Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Black Ops Kilo Lighter Review

Black Ops Kilo Triple Torch Cigar Lighter
  Oh boy! This is not the review I thought I would be doing...I ordered up the Black-Ops Kilo and I was excited to receive this lighter. Found the lighter at a great price and prior to arrival, thought this was going to be one heck of a lighter for the money. What's not to like? The Kilo has a single thumb action pusher to ignite the triple jet torches and features an integrated cigar punch. 
  Here is what not to like, the Kilo dang near blew up in my hand. Imagine my surprise when I went to fire it up and the following three events occurred. I depressed the pusher multiple times, nothing happened beyond the usual spark. Though, I could hear the gas escaping from the three jets. I am no quitter! So I grabbed another lighter to light the gas coming out of jets:
  I was blown away (almost literally) by what happened next. A quick "poof" noise and my hand filled with flames:
  After the initial blast of flames the lighter gave off one gigantic flame. I could have used this thing as a tiki torch. Seriously. 
  Now the room smells has the lovely sent of burnt hair. It was time to cut my losses before it got any worse. Clearly, this Black-Ops Kilo has a fuel leak coming from somewhere. The flames where even coming out from the cracks of the pusher. I am inclined to think this was unfortunate and happened to get a bad lighter. Black-Ops would not be in business very long if this was the norm. This was a new experience for me and hopefully one I will not experience again. 
  Let's pretend this did not happen for a moment. The Kilo appears to have pretty decent solid construction, with a nice weight about it. The fuel adjustment was very difficult to operate, no quick adjustment knob. It took me quite a few attempts with different screw drivers to find one that would fit properly. From an overall design standpoint, Kilo is quite comfortable in the hand. The lighter goes for around $50 retail and can be found for much less. If it had worked well, likely I would have given the Kilo a raving review, with it's triple torches, cigar punch, single thumb action ignition, and low price it can be found for on the internet. Maybe this is a "one off" scenario or maybe it is a hint at quality control? Either way, my knuckles no longer have any hair. 

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8 - Aesthetics
7.5 - Finish/Construction
1 - Flame
7 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
5 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score - 5.8

FIRE IT UP Results:
Let's just say it failed miserably  
Pros - triple jet torches, integrated cigar punch
Consideration - overall quality, fuel adjustment is not the best

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Xikar Axia Lighter Review

Xikar Axia Lighter
Xikar Axia G2 Dual Torch Lighter Review
  The Xikar Axia has been around for quite a few years now, proving to be a successful series for the folks at Xikar. For this review, I will be taking an in depth look at the Axia and it's new finish. The Axia 540G2 has a full gunmetal finish, a new finish being offered in the series. Truth be told, I have always been a big fan of the Axia aesthetically. When I opened the Xikar presentation box and laid eyes on the G2, I said to myself "now that is a killer finish". The Axia has never looked so good, not to blingy, contemporary, and manages to still be all class. 
  The G2's finish is very interesting. It has the darker brushed gunmetal CLR is used to seeing. The body has a unique high polished gunmetal finish. It almost looks like a standard chrome stainless steel finish. Until you see the Axia G2 next to a lighter that has a regular high polished chrome finish. This is best demonstrated below, with a side by side comparison of the Axia and the Xikar Element. Very cool and unique!
Xikar Axia G2 Comparison
  The lighter has powerful dual jet torches. As my experience has always been with Xikar lighters, Axia puts out a raging blue flame, that is wind resistant. To light the lighter, you need to first flip the top open. Not a CLR favorite, much prefer a single thumb action pusher. Meaning, opens the lid and ignites the lighter in one motion. Ergonomically, the lighter is dang near perfect. By having the the pusher located in the front, you are naturally applying pressure to your hand on the backside of the lighter. Hard to articulate in writing, it just feels good. Axia is very slender and comfortable in my pocket. Also, no plastic components to speak of, always a positive. 
  The fuel tank is not very large. As an average, I would guess the typical user would get around 5 cigars fired up before needing to refill. The slender build may have compromised the size of the fuel tank? There is a small fuel gauge window on the backside to help with this shortcoming. That said, there is a nice oversized fuel adjustment wheel. Very easy to grip and make any on "the fly" needed adjustments. 
  Xikar prices the Axia 540G2 at $69, not an inexpensive lighter by any means. What you get is a superb finish, fantastic design, dual torch, full steel construction, and Xikar's no hassle lifetime warranty. What you do not get is a cigar punch, large fuel tank, or single thumb action to ignition. For me personally, this is one of my favorite lighters. Though, you are definitely paying a premium for what your get. Sometimes aesthetics override bang for the buck and rationalizing rules the day. Go rationalize yourself the Axia G2...

