Some of the cigar brethren prefer matches, cheap Bics or even using their teeth to get the smoke started. Through the years my lighter and cigar cutter collection have approached an astronomical number. The brands and types of lighters and cutters are too numerous to list.
For the last several years my product line has focused on Xikar , a line based in Kansas City. Many of my friends also use their accessories from lighters to cutters. I have not tried their cigars
Here is my take on them. They have products they fit the budgets for all price points. You can go on the "cheap" for a very serviceable lighter or cutter. For those who like to burn a little more cash, they have higher end products that will suit your fancy.
Without going into detail on each product, here is the overall impression of what my history is.
The good: nice design with strong flame control of the lighters. The cutters have a great sharp cutting edge with clean cutting. They are good looking and do what they are designed to do.
Now the not so good: I have had structural failures on most of their products. I do not abuse my lighters or cutters. I keep them in the original packaging and they have the protective covers that are available for each device. I am not sure if the problems are due to manufacturing defects or the stress points need to re enforced . For example , the red wood cutter has had the wood fallen off that I needed to super glue it back on so it would stay.
The Stratosphere lighter top clip which keeps its secure has broken off in the same spot each time it has been replaced with a new lighter.
Xikar has a great repair or replacement policy which is 100 percent guaranteed . They honor their commitment so I give the company kudos for their integrity.
So this leaves me somewhat confused. I like their products and the backing of what they make.I don't know why they do not last very long.
As a comparison I owned a DuPont max lighter which lasted without fail for ten years. The cost of that lighter was $150 so I received a good bang for the buck.
My rating for my experiences with Xikar looks light this
For design 4 out of 5, price point 4 out of 5, for manufacturers guarantee 5 out of 5, for structural integrity 2 out of 5.
I am hoping this number can be pushed up.