No one’s ever accused Zippo of making flimsy, insubstantial products — quite the opposite. They make heavy, mechanical, downright bad-ass devices which also happen to be bloody practical. Since the flame burns without holding down a button, you can set these on your workbench and use both hands to maneuver your work in the fire, so everyone from mafiosos to mechanics uses them. But Armor Zippos add something worthwhile to a product lineup worryingly populated with gothic crosses and opal inlays.
Armor cases are about 50% thicker than normal Zippos, so the lovely comic-book sound effects drop an octave, and the lighters become even tougher. Probably unnecessary, since I have a perfectly functional, flawless-looking Zippo engraved with “H. Dodson” from my grandfather; that one spent most of its life in the silky pocket of a bomber jacket. For shop use, the Armor case is a sensible idea.
Armor prices range from $22 to (this isn’t a typo) $269 from Zippo themselves. Fortunately, none of the simple models list for more than $29, so there’s a good selection in the lower end of the price range. Amazon has one model (brushed chrome) for just over $14 before shipping, and many others as well. If you go to your local smoker’s store, become visibly smitten with one, and gripe about the price a bit, they’ll probably cut you a deal.
(Thanks to Flickr user liber for this great CC-licensed photo).