About Atomic Lighter

By HighYa Staff
Published on: Aug 10, 2017

Advertised as a tactical rechargeable lighter, Atomic Lighter promises to use plasma arc technology that can quickly create fire, without gas or butane.

The website tells us that this fuel-free rechargeable lighter works anywhere, anytime—including in the rain and the wind—just by pressing a button. We’re even told that it’s sure to light the first time, every time, and to last a lifetime.

The plasma lighter also claims to deliver more than 100 lights on a single charge. And when the time comes, it’s rechargeable by USB.

There’s little doubt that all of these features could be beneficial. But are they necessarily unique to Atomic Lighter? Are there other plasma options that should be on your radar during your research?

Let’s start by taking a look at the lighter’s price.

How Much Does Atomic Lighter Cost?

One Atomic Lighter is priced at $19.99, plus free S&H. During checkout, you’ll be able to purchase a second Atomic Lighter and an Atomic Beam flashlight for a separate $9.99 fee, bringing your total to $29.98.

All purchases come with a 30-day refund policy, less S&H charges. Atomic Lighter is sold through Bulbhead, a division of Telebrands, who can be reached at 855-668-1655.

Now, let’s take a look at the mechanics behind products like this.

How Do Plasma Arc Lighters Work?

At its most basic, Atomic Lighter is a type of plasma arc lighter. What in the world is this?

Without going into unnecessary detail, Timothy Dahl from Popular Mechanics tells us that instead of using fuel and creating an open flame, arc lighters work “by creating a small electrical arc between two electrodes that is much hotter than a flame, and it's windproof.”

Why the ‘X’ pattern? According to one Redditor:

“The current (arc) will only flow between two electrodes with a large voltage difference (i.e. one is positive and one is negative), and the current will follow the shortest available path (here, vertical or horizontal, if available, instead of diagonal). There don't seem to be any combinations of high and low electrode voltages that would produce two simultaneous diagonal arcs.

So instead, the arcs must be produced at different times. The lighter only applies a voltage across one diagonal pair of electrodes at a time, and switches back and forth more quickly than you can see.”

Is this like harnessing lightning in the palm of your hand, as claimed by TV personality Hunter Ellis in the Atomic Lighter commercial?

While both utilize electricity, it might be more accurate to think of arc lighters as harnessing a strong static-like zap, instead of something like a powerful lightning bolt. As an example, Youtuber Gadget Addict reported that it felt like a sting that’s “not that bad” (although we’re by no means implying you should do the same):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vD2H4fuwxrM

In addition to mild pain if you carelessly touch the arc, let’s discuss some other considerations to keep in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing something like Atomic Lighter.

What Are Some Potential Pros & Cons For Plasma Lighters?

While we didn’t encounter any in-depth online buying guides at the time of our research, based on many of the customer reviews we read for competing models, many seemed to appreciate the fact that plasma lighters:

  • Can work in just about any condition (including wind and rain)
  • Recharge easily through any USB port and are battery powered
  • Are much safer, since no flammable fluid is required

On the other hand, the lighting surface is limited (usually meaningfully smaller than the end of a cigarette) and when in use, these lighters are reported to emit a high-pitched squeal that some users have claimed can be annoying.

Given some of these advantages and disadvantages, will Atomic Lighter be good for all the different tasks mentioned in the commercial?

While we didn’t test the device firsthand, based solely on the apparent narrow distance between its electrical arcs, it seems like it could suffice for lighting thinner surfaces, like candles, fireworks fuses, or the end of a small rope.

However, since many online reviewers for third-party products often mentioned difficulty lighting something as small as cigarettes, firing up a stogie might not rank at the top of any arc lighter’s list of abilities.

And if you’re going to use one for a bonfire or a backyard barbecue, it’s likely that to catch as quickly as shown in the Atomic Lighter commercial, we’d imagine any materials would need to be soaked in a propellant.

Atomic Lighter vs. Other Plasma, Flameless, & Arc Lighters

In the previous section, you might have picked up that we frequently referenced arc lighters in general. Why? Because by typing any of the above phrases into your favorite search engine, you’ll quickly find that Atomic is competing for the same customers as perhaps hundreds of other arc lighters.

In addition, the majority of these featured the same key selling points as Atomic, such as the ability to light in almost any condition, USB rechargeability, 100+ lights per charge, and lightweight portability.