Best Price CLR found here: Xikar Axia Black

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
9.5 - Aesthetics
9.5 - Finish/Construction
8 - Flame
8.5 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
7.5 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score: 8.6

FIRE IT UP Results:
20 back to back lighting attempts, 20 successful lights. 
Pros - ergonomics, aesthetics, wind resistant, lifetime warranty
Consideration - no cigar punch, price


Friday, April 12, 2013

Vertigo Churchill Quad Lighter Review

Vertigo Churchill Quad Lighter
Vertigo Churchill Quad Torch Lighter
  Vertigo has a new quad torch lighter just being released. It is called the Churchill and will retail for $25. Look familiar? It should, the Churchill looks almost identical to the JetLine New York quad flame in general design (pictured in red). That's about all there is in similarities. The Churchill destroys the JetLine New York in quality, function, and value.  
  This version of the Churchill is shown in gray and gunmetal finishes. The body is made of heavy plastic, with some small portions being steel. Vertigo put in three large fuel gauge windows to view large fuel tank. Anytime you are burning four jets at once, fuel does not last long in a small tank. Directly under "Vertigo" is a lanyard attachment point. Who really hangs a lighter around their neck? Seriously... 
  

  The Churchill is a two step process to ignition, flip lid open, then depress the thumb action pusher. You can see in the above picture the four piezo torch ignition system. The flame that is emitted from this lighter is immense, this is likely an understatement! Unlike most lighters reviewed on CLR, the Vertigo flame is a bright, almost cherry red, scorching hot flame. The flame is also wind resistant as expected. The picture below was taken in a completely dark room and there are NO enhancements made to this photo. Wow!

  There is a nice sized cigar punch located on the bottom of the lighter. This is also where you can adjust your flame level and refuel the lighter. What truly separates this light from the JetLine New York is the Lifetime Warranty. When I first got into lighters, I was amazed to find out that some companies back their products up for life. That is the kind of lighter I personally feel very comfortable buying. Nothing better than a good piece of mind when making a purchase. 
  The Vertigo has some distinct advantages over the New York. Considering both are almost identical in price, these differences are very relevant. What the Vertigo has that the JetLine does not is a cigar punch and better build quality. If interested in this style of lighter, the choice is clear from CLR perspective.

Best Price CLR Found Here: Vertigo Churchill

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
8 - Aesthetics
6.5 - Finish/Construction
6 - Flame
7 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
9 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score - 7.3

FIRE IT UP Results:
20 back to back lighting attempts, 20 successful lights. 
Pros - integrated cigar punch, quad flames, lifetime warranty
Consideration - almost all plastic construction, no blue flame

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lotus Droid L55 Lighter Review

Lotus Droid L55 Lighter
Lotus Droid L55 Torch Lighter Review
  This is a newer offering from Lotus, called Droid ref. L55. This is the L5530, black and gray variant. Out of the box, I was intrigued. The lighter has a bit of a retro-modern vibe about it. 
  The body of the Droid appears to have heavy layering of black paint applied. Suggesting, the lighter should be able to handle some wear and tear over time. Gray is used to highlight the Droid vertically (only on the front) and behind the pusher. There is a small vent just above these vertical lines as well. 
  The backside of the lighter seems 
a bit forgotten about. Straight 
black, with exception of a fuel gauge window. Cigar lighters should always have a fuel gauge window in CLR opinion, though, there is the occasional exception to the rule. The                                            backside does have a nice vertical 
angle, helping to break up the solid 
black (seen pictured). Lotus went with dual torches that will adequately handle any cigar that crosses it's path. What makes twin jet flames better? A single thumb action pusher of course. This pusher is locate on the front side, directly above "LOTUS". The lid slides back to expose to scorching blue flames. 
  There is a nice sized fuel adjustment knob in the standard location. CLR found the knob easy to use, not to tight, nor to loose. The bottom right side has an integrated 8mm cigar punch. Even if you are not a fan of a punch cut, they do come in handy. The current suggested MSRP of the Droid L55 is $49.99. In conclusion, CLR is on the fence at this price point because the lighter only has a two year warranty, BUT is packed full of great features. 

CLR Overall Ratings (10 being best, all added, divided by 5)
9 - Aesthetics
8.5 - Finish/Construction
8 - Flame
9 - Function & Fuel Adjustment
8 - Value vs. List Price
CLR Final Score - 8.5

FIRE IT UP Results:
10 back to back lighting attempts, 9 successful lights
Pros - integrared 8mm punch, strong dual flame, good ergonomics
Consideration - price vs. warranty