Butane Inserts for Zippo Lighters

aznpos531

I like sharp and pointy things...
Joined
Dec 12, 2010
Messages
1,176
I came across 2 brands of butane inserts for Zippos; one is Z-Plus and the other is Thunderbird. They go for about $12~$15 each plus shipping. There are some reviews on Youtube but most of them are brief overviews and initial impressions that don't speak to the long term reliability and longevity of them. Has anyone here had any first hand experience with them? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
2,090
If you're going to go insert, go Thunderbird, and get the yellow flame model (not the blue torch flame). Blue flame torches will all eventually stop working correctly. They're just too finicky... and they go through fuel fast. I've owned both brands. The Thunderbird is ingenious. It uses the same flints, and the cam is cleverly designed to be the fuel release, so you just flip the lid and it activates the fuel (just like pressing the button down on a Bic-style butane lighter), then you spin the flint wheel just like a normal Zippo insert and wham, fire. Close the lid and it closes the cam.

That said, I tried the insert and eventually went back to the old lighter fluid insert. Why? Because the advantages of butane did not outweigh the disadvantages of butane (compared to lighter fluid).

ADVANTAGES:
smells better
does not evaporate

DISADVANTAGES:
much less windproof
no flame in cold weather

I don't mind the smell of lighter fluid. In fact, it's kinda grown on me, and I like it now. As for the evaporation thing, I have a routine of refilling my Zippo every two days, so it never goes dry on me. And I really, really appreciate the windproof nature of lighter fluid inserts and the reliable flame in the cold. So... I started using the lighter fluid insert again and have never looked back.
 

aznpos531

I like sharp and pointy things...
Joined
Dec 12, 2010
Messages
1,176
Awesome. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on them! I'll pick up a Thunderbird insert and give it a go to see how I like it. Thanks again!
 

CWL

Joined
Sep 15, 2002
Messages
10,259
Same for the Thunderbird. I've had mine for 3 years now and it still fires every time I flick the wheel. If you buy it from the guy from 'bay.com. he ships immediately too.

Regarding torch lighters ceasing to work after a while, it is almost always because soot clogs everything up over time. Most butane refills like zippo, ronson, supermarket brands only use 2x-3x filtered stuff and that still leaves plenty of black soot coating the insides of your lighter. Looks for Vektor brand butane, it is filtered 5X and does not soot as badly, which means your lighter will thank you for it.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2005
Messages
1,982
I've used a Zplus for 4 years or so. No issues with it. I don't smoke but carry a lighter. I'm interested in this Thunderbird insert though...
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
251
I use a Thunderbird in mine, just got tired of refilling. Used it for about a year so far, still works great. About as wind-resistant as a Bic in my experience.
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
560
I use a Thunderbird yellow flame pipe insert in one Zippo and a Z-Plus blue flame insert in another. The T-Bird has been going strong for 4+ years while the Z-Plus takes a few clicks to light since I made the mistake of using it to light fireworks fuses one 4th which did a job on the poor thing. Both get a thumbs up from me.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2010
Messages
3,496
Interesting thread, I picked up a Zippo Blu the other day, but would still love to have a butane insert of a sort, to use with my more stylish Zippo cases, I'll keep my eyes peeled for these more reputable brands.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
12,132
I'm resurrecting this thread to let ya'll know that the Vector folks stand behind their product 100%.:cool:
I bought a couple of Thunderbird inserts back in the spring of 2012 & put one in my desk zippo here at home & one in my work zippo.
Well, a little better than a month ago the fuel lever on my home lighter insert quit working on me.(it just froze up & wouldn't pivot back up for some reason):confused:
So I filled out the warranty slip, sent it and the insert back & got a brand new one in around 3 weeks, no questions asked, just a new insert sent back.
The one in my work lighter doesn't get used as much as the home lighter, but I haven't had a problem with it in 2+ years of use.

Great service,great inserts.:)

DSCN2048.jpg
 

Bronco

Moderator
Joined
Feb 25, 2000
Messages
7,361
I'm not a smoker, but I've kept a Z Plus Zippo in my truck for probably the last five years now and it's worked great. I've been led to believe that not all brands of butane gas refill canisters are created the same and that it's well worth the tiny investment to go with the premium stuff.
 

555

Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
52,898
Because of the cold temps and high winds over the Winter, I have returned to using old school Zippos, after being frustrated with Butane fails while freezing my butt off at below zero. Butane is alright as a fair weather lighter. IMHO
 
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
2,212
I tried the Z plus several years ago and it didn't last long before it stopped working. I've used regular Zippos off and on for years and still have most of them but I've gone back to using regular Bics or refillable disposables.
 

mark greenman

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Messages
662
I have the thunderbird insert. It works fine, but really it defeats the entire purpose of the Zippo - which is being a bomb proof, windproof lighter. So long as you fuel your Zippo every sunday, or every other sunday, and keep a spare flint in the cotton, it will keep working indefinitely, and will function with winds up to 30mph.

The butane insert removes the windproof nature of the Zippo, and then adds in a bunch of technical complexity and parts to fail. It would be like making a direct impingement AK with really tight tolerances - defeating the entire point of the design.

If you want a liquid fuel lighter with much less maintenance, get the Field lighter. It has O-ring seals, making it waterproof and evaporation proof.
http://gearward.com/collections/frontpage/products/field-lighter

Gearward-Field-Lighter-Lit.jpg
 

shunsui

Gold Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
5,539
Nice call. :thumbup:

[video=youtube;DvMMufhcwqo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvMMufhcwqo[/video]
 
Top