The Ultimate Guide to the Best Butane Fuel for the Perfect Cigar Burn

smoking a cigar by jay | Updated on April 30th, 2024

Cigar smoking is a ritual, a moment to unwind and savor the complex flavors of a well-crafted roll. But like any nuanced experience, achieving that perfect burn – the even, consistent glow that unlocks the cigar’s full potential – requires the right tools.  And when it comes to lighters, butane fuel is where it all begins. Choosing the right butane isn’t just about flicking a flame; it’s about protecting your investment in quality cigars and ensuring the best possible smoking experience.

torch lighter

Why Butane Matters

The casual observer might think a flame’s a flame, but true cigar aficionados know better. Unlike traditional lighters that use fuels like naphtha, butane offers several key advantages that make it the clear choice for discerning cigar smokers:

  • Taste Preservation: When it comes to the enjoyment of fine cigars, subtle flavors and delicate aromas are everything. Butane burns remarkably clean and odorless, ensuring that no harsh chemical flavors or residual scents creep in to taint your cigar’s exquisite profile. Think of it as the invisible protector of your cigar’s essence.
  • Temperature Control: A fluctuating or overly intense flame can do more than just ruin the taste of your cigar. A butane flame offers a more consistent and controllable heat than traditional fluid fueled lighters. This is critical to avoid scorching your tobacco, which creates a bitter, unpleasant taste and damages the carefully constructed profile of your cigar.
  • Reliability: Modern butane lighters are designed for precision and reliable ignition, even in slightly windy conditions. A premium cigar is a special indulgence; dependable lighting ensures your relaxation ritual gets off to a smooth start without frustration.

Not All Butane is Created Equal

Now, don’t assume that grabbing any butane canister off the shelf will do. Cheap butane, however tempting its price tag may be, is a false economy.  Purity levels vary greatly, and low-quality butane can contain impurities that leave a nasty aftertaste or, worse, clog the intricate mechanism of your lighter, rendering it useless.

Purity Levels: What to Look For

  • Triple-refined, or better: Consider this the gold standard! Triple refining removes the vast majority of impurities, resulting in an exceptionally clean burn. Imagine it as the impeccably filtered water for your lighter, guaranteeing a pristine experience.
  • 5x or 7x refined: Still excellent options. Higher refinement levels consistently translate to fewer impurities and a cleaner, more reliable burn.
  • Avoid Unrefined butane: These budget options often contain contaminants that not only ruin the taste of your cigar but can also damage your lighter over time. Think of it as putting low-quality fuel in a high-performance car – it just doesn’t make sense.

Top Butane Brands & Lighter Pairings: A Deeper Dive

While there are many butane brands out there, some truly shine when it comes to pampering your prized lighter and maximizing your cigar enjoyment. Here’s a closer look at popular options and why you might choose one over another:

Colibri Premium Butane

Think of this as the single-malt scotch of butane fuels. Its ultra-high purity (99.9994%) ensures an absolutely pristine burn, making it the ultimate protector of your cigar’s delicate flavors.  Colibri is the smart choice for owners of high-end jet-flame lighters where maximum performance, the longevity of intricate lighter mechanisms, and the most refined taste experience are paramount.

  • Ultra-high purity (99.9994%) ensures an absolutely pristine burn.
  • Ultimate protector of your cigar’s delicate flavors.
  • Smart choice for owners of high-end jet-flame lighters.
  • Maximizes performance, longevity, and taste.

Xikar Purofine

Another reliable bet known for its low impurity levels. Xikar, a well-recognized name in the cigar industry, brings quality to both its accessories and its fuel. Purofine’s consistency and high-level refinement make it a great all-rounder for soft-flame and torch lighters alike.

  • Known for its low impurity levels.
  • Quality brought by a well-recognized name in the cigar industry.
  • Consistent and high-level refinement.
  • Great all-rounder for soft-flame and torch lighters.


This established brand delivers a good blend of quality and affordability. Their butane is typically triple to quintuple refined, providing dependable performance across a range of torch and soft-flame lighters.

  • Delivers a good blend of quality and affordability.
  • Butane is typically triple to quintuple refined.
  • Dependable performance across a range of torch and soft-flame lighters.
  • Offers reliable and consistent performance.


A highly respected name in the cigar accessory world, Lotus is renowned for its exceptionally pure butane. Their super-premium butane undergoes a meticulous filtration process, boasting purity levels as high as 99.9999%. This is the fuel of choice for those demanding the absolute cleanest burn with zero risk of flavor tainting, making it an excellent pick for lighters of all types, but particularly for showcasing the delicate complexities of the finest cigars.

  • Highly respected name in the cigar accessory world.
  • Renowned for its exceptionally pure butane.
  • Super-premium butane undergoes a meticulous filtration process.
  • Purity levels as high as 99.9999%.
  • Fuel of choice for those demanding the absolute cleanest burn with zero risk of flavor tainting.
  • Excellent pick for lighters of all types.
  • Suitable for showcasing the delicate complexities of the finest cigars.

