Review: Clipper Petrol Lighter
“A new petrol version of the ubiquitous Clipper gas lighters”

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.

Appearance

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
Brushed Silver version

Presentation

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
Free Odds'n'Ends tin

Function

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 opened
Lid closes into recess round wick
Lid closes into recess round wick
Bottom end screws off
Bottom end screws off
And has an O-ring seal
And has an O-ring seal

Adaptibility

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
Striker assembly removable, as with the better known gas versions

Reliability

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!]
First time, every time. [So far!]
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