SEE UPDATE BELOW ABOUT WARRANTY CLAIM
As a frequent traveler, I had always been looking for a lighter alternative that is safe to fly (as long is it is in your carry-on) so I decided to test the Plazmatic X lighter. This is also convenient to users wanted alternatives to disposable lighters or ones that require constant refueling.
The Plazmatic X is a well built product made from metal.It is light to carry every day (as part of your EDC) but feels solid and reliable in the hand.
The device charges with a standard USB cable and you can go from empty to full charge in about 1 hour (depending on your power source). In my testing, the device pulled 5.15V & 0.15A (from a 2.4A Capable charger). Once charging is complete, it is pulling 0 Amps, which is a good thing.
When you plug it in, the blue charging light comes on and the battery is full when that indicator light switches off. With a full charge, I was able to get about 80 "normal uses". I was able to charge the lighter with a USB wall adapter, car lighter USB charger, external battery, Biolite CampStove and 7W GoalZero solar panel.
The battery is not user serviceable and my question to support about battery cycles hasn't been answered yet. My expectation is that the battery should be able to support 300-400 cycles which means it gives you about 24000 lights (which should last 5 years or more for the average user).
I was surprised to find that the Plazmatic X lighter was able to light anything I threw at it, as long as the item fit inside the 4 electrodes. It was able to light little twigs, cigarettes (no I don't smoke), candles, paper, and more within a second or two.
You will have issues because larger items (like cigars) won't fit but this is the exception rather than the rule.
The lighting mechanism is wind proof so there is no concern in high wind situations.
If you are a smoker, the use of a lighter is self explanatory. Even if you don't smoke, I believe you should carry a lighter with you all the time as part of your Everyday Carry Kit (EDC). I carry one along with a Victorinox SwissChamp. You can use it to :
- light a fire
- light a cigarette for a friend
- light a candle
- melt plastic
- sterilize a needle
I have been testing my device for 1 month and so far the product is working and looks exactly like it did the day I opened the package. If it breaks, I'll write an update but so far it looks like it will last
I ordered a handful of Chinese clones from AliExpress (Alibaba) and found that the cheaper products were cheaply made. One refused to charge. The Other charged but gave me 20 lights per 1 hour charge. A third one was so slimy and the top fell off.
So forget about the $16 copies.
1 of the more expensive ones was a very good copy matching the performance of the Plazmatic but the price was so close, you might as well get the original from an American company.
My biggest issue was receiving the item. From the time the order was confirmed to the time I received the item was almost 3.5 weeks. I kept being told that they were waiting for their shipment from the manufacturer so...... I would say they need to improve their logistics processes. An item like this should be in a consumers hands within 3-4 days of being ordered.
Putting shipping aside, I love the product and would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy to use every day carry reliable lighter than doesn't require fuel, is travel safe and not disposable (better for the environment).
A day after writing this entry, my lighter malfunctioned and I send a warranty request to Plazmatic. A gentleman called Nils collected the required information and 2 days later, still no information about how they will proceed. I will update this post as the warranty claim progresses.