Lotus T3 Table Lighter
by Rob Gray, Ph.D.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
PRODUCT: Lotus T3
TYPE: Table Lighter
WEB SITE: http://lotuslighter.com
OVERALL SCORE: 88.0
BACKGROUND: When the Lotus T3 Table Lighter first hit the cigar scene, it was an immediate hit. Big and bold with a huge fuel chamber and a triple burner for major horsepower, the T3 is used as the “house lighter” in many cigar lounges and B&M’s. It also comes in special editions with logos of different manufacturers like, Tatuaje, CAO and many others. It is manufactured in Europe by Integral GmbH company. When special ordered for cigar companies, the logos are flawlessly engraved in black on the side of special edition lighters. My Tatuaje branded lighter is an example; it has a triple torch flame design and comes in a very nice satin-lined box that is a great place to store it to protect from scratches.
FORM: [Score: 95] To me the best part of the T3 Table Lighter is its unique design for a table top lighter. It is essentially “Paul Bunyon’s Zippo”. By that I mean it has the look and basic function of a small lighter (flip-top, push button ignition, and vertical flame) and does not have the flamethrower appearance that most table lighters have. It can easily be carried in your pocket and it is a lot of fun to see the looks on people’s faces when they ask you for a light! In my opinion, the Lotus table lighter has the perfect herf design. Its beautiful exterior and solid heft make it a community lighter that will impress your buddies and let them know that they are at a special occasion. I also like the fact that it can easily be handed around the table; I have found with many of the larger table lighters it is inconvenient for people to come to the lighter, so they end up using their own torch.
FUNCTION: [Score: 82] The usage of the T3 Table Lighter is essentially the same as any torch lighter. Before adding fuel to the lighter it is important to “bleed it” to ensure that there are no air bubbles. This is achieved by holding the lighter upright and pressing the filler valve with a small screwdriver or pen until the hissing stops. It can then be refueled by holding the lighter upside down. As with all lighters, it is recommended that you use triple-filtered (or higher) butane fuel. The lighter comes with an Owner’s Guide that has very clear illustrations for fueling and bleeding; making this process very easy.
The three jets on the lighter combine to produce a powerful blue flame that can be adjusted via a small screw located beside the filler valve on the bottom of the lighter. If you have hard fingernails you may be able to adjust this screw by hand, but I find that I need to keep a small screwdriver nearby. Although the lighter has a wide range of flame settings (the setting screw can be turned through about 270 degrees), I found that really only the top third of this range could be used. For flame settings in the bottom two-thirds, the lighter did not ignite reliably. However, in the top third of the range, I am able to make the flame anywhere between about 1” - 3” in length, so in the end it has a nice range of flame lengths.
As is the case with most table lighters, this Lotus model is not good for doing touch-ups since its flame is just too large. And it is really important to be careful when first using this lighter---it would be really easy to completely scorch your cigar, or worse your hand, if you hold the lighter too close.
The Lotus T3 Table Lighter has a large fuel tank capacity (I could not find the exact dimensions listed anywhere) and is good to go for a couple weeks of individual smoking or one big herf. The only major flaw I found with this lighter is that when the fuel level was down to roughly 1/3 remaining the lighter would mis-strike very frequently. I found this to be quite annoying so that in most cases I ended up bleeding the lighter of its remaining fuel and refilling it – at which point it worked flawlessly again. However, this practice wastes a lot of fuel and can be a little tricky because it is difficult to bleed that much fuel out of the lighter without getting a “cold burn” on your hand from the butane. (Also, be sure to bleed fuel well away from any sources of flame.) The other alternative is of course to top off the fuel without bleeding first but that would increase the chance of getting a too much air in the fuel line.
VALUE: [Score: 87] The price for the T3 Table Lighter by Lotus is $49.95 which is a good value for a table lighter and is a great price, especially when you are buying a collector’s item, like my Tatuaje-branded lighter. The warranty leaves a bit to be desired compared to the lifetime warranties you see on some of the smaller torch lighters. It comes with a 2 year limited warranty that covers mechanical parts only. The warranty does not cover damage due to misuse or accident nor does it cover the Tatuaje logo on the outside of the lighter. For repair, you are required to ship the lighter along with $9 for shipping and handling to the Lotus Repair Center in Florida. It seems as if Lotus has made some strides in the efficiency of their repair process as they now claim that most repairs will be completed within 48 hours and will replace your lighter with a new one if it takes more than 10 days.
The Lotus T3 Table Lighter is a very good lighter. It can serve as a solid table lighter for a herf and is also small enough for everyday use. I personally now use it to light most of my cigars and save my smaller torch lighter for touch-ups. Its major cons are its poor fuel efficiency and its limited warranty.
About the Author
Rob Gray is an educator, researcher and writer. Rob conducts research in Human Factors Psychology at Arizona State University.blog comments powered by Disqus