Disposable lighters can last anywhere between 200 – 3000 lights, but many cheaper brands will break after just 100. If you’re after less hassle and waste, and more cash in the bank, it’s time to invest in a refillable.
There’s a reason Bic lighters are so popular. Their flame height is pre-adjusted, so they’re a breeze to use, and their design is so durable you’re unlikely to break one if you drop it. We know what you’re thinking – Bics aren’t refillable, right? Well, technically, no, they’re not.
However, if Bic lighters are your preferred brand, we have a few tips and tricks that you can use to turn your favorite disposable into a long-lasting refillable.
Is It Safe To Refill A Bic Lighter?
Yes! When done correctly, it’s safe to refill a Bic lighter. Remember, though, because these lighters aren’t *technically* refillable, you’ll have to ‘hack’ them.
Of course, this process always carries more risks than refilling an actual refillable lighter. The chances of explosions or leaking are much higher, so we encourage you to follow these instructions carefully.
Step One: The Pin Plug
Before we get started, there’s something you need to know. This process IS MESSY. You can expect a small amount of butane to leak or spray, so make sure you have a cloth or towel on hand to clean it up. For this step, you’ll need the following items:
- A small pin or needle
- A large rubber band, gasket, or grommet
- A cloth or towel
When you’re ready, use your small pin or needle to gently push the small hole situated at the base of your lighter. Inside this hole is an even smaller ball that preserves the gas inside a reservoir. With your pin, try to push this ball up inside the lighter. If you can hear this ball shaking inside the lighter, you’ve done it correctly.
This is where you might need that towel. If your BIC lighter is still full when you do this, you can expect a small leak or spray of butane. Make sure you clean it up and wash your hands thoroughly.
Step Two: Use Rubber On The Valve
Now, you’re almost ready to refill. However, if you were to start refilling your lighter at this point, butane would spray everywhere. Your next step should be to make a more durable seal for your butane valve. We recommend using either a rubber band or grommets.
If you’re using a rubber band, get your pin, and make a small hole in it. You’ll then fit your valve through the hole, which will prevent any butane spills from occurring. If you’re using grommets, choose ones that offer a tight fit over the valve to avoid any spillages.
Step Three: Refill
If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to refill your lighter! This process is identical to all other refillable lighters. Simply hold your lighter upside down, push the butane valve into the hole, and fill up. This will take between 15-30 seconds, depending on the size of your Bic lighter.
Step Four: Plug The Hole
To pull off this step, you need to be speedy and dexterous. Slowly move your butane canister away from the hole. Use your thumb to cover it as soon as the hole is exposed. If you don’t do this fast enough (or at all), the butane you’ve just put inside your lighter will spill back out.
Step Five: Use Your Push Pin
When your thumb is over the hole, pick up your needle or pin. Move your thumb away from the hole, and plug the needle or pin inside. This will keep the hole sealed up and prevent any leakages.
The needle or push pin you use may not always be the right size. Feel free to trim it, bend it, or file it to make sure it seals the hole appropriately. You could even use a pin with flathead to make this process easier.
Does My Lighter Need To Be Empty Before I Refill It?
No, your lighter doesn’t have to be completely empty before you refill it. If there is some fluid inside your Bic lighter before you refill it, you may get a small butane spray. This is annoying, but it’s rarely dangerous.
If you’re concerned about the risks, you can always ensure your Bic lighter is empty before refilling. This will prevent any leakages or sprays during the first part of the refill process.
Can You Refill A Bic Lighter From The Top?
Yes, it’s possible to refill a Bic lighter from the top. However, this process is slightly more complicated than filling from the bottom. If you have no experience refuelling refillable lighters, we recommend following the method above.
However, filling from the top does have a few unique advantages. When you refill a Bic lighter from the bottom, you alter the lighter’s state and change the way it was manufactured.
In other words, once you refill from the bottom, your Bic lighter will never look the same again. However, if you refill from the top, your lighter’s appearance won’t change.
If you want to refill a Bic lighter from the top, you’ll need to remove the child lock spring, metal hood, and spark mechanisms. You’ll also need to loosen the regulator wheel, open the output valve, and then reassemble the lighter.
As you can imagine, this takes significantly longer than the bottom fill method, and it also requires more materials, such as:
- Refill Canister
The Bottom Line
If you’re a Bic fanatic looking to cut down on waste or make your favorite lighter last longer, then great news – you can refill a Bic! However, the process doesn’t come without its risks, and it’s more complex than refilling a lighter that’s specifically designed to be refilled.
If you can bear to part ways with your beloved Bic, we recommend investing in a refillable lighter. If that’s too much to ask, then follow the instructions above, and you should have a refillable Bic that could last you years!