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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.

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Bics are reliable fire-starters, and they don’t leak in your pocket and leave little square burns on you if you forget to sit ’em out overnight before carrying ’em after refilling ’em. But how can you be cool flipping open a Bic? Answer: you can’t. Now you can have butane reliability and Zippo cool with the new Zippo BLU line.

(Ed. Note: I don’t smoke, but I often carry a lighter. How else will you finish the tip of cut nylon rope or activate heat-shrink tubing on the go? My point: lighters a great for non-smokers, too.)

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Even if you don’t smoke, a lighter comes in almost as handy as a pocket knife —¬†especially with fireworks season upon us!¬† Manufactured in Pennsylvania since 1932 (and also in Canada more recently), the Zippo lighter is an American icon as well as an indispensable tool.

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