Zippo Lighter Fluid Alternatives – Know More

Zippo lighters are reusable meal lighters that are especially popular for staying lit even in the harshest of the weathers, owing to their efficient windscreen design and uninterrupted fuel delivery. Let us know here Alternatives for Zippo Lighter Fluid.

Zippo Lighter Fluid Alternatives

What does the Zippo Fuel contain?

Zippo lighter fluid primarily contains a petroleum distillate called Naphtha. It is a highly volatile fluid that evaporates easily at 70℉. This temperature is so low that the fluid evaporates in the lighter itself, leaving it dry and parched. In addition, 4 oz. of the Zippo Lighter fluid costs around $197. 

You might be searching for a cheaper lighter fluid alternative, or one that is easier to carry around and lasts a bit longer, or you might simply be inquisitive in nature; whatever the case, there are a few basics you need to know about an ideal lighter fluid.

What does a fluid require to act as an effective lighter fluid?

  • Combustibility: It is the measure of how easily does a liquid catch fire.
  • Flashpoint: It is the temperature at which a fluid releases enough vapors to be ignited into a flame.
  • Flammability: It is the extent to which the fluid supports combustion. A liquid with a flashpoint of less than 100℉ is considered to be a flammable liquid.

An ideal fluid has a high combustibility, low flashpoint and high flammability. However, if the flammability is too high, the fluid can cause explosion. In addition, very high volatility can result in an empty lighter even before it is used.

What are the best alternatives to Zippo lighter fluid?

The top 2 alternative brands that can be used as an alternative to Zippo lighter fluid are:

  • Ronson/Ronsonol brand lighter fluid: It basically contains the same ingredients as Zippo lighter fluid. In addition, it also comes in handy plastic bottles that are easier to carry around.
  • Coleman lighter fuel: Also known as White Gas, it contains petroleum naphtha, which is the main ingredient in Zippo lighter fluid as well.

Apart from these brands, there are also other alternatives that actually do work in Zippo lighters.

  • Gasoline: It is one of the best alternatives to Zippo lighter fluid. However, it may produce a somewhat smoky flame, but the smoke produced in negligible. The flame produced is also longer than usual.
  • Acetone: It is commonly found in nail varnish removers. Yes, this does mean that nail varnish removers can be used as fuel in Zippo lighters. But this alternative too produces a smoky flame.
  • Paint thinners: Talking of acetone, paint thinners also contain acetone and naphtha, which is also used in the actual Zippo fuel.
  • Isopropyl alcohol: That’s rubbing alcohol. It works fine and produces a clean flame with no residual stink.
  • Products containing alcohol: Products such as perfumes and aftershaves can easily be used as Zippo fuel. These produce a consistent flame along with a little crackling sound. But these are completely safe to use.
  • Spirit/ Ethanol: If using alcohol based product works, then alcohol should too, right? Well, alcohol does produce flame but it is highly flammable and the vapors are not visible. Thus, it becomes a little risky to use.
  • WD40: It does produce a flame but also damages the wick in the process. The flame does not burn clearly and reduces the life of the lighter. So, it should be considered only as an emergency fuel. Vegetable oil mixed with nail varnish remover can be used a WD40 alternative.

What fluids Do Not work as Zippo lighter fluid alternatives?

Having seen some of the fluids that can easily be used as fuel in Zippo lighters, here are a few ones that simply fail to work, or are too dangerous to even try.

  • Methylated spirits: Being methylated, these are simply not combustible enough and fail to light a flame.
  • Kerosene: Even though it is highly combustible, kerosene cannot ignite on its own. Moreover, it fails to produce a sustainable flame.
  • Diesel: It is only flammable in its vapor form and the lighter cannot produce enough heat to cause its evaporation.
  • Charcoal lighter fluid: While there is no doubt that it does produce a flame, it might end up producing much more than that. With a flashpoint of 105℉, it is a bit dangerous to work with. It might work just fine, but it might also cause an explosion.
  • Vodka: Just in case you were wondering, no, vodka is not a safe alternative. It is highly flammable and there is no guarantee of what the outcome of using this will be.


There are a lot of alternatives to Zippo lighter fluid out there; you only need to know which ones work and which ones to completely avoid. Using other brand lighter fluids is always the safest option, just make sure that they are made for lighters that use liquid fuel and not vapor fuel. And in case you are keen on experimenting yourself, do a little research on the flammability, combustibility and most importantly, the flashpoint of the fluid. Stay safe!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it advised to use alternative fluids in Zippo lighters? 

Zippo does not officially recommend the use of any alternative fuel other than Zippo Premium Lighter Fluid.

  • Is it safe to use alternative fuels?

If using the right lighter fluid, it will work just fine. However, some can be dangerous to work with and some may even reduce the life of the Zippo lighter.

  • Can butane be used as an alternative?

Zippo BLU uses butane gas as fuel. One thing to remember though, butane is an aerosol i.e., it is used in the form of a suspension in air. Zippo classic uses fluid as a fuel. Thus butane does not work with wick lighters.

  • How to avoid Zippo lighter from drying out?

No matter what fuel you use, it is volatile and it will evaporate. To minimize such losses, keep your lighter in lower temperatures; not in your pockets, to avoid loss by evaporation.

Zippo Lighter Fluid Alternatives – Know More

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