Beyond Brands: Factors to Keep in Mind

  • Canister Size: Think about your smoking frequency. Smaller canisters suffice for the occasional cigar, while avid enthusiasts will appreciate the cost-efficiency of larger butane refills. Choose the size that best matches your habits to avoid wasteful leftovers.
  • Universal Adapters: A convenient feature! Many butane cans include various adapters to ensure compatibility with virtually any refillable lighter on the market. It’s a small detail that adds significant versatility and guarantees you can keep all your lighters fueled.

Important Reminder:  Even the best butane can’t compensate for a poorly made lighter. High-quality cigar lighters offer consistent ignition, precise flame controls, and even heat distribution – crucial for achieving that perfect burn. Think of it this way: a superior fuel choice elevates a good lighter experience into a great one.

Refilling Your Lighter: Best Practices for Success

While most modern lighters are designed for straightforward refilling, following these simple guidelines will eliminate issues, protect your lighter, and maximize your butane investment:

  1. Purge it First: Before refilling, always fully expel any remaining air or old butane from your lighter. A buildup of air pressure or residual lower-quality fuel can both diminish performance and create safety hazards. Follow your lighter manufacturer’s specific instructions on how to purge the fuel tank.
  2. Chill Out: Chilled butane flows more smoothly and refills more efficiently. Place both your butane canister and your lighter in the refrigerator for approximately 10-15 minutes before refilling. This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s a trick many cigar enthusiasts swear by.
  3. Find Solid Ground: Choose a clean, stable surface to work on. Accidents happen, and you don’t want to risk accidentally spilling butane.
  4. Invert and Engage: Turn the butane canister upside down for a clean, well-directed refill. Firmly press the butane nozzle into your lighter’s refill valve.  A slight hissing sound is normal, but excessive force isn’t necessary. A few seconds of firm pressure are usually sufficient.
  5. Wait, then Test: Allow your lighter to return to room temperature for a few minutes. This stabilizes pressure and reduces the chance of an uneven first ignition.  Then, test your flame in a safe location, adjusting the flow as needed.

Troubleshooting: When Things Don’t Ignite Perfectly

  • Clogged Burner?: If your lighter produces a weak flame or fails to ignite despite a full tank, try a quick purge. Impurities can sometimes settle and obstruct the fuel flow. Instructions on how to do this should be available in your lighter’s manual or online.
  • Air Pockets: When refilling a nearly empty fuel tank, small air pockets can form. Simply bleed out the air again and re-attempt to refill. Repeat once more if needed – sometimes a little patience goes a long way.
  • Check the Flint (if applicable): Soft-flame lighters rely on a flint for ignition. If the flame is inconsistent or there are no sparks even with a full tank, a new flint might be all you need.

Maximizing Your Butane Choice:

  • Store Smartly: Keep butane canisters in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources. While safety regulations ensure modern canisters are sturdy, extreme temperature fluctuations can compromise the canister or affect the fuel itself.
  • The Right Fill: Avoid overfilling your lighter’s fuel tank. Signs of overfilling include excess butane leakage or erratic, uncontrolled flame size once ignited.

Safety First: Butane is highly flammable. Always refill your lighter in a well-ventilated area, away from open flames, sparks, or any heat sources.

Additional Considerations for the Discerning Smoker

  • Travel Ready: For the jet-setting cigar aficionado, it’s worth noting that air travel regulations limit the amount of butane you can transport on flights. Invest in travel-sized butane canisters that comply with TSA or international regulations, keeping them securely stored during your journeys.
  • Altitude Adjustment: Have you ever found your lighter struggling at higher altitudes? Butane flame intensity naturally changes based on elevation. If you find yourself regularly lighting up at significantly higher altitudes than where you live, look for a high-altitude butane blend or a lighter specifically engineered to adapt to altitude changes.
  • Specialty Options: Some butane manufacturers offer unique blends designed to provide a hint of additional aromas during ignition – think notes of cedar or even a subtle smokiness. It’s a niche preference, but some connoisseurs find this enhances the overall cigar experience.

The Final Word

While butane may seem like a small piece of the cigar enjoyment puzzle, attention to detail in all aspects sets the seasoned cigar enthusiast apart. Premium butane isn’t just an expense; it’s an investment in enhancing every single moment you dedicate to enjoying your favorite cigars. Investing in premium fuel, paired with proper refilling techniques, is like choosing the highest quality ingredients for a meticulously prepared gourmet meal – it elevates the experience to its full, delicious potential.

smoking a cigar


Self proclaimed cigar expert. I've been smoking since 2010. I've practically lived at a cigar lounge from 10am to 10pm and trying every new cigar that came out for years.

VitalSleep Reviews

Snoring ruining your relationship?