I really wanted it to work. I was tired of the disposable lighters that cost a fortune over time, get pocketed every other session, and pollute the environment with their production and use. And I was down for for a Zippo, who doesn’t look like a badass when he busts one out? Ca-chink. Like a fuckin’ boss. But sadly like all things cool, they require more maintenance than they’re worth. So what was I left with beyond carrying around flint, tinder, and scraps of hemp soaked in oil?
It’s the future. Why the fuck am I packing a flammable gas into a pressurized canister? I might as well light a candle instead of turning on a lightbulb next time. While we may not necessarily have reached the age of lasers lighting our bowls, surely some stoner could sure as hell rig a battery and a hot wire?
When I encounted the Elementium lighter, I was completely sold. A USB-rechargeable flameless lighter? Sold. And it supposedly sparked not only joints and blunts – but hemp wicks as well? My money was in my hand faster than my mind could process the transaction. The finer details were fuzzy – takes seconds to heat up, equal to 50 disposables, 100+ lights per charge, wind resistant – all dwarfed by the fact I finally abandon the chains of lighter purchasing perdition.
And yet, it’s never as simple as you want it to be.
Right out of the box, I pushed up on the bilateral switch on the huge lighter base and popped out a circular compartment fitted with a heating coil. As the coil rose from a cool gray to intense orange, I immediately reached for my hemp wick, place it to the seemingly endless spiral of heated coil, and to my surprise I see smoke, I see a small cherry form on the wick…and yet…no flame. 18 seconds later, the coil receded back to it’s cold state, and I still hadn’t generated enough heat.
I gave it the benefit of the doubt and pushed in the opposite direction of the switch to reveal a USB port. Whereas I presumed the port would be covered by some sort of metal, this port was completely exposed and incredibly thin (like one of those paper thin USB drives). Plugging it into the computer was paranoia inducing as it sat loosely and flopped in the port – never truly feeling secure. I charged it for the maximum manufacturers recommended time (1-1.5 hours) and gave it another shot with the wick. And…nada. Same effect, a small cherry, but no evident flame on the wick. Now I’m not sure if there’s an boy scouts technique involving blowing I’m not savvy to here, but I’m pretty sure that this thing can’t light anything beyond scraps of paper. With further testing, that’s exactly what I found. The initial wick I tested with was a 48lb girth, so I tested a thinner 20lb wick only to find it wouldn’t actually light. I even attempted to light a generously packed bowl in the bong with it and got no effect. Granted, it’s not advertised for this, however it should be able to at least ignite ganja.
Finally after testing it with a joint, we achieved ignition. Though after further testing with more joints? Couldn’t light a single one. Either the coil couldn’t get hot enough to spark it, or greens from the joint would get stuck in the coil – making it impossible to use again without scraping it out. And nevermind if you’re joint is too fat, it won’t even fit in the heating compartment. Even in the wind the Elementium still couldn’t manage a meager cherry. I sooner lit the joint with a butane lighter and hemp wick than I did struggling with the electric blunder. After only 20 or so failed attempts to fire up a few joints in a couple of days, the battery was drained – far from the advertised 100+ by the company.
With the way this product has swept Instagram overnight with countless affiliates pumping out ads with their promo codes, and with all the other electronic lighters hitting the market, you’d think the company would have a revolutionary product. Sadly this is a dud. Far from a lighter replacement, better left at home in the trash. If I can’t spark up a bowl with this, with or without hemp wick, then it’s not designed for stoners in mind. It becomes completely obsolete for me, as rolling up requires so much herb it’s a luxury. And even if I did roll up, there’s no guarantee this will actually blaze it.
TLDR: If you’re looking for a lighter replacement, keep looking. It won’t light your bowls/pipes or hemp wicks. It struggles to spark a skinny joint in a windless situation, if it doesn’t get jammed with ganja or ash first.