In recent months, I have reviewed two triple-flame lighters that are among the most common you will see when walking into your local brick-and-mortar retailer and wanting something that doesn’t sit on the counter and has to come out from the locked cabinet: the XIKAR Trezo and the Colibri Stealth 3.
Should you find yourself staring these two lighters down and wanting or needing to make a purchase of one of them, you’ll notice that they have a fair amount in common. Both are priced around $100, both have triple flames arranged in a straight line with the outer jets angled in to focus the flames and both have warranties that last at least two years, though XIKAR’s is a lifetime warranty—more on that later.
Over the past few weeks, I have been using both lighters in as even a rotation as I could, giving them both plenty of chances to both impress and show me their weaknesses. From a basic performance standpoint, the two units come across fairly even and share a design that I really have come to prefer. Both units have flip-top lids that reveal a straight line of three jets, ignited by sliding the large button in the middle of the device straight down. While it’s not quite a single movement, with just a few uses it certainly feels like it is one movement.
If there’s one area where the two lighters truly differ, it’s in the color options that are available. XIKAR has stayed with metallic finishes, offering four options: G2 (gunmetal), chrome polish, black (on a silver base) and gold, again, on a silver base. Colibri offers six options, the original four colors of black, silver, red and blue, and two new options: a polished chrome that is similar to XIKAR’s, as well as a new brushed rose gold. Both offer options that I really like and some that I’m not as big of a fan of; though I can’t say there are any I outright dislike.
As far as weight, the two lighters feel fairly similar, with the XIKAR feeling a bit denser thanks to being a bit more compact than the Colibri. However, when put on a postal scale, the Colibri weighs in half of an ounce heavier, 3.9 ounces vs. 3.4 ounces, a relatively small difference but one that is worth noting.
XIKAR takes it thanks to its more compact profile and engraving options.
As has been mentioned a few times, the lighters are pretty much identical and that includes the ignition, the flame and how to adjust said flame.
That being said, the fuel window is one of the first things that start to separate the two lighters; both units offer windows to see just how much fuel you have left in the tank and how far away you are from needing a refill. While XIKAR takes a fairly simple approach with a clear window on the side of the unit, Colibri puts the window on the front of the unit, one that makes the fuel appear blue and thus a bit easier to see. Is the difference in visibility drastic between the two styles? No, but I will give Colibri points for thinking outside the box on this one and making it a bit easier to notice how much fuel is left.
Colibri, simply because of the fuel window.
Both lighters offer flame adjustment wheels on the bottom of the lighter that are of near equal size and feature grooves to help your fingers grip it easier. One difference is that XIKAR’s is made out of metal while Colibri’s is made of what feels and looks like black plastic. The latter doesn’t feel thin or breakable, but there is certainly a noticeable difference.
I haven’t put these lighters through torture tests—throwing them at walls, running them over with a car, and the like–but from a practical use standpoint they have both held up well. I’ve had the XIKAR in my rotation for over two years, while I’ve been using the Colibri for a few months. The Trezo has experienced more drops and bumps, and has been in for one factory servicing, but neither unit has shown much in the way of wear. The Colibri unit has started to show a bit of loosening on two pieces that flank the flip-top lid, which appear to be decorative in nature but are certainly meant to stay attached to the unit. I’m a bit concerned about how long they will hold on, and were they to come off, how or if they could be reattached.
Bear in mind that neither lighter is chip or ding proof, so don’t be surprised to see a blemish when you drop it on the pavement. It should still be perfectly functional, just maybe not quite as beautiful.
I had to send the XIKAR to the factory to gets its valves cleaned, fairly standard maintenance after two years. Considering the metal construction, the two plus years of experience and the overall feel, the XIKAR wins this category.
(In picture, XIKAR Trezo on left, Colibri Stealth on right.)
In terms of fuel consumption, the two units are fairly even—I filled them both up, cranked the flames up as high as they would go and with one lighter in each hand pulled the ignition. Both units ran out at about the same time, with the XIKAR providing the bigger flame at the highest levels, though as I have said in other reviews, anything over about a quarter turn of the flame adjustment wheel is overkill and a waste of butane. Both units put off plenty of heat and will have no problem getting whatever cigar you put in front of them lit up in short order. If anything, you’ll almost need to dial the flame back to just over the lowest setting if you are lighting smaller ring gauge cigars or delicate wrappers.
