In our technology-driven world, we have seemingly got accustomed to product launches and then a series of updates. Certainly one of the most common examples is our computers and phones; there are the updates to their operating systems, the apps they run, and of course the hardware itself, each one attempting to fix or improve something from the previous version, or at least convince the consumer that their experience will be improved by having the latest and greatest.

One area where this doesn’t often get mentioned is in cigar accessories. It does happen, of course, with a mechanism getting replaced or retooled, ergonomics being changed, or one material being swapped out for another. But it seems to hardly get mentioned, usually, the new versions just show up on store shelves with the occasional “NEW!” graphic added.

But in September 2021, S.T.Dupont announced that it was releasing the third version of its popular miniJet lighter, which seemed to borrow from the design language of the larger megaJet, while also updating some of the mechanics of the miniJet.

I should first note that the S.T.Dupont megaJet is a flat flame torch lighter whereas the miniJet is a more standard, long and skinny flame. But as for the mechanics, the new miniJet extends the ignition level all the way to the bottom of the body, instead of stopping just short the way the previous version did. It also modified the air intake slots both in design and by adding two strips of active charcoal that are designed to filter out impurities from the air coming into the lighter.

WHAT IS IT?

The S.T.Dupont miniJet is a compact single flame torch lighter that offers a single action, side-squeeze ignition but little else I the way of features. There is no built-in cutter, fuel window or cigar rest. According to S.T.Dupont’s website, its official measurements are 1.3 inches x 2.15 x 0.49 (33 mm x 54.5 x 12.5) and weighs 50g (1.76 ounces).

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The 2021 edition of the S.T.Dupont miniJet has an MSRP of $150 for nine of its 10 colors. The 10th option, called Golden, has an MSRP of $160. Regardless of color, each lighter comes with a two-year product guarantee from the date of purchase, subject to normal usage.

Design-wise, the lighter that I’m using features this distinctive circle design that is reminiscent of the French Air Force’s roundel.

VIDEO

HOW DOES IT WORK?

It is a two-stage, single-action ignition; simply squeeze the side ignition lever to begin the flow of butane and provide the spark that provides the flame, light your cigar, and release the lever to extinguish the flame.

The one exception is if you are holding the lighter with the flame pointed down. Like many other S.T.Dupont lighters, a safety mechanism is in place that prevents the lighter from beginning the ignition process if the flame opening is pointed downwards. You can, however, ignite the lighter with the flame pointed up and rotate the lighter to point it downward.

WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?

While the performance of this new version of the S.T.Dupont miniJet is quite good, its biggest feature is its size when it comes to taking the lighter with you. It slides in a pocket easily, though I almost always suggest a pouch to protect the finish even though it adds some bulk. If you carry a travel humidor, you’ll only need to leave it a bit of space to tuck inside securely.

Also, the previous two versions of the miniJet were produced in China. This lighter is made in France, a rarity for a torch lighter.

THE GOOD

  • The Flame is Incredibly Precise — If you smoke smaller ring gauges and want a fine-tipped lighter to light them with, this is certainly a great option. It can handle bigger cigars, of course, but this lighter is about a small, precise flame, sort of like writing with a 0.3mm pen rather than a Sharpie or a wide tip marker. You will also easily avoid scorching the side of your cigar with the miniJet.
  • It Is Very Compact — As noted above, one of the primary selling points of the S.T.Dupont miniJet is its compact size. Slip this in a jacket pocket and I doubt you’d know it was there. Unless you pack your travel humidor with Churchills or double coronas, you should be able to find space for it there as well.
  • The Build Quality is Solid — I’ve run into a couple of lighters from S.T.Dupont where the body and mechanisms didn’t feel as solid as I would have liked, but this latest miniJet has been rock solid. Almost too much in the case of the ignition mechanism, though that is understandable given the desire to prevent children from igniting it or having the ignition get squeezed while in your pocket.
  • The Ignition is Solid as Well — The business part of the lighter is no slouch either; as long as there’s butane in the tank and the lighter isn’t pointed down, you’ll get a flame on your first squeeze.
  • Welcomed New Design Options — At launch, there are 10 different design options ranging from subtle to a black skull option that I’m not too crazy about. I do think this bullseye design on the white background looks quite good and gives the lighter a more contemporary feel. Most importantly, in a world you are oftentimes lucky to get three color options for a cigar lighter, S.T.Dupont has provided a wide range. If past miniJet models are any indication, it’s likely there will be many more designs in the future.

