Published on August 7th, 2012 | by Siz6
Xikar Stratosphere Cigar Lighter
I’ve never reviewed a cigar lighter before so you all are going to have to bare with me here while I figure out how to describe certain aspects of it. For full disclosure, I was sent this Xikar Stratosphere by the great people at Xikar to review on this site. Needless to say I was pretty pumped when I got it. I’ve had it for about two months and I’ve been using it for awhile now to really test it out to see how I like it. If you’ve read any of my posts you know that I’m typically a matches kinda guy. However, thats also because I just haven’t even taken the plunge to buy a lighter mainly because I didn’t know what in the hell to look for. So hopefully I can shine some light (pun intended) onto the subject for you all. If this review doesn’t help you then well I’m sorry, but I’m pretty good with cigars if you want to check out some of those reviews!
According to Xikar’s website the Stratosphere is made to perform in high altitudes. Hence the name Stratosphere. I don’t have a rocket ship to go out into the stratosphere to test this out personally so I can’t tell you well it works out there or not. I thought about climbing on top of my roof to test it while the wind was blowing. However, I decided against that as well, its probably for the best anyway because then I wouldn’t be writing this review. Knowing how clumsy I am I probably would have ended up with two broken arms and maybe a cracked vertebrae just saying.
The Xikar people really know how to package their product. This Xikar Stratosphere came in a nice sleek black box with the brand name on it and what looks to be schematics in the backdrop. This sleeve protects the rugged cardboard box that holds the lighter securely. Inside the box the lighter lays resting in a perfectly molded hard foam rectangle.
The first thing I noticed about the Xikar Stratosphere is this string that is attached to the hinge. Turns out this thing is a lanyard that you can use to tie the lighter around your neck, arm, backpack whatever you want honestly. Albeit I won’t have any use fort his anytime soon I understand that’s its a pretty awesome feature. As soon as I say that though I’m instantly think back to a time where I was camping and couldn’t get my lighter to work and I’m stuck there trying to light a camp fire with two rocks and some dry weeds. Where were you then Xikar Stratosphere??? I’m just kidding, not about the camp fire thing though, that really happened, and it would have been sweet to have a lighter tied around my neck that actually worked.
Next, I noticed how the handle of the Xikar Stratosphere looks an awful lot like a Glock pistol handle. The rubber is very hard and rugged, yet in the middle this is a nice criss cross patter that makes a nice contoured grip. I’m not a fan of testing things in the rain, but I thought about getting all crazy and waiting for a nice rain storm and seeing how this textured grip worked in the rain, but then I realized that would ruin a cigar and probably the lighter. So I decided to test it out on my porch instead while I watched the rain. To be fair I got a little bit of a mist on the handle from sitting under my stoop and I didn’t drop the lighter at all. So for me it passes the monsoon test!
Working all the way down the body of the Xikar Stratosphere you’ll notice a nice clear window that peers right into the soul of the lighter. Well that or the fuel tank. Whichever you prefer. It’s a very small thing about this lighter, but to me it’s essential. Having a lighter without knowing how much fuel is in it, is like driving a car without a gas gauge. Just imagine this, you’re at a big fancy pants dinner celebration thingy. You know you’re going to be honored for some big achievement so you pack your finest cubans or Swisher Sweets with you. Along with your smokes you pack your trusty ole butane lighter without a fuel window… Yeah you know what happens next, all of sudden you’re trying to light your tasty smokes and your lighter is all out of fuel. Yep, if you would have bought a lighter with a window in it you wouldn’t have come across this predicament. Then out of nowwhere this guy comes at you with a Xikar Stratosphere.
So the lighter looks cool, but how does it function? Well unless you’re a prehistoric caveman then I’m sure you’ve used a lighter before, but if you haven’t and you’re reading this then I’m really confused. How does a caveman get a computer and internet? Public library I guess??? So the Xikar Stratosphere is a very simple lighter. It’s a single flame torch, they classify as a ‘soft flame’. The blue flame almost balloons out at the bottom and then the tip of the flame is soft and somewhat flickers instead of a being a very sharp defined point like other butane lighters I’ve seen out there.
This lighter has a nice protective flip top lid that feels like the spring is a little loose. It doesn’t cause concern, but I’m curious if its designed that way or if there was an issue with the manufacturing. The ignition button (I’m not sure what to call it), or the thing you push down on that makes fire go BOOM, is very easy to use not much resistance which is nice. I haven’t had any issues whatsoever toasting up a cigar. As far as I have tested it the Xikar Stratosphere functions really well it gets the job done quite nicely.
Time to toast up some tasty cigars! I’ve been using this lighter on the last few reviews that I’ve posted the AB Tempus, Julius Caeser, Headley Grange. It’s so easy to toast the foot of a cigar with this torch, I absolutely love it. I start out by getting the flame close to the foot of the cigar and rotating the flame in small circles, a lot of people rotate the cigar around the flame, but I prefer to be a trend breaker. Once I get the cigar on a nice orange glow then I start puffing on it. Since I’ve started using this lighter I’ve yet to have an uneven burn. Maybe it’s do to smoking some really awesome cigars, but I believe it’s a combination of ninja cigar lighting skills and well made cigars.
When lighting a cigar is this easy why use anything else? Well, I’ve always used matches because they were free. However, it was always a giant pain in the ass to touch up an uneven burn with matches. I may still use matches as my primary lighting tool (just because I love matches), and then use the Xikar Stratosphere to touch up uneven burns. It’s hard to predict the future though, so we’ll just play it by ear. I guess you’ll just have to come back and read the next reviews to see what I use!
If you’re looking for a nice affordable butane lighter then the Xikar Stratosphere is a great choice. I’ve been using it for the past couple of months and I haven’t had one issue with it. It lights up perfectly every time. It’s easy to hold due to the nice rubberized grip and it even looks like a pistol handle. So what more could you ask for? Oh by the way did I mention it was only $29.99 on Xikar’s website? So here’s the deal stop making excuses about lighters being too expensive and go get one of these today if you’re looking for a great working affordable butane torch.