It was in this test that I also got a firsthand (pardon the pun) look at how the units do at dispersing heat. Both units warmed up my hands fairly quickly when fired all the way up, but that’s not really the test of how they will perform in regular use. While no lighter I have come across has been perfect at keeping the heat away from my fingers, the design of the Trezo and Stealth 3 seem to do about as good of a job as I have encountered.
The hand just seems to sit naturally lower on the lighter, which creates some space, and the downward movement of the thumb to ignite both units creates distance as well. Unless I’ve been sharing the lighter with a group of friends and running it for an extended period of time, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed either one getting overly warm or outright hot, and both seem to shed whatever heat they pickup from the flames fairly quickly.
The Colibri lasted a tad bit longer than the XIKAR in a test that showed they were otherwise identical to the naked eye, so for that, Colibri can edge out a victory.
Since I mentioned having to send the XIKAR once for service, it’s worth mentioning the warranty on each unit. XIKAR prides itself on offering a lifetime warranty on all of its products, and will either repair or a replace a damaged or defective unit. Additionally, many retailers will trade out a damaged or defective unit for a replacement, though that seems to be a practice that isn’t quite as prevalent as it has previously been, or has been met with a bit more grumbling from some retailers I’ve spoken with. Either way, XIKAR wants you to have its products in your hands for life and will do what it takes to ensure that happens. After having lit hundreds if not thousands of cigars with the lighter, the air lines needed some cleaning, and I sent my lighter off just before heading out for a trip since I wouldn’t be able to fly with it. It came back cleaned and serviced about two weeks later, along with a note and some tips about how to keep it clean, as well as the invitation to send it back should I ever have another issue with it. The company has posted a number of how-to videos on its YouTube channel that can help clear up simpler issues without having to send the lighter in for service.
As for Colibri, I have yet to experience how the warranty or customer service process, but from the company’s website, it will warranty its lighters to be free of mechanical defects for two years from the date of purchase. The company is fairly explicit in terms of what it does and doesn’t cover: it does not cover the outer case mechanism (the cap and cap hinge) or damage or malfunction resulting from accident, misuse, abuse, tampering or neglect. The site goes on to say that “The warranty does not cover damage from failure to maintain, clean or use your lighter in accordance with our operating and safety instructions. The warranty does not cover damage resulting from repair, or attempted repair, by anyone other than official Colibri service personnel.”
In addition, should you send your lighter in, you must also send a check for $9.50 to cover postage and handling, in addition to the cost of sending it in for repair. It’s not the most inviting of warranties, to say the least.
For my money, there’s no doubt that XIKAR’s warranty is far and away the better of the two, though I can tell you there is a retailer reading this right now shaking his head in disagreement since a lifetime warranty generally means less purchases. But as a consumer, knowing that XIKAR stands behind its products with basically a no-questions-asked warranty is invaluable.
XIKAR wins hands down.
So back to the cigar shop and which of the two lighters to pick. For the immediate future, it’s almost an even draw between the two. In terms of function they are nearly identical, so design, color options or how it feels in your hand would seem to play a somewhat bigger factor in the decision. Likewise, if you happen to be at an in-store event where they are offering a discount, or shopping at a retailer that offers discounts, those could be a deciding factor as well.
But looking towards the future a bit, XIKAR’s warranty really tilts things in its favor, unless you simply think you’ll want a different style of lighter at the time when you might need service on the one you’re buying. Add in that I can get a free pouch for registering it online, and it’s that much better of a deal.
The XIKAR wins the finally tally 3-2, although two things should be clear. One, in almost every category, it was extremely close, almost too close. The lighters are very much the same and picking differences between them is very challenging. Secondly, not all five categories should carry the same weight, but in our simplified experiment, they do.
If it’s me with both lighters in my hands but the money to buy only one, I’d pick the XIKAR, because it feels a bit more durable, it’s a bit more compact and the lifetime warranty is just too good to pass up. If I’ve got time on my side and looking for something a bit more unique, I’d go to XIKAR’s website and order an engraved version, giving it a personalized touch that Colibri doesn’t offer.