How to Refill a Lighter with Butane: Step-by-Step

how to refill a lighter with butane

When you’re struggling to stay alive in the wilderness, fire is one of your best allies. It’s the source of three essentials that will help you to stay alive in any SHTF scenario – heat, light, and security.

Undoubtedly, the most effective tool for building a fire within a short time is a butane lighter. 

A high-quality lighter is one of the most essential survival tools that you can purchase. And when you choose a reliable brand, rest assured you can use a lighter for a long time. Since butane is an easily available fuel, butane lighters are a common choice for preppers. Without a fuel source, prepping is pointless.

That brings us to the question- how to refill a lighter with butane?

In this article, we will list down all the steps to help you out with refilling lighters.

How to Refill a Lighter with Butane: Follow the Steps

Refilling a butane light is very simple. Here are the steps you need to follow.

  1. The first step is to bleed out the existing air inside the fuel tank of the lighter. Push open the valve by using a metal clip or a small screwdriver. Once the valve is opened the air will escape by making a slight hiding sound. Unless the air is bled out, you won’t be able to fill the tank with fresh butane.
  2. Next, turn the flame adjustment wheel to its lowest setting. This ensures a quick and smooth refill.
  3. Turn the lighter upside down with the refill valve pointing up. This will prevent air entry inside the tank.
  4. Hold the butane can upside down and press the nozzle into the valve. In general, butane cans contain a mixture of butane and a propellant. Since butane is heavier, it rests at the bottom of the can. Turning the can upside down brings the butane near the nozzle and results in a more effective filling.
  5. The lighter should get filled within a few seconds. In case your lighter has a fuel window, you can monitor the butane level. However, a small air pocket will always remain in the tank and prevent it from getting filled fully.
  6. Readjust the flame adjustment wheel slowly and set it at the midpoint. Cranking it up to the top with a full tank of fresh butane can result in a sudden intense flame or flaring.

Now, your lighter is refilled and ready for use.

How to Identify a Refillable Lighter?

Note, all butane lighters aren’t refillable. There are disposable butane lighters that can’t be refilled. 

Refillable lighters come with a valve at the bottom end of the fuel tank. The valve can be opened for refilling the lighter.

The rest of the lighting mechanism is simple. As the pressure in the tank is released, the liquid butane gets converted into gas and moves out. As you rotate the spark wheel or activate the electric arc at the top, the butane will light up. The lighter is designed to let out a constant flow of gas to keep the flame alive.

Remember, before refilling a lighter check the manufacturer’s instructions about the entire procedure.

Safety Aspects for Refilling Lighters With Butane

Whether you are indoors or outdoors, safety is one aspect that you simply can’t neglect. Some of the important points to keep in mind while refilling a lighter are mentioned below.

  • Always refill a lighter on an open or well-ventilated space with sufficient air circulation. This reduces any chances of an accidental fire.
  • Keep all butane containers away from any source of heat, spark, or direct sunlight.
  • Make sure that the lighter is actually empty. Otherwise, you can end up spraying residual butane over the entire area.
  • Cool down the lighter to room temperature before refilling. Filling up a hot lighter with butane can be dangerous.
  • After refilling, you will feel the lighter turning cold from the cold butane. This is completely normal. Wait for a few minutes to allow the lighter to come back to room temperature before using it. This will also allow any excess butane to escape out.
  • Avoid inhaling butane while refilling and keep it away from skin or clothes. Run warm water over skin areas that have been exposed to butane. Any clothing that has come in contact with butane should be washed thoroughly.

How to Refuel a Disposable BIC Lighter?

Knowing how to refill a BIC lighter can be challenging because they are designed with the highest safety standards as per the ASTM International standards. However, they are designed for “single use” and are not intended for recycling or refueling. Ideally, you should dispose of BIC lighters in a hazardous waste collection site.

But in reality, BIC lighters can be refueled. Obviously, refueling the lighter is much cheaper than buying a new one. In general, there are two methods for it- from the top and from the bottom. 

We prefer using the bottom BIC refilling method. It doesn’t need you to dismantle the main lighter and there are fewer chances of spilling butane. 

Also, top filling increases the chances of mishandling an essential component and making the lighter a safety risk. Most of all, you might not have the right tools for the job while surviving outdoors.

Keep in mind, these methods aren’t simple and require some skills with tools. If you’re not confident about trying these methods, we suggest that you don’t refill a BIC lighter. Also, in case the lighter gets damaged during the process, it can malfunction during an emergency. Understanding how to refill a butane lighter doesn’t mean you need to perform unsafe or potential dangerous practices. You still want to be careful.

Frankly, we wouldn’t suggest refilling a cheap disposable lighter. When it comes to survival, your life depends on the tools that you will be carrying in your bug-out bag. Depending on an unreliable tool would be a big mistake during a real SHTF scenario. You can’t even light a candle in that situation without a lighter.

Here’s another common question. How to refill a lighter with another lighter?

In theory, the process is the same and not much complicated. You use one lighter as a butane source and transfer the gas through the bottom valve into the other lighter. Still, we would advise you to take the right steps to ensure safety during the entire process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you refill a lighter with butane?

Yes, you can refill a butane lighter by following all of the instructions in this guide.

Can you refill a BIC lighter?

While you can refill a BIC lighter, it’s much harder due to the safety mechanisms used to prevent opening the fill valve on the lighters.


That’s it. Knowing how to refill a lighter with butane isn’t as hard as you think and it’s an important survival skill to have.

As you can see, refilling a lighter is not a time-consuming task at all. We suggest that you invest in a top-grade lighter and maintain it in the right way. For sure it will pay you back during any critical hours you may face.