One of the fundamental skills required for smoking a pipe is learning how to properly light it. However, you’ll learn in this guide that lighting a tobacco pipe isn’t particularly complicated.

However, successfully lighting a pipe and keeping it lit heavily depends on your packing technique. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to pack a tobacco pipe beforehand.

In this guide, you will learn how to light a tobacco pipe and keep it lit as well as the best lighters for the job:

You can scroll down to keep reading or use the above links to jump ahead.

How To Properly Light A Tobacco Pipe

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Best Tobacco Pipes Top Banner

How To Light A Tobacco Pipe

The following menus present the best pipe lighters as well as all our other pipe guides and resources on Bespoke Unit. Alternatively, continue scrolling to learn how to light a tobacco pipe or click here to jump ahead.

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Best Tobacco Pipes To Buy Online

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Tips Before Lighting Your Pipe

First Fill Of Tobacco In Pipe BowlAs mentioned above, we recommend that you use our guide to learn how to pack a tobacco pipe before you start lighting it.

While packing techniques vary between smokers as well as the types of tobacco, a good one almost guarantees a pleasant smoking experience. Meanwhile, an improper packing technique may result in a number of issues including the pipe going out regularly.

Unless you’ve never smoked before, you’ve likely experienced this and know only too while how infuriating it is for a pipe to extinguish between every puff.

Furthermore, if you have a new pipe, we recommend that you begin by breaking it in. Breaking in a new pipe consists of insulating the bowl with a uniform layer of cake, which is essentially carbonised tobacco deposit.

By breaking in your pipe, the cake will insulate the wood and prevent it from burning out. This is achieved by only smoking quarter-full bowls at first and increasing the amount of tobacco over time while allowing the pipe to cool between each session.

Finally, make sure that you use the correct type of flame to light your pipe as we’ll detail next.

What Lighters To Use For Lighting A Pipe

Dupont Soft Flame Lighter & Long Davidoff MatchesIf you’ve read any of our detailed cigar resources, then you’ll know that we’re quite fond of torch lighters for their simplicity and ease of use. However, torch lighters aren’t recommended here as the intense omni-directional flame is not only inconvenient but can damage your pipe.

Instead, we recommend either matches or soft flame lighters for pipes.

Nevertheless, like cigars, you should avoid oil-fuelled lighters due to the flame’s odour, which can taint the tobacco’s flavour.

If you prefer to use a lighter, make sure that it is fuelled by butane, which is an odourless gas and preserves the tobacco. Yet, if you have a preference for matches, avoid cardboard match books as these are made with chemicals that can leave a bad taste.

While most soft flame, including disposable, lighters will function perfectly well, the right one can drastically change your lighting and smoking experiences.

For instance, some pipe lighters feature angled or extended nozzles for easily reaching into a bowl. Meanwhile, others have wider flames to facilitate the process.

Therefore, you can see our recommendations of the best pipe lighters at the end of this guide.

How To Light A Tobacco Pipe

Lighting A Tobacco Pipe Close UpIn this section, we’ll be explaining how to properly light your pipe. As mentioned above, you’ll need to load your pipe with tobacco first, which is explained in our pipe packing guide. Consequently, this tutorial will presume that you already have done so and that the pipe is ready to be lit.

There are many ways for lighting a tobacco pipe just as there are for loading one. This guide to lighting a tobacco pipe follows on from our loading method and consists of two to three steps:

  1. False Light
  2. Tamping
  3. True Light

1. False Light: Charring The Tobacco

False Light DottleKnown as the false light, begin by applying your flame to the tobacco and moving it in circular motions over the entire surface of the bulb. Meanwhile, take a few short puffs on the pipe.

Don’t puff too deeply as the objective is not to ignite all the tobacco but to heat it up instead.  By charring first, you remove any excess moisture from the tobacco and even out its density of the bulb’s interior.

As you char the surface, you’ll notice that bulb may expand while some tobacco unravels out of it. Not only is this normal but desired as it will actually improve the draw and combustion.

2. Tamping The Bowl

Tamping Tobacco Pipe False LightNow that you have charred the surface, allow the flame to go out. Once the flame has fully extinguished, use a tool or your fingers to gently tamp down the tobacco back into the bowl.

However, avoid tamping too hard as you only want to bring down the bowl’s height to its original level.

If you use your fingers for tamping, you may have to wait longer so not to burn them. In our loading guide, we recommended purchasing a pipe tool rather than your fingers partly because of this.

3. True Light: Fully Lighting The Pipe

When ready, reapply the flame to the tobacco with the same circular motion. You can bring the flame a little closer if you prefer while taking shallow puffs on the pipe.

Lighting A Tobacco Pipe

As the tobacco begins to ignite, slowly increase the depth of your puffs to draw the flame towards the base of the bulb. When you get a comfortable amount of smoke, you can remove the flame and your pipe is lit.

Now that you have read how to light it, you can use our other guide to learn how to properly smoke a pipe.

Common Pipe Lighting Issues

While lighting a pipe seems like a relatively simple task, it can take a while to perfect the technique or even develop one that works for you. Even if you follow our guide to the letter, you may experience a few issues when lighting until it becomes a natural process.

The Tobacco Just Won’t Light

False Light DottleSometimes you feel that you’ve exposed enough flame to the bowl that it could have incinerated the whole pipe. However, the charred tobacco only releases a light smoke.

This may be caused by very moist pipe tobacco. Some tobacco blends can be too moist for smoking straight away. In this case, we recommend taking a bowl-full of tobacco out of the tin or pouch a short while before you smoke.

