Keeping up with the theme of candle safety that we have been writing about lately on the blog I think it’s the perfect time to introduce something that has been getting more and more popular called “USB candle lighters”.
These electric lighters claim to be a new safer way to light candles by using a rechargeable device that emits an electric arc at the press of a button. They claim to be wind proof, splash proof, and environmentally friendly as well. So are matches and lighters obsolete? Let’s find out.
How Do USB Lighters Work?
Firstly, let’s cover how these devices work.
USB lighters use electricity to ignite candles without any flame and fuel source such as common butane lighters do.
Instead these devices use technology derived from the Tesla coil to create an electric arc between two electrodes which has enough heat to light a candle wick quite easily. The heat generated is actually much hotter than a standard lighter flame but also concentrated in a smaller area.
How is an electric arc created at the press of a button?
When the power button is pressed on an electric lighter the battery power causes the two electrodes to become ionized and spread to the surrounding air allowing electrons to move between this space forming the electric arc which lights candle wicks in our case. This ionized air between the nodes is also called plasma which is why another common name for electric lighters is plasma lighters.
The USB lighter name of course, is because they are rechargeable via micro usb ports on the device which gives them the potential to far outlast any regular butane lighter or thousands of matches.
Is a USB Lighter Safe?
Now the first question that is probably coming to mind is are these things safe? Which is a fair question, I mean, not only do they generate an electric arc but also heat that is hotter than candle flame. It was definitely the first question that came to my mind.
It really comes down to how safe you think any similar heat source is. Butane lighters create flame which can burn and cause injury if not careful, and that goes for matches as well.
These USB candle lighters will usually have a safety mechanism that will prevent children from accidentally using them and preventing any accidental harm.
As for the arc itself, you would need to put your finger directly into the spark to hurt yourself. If you did touch the arc however, yes, you could potentially burn yourself. You would also need to stick a piece of metal between the two nodes to shock yourself.
The fact is, if you touch a lighter flame to your skin you are going to burn yourself. The same goes with these. But with the way these arc lighters work, you would have to be trying to burn yourself as the arc is very small and the long handle of the lighter puts you at a safe distance when for instance, lighting a candle.
Also, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has burnt myself trying to light a jar candle with a butane lighter. The long handle on these eliminates that problem and while the long handle bic lighters also do that, these have another advantage that the long handle bic lighters don’t have. They are wind and splash proof!
Overall I’m going to have to say that these are just as safe as any other lighter you are currently using. Just be careful and make sure to buy ones with child safety locks if there will be any children around.
Benefits of a USB lighter
After doing my research into these it looks like there are plenty of benefits of using electric candle lighters.
- Long lasting Li-ion battery
- Less waste as you aren’t using disposable lighters
- Wind proof arc, allowing you to easily light candles outside
- Cheap and efficient
- No fumes from liquid fuel
- Long handle and bendable neck on some lighters makes hard to reach candles easy to light
- Can be recharged easily via USB
Below is a great little comparison video and review between long neck butane lighters, matches, and a USB candle arc lighter.
Some common questions regarding USB candle lighters
Can you bring a USB lighter on a plane?
As per the official TSA website you currently are not allowed to bring USB candle lighters on a plane or even in your checked baggage. So keep them at home!
What if my electric candle lighter touches my skin?
If your skin does happen to touch directly in the arc of the electric lighter you will get a small burn. The heat in the arc of this lighter is very hot and can cause some near instantaneous burns.
Luckily between the safety mechanisms on the lighter and proper use it is pretty difficult to actually touch the arc unless you mean to. The space between the electrodes is very small and the arc is only a few millimeters wide.
Where to buy a USB rechargeable lighter
Put in a search for electric lighters into Google or Amazon and hundreds upon hundreds of results will come up. It seems that because these can be made quite cheaply that there are many duds from no name brands online, especially from companies overseas making low quality lighters.
Because of this it can be extra hard to sift through all of the different arc lighter brands and all the reviews for each. When it comes to something like this, I try and find items that already have plenty of reviews, and then I compare each and find which lighter has the least negative reviews.
Rechargeable USB lighter brands
SUPRUS & RONXS USB Candle Lighters and Various Other Brands on Amazon
The brand that kept popping up the most frequently was on Amazon by a seller called RONXS. I also noticed that they were once featured in a Business Insider article once as well.
They have a few different versions of their USB lighter, a few with bendable necks, one with a bendable neck and a more ergonomic handle, and a couple that are straight fixed lighters such as this one.
It seems that this is one of the more reputable brands out there along with another brand called ‘SUPRUS’ between reading the many reviews they have and seeing how they respond to questions from customers. You can find a couple of our Amazon picks with the buttons below.
Many Similar Electric Candle Lighters From AliExpress
Aside from this brand on Amazon, there is also MANY sellers on AliExpress that offer them.
These are all very cheap ones that come from China primarily, and can sometimes be of questionable quality. I bought one that was $7 which is currently in the mail and has been for quite a while.
I’ll do a little post on the blog to share my thoughts on it once it arrives but if you do decide to go with this option, again, make sure you read customer reviews before buying. There are some lighters on their site which are as cheap as $2!
Anthropologie Electric Candle Lighters by The USB Lighter Company
Finally, one other brand that I found to be quite interesting is ‘The USB Lighter Company’. This company operates out of the USA and actually has a website and contact information which is comforting when you are buying online. These ones are in stock at Anthropologie actually look quite nice as well when compared to other brands.
They are only the straight stick style of lighters, but if I’m being honest, the bendable neck styles didn’t seem to help me all that much more when reaching candle wicks in any type of jars I had. Maybe if a candle was high up it could be useful, but in 95% of cases, I think these straight lighters work better anyways.
Our Picks – Top 3 Best Arc Lighters For Candles
Below are the exact candle lighters that we thought stood out above the rest when it comes to overall quality and usefulness for lighting candles.
3. Anthropologie USB Candle Lighters (The USB Lighter Company)
These are the USB arc candle lighters from Anthropologie. They are made by a brand called ‘The USB Lighter Company’ like I mentioned above and are based out of the USA. While I haven’t heard as many good things about these ones as the others in our picks, that could change with time as they look to really be working hard on their products.
2. SUPRUS USB Arc Candle Lighters
This is one of the brands off of Amazon with a ton of positive reviews. It has a nice single hand operated safety switch which makes it easier to operate when you are reaching for hard to light candles. This model also features LED lights which indicate how much battery you have left on your current charge.
1. RONXS USB Candle Lighters
This is the first brand that I found and I think that was for good reason. They are responsive to their buyers and make sure that you are taken care of when you buy from them. Great customer service.
The lighters themselves have some of the most positive reviews and fewest negative reviews of any brands that I found on Amazon. This model specifically is the newest model and seems to work great. It also has the LED indicators for it’s battery level and a nice safety switch.
It’s a great little device at a reasonable price that will pretty much replace your need for any other candle lighters.
Good Alternative Lighter Options
RONXS Bendable Neck Style Lighter
While I don’t really find the bendable necks to be that useful and I could actually see them causing the devices to not last as long, here is one that I would probably go for. It has a nice ergonomic handle as well so that is a nice added feature.