Given this, based on a quick Google Shopping search, here were some of the more popular options at the time of our research, as well as their differentiating features:

Product Price Special Features
Atomic Lighter $19.95, plus free S&H Lifetime Warranty
Arc Lighter $34.99 A larger 7.6" x 1.0" x 0.7" size, silent ArcLighter Technology, High-end construction and materials
Tesla Coil Lighters $13.99 Compact 3” x 1.75” x 0.5”, 3 oz size; Up to 300 lights per charge
Plazmatic Lighters $29.99-$45 Many different colors and finishes, full recharge in 60 minutes, Whisper quiet design
TekDeals $13 Zinc, steel, and ceramic construction; Can last up to 300 lights
The Inferno Lighter $29 Wider space between electrodes

How to choose the best option? As with many other product decisions, it largely depends on those factors you deem most important. For example:

If the price is your number one factor, TekDeals was the lowest option out of the above. However, while there's no way to know how they match up as far as quality, we found some plasma lighters for sale through independent retailers on sites like eBay and Amazon for as little as $2.

On the other hand, if an emphasis on design and high-quality materials is important to you, the Arc Lighter is perhaps the standout option. However, it was also one of the most expensive flameless lighters we encountered during our research, and was also pending release.

Speaking of expensive, some of Plazmatic’s arc lighters topped the list at $45, although they seemed to offer meaningfully more design options to suit your style.

Finally, it’s important to factor in the manufacturer’s online customer reputation (Is it mostly positive? Are there any common complaints?), as well as their refund policy (including associated fees). How does all of this stack up for Atomic Lighter?

Our Final Thoughts About Atomic Lighter

Like the majority of their other products we’ve researched, Bulbhead (aka Telebrands) stands behind Atomic Lighter with a 30-day refund policy. This means that if you only order one and aren’t satisfied, you won’t be out more than a few dollars in return shipping and a little bit of your time.

And while you’ll also be able to purchase a second lighter and the Atomic Beam flashlight for only $9.99, it’s important to emphasize that this fee is nonrefundable.

Given this, if Atomic Lighter’s specifications seem to match your needs better than other plasma, flameless options, it doesn’t seem you could go wrong.

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Read 48 Atomic Lighter Customer Reviews and Complaints

Write a Review
Average Consumer Rating: 2.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 7 4 star: 6 3 star: 0 2 star: 4 1 star:  31
Bottom Line: 27% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 48
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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Several months and still works great

    • Ellington, CT,
    • Feb 26, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Like another reviewer, if I had gone by what some of the reviews said, I never would have bought it, but I'm glad I took a chance on it.

    I bought mine at Walmart, so if there was a problem with it, I could easily return it and eliminate the shipping charges both ways, which cost almost as much as the lighter itself. The only problem with buying it that way was I couldn't take advantage of the two for one pricing by ordering it direct, but I also didn't have to wait for it to "maybe" show up so to me it was a good trade-off.

    Some reviewers mentioned the noise that it makes when using it, but I have a few arc lighters by different manufacturers, and they all have the same sound, so it has nothing to do with the Atomic Lighter. It's just a sound that's inherent with arc lighters.

    Several reviews state that it won't hold a charge longer than a day or it doesn't work at all. If you follow the instructions, you shouldn't have any problems with the Atomic Lighter. Make sure the switch on the bottom is off, charge it fully before using it for the first time, and keep an eye on it so it doesn't overcharge. The LED on the bottom tells you when it's charging and when's it's finished charging. Be sure to turn the switch to off when you're finished using it to prevent the battery from draining.

    I only wish it came with a pouch to carry it on my belt, but that problem was easily solved - in the fishing section at Walmart, there is a small $5 multi-tool set of pliers from their Ozark Trail line; this multi-tool comes with a small belt pouch that fits the Atomic Lighter perfectly.

    One other thing I've noticed from a few reviewers is that it's made of cheap plastic. I'm not sure if they sell it that way intentionally for the TV sales to cut costs for the two for the price of one buyers, but the one I bought at Walmart is made of steel, it's heavier than my other arc lighters and has a noticeably solid sound and even feel when closing the lid. You can definitely find less expensive arc lighters, but for the few dollars extra it cost me, it was well worth it. Worth it to the point that all my other arc lighters have taken up permanent residence in a junk drawer and probably aren't even charged anymore, while my Atomic Lighter has become an EDC on my belt at all times and goes everywhere I go.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Never even worked once!

