Do I need a Pipe Lighter?
Aside from a well made pipe and quality pipe tobacco, a good pipe lighter is the best tool a pipe smoker can own. A soft flame is the most important feature of any pipe later. If you are a pipe and cigar smoker, you never want to use a torch flame cigar lighter on your pipes. It will quickly char the interior of your pipe bowl and ruin the pipe. Disposable lighters rarely have a large enough flame, and are difficult to use properly, due to the vertical discharge of the flame.
Many pipe smokers might argue that wooden matches are the only way to light a pipe, but I respectfully disagree. Wooden matches are inconvenient, burn too quickly, and you never seem to have enough of them. Plus, it takes two hands to light a match. Pipe lighters offer angled flames, one-handed operation, come in a variety of finishes, and some even include convenient tools, such as a tamper pick and scraper, built right in.
Although there are some inexpensive butane pipe lighters, one of the least expensive and best quality pipe lighters is actually made by Zippo. A few years back, zippo reformulated their lighter fluid to be cleaner burning and have a lower odor than their previous product. The insert in a zippo pipe later is very similar to that in a standard zippo lighter. The key difference is in the chimney or shroud that surrounds the flame. The Zippo pipe lighter has holes in each side of the chimney, allowing you to get the lighter over your pipe bowl and draw the flame directly in. This avoids charring the rim of your bowl. Zippo pipe lighters also have a nice, wide flame, to light your pipe quickly.
Most butane pipe lighters have an angled flame, which makes it easier to put the flame where you want it, and keeps you from burning your fingers. By far, the most popular and well-known pipe lighter is made by Corona called the Old Boy. It has an angled flame, flint ignition, and a built-in pick and pipe tobacco tamper. Many other companies have tried to replicate this design, but only a couple have done so successfully. Peterson and Xikar both make pipe lighters similar to the Corona Old Boy which function equally well. Peterson offers their pipe lighter in a variety of colors with the image of Charles Peterson or the Peterson "P" logo on the lighter. The Xikar Pipeline pipe lighter is only available in one finish. Xikar makes a couple of other notable pipe lighters. The “Scribe” pipe lighter is pencil thin and fits easily in your pocket. The Xikar “Resource” pipe lighter has a built-in tamper, pick and scraper, and offers electronic ignition for those who do not like to use flints. Corona also offers the "Pipe Master", with electronic ignition and angled flame, that also includes the pick and tamper, similar to the one found on the “Old Boy” pipe lighter. The Jetline “Pipe G" pipe lighter is an inexpensive, refillable pipe lighter with electronic ignition, no built-in tools, but sells for around 15 bucks.
I would encourage all pipe smokers to buy the best quality pipe lighter they can afford, to ensure years of pleasurable pipe smoking. If warrantees are important to you, Xikar and Zippo offer a lifetime warranty. Corona offers a two year warranty, but has proven to be the best pipe and most durable pipe lighter on the market.