Lighters are perhaps the most under-rated tool. Yet they are so useful in everyday life. They have evolved too much by the time, we saw the old flint spark versions, the butane ones, the famous Zippo Lighters and now we are coming across the new era of lighters – plasma lighters, and even more advanced ones the electric arc plasma lighters.
In this post, we bring you everything related to these plasma lighters also known as Arc lighters, i.e all about Electric arc plasma lighters and their working.
Some simply call them Electric or Electronic lighters.
Remember we are not advertising these lighters for smoking. Smoking is bad for your health.
What are Plasma Lighters?
Plasma lighter has many names, electric lighter, arc lighter, electronic lighter. They are all rechargeable.
Though not known to many people, ‘plasma’ is the fourth state of matter as it refers to an ionized gas that allows the flow of electrons which itself is electricity.
This is what helps this lighter to work and light up.
In solids, the atoms and electrons are packed closely as compared to liquids and gases, but this is not the case with plasma. In plasma, electrons are far from their atoms under various temperatures.
This is how this gas is ionized with different properties than the normal gaseous matter and this is what is exactly needed by these types of lighters.
This ionized gas enables the electrons to move and to create electricity.
Positive and Negative Electrodes:
These electric plasma arc lighters have positive and negative electrodes. They are known as cathode and anode. Once the air is ionized, a spark is produced. The spark travels in the opposite directions, connecting the two electrodes to form an arc.
One of the two electrodes is more charged than the other. The moment the required voltage difference is achieved, our desired fire is ignited.
As we know the Fire Triangle:
Fire can only take place if we have these 3 ingredients. So in the case of plasma lighters, we have the oxygen source from the air.
The fuel source is the paper and the heat comes from the electrons moving through the air between the electrode.
As shown above.
let us explain how.
Three essential elements are needed to light up a fire, namely, oxygen, fuel, and heat. Oxygen is present in the air, tobacco is in the cigarette while the heat comes from the arc plasma lighter. Heat is then further generated by the voltage difference inside.
Now, the question arises, how is this voltage difference achieved?
A plasma lighter is not just any ordinary lighter. When you click on the button, electricity flows through the tube or the light is switched on.
This electricity acts as a source of energy which causes the charging of atoms in the air creating a voltage difference.
When this voltage difference is created, all the three elements needed to ignite a fire are achieved.
So, how do electric arc plasma lighters work? Let us tell you. All you have to do is open up the lighter, press the button and a sound will be produced. That’s it, it’s this simple!
Before using it, you would have to charge it which would take probably an hour and you are ready to light up your cigarette. It can work for 10-15 minutes of light time.
It already has a built-in USB rechargeable battery that is connected to the charger or any other USB port such as a computer, power bank, or mobile.
So, as these lighters are rechargeable and are powered by batteries, they do not need any fuel to function which is a plus point.
This is how we use this lighter, which we will further study in detail later, while the working mechanism explains the process that takes place to light the fire.
Why are they called “Plasma Lighters”?
We all know that liquids, solids, and gases are 3 matters of the universe but there is also the fourth one which is Plasma. To put in a simple way, any ionized gas is called a plasma.
In the case of plasma or electric lighters, the “ionized gas” in the air. When sufficient energy is given to the air, it becomes ionized and the electrons in the air move along with the nucleus (there are no free electrons in the air) and cause current to travel.
And that traveling current is the arc we see. And that is why they are called the plasma lighters along with the arc and electric lighters.
How does a plasma lighter work?
You can find a variety of such lighters in different sizes, colors, and shapes. All of these work the same way and are charged by a USB.
As this plasma arc lighter is an advanced product, it may be a little complicated to understand how it works from the inside.
Let us explain you all in layman’s terms.
When this electric arc plasma lighter is fully charged, it stores energy, and when you click on the button the surrounding air gets ionized. Electrons in the nearby air move along with the nucleus.
This process causes current to be produced as an arc that we see when we switch on the plasma lighter.
Take cloud- lightning for example. When the clouds rub together they become charged. A great no. of charges get stored in them. And a difference of no of charges between clouds and ground occurs (also called a voltage difference or a potential difference) and then there comes a time when the clouds can’t hold those charges anymore.
It’s just like water would want to move to fill other areas, from higher levels to lower ones.
So when the clouds finally release the charges in the form of thunder we see, they move from air to the ground.
This is how plasma is developed as in easier terms you like to call it lightning.
