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Customer Review

160 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive, fun, and reliable lighter!, February 11, 2011
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This review is from: Zippo Street Chrome Pocket Lighter (Sports)
I was delighted when I opened the package and saw this lighter. I wanted a Zippo that could be carried around in my pocket with loose change, a money clip, and other items which could mar the surface of a lighter. The random scratch pattern on the surface is actually quite attractive. Any minor "new" scratches will be completely invisible on this unit. The rest of the Zippos in my collection are "collectables," and I want to keep them pristine, since the ones with logos and art work ARE in fact, works of art. Mechanically, all Zippos are pretty much identical. They light easily, and they are of such simple design, that they function flawlessly. I've been collecting flint & fluid types of lighters since I was a kid in the 1950's, and I have yet to have owned one that I couldn't get to light. They are quite simply, too simple not to work! If you have a flint loaded, and flick the thumbwheel and it produces a spark, and you have a half inch of lighter fluid soaked wick, it WILL light. It doesn't have any choice! It would even light with non-approved fuels, like naphtha based lantern fluid, or even gasoline (I learned this when I was a dumb kid). I have a warning though: DON'T USE UNAPPROVED FUEL!!!!! Gasoline has dyes and other additives which will quickly foul your lighter, and it produces a horrible smell. Lantern fuel (such as Coleman) is similar to lighter fluid (naphtha is the key ingredient in gasoline, lantern fluid, and lighter fluid), except it burns hotter, and will evaporate quicker. DON'T USE IT. To do so would be dangerous. Use approved fuel only, such as Zippo, or Ronsonol (which is now made by Zippo). Why do I say that you MUST use an approved fuel? Because cigarette lighter fuel contains retardants which produce a more controlled burn rate, and also retards evaporation so that you don't have to refill the lighter as often. There is also the safety factor here to consider, in having a less volatile fuel.

OK, so where do you get flints and lighter fluid? Before the highly reliable, long-lasting, disposable butane lighters were invented, lighter fuel was available virtually everywhere: Mom&Pop stores, hardware stores, grocery stores, drug stores. In fact, it was hard to find a store where it WASN'T available. DON'T buy flints and fluid online. It is way too expensive, and they are not that hard to find in stores. I found the Zippo 12 oz. cans of fluid at my local grocery store (a well known national chain, which I don't want to plug) and it was priced at $3.50. The best place however, to buy flints and fluid is at the nation's largest retailer (the one founded by the late Sam Walton). It is usually located at one of the check stands. They sell Ronson flints for 40 cents (5 pack), and Ronsonol fuel (8 oz. can) for $1.65 (I'm plugging Ronson/Ronsonol because it's made by Zippo). Also, you can obviously find these products at specialty stores which sell pipe tobacco, cigars, etc. These are usually located in shopping malls and strip malls. You might pay a bit more at the specialty stores, but still, it would be cheaper than having to pay shipping and handling charges for online purchases.

User problems:

I still can't get over the number of people who think that this type of lighter should come filled with fuel. They aren't allowed to ship them that way. These lighters are not sealed units and are subject to evaporation. A tightly sealed shipping carton would fill up with volatile fumes. Such a box might even technically be considered a BOMB!

Can't get it to light?

(1) Sometimes after filling the lighter, raw fuel gets onto the flint, or the wick is oversaturated (too wet). Leave the lighter upright with the top open, and evaporation will take care of this problem. In a few minutes, try again.

(2) Bad Technique? If you are new to this type of lighter, you may be having trouble with the thumbwheel. Practice your technique. Flints are cheap! Remember when you were a kid, and somebody taught you how to snap your fingers, to make a very loud pop? It is the same sort of technique for operating the thumbwheel. A wimpy turn of the wheel will produce little if any spark. A hard, quick snapping of the wheel will produce a massive spark, and increase your chance of success.

Some final thoughts & suggestions:

These flint and naphtha based fuel lighters are relics of the past, and are best thought of as nostalgia, or collectable art pieces. If you are going camping or hunting, ALWAYS carry spare matches, or a butane lighter with you as a back-up. As several people have mentioned, these lighters lose fuel fairly rapidly due to evaporation. Always fill them on the day of your outing, and bring spare fluid and flints with you (Zippo makes a cute little key-chain canister which holds one lighter full of fuel, and an extra flint, available from Amazon). Another good reason that you MUST keep your lighter well fueled, is that the wick will burn up when it goes dry, and you will have to replace it.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 12, 2011 10:27:01 PM PDT
snowman1 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Nov 20, 2011 6:30:39 PM PST
A. J. Harris says:
Can you refill this lighter if necessary?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2012 7:29:42 AM PST
Dan S. says:

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 2:46:30 PM PDT
cactus says:
great review.

Posted on May 19, 2012 8:12:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2012 8:13:44 PM PDT
Dave C says:
Excellent review. Zippo lighters rock. I've had them since I was a kid. It's hard to believe that some people don't know how to light one. Growing up, every kid had a Zippo and a cool pocket knife. Now a kid could could get bounced out of school for this standard gear. What the hell is this country coming to?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2013 11:18:56 AM PDT
Jake H. says:
A bunch of paranoid cowards sitting in a building attesting to this countries ego babbling about things that should be easily fixed?
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