a little bit more than a dollar per unit. But if you buy them in packs, you’ll get even a better deal.

On the other hand, Zippo lighters’ price range is from around $17 to $200! However, the most popular ones vary from $20-$50. But here’s another factor, BIC lighters are for one-time use. Once they’re out of gas, you have to dispose of them.

But you can use a Zippo lighter for as long as you want by refilling. So, in the long run, Zippo would be more beneficiary.

Zippo vs BIC: What We Think

We’re almost at the end of our journey. You’ve seen all the specs of both Zippo and BIC. If you are still not sure which one to pick, we’d suggest going for a Zippo lighter.

Because during adventures or survival, we have to face rough and tough environments. Even though Zippos don’t last that long, they are more able to withstand tough situations.

But BICs are not made for windy or cold environments. Also, as Zippos are refillable, you can use them for as long as you want.

However, if you’re looking for something light and fit, then you should go for BIC.

FAQs

Question: Are Zippo lighters worth it?

Answer: It may seem that $20-50 is a lot of money for a lighter. But Zippo lighters are totally worth it. They last for a long time and are refillable.

Question: Is BIC a french company?

Answer: Yes, BIC’s headquarters is situated in the city of Cliche, France. But they have sold their lighters in more than 160 countries.

Question: Is Zippo lighter fluid kerosene?

Answer: No, Zippo lighters don’t work with kerosene as fluid. It supports butane, naphtha, charcoal lighter fluid, etc.

Conclusion

As we’re here, we hope we’ve been able to help you find your winner between Zippo vs BIC.

Let us know in the comment box which one is your favorite or if you have other inquiries! And always remember to be careful when dealing with fire.

Until next time!

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