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GolfSpy Dave

Dave's Take: Xikar's XFlame Electronic Cigar Lighter

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It's Not Rubbing Two Sticks Together

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Now I’m not for a second going to recommend the two-stick ignition method as an option for lighting your cigars on the course. It just jumped into my head when I was thinking about the lighter that I have for you today, Xikar’s XFlame Electronic Lighter. This lighter is so high tech, causing my brain to rebel a bit and drift to the other, low-tech, end of the fire making spectrum. Humans have used fire for a long time, and although we now dress it up in fancier outfits, fire remains one of our most critical survival tools.

Sorry for the reflective tangent. I just got caught up in a maelstrom of mental marveling when thinking about how the use of fire is so ancient, and yet still so critical for modern human civilization.

Anyway, let’s leave those sticks un-rubbed, and instead delve into the stick-lighting circuitry of the Xikar XFlame Electronic Lighter.

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Xikar XFlame Features and Specs:

  • Does not require butane or lighter fluid
  • Ideal for travel
  • Quick and easy to use. Lights the entire end of a cigar in seconds
  • Burner coil is easy to clean and easy to replace
  • Optimal temperature won't overheat your cigars
  • Evenly lights up to 62RG cigars
  • USB rechargeable battery
  • 100% Windproof
  • Measures: 4.125"H x0.98"W (1.10"W Coil)

 

Fire Without Flame

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So the irony of the XFlame is that it actually is completely devoid of flame. You use a grill of battery-warmed metal to light your cigar rather than any kind of fire. Now some of you will remember when cars came with cigarette lighters as options, and when they were actually intended to light cigarettes rather than a place to plug in a USB adapter.

That car lighter is the best parallel to the action of the XFlame. Electricity causes the metal to heat up to a temperature that is able to light the tobacco, without actually producing any kind of flame. It’s a modern spin on an old idea, and the best thing about the XFlame is that you don’t need an attached car to make it work.

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The XFlame lighter charges via USB, something that all but the most luddite-leaning of you probably do on a daily-ish basis. Plug the cord into the lighter, and the other into any old USB port and you will charge the XFlame easy peasy. The action button will light up and let you know that it’s charging, and turn off when it’s finished. Again, you’ve charged stuff with USB before. No engineering degree required here.

Igniting the XFlame

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So you’ve done you charging due diligence, and are ready to light your first cigar with the XFlame. The process is "very simple", but there is a bit of a learning curve, and specific operation sequence that you’ll probably take a couple of ignitions to master.

The first thing that you will need to do to turn it on is to quickly click the on button five times. Yep, I said five times. What seems a bit click-excessive is a actually great safety feature for preventing the lighter from accidentally lighting in a bag or pocket. I’m sure that an accidentally-pressed-five-times scenario exists, but it’s so improbable that safety is almost ensured.

So you press five times to turn it on, and then press and hold to heat up the metal grill. It heats up quickly, and significantly. It also turns itself off after a handful of seconds, maybe 10, so that the XFlame is not on indefinitely. For smaller cigars, one or two ignition runs were sufficient, but I needed a few more runs to light big rings.

Xikar X Flame - 11.jpg

The lighting experience is much different than with a torch. It’s a bit more subdued, as the heat output is likely less with the XFlame when compared to a multiple-jet torch. It’s also quite the quiet experience, with the typical roar of the torch being completely absent.

If you follow this link below to see a quick video of the ignition process:

 

 

XFlame Observations

While the XFlame was easy to charge and use, there were a couple of criticisms and concerns that I had during testing.

First, it does require a bit of practice to master. I handed it to my cigar smoking buddy to use on the course and he messed with it a few times and handed it back, subsequently asking for my Tactical Torch. The five-presses-to-turn-on system is great at preventing accidental ignitions, but it takes a bit of practice to get right. Not a deal killer, but it’s funny watching someone struggle to do something that should be automatic, like lighting a lighter.

Too Quiet

I think that the silent operation plays a little into the awkwardness of learning how to use the XFlame. With a traditional torch, ignition is accompanied by the roar of burning fuel. The XFlame “ignition” gives you a glowing red button, and a glowing grate that you may or not be able to see depending upon how bright it is where you are lighting up. In so way do I want the lighter to make a sound when it is lighting, but a subtle vibration would be awesome. Think about how your phone can vibrate. Take that and reduce it by 90% and I think that we have a winner. Subtle vibration during lighting to add some tactile information to the process.

Again, I think that the lack of sound (or subtle vibration) takes a bit away from the lighting ritual. Personally, I like to hear the flame as I light the cigar. It’s something primal, I suppose. The chop of the cutter, and the roar of the torch are part of the enjoyment process when I smoke a cigar.

Too Hot

Yes, it is a bit ironic that I am saying that a torch gets too hot when it is trying to light something on fire. I’m not concerned with the heat during the ignition process, that is excellent. Instead, I am talking about how the top of the torch remains hot, and somewhat exposed after you are finished using it.

Most of the torches that we use have some kind of lid that sequesters the hot fuel jets after the cigar is lit. In a few seconds, that torch is cool enough to put in your pants pocket or golf bag. The XFlame ignition grill remains exposed though, and has a fairly wide diameter, potentially providing easy access for other things to find it when you don’t actually want them to catch fire.

In a tabletop setting, this is not an issue as the XFlame is very stable as you stand it up on its base to cool. On the course though, I just could never really know how hot it was after using it, fighting the temptation to touch it and find out.

All this being said, it does cool down fairly quickly, but it is just tough to gauge. I would love to have a heat-resistant case to put it in, or some kind of cap that would make it pocket safe sooner. Even a little color-changing with temperature sticker on the top to gauge when it is OK to store. Yes, I want a torch that acts like a mood ring. Dare to dream, bro.

Windy Wizardry

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Criticisms aside, if you frequently play golf in the wind, and have struggled to light a cigar while doing so, the XFlame will be your new best friend. I’ve tried other “wind-proof” lighters in the past, and all of them proved to be no match for actual wind. If there was a flame, the wind would blow it out, with strong winds dissipating the lighter fuel before it ever even lit. With nothing to actually light, the XFlame will bring the heat regardless of wind. Sure, your stick may get blown out after you get it lit, but that’s not the XFlame’s fault. This is the lighter to pack in your bag on windy adventures.

Last year, I had the fortune/misfortune to play Pacific Dunes at the Bandon Dunes Resort on a 25mph sustained/gusts to 50mph morning. Now while playing Bandon on any day, under any conditions is a treat, that round was a brutal treat. While I did not smoke a cigar that round, it was not for lack of trying. We had five torches between us, and some matches, and only one of us was able to get his stick lit. While I hope I never experience that type of weather again, the XFlame will be in my 2020 Bandon Dunes Trip gear kit for sure.

Dave’s Xikar XFlame Take: Still Glowing

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Criticisms aside, I am still impressed overall with the Xikar XFlame lighter. It may take some doing to figure out how to use it, and I may not feel totally safe immediately putting it back in my golf bag, but its flameless design really delivers cigar-lighting salvation during windy rounds.

If you want to get your flame on in a flameless, high tech fashion, give the Xikar XFlame a quick (five) clicks here. The XFlame will cost you about seventy bucks to get going, but won't cost you a cent in lighter fuel. When the ignition grill needs to be eventually replaced, it will only cost about another twenty dollars to make your XFlame ready to light like new. 

Xikar X Flame - 6.jpgXikar X Flame - 5.jpg
 

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That's pretty cool reminds me of the old car lighters.

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That's pretty cool reminds me of the old car lighters.

That exactly how it works, and it doesn’t even need a car!


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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