Are Bic Lighters Refillable? – A Helpful Guide!


Bic LightersWhether you are planning a camping or backpacking trip, or preparing your 72 hour kit, Bic lighters are a small, light weight and handy thing to include. In preparing for emergencies you will want to have longer term sources of fire starting such as a ferrocerium rod, a magnesium striker, or even flint and steel. But having access to a simple lighter can seem like a luxury in times of emergency.

Yes, Bic lighters are refillable. Even though they are made to be disposable and thrown away, with a few simple and inexpensive modifications you can turn your Bic lighter into a lighter that can be refilled and last for years. With heavy use a Bic lighter’s flint usually lasts at least two years. And they last much longer with light or moderate use.

There is a very simple approach to refilling a Bic lighter that is easy and will work. And then there is what I call the “right way” to fill it. This turns your Bic lighter into a refillable lighter. This second method is more work, takes a bit more skill, and some tools. In this article I will take you step by step through both of these two methods. You can then decide which method that you wish to use. Let’s start with the very simple method!

The Simple Bic Lighter Refill Method

(Safety Disclaimer: This first method is not what I would consider the “right way”, but hey it is simple and functions pretty darn well. The only thing that can happen with this method is if you remove and replace the pin at the bottom of the lighter too many times the hole can get too large and it may cause a slight leak of butane. If that starts to happen then I would recommend either using a larger pin to plug the hole, or throwing away the Bic and getting a new one. It is not safe to use a leaking lighter.) Related article: “How to Refill a Bic Lighter From the Top – A Helpful Guide!

To Refill A Bic Lighter With This Method Do The Following Steps:

  1. Gather Needed Materials:

    1. A completely empty Bic lighter
    2. A white push pin
    3. A can of butane
    4. Three small rubber grommets (as shown in above video)
    5.  A pair of clippers (and a file – optional)
  2. Remove Round Bearing In Bottom Of Bic Lighter:

    1. To do this you will want to push the point of the push pin into the bottom of the Bic lighter. You will see a tiny hole in the center of the white bottom of the lighter. If you push the push pin down into that tiny hole (as shown in above video) you will push the bearing down into the fuel take of the lighter. Once you have pushed the pin all the way in, then remove it by pulling the pin back out. Be careful there may be a slight spray of Butane. (This is why you want an empty lighter.)
  3. Fill Bic Lighter With Butane:

    1. Out of the Home Depot multi pack of small rubber grommets (as shown in above video), put 3 grommets over the end of the butane bottle. Be sure to use the size that fit snugly on the butane spout.
    2. Press butane spout down into the hole on the bottom of the lighter. The grommets will keep if from leaking. You may not be able to tell it is filling but it will be. After about 30 seconds or so it should be done.
    3. Very quickly pull the butane bottle away and cover the hole with your finger or thumb. Press hard. Butane will leak out so you have to be quick about it.
  4. Plug The Hole With The White Push Pin:

    1. Remove your finger and quickly push the white push pin back into the tiny hole, pushing it all the way in. Butane again will leak with this step so you must be quick about it so you don’t lose much butane. Once the push pin is pushed all the way back in, your lighter is now refilled!
  5. Clip Off The Bottom Of The Push Pin:

    1. Be sure and watch this part in the above video so you can see how he does it. You might also try making this step 2 rather than being step 5. I put it as step 5 just to be consistent with the above video. But I actually think it might work better to clip it off right after pulling the push pin out of the bottom of the lighter, before you fill the lighter with Butane. The next time I try refill one this way I am going to try that.

The Best Bic Lighter Refill Method

To Refill A Bic Lighter With This Method Do The Following Steps:

  1. Gather Needed Materials:

    1. A completely empty Bic lighter
    2. A thumbtack or push pin
    3. A butane nozzle. In the video it shows paying $10 to buy a butane soldering iron and taking the nozzle out of that, but those irons aren’t made (that I could find) any more. The ones sold now are twice the money. In one of the comments on the video a guy mentioned they sell these nozzles for air soft gun purposes. Here is a link to a couple of these on Amazon. KWA Green Gas Pistol Magazine, and the Evike BAAL Reinforced Fill Valve.
    4. An electric drill
    5. A can of butane
    6. Three electric drill bits of different sizes. 1. A wood or brad point drill bit the diameter size of the butane nozzle (as shown in the video). Then at least two smaller drill bits, one quite small and one a bit bigger. These should be standard twist bits (as shown in the video). Your largest standard drill bit should be the diameter of the butane nozzle of the mid section that has no threads (see video).
    7. Some hand tools: First a standard Flathead screwdriver the diameter of the head of the butane nozzle (as shown in video). You might also wish to have a micrometer to measure the thickness of the butane nozzles and drill bits (as shown in video).
  2. Remove Round Bearing In Bottom Of Bic Lighter:

    1. To do this you will want to push the point of the push pin into the bottom of the Bic lighter. You will see a tiny hole in the center of the white bottom of the lighter. If you push the push pin down into that tiny hole (as shown in above video) you will push the bearing down into the fuel take of the lighter. Once you have pushed the pin all the way in, then remove it by pulling the pin back out. Be careful there may be a slight spray of Butane. (This is why you want an empty lighter.)
  3. Drill With Wood Or Brad Point Bit

    1. For this hole you will use the wood or brad point bit. As shown in the above video only drill down the depth of the top of the butane nozzel (be sure and watch video so you do this correctly). You want the head of the butane nozzle to be able to sit in this hole so that the top of the nozzle is flush with the bottom of the lighter (as shown in video).
  4. Drill With Smallest Standard Drill Bit

    1. The point of this bit is to get a straight small hole drilled into the bottom of the lighter and to drill into the divider wall in the butane take of the lighter (as shown in video). It is important to drill first with your smallest drill bit because it is easier to drill into a smaller hole with a smaller bit. If you start with a bigger bit you could get your hole off center.
  5. Drill With Mid-Sized And Then Largest Standard Drill Bit

    1. The idea here is to gradually increase the size of the hole until you get it to the size you want it. Your largest standard drill bit should be the diameter of the butane nozzle of the mid section that has no threads (see video). You don’t want the hole any bigger than this because you want the threads to bite into the wall of the plastic. This creates the seal.
  6. Chip Away Inner Divider Wall

    1. You are really going to want to watch the video for this section. There is a divider that divides the butane tank into two even sections. This divider will interfere with the butane nozzle when you try to insert if if you do not chip it away. However if you are not careful and chip it away into too large of pieces, you will not be able to remove them out the bottom of the hole once you are done. If you don’t get them out, they will clog up the butane feed to the flame. Then your lighter will not work correctly. This is important.
  7. Screw In Butane Nozzle Into Lighter Bottom

    1. Use the flat head screwdriver to screw the butane nozzle into the bottom of the lighter until it is snugly all the way in. Be sure and screw it in all the way snugly, but not too tight or you will strip out the threads of the plastic and ruin the lighter.
  8. Fill Bic Lighter With Butane:

    1. Fill the lighter with the can of butane just like you would anything else (see video).

Final Thoughts

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