About Atomic Lighter
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):
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:
|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.
Not what is advertised
I bought two lighters. They work sometimes, and other times get one to ten lights before needing a recharge. Don't waste your money; this lighter does not meet the hype. It does light in extreme conditions (maybe).
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
This thing is a total joke and won't light cigarettes without shutting off. Very heavy, a complete waste of money. I can't find troubleshooting info, but mine shuts itself off when trying to light a cig and won't come back on until I put the charger back for a minute. It's hard to light cigs with it anyway, not going to light much of anything else either.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend