USB lighters build on the standard portable lighter by replacing liquid fuel with usb lighter electricity. This means they can never run out of fuel, as all that is required is a quick recharge in any USB port. It also makes them safer, as they contain no combustible elements, sparks, or liquid fuel-filled chambers. They can also usually be used in windy conditions, though, as they are electronic devices, they are mostly not waterproof.

Most USB lighters use one of two technologies. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, but both are considered highly safe and effective for most uses. The first is the electric arc lighter, which is both a handy companion and a eye-catching gadget, thanks to the visible stream of electricity it generates.

Electric arc lighters are powered by built-in rechargeable batteries. Some models plug directly into USB ports, while others require the use of an external charging cable. They work by placing two electrodes close enough to one another that, when a current from the battery is passed through one, it jumps through the air to the other. The current ionizes the air as it passes through, producing plasma, which is why models of this type are often called plasma lighters. Some models use two pairs of electrodes for a visual “x” effect.

The other popular type of USB lighter is similar to those found in most cars. It uses a metal coil that generates heat when an electric current passes through it. This type of lighter is best suited to igniting cigarettes and other things that catch flame easily. It would likely not be effective for starting a campfire on its own, for example, though it could be used to set a match or piece of paper alight, which could then be used for other purposes where a flame is necessary. The technology can be built into very small packages, often with built-in USB connectors that plug directly into a computer or other charging port.

The vast majority of USB lighters have added safety features like slide-out elements and delayed ignition. That way, if their triggers are accidentally pressed, you don’t run the risk of lighting your pocket on fire. If you’re going camping and are worried that your lighter’s battery may not last for its duration, packing an external battery pack can keep the flames alive, so to speak.