Yes, lighting itself is ‘plasma’ yes. Each plasma lighter has 4 electrodes on its tip under the cover. Two electrodes are located on each side of the stand withholding them. There is approximately a gap of 2mm in all of them. Now, when you push the button which is located on the main body of the lighter, the electrodes are ionized to their full potential which allows them to ionize the air around them and the plasma (spark) travels to the opposite-diagonal electrode. The same goes for the remaining electrode and so an ‘X’ is formed of plasma.
Plasma lighters are like normal lighters when seen from a distance.
What distinguishes them is that they do not contain any type of fuel. Yes, they run on batteries that can be easily recharged by common USB ports or sockets.
With just a push of a button, you can light up candles, and some stoves too.
Single Arc and Double Arc Plasma Lighters
The working principle for both single and double arc electric lighter is the same. It just charges moving between the electrodes. The double arc just makes it look a little cooler. And it may also produce more heat compared to a single arc lighter but the double arc means double usage of electricity. So these plasma lighters may not last as long.
So the conclusion is we only need two electrodes to “flow” electricity through the air, the other two are just there to maintain and optimize the spark.
As long as you keep the button pushed, the plasma will continue to remain in its position and meanwhile, you can lit up anything you like from lighting up the grills on your family picnic trip.
At the end of the day, you can charge your electric plasma lighter by the mini USB port located at its bottom corner like our wood-burning backpacking stove.
The blue (or sometimes red) color you will observe is the luminescent gas ‘plasma’ which is transferring electrons from one electrode to the other. The blue or red color is obtained due to heat.
Both of them work the same way in the similar working mechanism explained above.
The only difference is that double arc plasma lighters would require you to charge them more often because they give out more heat than the singular arc ones.
This means that they spend more battery power so are likely to be charged more.
Which is the best Plasma Lighter to Buy?
It was a very hard decision to find you the best plasma lighters because all of them are so closely matched. There are a lot of different plasma lighters which are used for so many different purposes. Still, if I do have to pick one.
I would pick the lighter below. We did a long research and tested almost all of the lighters out, and we can confidently say that the Mantello Tesla Coil Lighter is the best electric lighter overall.
Why it’s the best?
- It is the lightest in weight (0.03 lbs). Where BOLT Electric Plasma Lighter, ETERNITY Double Arc and Saberlight Sparq come on 2nd (with 0.1 lbs). The top 10 lighters that we tested have a combined average weight of 0.239 lbs.
- At the time of writing, the average price of 10 top lighters we made has a combined average price of more or less $15. Mantello is the cheapest.
- This lighter includes both the charger (USB) and a great carrying case that we personally loved and has a double arc.
Best Electric Lighter for Candles, Kitchen, Camping, or BBQ Party
An ideal plasma lighter for lighting up a gas stove or a candle must be the one which is the most safer, as the abrupt fire from the gas stoves can cause harm if the hand is too near.
There is always this fear of getting burnt with a regular arc lighter especially for the children.
So for that, there should be an arc lighter that has a longer neck and its safe use.
And keeping that in mind we found that the BLENDX USB Lighter Arc Lighter is the best for home, kitchen, and camping use.
What makes it the best plasma lighter for home and camping?
- It has a 360-degree rotation neck which can help light up different applications.
- The longer neck keeps the hand from burning and thus making it ideal for lighting up gas stoves.
- Besides it being windproof, this lighter is also moisture-proof, so you don’t have to worry about it having contact with water, which mostly happens in the kitchen.
- Has a safety lock so children at home can’t light it up.
All of these points make this plasma lighter ideal for home and camping usage.
Best Plasma Lighter for Outdoors/Survival?
A survival kit is incomplete without a great survivor lighter. An ideal arc lighter for survival would be the one which is completely waterproof, windproof and altitude proof. It should be light-weight and portable and should provide great working assurance.
Keeping all these things in mind, we researched and found that the best plasma lighter for survival kit has to be the UST TekFire arc lighter. ( A great lighter from Ultimate-Survival-Tech).
Why did we choose this electric lighter?
- It’s windproof like most lighters and the company claims it’s waterproof as well when it’s only water-resistant. Like the SONY phones, its USB port is sealed and water can’t get into it for some time. Similarly, it has a locking mechanism of its lid and the lid of the lighter is tight-shut when closed and again water can’t get into it easily. It can work in the rain and even the storm. But it is not completely waterproof, but then again none of the lighters claiming to be waterproof were.
- This lighter worked perfectly at up to 11,000ft. Probably it will work just fine at even higher altitudes.
