Clipper vs. Bic Lighter Showdown

Clipper Lighters vs. Bic Lighters

When it comes to getting perfectly lit, Your Hippie Butler is here to help.

The right lighter can upgrade a smoke session for newcomers and seasoned pros alike. We’ve done our research in hand-picking the very best tools for the discerning smoker, so let’s talk about lighters.

Two big brands often come to mind: Clipper and Bic. It could be said the Bic lighters are the most well known disposable lighters, and Clipper lighters are the classic choice for other legal smoking herbs. There are several more brands also popular with smokers including Zippo, ST Dupont, Lotus, and Alfred Dunhill.

Let’s examine Clipper and Bic. Both brands produce a wide range of different types of lighters, but we’ll focus on the classic pocket lighters. What are the pros and cons of using each one? Which lighter is the best? Most importantly, which does Your Hippie Butler recommend?

Clipper Lighter vs. Bic Lighter Infographic

The Original Bic

Now we grab a lighter without giving it a second thought, but disposable lighters didn’t hit stores until the 1970s. In 1973 Bic stared test-sales of a disposable lighter that provided 3,000 lights. Today, Bic is America’s best-selling lighter and available in more than 4 million retail outlets with a seemingly endless variety of designs and styles to fit everyone’s interests.

Breaking Down Bics

Bic disposable lighters are typically the cheapest on the market. They are made mostly of plastic, filled with butane fuel (holding an average of 4.9 grams), and offered in a variety of colors and designs. Bics are lightweight and simple to use: press the spark wheel down with your thumb, pull your thumb back towards you, and voila! The flame will ignite. The 3.14″ tall oval-shaped barrel is meant to be ergonomic, making it the right fit for your hand and pocket. The flame height is pre-adjusted and can’t be changed.

  • Simply Put – Bic lighters are easy to use and available almost everywhere. There is a reason why the classic Bic disposable design has withstood the test of time. There’s a simple elegance to the basic lighters, and Bic has earned its reputation as a reliable buy.
  • Plastic Problem – Bic lighters’ biggest flaw is that they’re wasteful. Some people have figured out how to refill them, but it is difficult and can be dangerous. The lighters are made from different plastic and metals, so they can’t be recycled in one piece, and Bic doesn’t recommend trying to separate or refill them. They get the job done, but beyond that will likely end up in a landfill.

The Clipper Way

The refillable Clipper was the first of its kind, and created a whole new market. The signature, cylindric Clipper shape with a removable flint was designed by Enric Sarda in 1970. In 1972, the first refillable lighter to ever exist was produced at the original Clipper factory in Barcelona. Clipper now manufactures more than 450 million units per year and offers flint, electronic, and metal lighters.

Inside Clippers

In contrast to a simple spark wheel, Clippers have a removable lighter flint with a ridged thumb wheel. The flint can be used as a packing tool. Clipper is the only lighter on the market that allows you to not only refuel but also replace the flint if needed. The Clipper flame burns at a constant height, increasing when the lighter is turned sideways. Clippers have a child-resistant mechanism and are made out of strong Nylon material that is less likely to crack and more heat resistant than cheaper plastics.

  • Advanced Technology – The sophisticated, refillable, and reflintable design of the Clipper lighter makes it an ideal multi-tool for packing and smoking. Every time you refill a Clipper you save 1 liter of oil. Clipper lighters save consumers money and reduce plastic waste. Clipper butane can be bought in multiple purity levels which burns cleaner than the average disposable lighter.
  • Planning Required – Consistently using Clippers means you will eventually need to purchase isobutane and refill the lighter. The process is fairly simple but does require you to think ahead if you’re low on fuel. To refill a Clipper, simply place the nozzle of the butane fuel on the red dot on the bottom of the lighter, and the butane will inject into the lighter. To replace the flint, pull firmly on the thumb wheel to remove the poker, then remove the piece at the bottom of the poker, and the old flint will fall out. Put in the new flint and replace the piece below the poker, then reinsert the poker.


Bic and Clipper lighters meet different needs. People often end up using disposable lighters when they have no other choice. When you weigh the pros and cons, some are more important than others. It might not bother you that your Bic lighter ends up in a landfill or that you need to plan ahead to refill a Clipper. While Clipper has advanced features like a self-adjusting flame meant to give you a smooth light, Bic is the simpler option. The removable flint/packing tool also adds another dimension to Clippers, making them more useful for “roll your own” connoisseurs.

The Winner

When the butler delivers your top shelf, curated smoke supplies, you can know you’re getting the best. It’s clear that Clipper lighters are the best choice for an enhanced smoking experience. Clippers have so many unique and useful benefits for smokers that Bic can’t compete with. Clippers are less likely to crack than Bics, and if you maintain a Clipper’s fuel and flint you could use the same lighter for years. With the self-adjusting flame, Clippers are also easier to use.

If you want to take it a step up, metal Clipper lighters are a sleek and sturdy choice. The chic look and sheer quality of Clippers have also created a collector’s market around the lighters. It makes sense that “Clipper Mania” has taken hold, with limited edition Clipper collections becoming invaluable. Clippers are the premium choice. There’s nothing better than a Clipper for selective smokers.

Which lighter is your favorite?

Erinn Holman

A millennial writer who's passionate about alternative medicine, the smoking industry, and the Oxford comma.

3 thoughts on “Clipper vs. Bic Lighter Showdown”

  1. i like clippers but the fuel doesn’t last very long, and bic lighters last me ages. but i still love clippers they are very useful just thing bic is better!

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