Here is what I would consider a regular Bic butane lighter.

bic lighter

However I have noticed that you can buy High Altitude lighters such as this one. Is that just marketing or would a regular lighter not work at high altitudes?

  • 1
    What do you consider high altitudes? The only real problem I've observed has been with piezo igniters, which is why I'd actually expect the "high altitude" one you listed to fare worse than the pictured Bic.
    – requiem
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 7:41
  • 4
    Smells a bit like a marketing opportunity to me... :)
    – user2766
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 10:03
  • I have used that very lighter at 14k+ feet, which is considered "high altitude" by some.
    – That Idiot
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


I think it does not matter which lighter you use if it's filled with butane. Lighter would not work if gas temperature close to boiling temperature. For butane it's -1C. For isobutane it's -11C and for propane it's -42C. Also propane has better evaporation properties. That's why gas stoves filled with 20% propane and 80% isobutane.

  • 1
    but boiling temperature changes with pressure, and pressure changes with altitude...
    – njzk2
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 13:47
  • @njzk2 under high altitude I understand something like 6000m. So on this altitude with air temperature -35C pressure would be 0.042MPa. Boiling temperature for butane would be -20C. So lighter would not work if my calculation is correct. Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 14:36
  • It depends where you carry your lighter. In subzero conditions I used to have an inside pocket kit with a torch (and spare rechargeable batteries) and camera batteries. The lighter could be added to that.
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 19:05
  • This is very unclear. What do you mean by "boiling temperature"? What is being boiled? at a low temperature?
    – Martin F
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 2:16
  • 1
    To clarify the "boiling" remark, lighters are pressurized to the point that the butane is liquid, not gas inside the lighter. In order for the lighter to work, the liquid needs to turn to gas when the valve is open at a sufficient rate to mix with the O2 in the air to burn. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 16:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.