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 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 Lighter

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 Bic Lighters

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 Lighter 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 many different types of designs, making them the most collectible lighter on the market.

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 thumbwheel 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.

The Clipper vs. Bic Lighter Showdown

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: Clipper Lighters

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 superior choice of lighters for selective smokers that help provide an exceptional smoking experience.

We love hearing from you! In the comments below, tell us about which lighter brand is your favorite, about your lighter collection, or your thoughts on Clipper and Bic lighters!

Which lighter is your favorite?

Erinn Holman

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

10 thoughts on “Clipper vs. Bic Lighter Showdown”

    1. I wish this site carried more of the newer designs that Clipper features on their Instagram. Besides being my favorite lighter, I collect them as well. The experience is far superior; not sure why, but it is.

      1. I’ve used Clipper forever and also collect. You can find two packs in most walmarts around the checkouts. Two packs less than $3. Not herb related designs but different new ones to collect.

  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!

  2. I prefer Clipper lighters because they are refillable. I live on a fixed income and I get a lighter with every Butler box and I don’t like it when I get a a Bic!! Sure they light for a few hundred lights but the refillable thing is economical for me. A can of butane costs $1.99 and I can afford that!! The can lasts about 2 months and with my small budget that is perfect!! Thanks, Hippie Butler, for turning me on to the Clipper lighters!!!!

  3. Was always a bic girl until sub boxes introduced me to the clipper lighter. I will never buy another bic lighter. Love the clipper so much better.

  4. After being a Bic user for over 20 years, the plastic waste aspect of them dawned on me around 3 or 4 years ago. So I decided to research alternatives. That’s when I discovered Clippers. “Re-discovered” I should say, because I had actually already used them, but was unaware that 1- they were refillable and 2- metal ones were available. So I went ahead and got 4 metal ones over a period of a couple of months (I loose them all the time, so I keep them strategically distributed around the house). And I’m glad to report that all 4 remain in perfect working condition despite countless falls, refills and flint changes. Definitely the best -and most ecological- option out there today. And even if you don’t get the metal one(s), just the fact that they’re refillable, eliminates a whole category of plastic waste that really doesn’t have to be. How many disposable lighters do we go through in a year? 100% of that is avoidable waste, given the fact that alternatives exist!

  5. I’ve always been a strong supporter of bic lighters and would put it up against any lighter! But #2 is a zippo and # 3 and only recently I’d even been made aware of the clipper! They have a place in my life right next to my smoking stuff! But me and bic has a lot of history and it had proved handy in many ways over the years! I’ve even propped up windows with Bics before! Recycled the flint out of a dead one for my zippo in a bind! Bics are like coke and Levi’s! There history!!

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