Getting To Know The Zippo Hand Warmer

Getting To Know The Zippo Hand Warmer

Getting To Know The Zippo Hand Warmer

Since the previously-called smoking habit, now the vice of smoking is not well seen at all, the men of Zippo have decided to take advantage of their experience with lighters to apply it to what is now well seen and sold: free time (outdoor).

The history of the hand warmer began in 1912 when the Japanese Niichi Matoba invented them, and in 1923 he founded the company Hakkin Warmers, which began to market devices of this type under the still existing Peacock brand. Then they would begin to be exported worldwide, and since 1950, Zippo would market them under its brand.

So in 2008, they created their Zippo hand warmers based on lighter gasoline, with an ingenious platinum catalytic oxidation effect, that fit in the palm. As of 2010, they are available in two sizes, the small model, with a capacity of 0.41oz (12ml), which gives a battery life of up to 6 hours, and the large model, with a capacity of 0.7oz (20ml), with a range of 12 hours.

By the way, if you are not a fan of Zippo lighters, you will think that the gasoline they consume is like the one they sell at service stations for €1.5 per liter. But it is not like that. It is naphtha, also known as petroleum etherbenzine, or ligroin, usually used as a solvent. In the case of lighters is especially refined, are sold in smaller quantities, and these are used to much more expensive.

Getting To Know The Zippo Hand Warmer

If we consider that Zippo gasoline is sold in cans of two sizes: 4oz (125ml) and 12oz (355ml), at a price of about €3 and €8 respectively, its use costs us just €0.05 per hour. If we use the Clipper fuel that Flamagás distributes in our country, at €2 per 133ml, it will be even less. Ronson’s ( Ronsonol ) is somewhat more expensive.

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Of course, the 6 hours one is more practical. It doesn’t take up as much space in your pocket, and it’s lighter. But since its physical specifications are not easy to find, not even on the manufacturer’s website, here they are:

  • Large (12h): 99.6mm X 66.0mm X 12.7mm (73g).
  • Small (6h): 73.7mm X 50.8mm X 15.2mm (50g).

In both cases, they are more compact than a current smartphone, so unless you need many hours of heat, with the 6-hour one, you will save gasoline and space while being more comfortable. They both produce the same amount of heat, so maybe if you have big hands and room in your pockets, you might want to go for the large model and fill it halfway.

The operation is very simple; we fill the Zippo hand warmer with gasoline, using a plastic cup or measure that is included. If we make it to the top line, we will get full capacity, and if we make it to the bottom line, it will be about half. We can take an intermediate between the two, or even less than the lower limit, but it will be a by eye.

Getting To Know The Zippo Hand Warmer

In any case, it is important never to exceed the maximum level. We don’t need to turn it on right away. The heater can charge for a few days. However, as in lighters, the fuel gradually evaporates, and depending on the environmental conditions, it will be empty again in one or two weeks.

When we need it, we remove the lid and light it with the flame of a lighter. It is about going through all the burners well for 20 or 30 seconds, and we verify that it is on, seeing that the burner is incandescent. We cover it again, and after a minute or two, we place it in the black cloth bag that it brings for this purpose, and we already have it working and giving off a pleasant heat. It does not burn at any time since it is around 35ºC-45ºC.

So the experience of carrying it in the pocket of the coat on days of intense cold, and having warm hands, gives a pleasant comfort and is great. The small size that I have is very practical, leaving enough free space in the pockets to put your hands. I don’t know if the same thing would happen with the big one.

The design has that industrial and robust air of Zippo, and they continue to maintain their traditional Made in the USA. Instead, they have lost the lifetime guarantee and now offer the usual one established by law, that is, two years. They also do not have any mark that allows us to find out their date of manufacture.

Getting To Know The Zippo Hand Warmer

The quality is good, and the device looks robust. It looks like it will last for decades like its fellow lighters. I admit that I like the simplicity of its mechanism and its operation, with a base similar to that of the popular lighters, and where, in addition to its practical advantages, I love its preparation and its use. It may seem somewhat dangerous to use, but with almost 100 years of history and without major incidents behind it, it does not need more precautions than those we apply when handling a gasoline lighter.

A detail not revealed to the naked eye is that the burners or carburetors are consumable. In other words, they wear out, and over time they become less and less efficient, so they give off less heat until a moment comes when they don’t work at all. According to Zippo, its estimated duration is about 70 uses, which I think is very good. Since they cost about €7, it’s not like we’re going to go bankrupt, but we should keep in mind. The same carburetor is valid for both the 12-hour and 6-hour models. For the rest, unlike lighters, there are no more consumables, no stones, no wicks, no cotton.