    • Miami, FL,
    • Feb 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I got this lighter as a gift. I was excited to try it out because I have seen them advertised on TV before and it looked like a cool idea. I charged the lighter when I first got it for several hours and it would not light at all! I was hoping for the best and kept charging it for several more hours and still nothing. Needless to say, I am nothing less than greatly disappointed, dissatisfied, and even feel ripped off, and I’m not even the one who paid for it. I would not recommend this product to anyone at all. It’s not worth your money or time. If it didn’t even work once for me, I’m not confident that it’s a product worth any time or money. Don’t waste your money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Junk

    • New York,
    • Feb 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    After one month of use, this lighter stopped working. I wrote to the company and am waiting for a reply. This was a Christmas gift and it was a dud. Plus it is hard to light a cigarette with it because the space is so small.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Mine works great, and it was cheap too.

    • Hattiesburg, MS,
    • Dec 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been able to find these Atomic Lighters at several places, brand new for an average price of $5. I figured for $5 I would take a chance and buy one for myself. So far it works great. I am a pretty heavy smoker and have used mine constantly off of one full charge for two days now and it's still going strong. I haven't tried to light anything other than a cigarette yet, so I can't address the lighter's ability to do other things, but it lights a cigarette with ease and works great out in the wind.

    I have had one friend complain about a high pitch noise that it makes, but I can't hear it myself, all I hear when it is in use is best described as a "hissing" sound, it sounds like you are letting air out of a tire.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 5 people found this review helpful

    It works for it

    • North Carolina,
    • Dec 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I got an Atomic Lighter for an early Christmas present from my wife and I have to say it works great for lighting a cigarette if you don't mind barely moving it in a circle. I have also lit candles and leaves just to see how it worked...talk about surprised...with just the arcs I got flame. Maybe it's not like a lightning bolt said on the commercial, but at $5 in a Ross store you can't beat the price, it's a win-win choice for me.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Very disappointed

    • Mississippi,
    • Nov 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I purchased two lighters. I followed the instructions on how to charge it. One wouldn't even light up while charging. No blue light.

    The second one charged and would light one time. I even turned it off, and went to light it a second time with no such luck. I can understand getting a dud, nothing is perfect. But I got two duds. I don't have $40 to just throw away. I'm very upset and disappointed. I do not recommend the Atomic Lighter.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Overrated!

    • Brookhaven, PA,
    • Jul 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had my Atomic Lighter a couple of months. It still works so it must be made well. The reviews are somewhat accurate, the charge doesn't last long, and there are times when in my opinion fire would be so much better.

    It was expensive compared to a Bic where you have a lighter a long time, Butane seems to last a very long time.

    With the Atomic Lighter, if you're going out for the evening, you better bring two Atomic Lighters or smoke a lot less.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Worse lighter

    • South Elgin, IL,
    • Jul 8, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    It doesn’t hold a charge; three cigarettes lit, and it’s dead. I can’t believe they can still sell them. I took it back to Walmart where I purchased it, and they refused to give my money back. A big-time scam in my book.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Piece of crap

    • Denver, CO,
    • Jul 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Worthless piece of crap. It is too hard to get anything lit, you cannot relight a joint, too small of a space that cannot fit a joint in the arc. Do not buy. You'll have to go back to a regular lighter and you will have wasted 20 bucks.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Garbage

    • Ft. Lauderdale, FL,
    • Jul 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I bought my lighter, let it fully charge, and used around 10 times. The next time I went to use it, it had stopped working. I checked the battery and it was fully charged, but still, the lighter did not work. Also, if you plan on using it to light cigarettes, it is very hard to light a cigarette. If you plan on lighting a toothpick or a leaf, it would be good for that. It is made very poorly. But just like other products made in China, it is what you should expect. Do not waste your time or money on this, you will be very disappointed. I would not recommend buying this or giving it for a gift unless the gift is for someone you do not like.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 4 people found this review helpful

    This lighter is a very bad idea. It stays on charger must of the day.

    • Washington DC,
    • Jun 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This item is not worth the headache. I charged it up with the blue light and it is not charged fully at no time. You can only use it about three times. Now it needs charging again and again. Save your money and go back to matches, or a regular lighter. I should have known it was too good to be true, save the headache and aggravation I now know not to waste your time purchasing it about three months ago. It will stay on the USB charger next step trash.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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