Alternative Energy

Instant Fire… As Long As the Sun Is Up



I am always on the lookout for nifty tools that work when nothing else will.

About a month ago one of my coworkers showed me  this neat little lighter that works using a parabolic lens and the sun.

I have used a magnifying glass before but haven't had much practice using a parabolic lens…. so of course I had to have one!

Sadly, for the week after it arrived, a storm system blew through and made using it all but impossible.

At the first hint of sunshine I took it out to test it before the Texas weather decided to make another change.

As soon as the light focused on the test incense that they send along with the lighter, it began  to smolder and smoke.

Check out the video I shot here:

I was extremely impressed with how quickly it formed an ember, and to test it out further, I light a coworkers cigarette with it.

So here are my thoughts on it so far:

The good:

Instantly starts a fire
Doubles as a signal for rescue

The bad:

A little high priced in my opinion
Does take up some space in a pack
Requires strong, full sunlight to be effective

Bottom Line:

Even though the price is a little higher than I would like, the effectiveness of the solar spark as a fire starting tool is amazing. I always say that you need at least 3 ways to make a fire in any situation. If you are looking for something a little out of the box, you should definitely check this out!

One major problem I have found with these is that they are hard to find readily available online.

I managed to find one through amazon via this link but they seem to be in short supply right now:

I have actually found a few of them cheaper through ebay and

These all come direct from China, but if time isn't a big deal for you, look at getting them here

Check out the review I did on another fire starting tool: The Sparkie

Want more? Check out these related articles from our site:

10 Fire Starting Materials You Probably Have at Home

Start a Fire with a Guitar Pick

DIY Fire Starter: The Cotton Ball


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    February 21, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    It’s both, Funny & Sad, What you described was a Radio-Shack item back 20 years ago & at the time cost about $2.00. And yes, they had a Fork to rest a Cigarette in to light it. As I was trying to teach my children the uses of everyday items to help in their survival, I bought one of these little wonders. However, They ate Currently hard to find, but you might try; AMERICAN SCIENCE & SURPLUS .Com, Or Edmond Scientific .com,
    They may still sell them, However, if you will take the time to work, There is a muck easier way to make your own. Just be careful of the Broken GLASS. Why, A Cars Headlights make a Great Fire starter, When you break off the Front of the Glass & keep that Back section, Or Fire Mirror And Some of the Older Tail lights are just as good. Another way to make your own, would be to buy a cheap Plexiglas Mirror, Heat it up Carefully in an Electric oven, & When Hot, Place a Dry Towel over a Drinking MUG & then Drape the Mirror, ( Reflective side Down) over the Mug & let cool, The curve should give you a good fol-col point to get a fire going!
    I’ve been told that cutting a pop can & polishing the metal (Alum.) with Backing soda, will yield a good mirror, But I’ve never tried it.

  2. VA Guy

    February 21, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    They used to sell them way back in Popular Science and other magazines in the 50s and 60s.

    • ALBERT

      February 22, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      F.Y.I. ; Did you Want a Cheap Solar Lighter, That Serves another purpose
      Thus providing you with more than one tool for your Gear? Then your in
      Luck!Purchase a CHEAP, Ever ready Flashlight with a 3 inch reflector,
      At Night you’ll get some use out of the light & during the day, You can
      Remove that Reflector From it’s Head, remove the Light bulb &
      Now you have a Great ” SOLAR REFLECTOR “, for starting your fires, All you need now is the SUN to come out!

  3. Evan

    February 22, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    40+ years ago i did the same thing with old head lights, i just tapped around the lens till it broke off, then cut the top part of the element off and you had three prongs left to hold what ever you wanted to light. it really worked great even in pretty weak sunlight.

  4. Stephen

    February 22, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    What about using the mirrored part from a flashlight(lantern type) similar to the one in the story contained in this report( On an old flashlight,take out the bulb and insert a thin pencil size item holding your tinder and experiment with the distance away from the mirrored part of the flashlight.

  5. Jimster

    February 22, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    I used to have one 40 years ago. The old adage is true “The is nothing new under the sun.”

    • ALBERT

      February 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Your right Jimster; this lighter was very common, years ago, in fact, much of those old ideas are coming around once again & being presented as being New Ideas.
      However, might I suggest that you put pen to paper & record your own learned skills, in that way, you’ll be leaving a Great Treasure to your loved ones when you pass on?
      The,”TREASURE of Knowledge”, better than a mountain of Gold, any day.

  6. jan

    July 7, 2015 at 7:31 AM

    What about using a flashlight reflector? maglights come apart at the bulb. A lot smaller to pack…

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