Debunking the Undeserved Criticism: The Zippo Blu Butane Lighter Review

Zippo is an iconic company for the last 77 years producing nothing but lighters and is proud to still be manufactured in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Owning a Zippo is more than just owning a lighter, but rather an heirloom or a piece of jewelry to be passed down from generation to generation like a Rolex is more than a just a time-telling instrument. It’s more than a lighter for smokers, but a tool with a rich heritage of being at one time used by the U.S. military, the Boy Scouts, campers/backpackers, and so forth for many reasons including the ability to stay lit in harsh weathers. The distinctive Zippo click when opened or closed, the flint wheel, and all the cool Zippo tricks adds to the appeal of the Zippo.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpogpiOCTqU[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9rRkgnMVNg[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOHwjDzUDnE[/youtube]

Unfortunately for cigar aficionados, using a Zippo to light a cigar is not ideal as it introduces a gas taste to the cigar. Fortunately, Zippo offers us a wonderful alternative: the Zippo Blu butane lighter, a gorgeous butane lighter but does it live up to the Zippo name? Having read many online reviews about the lack of reliability, the answer seems to be no, and it certainly discouraged me from picking one up. I ended up doing the Zippo/Z-Plus Blazer conversion, but had a number of frustrating issues such as inconsistent lighting, so I ended up rarely using it. Fortunately I didn’t give up on owning a Blu and with enough digging online I found these positive reviews which changed my mind enough that I bit the bullet and did it. And I’m glad I did!

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Construction

The pictures do not do the Zippo Blu any justice whatsoever. The moment I held one in person, I was sold. It feels incredibly solid and looks amazing. Originally I wasn’t feeling the modern design of the Blu compared to the simple iconic Zippos, but it’s really starting to grow on me now. With the lid closed, it’s smooth, sleek, and modern looking but still retains the Zippo look and feel.

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20091219-Zippo-Blu-butane-lighter-Bui4Ever-009If there are any complaints to have about the Zippo, then there are four (semi-minor) things. First, the lid doesn’t always close fully. About 8 out of 10 times it works fine, but sometimes you sometimes have to nudge the lid to the side slightly to get it to fully close securely. Second, there is no way to adjust to the flame height. One trick I’ve found is to press down on the flint wheel and let some gas out before spinning the flint wheel to ignite the butane which works. Third, the gas tank indicator is a nice touch, but you can only see it clearly in bright light. Finally, the refill slot isn’t your average size meaning those cheap butane refill kits you buy from the gas station won’t fit correctly, which is good because you shouldn’t use cheap butane for such a great lighter as the Zippo Blu. If you use quality butane gas such as Vector, it comes with a handy adapter that lets you easily refill the butane gas tank.

Another thing I like about the Zippo Blu over other lighters such as my Blazer Venture dual-torch is the large capacity fuel tank. I’ve lit up some 4 Robusto size cigars, did numerous burn corrections on those cigars, I’ve played around with it by igniting it for fun and the tank is still showing 3/4 full! Typically with my Blazer Venture, I’m out of gas by the 4th cigar.

There are a number of attractive finishes of the Zippo Blu that you can buy. My local store only had two and I chose the better finish in my opinion.

Usage (Read The Damn Directions)

I’m like most people, just give me the damn thing and I’ll figure it out. If you decide to take that approach and it doesn’t work, don’t blame it on the product until you’re sure you’re doing it right. I’m sure when the Zippo Blu was first released, there might have been problems as you would expect with anything new. But what I know is, when I purchased my Zippo BLU Shadow Lighter Dark Chrome from Cigar Loft and Lounge, it has worked perfectly. Sure, it doesn’t always light 100% of the time, but I’ve never had a lighter that did. What I’ve found with the Zippo Blu is that it’s a different kind of butane lighter. The flint system on the Blu is a bit tricky, but once you get it down, you’ll find it works great. I, too, was hesitant about how well the butane flint system would work, but when people see me using it and try it out, they love it.

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I have not found the Zippo Blu is any less reliable than my Blazer dual-torch butane lighter, which was my most reliable lighter to date. There are a number of reasons why the Blu might not light and like computer troubleshooting, it’s best to do a process of elimination. First, make sure you’re using either Zippo Premium Butane Fuel, Vector Quintuple Refined Butane Gas Fuel Refill, or some other high-quality butane gas. The cheap stuff can cause clogs or weak flames. Second, did you refill the gas correctly? Remember that to refill a butane lighter, the lighter has to be completely upside down and not at an angle or you might get air which will cause the lighter not to light. Third, did you know that cold butane doesn’t light very well? If you just refilled your lighter, let it warm up to room temperature before attempting to light. If the lighter is already filled or has adequate supply, make sure it’s not cold by wrapping it in your hands for a minute or so to warm it up. Finally, with the Blu’s unique flint system, you have to press down and let some gas expel before spinning the flint to light it up. If you spin the flint as you’re pressing down, you’ll get horribly inconsistent lights and weak flames. The longerĀ  that you let the gas expel, the higher and more intense the burn will be, to a point. If all that still doesn’t work for you, let someone else try it and if they have the same problems as you, then it might be time to send the lighter in for repair. Fortunately all Zippos carry a lifetime warranty.

Value

I purchased my Zippo Blu in-store at Cigar Loft and Lounge for a little over $54 plus tax. I could have purchased the same exact lighter on Amazon for $34.95, but I wanted to see it and feel it in person. At $34.95, it is a steal compared to other crappier lighters such as Colibri that you can easily pay hundreds for. I would purchase another at $54 without hesitation.

Conclusion

The Zippo Blu is one of the best looking lighters I’ve seen, period. It’s neat, it’s sleek, has a large tank, fits beautifully flat in your pockets, and the build quality of Zippo. People who see me using the Blu are always asking about it and once they try it, they are quite impressed. Sure it takes some getting used to, but if you give it a chance, I think you’ll find this is the lighter you’re most likely to carry with you daily. The cost is quite reasonable compared to other high-end lighters, but I like the shape and feel of the Blu best.

Also another thing to remember about the Zippo Blu is that you will have to occasionally replace the flint because of wear. The flint replacements aren’t terribly expensive and are fairly easy to do yourself. The Zippo website has excellent directions on how to replace the flint yourself and not void your lifetime warranty. You can also read more Zippo Blu FAQ on their website here.

I’ll leave you with one last video, a pretty good Zippo Blu review by CutleryLover. The only issue I have with the video is that he is lighting it wrong. Make sure you hold down the flint wheel for about a second before spinning it!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw5mwpwll08[/youtube]

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Zippo Blu Gallery Pictures

2 thoughts on “Debunking the Undeserved Criticism: The Zippo Blu Butane Lighter Review”

  1. dude, thats just tamper proof torx. you just need a tamper proof torx screwdriver. im not bein sarcastic thats really the tool’s name.

    1. Thanks! You are correct, it’s a torx, but they apply a clear gel of some sort that you have to remove in order to access the actual torx screw. That’s how how they know if you messed with it.

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