Instructions for Use for the Zippo Handwarmer

zippo4Your Zippo handwarmer comes in four parts. The lid, the burner, the body and the bag. The body holds the fuel and helps to spread the heat, the burner uses a catalytic reaction to create heat, the lid keeps the burner protected and helps distribute the heat and the bag is there to provide a protective jacket so that the burner is not too hot to handle.


To light your Zippo Hand Warmer
Hold the handwarmer upright (the grill shaped as a peacock at the top), remove the lid by pulling it from the body. With the lid removed, on top of the body you will find the burner unit which has inside it, a grey fluffy strip of catalytic material. Without disturbing the grey catalytic material, grasping the whole burner unit by the shortest sides with your fingers, pull it up and off the body. The catalytic fluffy pad is held in the burner with a spring clip and should not be tampered with.

You now have left just the Zippo handwarmer body with a open hole at the top where the burner unit sat. In this open hole you will see the cotton wool type material which soaks up the fuel. The fuel is any propriety brand of cigarette petrol lighter fluid (not to be confused with lighter gas). Taking the funnel provided, press the funnels base into the hole. Fill the funnel to the mark on its sides and then pour into the open neck grill. Fill the funnel sufficient to make the cotton wool inside the body damp. Any surplus fuel in the body should be tipped away. If in doubt and you think you have overfilled it, a rough rule of thumb is that if you turn the body upside down no fluid should drip out. Once filled, place the burner unit on top of the body and push home.


To ignite the handwarmer, the aim is to get the catalytic material hot such that the reaction can start to take place. Working properly this catalytic type burner has no flame and very little if any glow. In fact it looks as if its ’ gone out most of the time, the only indication of it working is that it gives off heat. To get it going, with the body held upright or slightly inclined, hold a lit match 2-3mm just above the fluffy grey catalytic material. Put the lit match close to the catalytic strip, but do not burn the material, (Gas cigarette lighters should not be used as they can burn with too much intensity, overheating the catalytic material and thus reducing its lifespan, similarly do not light it upside down). As the match burns, move it progressively providing around 5 seconds of heat to the burner. This should be long enough to heat up the burner and get the reaction going. Place the lid back on top the body and slide the now complete hand warmer into its bag, body first.
zippo5The Zippo handwarmer will take several minutes to warm up but after say 4-5 minutes you will feel the metal body and lid becoming warm. If you pass the top of the lid close to your lips you should feel the heat rising. When working correctly, Zippo handwarmers will be very hot to the touch and so should always be placed in the special Zippo cloth bag provided. The cloth bag also regulates the amount of available oxygen for the reaction and so should always be used. Once you are happy its going correctly, pull the drawstring tight using the stopper bead and place in your pocket. The handwarmer works best if kept reasonably upright in the pocket. To regulate the heat and provide optimum comfort move the Zippo handwarmer from pocket to pocket, hand to hand or even place inside your gloves.
To Turn the Zippo Handwarmer Off.
Using a cloth so that you do not burn your fingers. Remove the lid and pull off the burner unit. Place the burner unit on a non-flammable, hard surface. Once the burner is separated from its fuel source it will “go out” and eventually become cold.

Follow the directions of use and Zippo hand warmers will provide years of reliable service. For you comfort and safety there are some additional points to note. Whilst operating a handwarmer please be aware it is a source of ignition. Do not operate if exposed to flammable liquids or gases. No flames should be present. Do not leave unattended in the presence of combustable material, unsupervised young children, the very old or infirm. Prolonged heat above the level of human body temperature can cause “warm” burns, to avoid this move the handwarmers location on the body regularly, especially if it becomes uncomfortable. Fumes may become more noticeable in poorly ventilated, confined areas. Keep matches and lighter fluid out of the reach of children. The burner will not work if wet. Lighter fuel may be prohibited on passenger aircraft.

Zippo Handwarmers Fault Finding
Getting to know your hand warmer an easy process. Once you know its personality you will encounter very few problems and have many years reliable service.

My Zippo Handwarmer will not start
• Check you have given the reaction 5 mins to get started
• Check you used fresh fuel, last years may have lost its edge as it degrades with time
• Check you have not flooded the burner with too much fuel
• Try again giving the burner a little more exposure to the lit match
• If the burner unit is one or two seasons old and this is this seasons first use it may need replacing (obtainable from

My Zippo Handwarmer only gets luke warm
• Check you used fresh fuel, last years may have lost its edge as it degrades with time
• Check you have put in sufficient fuel, enough to get the wool damp not dripping
• Use the correct fuel – liquid lighter fuel such as Swan or Zippo or other mainstream brand
• If the burner unit is one or two seasons old and this is this seasons first use, it may need replacing (obtainable from
• Check the handwarmer is reasonably upright (upside down is incorrect)
• The handwarmer does require oxygen and so should have some airspaces around it your pocket.
• The bag is also there to restrict the maximum burn temperature. Use without the bag will lessen the life of the catalytic material and cause it to less effective.

My Zippo hand warmers got hot and then gone out

• Check it has not been drowned in fuel (a burner wet with fuel will not work)
• Check how many hours its been going compared with the fuel you gave it –has it just run out of fuel
• Check it is reasonably upright (upside down is incorrect)

• Check (when cold) that the spring clip holding the catalytic strip in the burner has not come loose and that the catalytic strip is not flopping about unsecured.

What shortens the life of the catalytic strip in my Zippo Hand Warmer

• Drowning it in fuel, water or dust
• Messing with it
• Wrong fuels
• Use – approximate lifespan is 60-70 uses
• The bag is also there to restrict the maximum burn temperature. Use without the bag will lessen the life of the catalytic material.