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Tell me which ZIPPO lighter to buy

Discussion in 'General EDC Discussion' started by colubrid, Mar 11, 2011.

    colubrid Loaded Pockets

    I am looking at getting a Zippo on ebay and wanted to know which is the best quality (bang for the buck) Zippo. There are so many.

    I have not held any but want something basic and heavy duty. I like the hinges on the 1935 replica but also see the thicker walls of the armor series.

    Any suggestions on these or others. Pics would be great!

    Which is your favorite?
    Tristar777 likes this.

    Nickortizzle1035 Loaded Pockets

    Just a plain old brushed metal zippo is all you need. I've been beating the crap out of mine for about 6 years and it still works fine
    • Administrator

    jag-engr Semper Bufo!

    Don't buy a Zippo - buy an IMCO.

    IMCO advantages:
    * doesn't loose fluid as quickly
    * no tools needed to change flint
    * lighter
    * detachable fuel canister and cylinder can function as a "match"
    * different shapes and sizes: Super Triplex, Streamline, vintage Junior

    If you do decide to follow my advice, buy from Thunderhawk Collectibles - they have great service and consistently low prices. For the smallest size, go with a vintage Junior. The newer "Juniors" are the same size as the Super Triplex. :thinking: If you get a new one, work over the corners with a file to smooth them down a bit.

    dimeotane Loaded Pockets

    generic lighters

    Star lighters. You can get one at focalprice.com for $2.50

    Don't listen to complaints about buying anything other than ZIPPO brand... like no one other than Xerox makes a photocopier, or Kleenex is the only brand of tissues. :brickwall:

    nuphoria Loaded Pockets

    +1 on an IMCO

    colubrid Loaded Pockets

    All the vintage Juniors i saw were used. Do they make this one as a new replica?

    colubrid Loaded Pockets

    Still would like to hear from anyone with the ARMOR or 1935 replica Zippos. Which should i get?
    • Administrator

    jag-engr Semper Bufo!

    No. The new Juniors are the same size as the Super Triplex and almost exactly the same lighter. If you want a Junior that is actually smaller than the Triplex, you have to get a vintage one, which is probably going to be used. The way they are designed, though, an old IMCO lighter could easily have another lifetime of use left in it.

    colubrid Loaded Pockets

    legoman0721 Loaded Pockets

    I have a satin finish Zippo Slim, and it's just as durable as any other Zippo. I say get the one you think looks the coolest. If it ever breaks they have a great warranty and they're not that expensive to replace.
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    DrChimRichalds Loaded Pockets

    +1 to this. Mine has been going strong for 5 years.

    jono12 Loaded Pockets

    xyz Loaded Pockets

    If you are set on buying a Zippo and want the "best bang for the buck", I would look into the "Street Chrome" (item #207) finished one. Almost all currently produced standard Zippos function the same, are made of the same materials, and differ only in the finish. The "Street Chrome" finish in my experience has been the most resistant to showing wear and is also the cheapest, but some might not find it aesthetically pleasing. I would say that the brushed version is the second most wear resistant finish, but the one I owned was not brushed throughout and had polished sides which inevitably showed wear. It is also available as an "All in one kit" (item #24651) and comes with fuel and flint. Also, in the last few years all new Zippos have the hinges on the inside as opposed to the outside and which in my experience seem to be more durable. I've experienced the lid on at least two older Zippos break off, perhaps just due to heavy use.

    As others have pointed out, the Zippo lighter consumes a lot of fuel, especially if you are a smoker. There are some solutions to slowing evaporation but they are cumbersome. My overfilled lighter tends to evaporate within two weeks without any use or preventative modifcation, but it will depend entirely on usage patterns and environment variables. A 4 fl. oz. can of lighter fluid lasts me about two months without any use. For that reason, when I was a smoker, I didn't even use a Zippo because it was such a hassle; I always just used disposable butane lighters.

    As legoman opined, I would just get the one which I find most aesthetically appealing as you will probably have it a long time and they all have a lifetime warranty.

    I don't have a camera capable of capturing the finish, but this seems to be the most accurate I could find. I wouldn't purchase it there though, as you can find it for half the price on ebay. I purchased online and initially thought it would look stonewashed, which has very wide abrasions, but in reality the finish is composed of many very thin scratches. Again, appearance is subjective, but I wouldn't deem this one classy but an excellent user.

    xyz Loaded Pockets

    The IMCO lighter looks very interesting, and I can't believe I've never heard of them before. Would you say they have any disadvantages?
    • Administrator

    jag-engr Semper Bufo!

    • They do go through flints fast, but the flints are very easy to change.
    • They are made of stamped metal and some people think they feel cheap. Personally, I didn't feel that way, but I'm not accustomed to the weight of a Zippo.
    • Because ther are made of stamped metal, the corner are sharp when you first get them. I worked mine over with a SAK file and they are much smoother now.
    • They aren't waterproof, but would probably handle a dunking better than a Zippo.
    Tristar777 likes this.

    tonystl Loaded Pockets

    mrshish Empty Pockets

    I spent a lot of time trying to decide on a lighter to carry. I used to carry a Zippo when I was younger but it dried out and leaked on my leg. I switched to a torch lighter but at altitude they weren't reliable. Then I went with the IMCO thinking it would keep fuel better then a Zippo. After a week or two I noticed dents in it and was afraid it wouldn't hold up to sustained use. I learned about the Thunderbird Zippo insert and decided to give Zippo another try. The insert has changed everything, now I have a reliable lighter that doesn't leak or evaporate.


    For a Zippo I went with a brushed Armor. Brushed because it wouldn't show wear as easily and armor because I thought it would be tougher. The reality is the hinge is the weak point in the Zippo design and the armor doesn't fix that so ultimately it isn't any stronger. It is heavier, however, and after a couple weeks I really like the extra weight and it feels solid. When I pickup a regular Zippo now it feels really flimsy.


    FYI, both the Zippo and the Thunderbird insert have no questions ask lifetime warranties. When I accidentally put my combo through the wash the lid on the zippo loosened and after a round trip to the factory it was fixed for free. Likewise with the Thunderbird, but they just trashed the old one and sent a new one instead.

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

    Looking at the different zippos, grab whichever one appeals to you - whether the design or image used on it, or the case style. They are all :censored: tough, and should something happen to your lighter to damage it, Zippo have one of the best warranties out there and will put straight any problems for you.

    I haven't handled one of the armour series personally, but at the same time going on the great condition of the various lighters I have handled and used (after years of carry) I would question whether it is really necessary as they hold up fantastically well.
    The only thing I would really question would be how tough the finish will be - a chrome model for example will pick up aesthetic damage fairly quickly when carried, a brushed model less so, and one of the matte painted models even less. Similarly some of the designs they make look incredibly cool, but I know my 'The Who Fallout Tour' lighter has had the image painted on to the brushed chrome and is now flaking off a bit after wear - a design on one of the matte painted models I assume will probably be a bit hardier.

    I originally bought a dark green zippo, which has held up fantastically but came with the problem that when you drop it in the dark camping, it becomes invisible in the long grass, so I picked up a chrome model with the design on it, which is now starting to wear and doesn't look the greatest (but most importantly still functions perfectly). I am currently being tempted to grab another model, most likely another matte painted model in a brighter colour.

    xyz Loaded Pockets

    Thanks, those drawbacks seem trivial and therefore I'll probably pick one up to play with.