While what you refill your lighter with seems like a thoughtless proposition, not all butane is considered equal. As we’ve covered in the past, there are several steps needed to properly light your cigars. Let’s take a look at what butane is, why it is ideal for cigars and what kind of butane you should be looking to purchase to make sure you are using the right butane!
What is butane?
Butane is a colorless & odorless hydrocarbon that is a gas at room temperature, but becomes a liquid under pressure. It was discovered by Dr. Walter Snelling in 1912 and quickly was adopted for a variety of consumer and industrial applications. In oxygen rich environments, such as our everyday natural environment, burning pure butane produces carbon dioxide and water vapor. Almost all modern butane is extracted from crude petroleum.
Why use butane?
Because of the colorless and orderless nature of butane, it is used when inherently necessary to avoid contaminants. Butane can burn as hot as 2600 degrees as well, which is hot enough to melt aluminum or copper in industrial applications. Because butane burns hot and clean, this makes it the perfect fuel for aficionados to light their cigars without affecting the taste of the cigar.
What should I look for in butane?
While it might be tempting to buy cheap butane, you would do well to avoid buying the cheapest butane you can find. Cheaper butane can contain contaminants because it is not properly refined. This can both damage your lighter and potentially affect the flavor of your cigar. We recommend using butane that has been refined no less than 4 times, while many high quality butanes are refined at least 8 times. One of the common issues with lighters is that the jets become clogged from butane contaminants. Simply blowing out the jets with compressed air usually fixes this problem.
Do I need to use Dupont’s butane in a Dupont?
A common question that we are asked in the lounge is “do I have to use Dupont’s butane in a Dupont lighter”? We always recommend that our customers use the proper Dupont butane in their lighter. This is for 2 reasons:
1. Dupont requires that only their butane be used in the lighters to be covered under warranty.
2. Certain Dupont lighters require special butane to function properly at high altitudes.
While your Dupont might work in the short term using a different butane, long term use could damage your lighter and void your warranty. Nobody wants to foot the bill for a repair on something that could be prevented so easily. Much like a high performance sports car that will run on lower grade fuel, it is detrimental to the the engine in the long run.
If you have ever purchased a lighter online, you most likely received the lighter empty. This is because butane is restricted on how it can be shipped. Butane represents a strong fire hazard and is generally only shipped via ground shipments with many safety protocols for how it is handled. With that being said, you cannot fly with butane or butane fueled lighters, so make sure to leave your butane lighters at home when you go on vacation. Check out our previous blog post on flying with cigars for more tips and tricks to traveling with your cigars and accessories!