Simply leave it on a clean surface for a few minutes and see if it improves the lighting process. If it’s still too moist afterwards, leave it out a little longer until you find the right humidity.

Best Pipe Lighters To Buy Online

If you need to update your lighting apparatus, you can peruse our recommendations below:

  1. Premium Lighter: Dupont Ligne 8
  2. Most Reliable: IM Corona Old Boy
  3. Original Design: Kiribi Kabuto
  4. Dual Flame: Colibri Julius
  5. Most Affordable: Xikar Resource II
  6. Bonus Mention: Sarome PSD37

Scroll down to see them all or jump ahead using the links above.

1. S.T. Dupont Ligne 8

ST Dupont Ligne 8 Blue Lighter
  • Country Of Origin: France
  • Flame: Soft
  • Number Of Flames: 2
  • In-Built Tools: No
  • Finish: Chinese Lacquer
  • Price: $400 [Buy Now On Amazon]
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Overview

Slimmer than the more renowned Lignes 1 or 2, the lightweight Ligne 8 is a more affordable Dupont. Its elegant Chinese lacquer finish is very attractive and as a Dupont, it never fails to work.

Indeed, the reservoir is a little smaller than the other options on the list. Furthermore, it doesn’t include any in-built pipe tools. However, this lighter concentrates on style rather than substance and succeeds without losing on functionality.

2. IM Corona Old Boy Pipe Lighter

IM Corona Old Boy Pipe Lighter
  • Country Of Origin: Japan
  • Flame: Soft
  • Number Of Flames: 1
  • In-Built Tools: Yes
  • Finish: Brass Or Chrome
  • Price: $115 – $200 [Buy Now On Amazon]
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Overview

Don’t let the vintage design fool you! This Japanese-made lighter incorporates turn-of-the-century design while crafting a lighter crammed with features. Designed specifically for pipes, the angled flame is ideal for lighting a bowl.

In the base is a hidden pipe tool that can be either locked in position or removed entirely to reveal a point for poking or scraping. Furthermore, the reservoir is particularly large and will last at least a week for regular pipe smokers.

Prices vary depending on the metal or design but expect full-brass lighters to be as much as $200 with chrome models for as low as $115.

3. Kiribi Kabuto Pipe Lighter

Kiribi Kabuto Pipe Lighter
  • Country Of Origin: Japan
  • Flame: Soft
  • Number Of Flames: 2
  • In-Built Tools: No
  • Finish: Varies
  • Price: $65 – $85 [Buy Now On Amazon]
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Overview

Another Japanese manufacturer, Kibiti offers a number of different models dedicated to pipes. Our favourite is the Kabuto, a robust and well-built pipe lighter that will endure years of usage.

Designed with two jets, it produces a thick flame to ignite the tobacco. Furthermore, the reservoir is large and will last at least a week with regular use. However, a smaller “short” model is available for those who want a more lightweight lighter.

Finally, our favourite feature is the stylish horn for the cap, which allows it to be easily opened and closed with one hand.

4. Colibri Julius Dual Flame Pipe Lighter

Colibri Julius Dual Flame Pipe Lighter
  • Country Of Origin: Italy
  • Flame: Soft
  • Number Of Flames: 2
  • In-Built Tools: No
  • Finish: Pachmayr Effect Metal
  • Price: $125 [Buy Now On Amazon]
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Overview

A stylish lighter featuring Colibri’s iconic Pachmayr diamond-shaped grip, the Julius is great for both cigars and pipes. The flames are slightly angled for a bowl and strong enough to cover the surface of tobacco.

Taking a more rugged approach to Dupont’s design, it’s an interesting contemporary alternative. Furthermore, it’s the only one listed here with a fuel level, which is somewhat surprising!

5. Xikar 9689BK Resource II Pipe Lighter

Xikar 9689BK Resource II Pipe Lighter
  • Country Of Origin: China
  • Flame: Soft
  • Number Of Flames: 1
  • In-Built Tools: Yes
  • Finish: Gunmetal
  • Price: $50 [Buy Now On Amazon]
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Overview

A more affordable yet equally as practical lighter by Xikar, the Resource II has in-built tools like the IM Corona. While it may not be quite as attractive, it is more than half the price and offers just as much functionality.

If we were to choose between the two, we’d invest in IM Corona every time as long as we could afford it. However, the Xikar is a much more affordable option with in-built tools.

6. [BONUS] Sarome PSD37 Pipe Lighter

Sarome PSD37 Pipe Lighter
  • Country Of Origin: Japan
  • Flame: Soft
  • Number Of Flames: 1
  • In-Built Tools: Yes
  • Finish: Varies
  • Price: $80 [Buy Now On Amazon]
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Overview

Slightly more expensive than the Xikar, it was tough to choose between the two. Finally, the Xikar earned fifth place because it was under $50. However, the Sarome, yet another Japanese brand, deserves a mention as it has its merits.

Somewhat of a hybrid between a Dupont and the IM Corona, the Sarome PSD37 features a sleek design with in-built tools for your pipe. At the flick of a switch, the temp can be locked into place. Alternatively, it can be removed entirely to use for scraping or poking.

If you like the IM Corona but would prefer a more contemporary design, this is probably the best pipe lighter for you.

What Next?

Now that you have learned how to light a tobacco pipe, take a look out our related guides:

Tobacco Pipe Lighting Guide
Reviewed by Mark K., on .
"Easiest guide and great recommendations! Most guides were stuffy and hard to follow. This one is great and presents some well-thought lighters to buy too."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★