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How to Light and Enjoy a Lit Cigar

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There are many ways to light a cigar but let’s explore the proper way to do it. This will ensure it burns evenly and will result in a great smoking experience. The best way you can light a cigar is with a butane lighter. There are, however, other ways to do it.

In the following post, we’ll examine the other options and different flame types for lighting a cigar. Here at Cigar Cigar, we recommend the use of butane lighters, they work exceptionally well. Butane lighters are the cheapest and easiest to use.

There are cigar smokers that prefer to use a match and even cedar strips. The key thing when it comes to lighting your cigar is that the flame is odorless. Any chemicals that are in the matches/flames will transfer to your cigar which will alter the aroma and flavor.

You may as well leave the cigars in the box if you don’t intend to light it properly!

If you are a complete beginner stick to a butane lighter-it’s the easiest method and will ensure your cigar burns evenly throughout.

Best Ways To Light A Cigar

First and foremost let’s take a look at the best ways to light your cigar.

Torch Lighters

Butane torch lighters

Butane lighters- the best and most reliable way to light cigars. Torch lighters are great for lighting cigars, they also have a much higher success rate of keeping the cigar lit and avoid an uneven burn. Take a look at our best cigar lighter selections.

Torch lighters are extremely powerful and are very impressive. Great for outdoors but still easily handled indoors. Torch lighters use butane fuel, which is the only fuel you should use to light cigars, there are also a lot of lighter styles to choose from.

If you aren’t into such a big lighter then the smaller butane lighters are probably more for you.


Cigar and match on wooden table

When using the correct matches and in the correct way, they can be a great way to light a cigar. In terms of cigar matches, you can purchase long wooden matches that are specifically made for cigars. They are produced with phosphorous instead of sulfur.

These matches are much longer and therefore burn longer and also have no chemical smell which can alter the taste and aroma. While we still recommend using a butane lighter, matches can be a cool, alternative way to light your cigars.

A great idea for celebratory events or special parties, just make sure you rotate the cigar when you use matches.

Cedar Spills

Lighting a cigar with cedar spills

In many traditional cigar circles, cedar strips are the correct ways to light a cigar. We are yet to try them here at Cigar Cigar but you burn the cedar strip and that then burns the cigar. They look cool and we are eager to give them a go.

The huge advantage and possibly the reason why cigar aficionados like using them are that there are no chemicals, no fuel, no butane, no sulfur, and no phosphorous. Meaning your cigar is going to be enjoyed with all its’ flavors and aromas intact.

The disadvantage is that it can take a long time to light and is a bit of a risk to do so indoors.

Ways you Should Never Light a Cigar

Sulfur Matches & Candles

Lit candle and a match

Using sulfuric matches or a candle flame will change the flavor and aroma of your cigar. Candles have a residue that is present in the wax. When burning this residue transfers into the flame and then into the cigar. This is also applicable to sulfur matches.

Sulfur is present in the flame when the match is first struck before the flame has started burning the wood. Upon striking the match the sulfur burns for a few seconds, this is going to transfer over to your cigar, giving it a tainted taste. Basically ruining the flavor and aroma of your cigar.

Zippo/Bic Lighters

Zippo and Bic lighter

Another method to avoid when lighting a cigar. While they may seem like a good idea a cigar should never be lit with a zippo or bic lighter. These lighters were predominantly produced for cigarettes.

The fuel used in these lighters varies and for that reason, you can never be sure if it has butane fuel in it. Any other fuel is going to leave an odor on your cigar which will change the taste. Sometimes they do have butane fuel and sometimes they don’t.

We don’t like to take the risk and always use a butane lighter as butane burns odorless. In addition to this, the flame from a bic lighter or zippo is not strong enough or big enough to adequately light a cigar.

In this instance, people become tempted to place the cigar into the flame. If you have read our guide to lighting a cigar you’ll know this is not advised. The cigar should be placed near the flame but not in it.

Bottom Line

While there are many ways to light a cigar, we still recommend the use of a butane lighter. The use of cheap matches and candles should be avoided but torch lighters and cigar matches can be used. For a more traditional approach try cedar strips. Head over to our review of the best cigar lighter to help with making your decision.

Cigar cutter Prestige Royal
Dan Stevenson
Dan Stevenson

I have been smoking cigars for 30 years and counting, I started at 18 years old with mild Cubans and worked my way up to medium and now bold. I own 4 humidors, that I try to keep stocked at all times.

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