What is an Inverted Lighter? (And Why You Need One)


99 cent gas station lighters come in handy in a quick pinch, but if you’ve ever burnt your fingers while lighting a candle or hitting a bowl, you know how annoying and painful disposable lighters can be. 

With an inverted lighter, the chances of getting licked by the flame are slim, all thanks to a little design trick that angles the fire away from your fingers. 

What is an inverted lighter?

An inverted lighter, like theCarbon by Vessel, features a special, ergonomic design that helps avoid accidental burns. For regular cannabis users, this makes smoking more enjoyable, especially if you use pipes and bongs.   

When you smoke cannabis out of glass pieces, you angle the lighter (or matches) in a downward motion to light the herb. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get a clean toke and can continue smoking without any problem. This depends on a few factors, such as the type of lighter used, whether or not there’s wind, and the person’s level of experience. 

Occasionally, though, disposable lighters turn a care-free smoke sesh into a frustrating gamble. You either can’t control the angle of the flame or can’t flick the spark wheel without being burned. 

That’s where inverted lighters come in. As the name suggests, the flame port (where the fire comes out) sits at an angle so your fingers are several inches away from the flame source.

The circle grip allows you to light an inverted lighter right side up or upside down, which from a safety standpoint, virtually eliminates the risk of self-inflicted burns. Being able to direct the flame where you want it is the biggest advantage of an inverted lighter. 

Pros and cons of an inverted lighter

As is true for any smoking accessory, using an inverted lighter is a matter of preference. To help you decide, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of this type of lighter: 


  • Refillable: Inverted lighters like theCarbon by Vessel require butane, which for some people is preferable to throwing away dozens of disposable, plastic lighters that cannot be recycled. 
  • Flame control: The best lighters allow you to adjust the flame size for personalized smoking needs. With an inverted lighter, you have the option to increase or decrease the height of the flame simply with the twist of the adjuster wheel. 
  • Circle grip: This feature gives you a firm grasp on the body of the inverted lighter as you light the flame upside down. With your index finger inside the circle, push down on the ignitor with your thumb. If you’re prone to losing lighters, feel free to loop a keychain through the circle grip. 


  • Size: Compared to a BIC pocket lighter, the inverted version is a tad bigger. Those who are used to slim lighters may find that inverted lighters have a bulky pocket feel. 
  • Price: It’s true, inverted lighters are pricey. The initial investment may be difficult to justify, but when you consider the fact that they’re refillable, this lowers the cost of constantly buying disposable lighters. 
  • Familiarity: There isn’t that big of a learning curve with inverted lighters, but the first few times may take some getting used to. If you’ve only used disposable lighters in the past, pushing down on a button to light the inverted lighter may feel unfamiliar. 

Where to get an inverted lighter

Inverted lighters are sold online through various retailers. Vessel has engineered theCarbon design to produce a trustworthy and flawless experience. 

Vessel’s inverted lighter, called Carbon, is backed by a lifetime warranty and is a perfect complement to anydry herb smoking kit.

When it comes to inverted lighters, value is everything.Carbon is all about quality over quantity, so you can ditch the disposable lighters for good. 

How to use an inverted lighter

To get started, make sure you have all the equipment you need. If you go with the Carbon inverted lighter, consider bundling anon-volatile bottle of butane into your purchase. This saves you from having to make a trip out to the store when your inverted lighter arrives. 

Using an inverted lighter is fairly straightforward. Once it’s filled with butane, choose between the upright or inverted position, depending on your flame needs. If you’re lighting a pipe, bong, or candle, turn the lighter upside down, with the circle grip between your thumb and index fingers. From there, you push the ignitor and adjust the flame accordingly with the thumbwheel. 

If you’re lighting a joint, grasp the body of the lighter in your palm in the upright position, then click the ignitor to trigger the flame. 

How to refill an inverted lighter

Filling and refilling an inverted lighter is simple. Before you begin, wind the thumbwheel to the lowest setting (as shown by the ⁻ sign). Take a small Phillips-head screwdriver and push it into the fuel valve, holding the lighter on its side so the valve points towards the ceiling to release stored pressure.

From there, line up the tip of the butane tank to the valve and press down for five seconds. At this point, your lighter has butane, but you’ll need to wait another four minutes before pushing the ignitor to allow any excess butane to evaporate and reach room temperature. 

To sum it up

As one of the more unique lighters on the market, inverted lighters make smoking cannabis safer. Being able to angle the flame away from your hand solves the painful problem of accidental burns. 

For cannabis users who care about appearances, the inverted lighter looks sophisticated and futuristic. Sticking with one inverted lighter also cuts down on waste, meaning that the initial investment pays for itself. 


What happens when you turn a lighter upside down?

If you’re dealing with a disposable lighter, you’ll probably burn your fingers. This isn’t a problem with aninverted lighter, which you can light upside down with ease. 

How to not burn your fingers when smoking?

An inverted lighter directs the flame away from your fingers, thanks to the ergonomic design. Other inexpensive models don’t come with an angled port.

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