Word of caution
Plasma lighters are great but still make sure to keep along some of the cotton balls and vaseline to fire up easily.
How long a plasma lighter last?
This ‘Tesla’ Plasma lighter’s charge remains up to 7 days given that you use it for nearly 10-15 a day with only 1-hour charging time.
Yes, this is the option which you should go with as this will provide a hassle-free week with only one charge.
Upgraded Sparkr Mini Plasma Lighter
Now, if you still plan to get a more handy, comfortable, and precise design for a plasma lighter then you can go for the ‘Sparkr Mini Plasma Lighter’.
Now how long does this plasma lighter last?
This question is quite interesting for this plasma lighter because it can be charged in just an hour or so.
The most amazing thing this that even on low battery power you can easily get 100-200 sparks out of this plasma lighter. This means you are always set for your long trip to anywhere without having to worry about your plasma lighter’s charging.
Although previous versions of Sparkr lighter were reviewed from users for having 3-4 days battery time, this product is an upgrade to them so it is quite different and better.
Moreover, the Sparkr company offers a 1-year warranty too for this product so if you feel like that the product you got is not promising, you can claim a return and exchange.
Safety regarding Plasma Lighters?
These lighters are comparatively safer than the butane lighters which have “flammable gas” in them and can lead to some sort of accident. Plasma lighters apart having free from such flammable gasses also font makes arcs when the lid is closed.
So it will not “light” inside the closed lid.
Still, these lighters can cause harm.
When you touch the arc, it feels like 2 very hot pins touched you as the arcs heat up to 1000 degrees Celsius or 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, averagely. ( This temperature is enough to burn almost anything).
And no, you never get electrocuted. For that, you have to stick a piece of metal between the arcs, that way the electric current will travel through you from the metal.
So, no, this is not a mini taser as most people like to call it.
How to use an electric arc plasma lighter?
After buying this electronic gadget, it is important to know how it functions and how one can use it more efficiently.
Here are some operational instructions for you all :
Such lighters come up with a rechargeable battery so one should always look up its charge time. Charge time is important and ideally, it would take the lighter up to like an hour to full charge.
Plus, as mentioned earlier, if you are using a double arc plasma lighter, you would have to charge it twice the time you charge your single arc plasma lighter.
Also, there are different qualities of such lighters available in the market and each of them requires a different charge time. Charge time also depends on the usage, so one must be careful.
The user can recharge it after a day. Many of these lighters can also store power for up to 3 to 7 days.
Auto Shut-Off: This feature is more of a safety measure. If you want to shut off some lighters, this feature shuts off others automatically too.
Be cautious when using this electrical device because if you are not careful, you may even get hurt if the lighter is closed as the heat ignited is about 1000 C hot!
Otherwise, it is a safe tool to use so no need to worry. It is probably even safer than an ordinary lighter but if someone holds any metal and puts it in the arcs, then it is obvious that the user will burn him/herself.
Plasma lighters do not contain any movable parts that require cleanliness and maintenance other than cleaning the electrodes to remove any dust.
Overall, the answer to the question that how electric arc plasma lighters work is that :
Plasma lighters require two electrodes so that electricity can flow through the air and ionize it. The other two electrodes are also present to sustain that spark produced effectively for a longer time.
This battery is responsible for charging two, four, or six electrodes that are on the top of the plasma lighter.
The battery is the fuel of this lighter which provides the electrodes charges consistently, and in return, plasma is produced at a consistent rate.
So we have discussed everything related to plasma lighters. What they are? How long does plasma lighters last? How do they work? What is Plasma? Some of the best Lighters in the market and safety regarding these lighters.
To summarize the whole thing in a few words:
Plasma is ionized air. Electric current gets enough energy and has enough push to travel through the air and we see the arc. There is no difference between the double and single arc.
The arc heats up to 2k degree F. And it is recommended to never touch the lighters arc as it is very painful. Our pick for the “best plasma lighter” is the Mantello Tesla Coil Arc Lighter.
For the best electric lighter for the kitchen, BLENDX USB Electronic Lighter Arc Lighter is our choice.
For the best arc electric lighter for Survival, the UST TekFire arc lighter is our choice.
The longest-lasting plasma lighter has to be the Upgraded Sparkr Electric Lighter which gives you almost 200 sparks per charge.
We tried our best to bring in everything related to plasma lighters. Still, If you have any questions regarding an electric lighter, you can contact us through our contact page.