The main problem is unsolvable with the ‘catalytic’ technology it uses. Once we have started it, there is no way to stop it until the gasoline runs out. So if we fill it up but only use it for a couple of hours, we waste fuel, and we’ll have to find a place to put it until it burns out.

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The second is that we need to carry a lighter with us to light it when necessary. Or at least a lighter at home, to turn it on when we go out. It must be a flame lighter, so most kitchen piezo-electric lighters, those that only produce a spark, or the car’s electric lighter will not work.

Getting To Know The Zippo Hand Warmer

The lighter doesn’t need to be Zippo or Zippo type, and I use it with a Bicone of the big ones, that being adjustable, I can adjust it so that it gives a generous flame. They serve matches, any flame lighter, even kitchen. In short, it forces us to depend on an external lighter when it would have been for the ignition device to be integrated into the device itself.

If we take advantage of Zippo’s experience, it would almost be worth adding a stone and a wick because the heater could take advantage of part of the gasoline in the tank to burn it. Less romantic, but would have served even better, would be to integrate a gaslighter. Some brands offer this type of device equipped with batteries for power.

Let’s compare it with the Peacock originals, which in three sizes offer 20 (87mm X 58mm X 13.5mm), 24 (101mm X 68mm X 15mm), and 30 (110mm X 70mm X 20mm) hours of autonomy. The Zippo ones are somewhat smaller, and with considerably less duration of heat, not in vain, they contain less fuel. On the other hand, they are cheaper and especially easy to obtain and maintain, which also applies to the burner.

The drawback maybe the smell of gasoline, which is intense, and for those who are not used to it, it can be annoying. Like others, it will remind them of Zippo. It’s kind of funny to carry something analogous in your pocket, which incandescently feeds on fossil fuel.


Compared to chemical hand-warmers and one-time use, which require replacing the charge each time, they will be very useful for occasional use. Still, in the end, it becomes a nuisance to buy new refills, which, on the other hand, are usually hard to find.

The advantage over reusable heaters that have to be boiled and work based on supersaturated solutions is that they only need to be recharged with gasoline when we need them. There is no need to boil water, so we can use it in places where boiling water is not easy, thus saving us inconvenience. In addition, they give a maximum of two or three hours of heat, which in many cases is insufficient, and the temperature they obtain is usually not that high.

Some work with rechargeable batteries, but since they are lithium-ion, we will have to be careful that they do not run out completely, and their duration will be of use for a maximum of 5 years, even less due to the heat they produce. Considering that under normal circumstances, you will use the device 10 or 20 times a year, it is a nuisance. Also, what about the allure of Zippo gasoline?

Officially they are €24 for 6 hours in chromepearl white, and pink; and €29 for 12 hours in chromeblackorange, and camouflage. It’s not a bad price, but if we look at the North American website, we will realize that they are worth $19 and $21 respectively, that is, €18 and €20 respectively, which is much better. Given that, we went to, which has them at the American price, and we saved good money.

How to turn on your Zippo hand warmer

1. Zippo Hand Warmer Ignition

  1. Fill the hand warmer with genuine Zippo Hand Warmer fuel.
  2. With the lid off the hand warmer, hold the base unit upright with one hand and flame the catalytic burner unit for approximately 10 seconds with the other hand. Ignition after first use after initial presentation may take longer than expected and require the application of the flame more than once. The flame can come from a Zippo lighter, Zippo utility lighter, or a match. Follow the instructions for the use of the lighting device. Keep hands and clothing away from any flame. A catalytic process heats the hand warmer. No flame was present after ignition. The presence of flames at ignition indicates an overfill. Extinguish flames and allow excess fuel to evaporate before attempting re-ignition.
  3. After flameless ignition has been confirmed, replace the cap on the hand warmer, then place the warmer in the provided protective cloth bag. The Zippo hand warmer should always be placed in the protective cloth bag to prevent overheating. Your Zippo Hand Warmer will now provide comfortable warmth for hours. After ignition, heat is provided by a flameless catalytic process.
  4. Once it is turned on, there is no sure way to stop the heating action. If necessary, place the Zippo hand warmer in the supplied protective cloth bag and place it on a fireproof surface until the fuel has run out and the hand warmer is cool to the touch.

Getting To Know The Zippo Hand Warmer

Getting To Know The Zippo Hand Warmer

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