THE BAD

  • The Metal Gets Hot — There’s nothing like the first time I use a lighter and get the fun of figuring out what parts get hot and which ones don’t. This new miniJet gets quite hot on the metal portion that surrounds the flame, which isn’t a huge surprise, but given the lighter’s small size it’s hard not to put your fingers or the fleshy part of your hand on or around that portion. If this could get fixed, I’d really have little to complain about.
  • The Suggested Way to Hold it is Odd — When I went back and looked at the original story about this lighter, I noticed how it was being held in the picture, which is a bit different than how I would approach it. Given the firmness of the ignition mechanism, it results in it needing even more of a push when depressed from its middle, rather than the end closest to the flame. However, given the heat issues with the metal portion, I came to understand why it’s depicted as such. You don’t need to hold it this way, obviously, but as you’ll see in the video it makes sense for a couple of reasons.
  • There’s No Fuel Window & There Could Be One — I would be willing to write, “adding a fuel window to such a compact design could be challenging if not next to impossible” except that there was a fuel window on the original miniJet. S.T.Dupont has proven it’s capable of doing this and it’s a feature that many, including me, find very useful. While it’s not a big deal if you’re smoking at home and have a can of butane handy, it can serve as a reminder before heading out to top it up so you have as full of a tank as possible.
  • You Can Only Light so Many Cigars — This is true of any lighter, but if you’re heading out with some friends and this is your only lighter, you’ll be on empty before you know it. It’s a trade-off of its compact size and portability, sure; but don’t expect to pass this around to a few people and have it come back with much butane left.

(L-R): Original miniJet, miniJet 2.0, miniJet (2021).

THE COMPETITION

There are plenty of online stores where you can find either the original miniJet or miniJet 2.0 in stock, listed as new lighters. Prices on eBay start at roughly $70 for either option. In my experience, there is not a noticeable difference in function between this lighter and the miniJet 2.0 or probably the original miniJet, but it’s been some time since I used an original. If you have a miniJet 2.0 and are considering an upgrade, I cannot tell you a compelling reason to do so unless you really like one of the new designs from an aesthetics perspective.

Two caveats stand out. First, buying from eBay carries its own risk, especially when it comes to whether or not the warranty might be honored. Secondly, if not having a fuel window is a dealbreaker, the first generation of miniJet has one whereas the two most recent versions do not.

If the S.T.Dupont miniJet is on your radar, it’s likely you’re looking for one of two things: as small and compact of a lighter as you can find, or something in the higher end of what you’re likely to find at your local cigar shop. It’s an interesting intersection of priorities, but there are some good options to consider.

  • S.T.Dupont Slim 7 ($185) – This is one of the first lighters that comes to mind when looking for a similar intersection of compact size with a higher-end design. It’s a flat flame lighter as opposed to the torch design, and I can make the case for the merits of both. Certainly a worthwhile consideration if the price works for you, and it is even slimmer than the miniJet if that’s important for you.
  • S.T.Dupont Hooked ($69) — If you’re willing to go to a slightly bigger body style, this is a great option from S.T.Dupont. It’s a lighter that surprised me by how well it performed, it still gets you the S.T.Dupont name and quality, and is still quite portable.
  • Vertigo Zephyr ($19.99) — If you prioritize a smaller profile over a luxury brand name, this recently reviewed flat flame is a great option at a fantastic price. It’s not as small as the miniJet, and it’s a flat flame instead of a torch, but it offers great performance in a very slender body, and is a lighter I put in my go-to box of lighters for use one I was done with the review.
  • Porsche Design Heber ($150/$165) — This is becoming more difficult to find, but it remains one of my absolute favorite lighters. Between the unique design, the flat flame, the compact size and the reliable performance, it scores a lot of points in my book. Plus it’s from a brand you don’t see all the time, giving it a bit of uniqueness from that perspective.

SHOULD YOU BUY IT?

Yes. While the size of the S.T.Dupont miniJet presents some limitations, there are certainly no issues that stand out as to why you shouldn’t buy it. Much like buying a vehicle, you’re making tradeoffs based on your personal needs and preferences; a sports car may look great and be fun to drive, but it can’t carry a lot of people like an SUV can, for instance. If you’re fine with the tradeoffs that come with this incredibly compact lighter, and you want to splurge on a luxury item with which to light your cigars, the S.T.Dupont miniJet is certainly worthy of your consideration.

The lighter used for this review was purchased by halfwheel.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.