First Impressions: Clipper Petrol Lighter

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Oct 6, 2008
the intarweb
Well, given that I've seemingly not posted since 2011 [!], albeit I'm a regular "lurker", I thought it was about time I put finger to keyboard again. So here's a quick review on a gadget whose existence is new to me [So apologies if it's been mentioned before]

The other day, after spending about half an hour trying to find a working lighter or box of matches in our non-smoking household, I thought I'd better get a cheap lighter or two to stash about the place and in my kit, for my future incendiary needs.

I was torn between getting a few cheapo Clippers [for their reliability], or something like an Imco [as I think a petrol lighter is more versatile than a gas one].

Perusing the intarwebs, I found that unbenknownst to me Clipper have actually brought out a petrol version of their legendary gas lighters. So, at around a fiver all-in, including P&P, I thought I'd take a punt. I only received the lighter today, so these are very early impressions, but this is what I think so far. I'll be making quite a few comparisons to the well-known Zippo lighters, as I've had a few of them in my time and not been overly impressed with either their lighting reliability or ability to last more than a few days, before the fuel evaporates off.

The Clipper petrol lighter's available in 'polished silver' or 'brushed silver'. I went for the 'brushed silver' option and it's very nice indeed. The brushing [if that's the word] is very subtle –a lot more so than on a Zippo– and smooth to the touch.

Brushed Silver version

The Clipper comes in a wee tin which makes a nice change from the omnipresent plastic packaging most things come in these days. And, in my opinion, you can never have too many wee tins for putting odds'n'ends in.

Free Odds'n'Ends tin

Like a Zippo, the Clipper has a lid which you must open manually before striking a spark. Unlike a Zippo, the lid covers only the wick and fits into a recess around it. To me, this looks like a much more sensible approach to minimising evaporation of the fuel than the Zippo's less airtight design. This is also echoed in the 'filling end' of the clipper, whereby the bottom screws off and has a rubber O-ring seal. Again, this would seem to promise minimal evaporation of fuel, compared to the Zippo.

The Lid is opened by means of a wee hook-like handle, which sits over the flint striking wheel making it easy to open and light one-handed.

Lid opened

Lid closes into recess round wick

Bottom end screws off

And has an O-ring seal

As with the more familiar gas-powered Clippers, the flint and striker assembly can be lifted out of the lighter body and used separately. So, even if your lighter runs out of petrol, you can still avail of a means to generate [and direct] sparks. I've also heard tell that Clipper's removable flint/striker assembly is a design feature welcomed by those folks who build their own large and strange-smelling cigarettes, but I couldn't comment on that.

Striker assembly removable, as with the better known gas versions

The Clipper lit first go after filling and has done on every attempt since. Again, early days yet but an encouraging start. One thing I do notice though is that the Clipper doesn't feature any sort of a wind shield, so I don't know how dependable it would be in strong winds.

First time, every time. [So far!]

Well, that's all folks. If you found that at all interesting, don't forget to tune in sometime around September 2021 when I'll be due to make my next post!
A super review, thanks!

While going back to petrol might seem a step back to many, something basic which works is what I prefer.
Somewhere around I have a box of various jet flame lighters, from cheap to quite expensive - which all failed under tough conditions after working perfectly in normal conditions for extended periods. Recently I found some matches with heads coated in nail varnish, and those worked fine after almost 15 years in this damp place. Over here, even with all sorts of disposable butane lighters available, recently only the BICs have been dependable. So interesting stuff!


Aug 23, 2012
Welcome back. Great review. Iv never seem those before. But thanks to you I now know about them and I shall have to get myself one.
Cheers again mate for the review

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
McBride, BC
Find your local pyro dealer and buy a couple of railroad flares, guaranteed to burn like the sun for exactly 10 minutes.
I need to carry 3-4 in case of wildlife collisions/night on HWY16. In a camp, they trump everything except gasoline for fire starter.
Plus, they last for decades in your kit.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
North Yorkshire, UK
Almost any naked flame will blow out. I have a reliable butane soldering iron/hotknife/mini-blowtorch; that has a hot gauze which re-ignites the flame if the wind blows it out. Without a similar device, any lighter will also blow out.


Jun 28, 2014
Strathclyde, Scotland
How does it perform in the cold...snowy/icey Cold..?

Just asking because i bought one of those all metal construction turbo flame lighters, (Butane) advertised as survival lighter, only to discover that in the cold weather the gas freezes and the lighter doesn't work.
I needed to keep the lighter close to my person for the body heat to make it function.


Oct 6, 2008
the intarweb
OP back again, as [when I remember] I like to revisit earlier posts, with the benefit of hindsight, and see if my initial opinions have changed.

In this case, I'm afraid, it's a big thumbs down for the Petrol Clipper.

In practice I've found that the lighter can't be relied on to light after more than a week or two of storage. And, being a non-smoker myself, said storage doesn't involve it being carried on my person where, obviously, body heat would contribute to evaporation. My "emergency" lighters spend most of their time in the relative cold of the bottom of a toolbox or in the back of my van.

I'm coming to the conclusion that it's nigh on impossible to find a petrol lighter that will serve as an emergency stand-by. All the ones I've tried; from Zippos to Imcos, to this new Clipper seem to evaporate off pretty quickly, even when stored in cold places. I've taken to wrapping the emergency Imco I keep in my van in clingfilm, just to try and keep the fuel from evaporating during storage. It's a shame, as a petrol lighter is potentially more versatile than matches and, of course, it's easier to find *something* to put in it that will burn than it is if you're left stuck with an empty gas lighter.


Full Member
Jan 25, 2014
Cabin Fever Central
A 'Peanut lighter' is what you are looking for. Depending on the quality of the O-ring seal these will fire up after being stored for several months however they are not a fill & forget survival item. Volatile fractions of petroleum have a limited shelf life even when stored in sealed containers. I think there's a PDF on the Shell website that provides figures for different scenarios such as bulk storage, Jerry cans and vehicle fuel tanks.
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
McBride, BC
Butane cigarette lighters are cheap insurance and you can see the fuel in them.
I don't blink to buy half a dozen at a time.
Must be 3 or 4 by now in every possible piece of hunting clothing that I own.
I'm betting on the odds that at least one of them will work!
The other part of my plan which works really well is not to do anything stupid at all outdoors at -30C.


Full Member
Dec 3, 2014
United Kingdom
Aye Up,

I recently gave up a petrol Zippo after it repeatedly failed due to evaporated fuel after only several days.

I bought one of the butane gas conversions - it uses the hinged lid/cam to close/open the gas valve. The flame is 'soft' as opposed to the jet flame type. (For soft read weak - but usable!)

The O.P. has just prompted me to spark it up after 3 months - lit first time.

If you are going out in low temps - fill it up first and keep it close - if it freezes - you are probably already dead! :lmao: