The Torch by Blazer
by David "Doc" Diaz
Monday, May 8, 2006
PRODUCT: The Torch by Blazer
TYPE: Torch Lighter Model: PB207-CR
MANUFACTURER: Blazer Products Inc.
WEB SITE: http://www.blazerproducts.com
OVERALL SCORE: 91.3
BACKGROUND: The Blazer Torch Flame Lighter made huge impact in the cigar market during the “cigar boom.” Originally designed for the professional tool industry, it was eventually marketed as the first cigar torch lighter. The PB207 set the standard for future cigar lighters and ignited (pun intended) the cigar torch lighter industry in the U.S. and abroad.
The product disappeared from the marketplace in the late 1990s only to reappear in 2005. I had some questions about why the product was out of circulation and about the relationship between the Blazer torch and the product of the same design and name (i.e., PB207) as distributed under the Prince brand in Asia. I sent an email to the company and subsequently had an excellent series of correspondences with a Blazer Products representative.
What is now referred to, as the Blazer “Pocket Torch PB207” is the same unit sold under the Prince brand name in Asia. It is the same unit that Blazer has offered for over 20 years (and continues to offer) to the industrial and professional tool industries (but is no longer available for “home use”).
The reason the PB207 was out of the retail cigar market for quite some time was due to the poor quality products in the marketplace (many of which were knockoffs of the Blazer), which prompted the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to institute broad rules requiring a child resistant mechanism for consumer use of torches. According to Blazer, there was never a problem with the genuine Blazer PB207, but the need to meet CPSC demands for safety kept the torch out of the consumer marketplace until 2005.
Eventually, Blazer Products developed a new “child resistant” model for sale in the U.S. retail market called, "The Torch." The new lighter has a model name of PB207-CR (the CR stands for Child Resistant) which sports a new and intuitive child resistant mechanism to prevent children from activating the unit. This patented mechanism passed CPSC testing with the highest rating possible and only a genuine Blazer PB207-CR will possess this child resistant feature.
Blazer Products Inc. is the exclusive distributor of the PB207-CR Worldwide and the PB207-CR is the only torch in this line that can be legally sold in the U.S. to the home consumer. The industrial PB207 on the Blazer Industrial website is strictly intended for use in the professional and industrial hand tool industries and not for home use.” As such, the Industrial PB207 is available for sale to commercial and industrial purchasers only, and will only be shipped to valid business addresses, while the PB207-CR is available to the retail market worldwide (except Asia).
SET UP AND USE: [Score: 93] The Blazer comes packaged in a black box along with a small Instruction Manual. The Manual explains the proper procedure for filling the product with gas, explains how to ignite and extinguish, lists and illustrates the features, describes the Limited Warranty and cites Warnings and Precautions. Missing from the Manual are instructions on how to use the flame-locking lever (especially with respect to precautions), or how to use the flame adjustment lever, which is not referenced in the document. At 1.4 ounces, fully loaded, this is one of the lightest lighters that I own.
After a quick look at the users guide, I set out to figure out the child resistant feature. Okay, it wasn’t until AFTER I couldn’t ignite it that I looked at the guide. Feel better?!! Actually, once you understand how the feature works, it is a breeze to use the lighter. The feature is really ingenious; a quick roll of the thumb on the trigger lever unlocks the mechanism. However, I did find the lighter to be brother-in-law resistant as well, even after explanations. I’ll chalk that up to copious amounts of bourbon. In any case, it’s comforting to know that children, drunks and dim-witted individuals will have trouble using this product.
FUNCTION: [Score: 93] Filling the lighter is easy and it has a generous fuel tank. After unlocking the child resistant mechanism, the lighter springs to life. Mine held a 3-inch flame, which was a bit too long for my taste. So I tried to reduce the height by using the flame-adjusting switch. Nothing. I couldn’t get the flame to increase or decrease by using the adjustment mechanism. Not sure what the problem is, but I have another PB207 and the adjuster works fine. I did find that, if I slowly let up on the trigger while the lighter was lit, the flame would decrease. This would not work on my other lighter.
Another nice feature (and a potentially dangerous one) is the flame lock. By sliding the flame lock after you trigger the ignition, the flame stays on without you exerting any pressure on the trigger. This helps reduce fatigue and probably prevents you from rushing the lighting of your cigar. Everyone knows that, when lighting a rather generous 54 ring-gauge foot, you need to take your time. The flame lock makes it easy and convenient for you to lightly toast the foot of your cigar. Though you need two hands to set the flame lock, you can easily extinguish the flame with just the flick of your thumb.
Finally, my last request, and a pet peeve: “GIVE US BACK THE RING STAND!” The black ring stand, which comes with every other PB207 lighter EXCEPT the CR, is a real handy accessory. When herfing with your friends, it’s great to slip that little rubber ring on the bottom of your lighter and it stand up on the table for all to see and admire. Having the stand was a real convenience.
That’s not to say that the lighter is the best looking one on the block; it’s not. It doesn’t have a high “Pod Factor” and it’s not really a collectible lighter either. Nevertheless, I really like it. It is my oldest lighter and has worked perfectly throughout its entire lifespan. It fits comfortable in the hand, due in part to it’s lightness and also to its shape.
Looks notwithstanding, the PB207-CR just works. It works in the heat, in the cold, in relative altitude and even with newbies crushing their ashes into the jets. It has a consistent and high flame, it lasts a long time without refilling, it has a flame lock a dust cap and keeps my young daughter and my brother-in-law from accidentally hurting themselves. It’s an excellent herfing torch. It just works. By the way, it comes in nine different colors.
VALUE: [Score: 88] The price for the PB207-CR is $40.00. By the way, those of you who’ve smoked cigars for awhile may remember that the original PB207 appeared in the marketplace at $59.95, or thereabouts. Though you can find cheaper lighters, this one is worth its price. Even at $40.00, it’s a value.
Nevertheless, I did expect a more generous warranty. Given that Xikar provides a lifetime warranty for lighters as well as cutters, I think the Blazer company needs to think about competing on an even playing field. Therefore I am going to ding them a bit on the Value score for the warranty. .
The Blazer warranty is a limited, 1-year version. Though a 1-year limited warranty is standard for torch lighters (they are notoriously finicky), I’ve seen better and/or more forgiving warranties. Interestingly, though the warranty is spelled out clearly in the Instruction Manual that you receive AFTER purchase, the warranty statement on the Blazer website is not that clear. Though it is clear what the warranty does NOT cover (“Product failures due to misuse, abuse, or normal wear and tear are not covered by this warranty”), and also clear about when the warranty coverage ends (“Warranty coverage ends when a products becomes unusable for reasons other than defects in workmanship or material”), the website information does not clearly state what the warranty DOES cover. From the second statement above, I would assume that the warranty covers defects in workmanship or material, however without a clear warranty statement, the only clear communiqué is that Blazer Products decides what is warranted at their discretion. This is, in fact, stated on their website and in their Manual. Further, if a product is outside of the 1-year warranty period, you must include 24.95 per non-warranty product when you send it back to the company for repair. “Non-warranteed [sic] products will be repaired or replaced, at Blazer Products Inc's discretion.”
When you send products back to the factory you need to have the following:
1. Original dated receipt as Proof of Purchase (note: ORIGINAL RECEIPT REQUIRED. Save those receipts)
2. A note explaining the problem(s)
3. Your complete contact information including a phone number where you can be reached
Products should be returned to:
BLAZER PRODUCTS INC.
88 ALLEN ROAD
FARMINGDALE, NY 11735
Attn: Service Dept.
About the Author
David "Doc" Diaz is the publisher and the editor of the Stogie Fresh Cigar Publications. He has served as an educator, researcher and writer and has taught in the Health Education and Health Science field for over 30 years. He possesses an earned doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. Doc is a Certified Master Tobacconist (CMT), having received this certification from the Tobacconist University and is a member and Ambassador of Cigar Rights of America (CRA).blog comments powered by Disqus