Lighters are bad. They can burn your thumb, you can't really use them upside down, they run out of fuel, and they're useless in a light breeze. The sole purpose of a lighter is to light something on fire, but it turns out, you don't actually need fire to do that.
Instead, grab an electric arc lighter, which uses a small elctrical arc between two metal poles to spark a flame in seconds. They never run out of fuel (you just recharge them over USB), you can use them in any orientation, and they work just as well in gale force winds as they do in a living room.
Best For Fidgeters
We're big fans of Power Practical's Sparkr Mini plasma lighter, which mimics the size and design of a timeless Zippo. The top cover feels great to snap open and shut, and when closed, it covers the Sparkr's lighting button so you don't accidentally drain your battery (or light your pants on fire).
Unlike some less expensive electric lighters, the Sparkr Mini includes two criss-crossing electric arcs to ignite things faster, and Power Practical also worked to minimize the high-pitched squeal that these lighters can emit. The noise is still there, but it's less grating than any other electric lighter we've tried.
It even has a flashlight on the bottom, because why not?
Just note that the design doesn't lend itself to lighting jar candles, since the open cover can block the lighter from fitting inside.
Best For Home Use
Power Practical more recently unveiled the Sparkr Wick, which features the same quiet, dual-beam design of the Sparkr Mini, but in a long-necked form factor that's better suited for lighting things like candles, stoves, fire pits, and gas grills.
One nice touch? The head of the lighter is offset at a slight angle, which makes it really easy to line it up with a wick.
A Solid Budget Option
I've owned Tacklife's electric lighter for years, and it's actually the smallest option I've found. It's louder than Power Practical's lighters, and its single beam can take a little longer to light a candle wick, but it gets the job done for less than $10.
Best of all, when not in use, the electric poles retract into the body of the lighter, so you won't have to worry about any accidental ignitions.