How Long Do BIC Lighters Last? Survival 101

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By Bryan Lynch •  3 min read

There are many different methods and tools for starting a fire. 

how long do bic lighters last

In the survival community, I hear a lot of talk about ferrocerium rods, flints, bow drills, and the like. 

There is nothing wrong with any of these tools and I certainly enjoy using them. 

But when it comes to a survival situation and the kit for it, my number one choice for getting a fire going is a Bic lighter. 

They are very easy to use, dependable, affordable, and they last a long time. 

How long do they last? You may be asking. 

Well, in terms of the flint a full-sized Bic is rated for up to 3,000 strikes. 

When it comes to the butane fuel, it is estimated that a full-size Bic has a one hour burn time. However, it is recommended that this lighter is used in short bursts. If the lighter is lit for prolonged periods it can begin to damage the lighter. Specifically, I have seen reports of the top portion of the lighter melting.


Generally, a lighter is going to run out of fluid before the flint is used up. When this happens, most lighters are thrown away because they are so cheap.

But if you look at the bottom of a Bic lighter you will notice a small port. It is here that the lighter can be refilled using a canister of butane fuel. So if there is still a flint, the fuel can be refilled and the lighter reused. 

Long Term 

What about storing Bics for the long haul?


As long as they stay in their packaging, and are kept in cool, dry, locations out of direct sunlight, the lighter should keep for decades or more. 

I have a few Bic lighters that I use regularly that are almost five years old now. 

The biggest worry is fuel loss but by properly storing them as mentioned above, this should be minimal. 

If the lighter is being used, they should still be kept in cool, dry places out of direct sunlight. This will help to prolong their lifespan. 

On a safety side note, I have had lighters blow up on me because I forgot about them on the dashboard of a vehicle or left them outside. So, after using your lighter be sure to put it back into a pack, a pocket, or a drawer.  

Wrapping It Up

To quickly sum up. 

Bic lighters are good for up to 3,000 strikes, roughly one hour of burn time, they are refillable, can be stored for years, can be used for years, are dependable and insanely affordable. 

What do you think of Bic lighters? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know what you think. Thanks for reading and stay prepared!

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.