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Bison Airlighter review: No ordinary lighter, it's the Swiss Army knife of fire

Michael Brown | March 6, 2015
I like fire. I like fire so much that I have two fireplaces in my house, a third on my patio, and a chiminea out in my yard. Between fireplaces, candles, and tiki torches, I go through BIC wand lighters like a nicotine addict goes through unfiltered Camels.

As with any battery-powered device that you don't use every day, it seemed like the Airlighter's battery was always weak or dead when I wanted to use it. It's harder to start on a weak battery, and the air jet and blower functions don't work as well, but you can still light it with a match in a pinch and get plenty of flame from the butane. Bison doesn't provide a USB power adapter, which makes it awkward to leave plugged in when it's not in use — doubly so if you don't have electricity on your patio.

Bison says the Airlighter's internal battery will last for 30 minutes, which it says is enough to start 40 barbecue sessions. The company says the device holds enough butane to burn continuously for 15 minutes. But unlike a BIC, you can refill the Airlighter when it runs out. A three-pack of butane canisters sells for $20 on Amazon. The fuel Bison sells is clean enough to be used for cooking, so you can also use it in the kitchen for preparing a crème brûlée. 

The Airlighter is much more expensive than the type of blow torch you might have in the garage for soldering pipes, but it's a whole lot safer and more childproof than a tool designed for such purposes, and it produces one heckuva flame. That and its other features have earned it a place next to my hearth.


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