A quick overview of butane
Determining what butane is the best starts with knowing what you are looking for. Knowing your material safety data sheet (MSDS) information is the first step in knowing what product you prefer. We have included every MSDS that is available to the public in this comprehensive list of high quality butane manufacturers. You will find that some of the manufacturers have no MSDS information listed here, this is because the manufacturers are unwilling or unable to disclose their ratio of chemicals and n-butane. If you manufacture one of the butane products listed on our site with an "undisclosed" stamp instead of an MSDS link and would like to disclose your MSDS you can click here to submit your MSDS information to us. If you do not have a default email program set you can send msds information to: msds[@]butanemsds.com.
We have verified that the top 5 brands in our list are of the highest quality. We have also verified no odors or mercaptans have been added. Also, the top 5 in our list have all passed the mirror test. Other brands of butane further down on our list are good quality but butane on our top five list all have the perfect balance of quality/price. Although we realize, price does not outweigh quality when selecting butane, some people are motivated by a good mix of good quality/good price. Feel confident selecting butane from any brand on our list because each has met or surpassed our standards for excellence.
Knowing your MSDS information is the first useful step in selecting the butane that will work best for you. The purpose of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is to provide safety and technical data about a specific product. For butane purchasers it is a great way to determine the amount of n-butane, isobutane and propane that comprise a particular brand of butane. The data is also useful in finding out if there are mercaptans or other particulates that are added for safety or torch lubrication.
You can always do a mirror test, meaning spray a few seconds of gas on a mirror. Every canned gas mixture (intended use as lighter refill) leaves a residue on the mirror, mostly made of paraffin waxes that are added to the gas mixtures to keep the torches lubricated internally. The only pure gas (no paraffin wax added and actually 100% butane) is n-butane from AirGas but you have to make sure to get the unscented kind. Many gas mixtures have scent added for safety, called mercaptans, they smell like sulfur usually.
Exposure to concentrations above 100% of the LEL such as 5% or 50,000 ppm may sensitize heart and cause irregular heartbeat. High concentrations may exclude oxygen and cause dizziness and suffocation. Contact with liquid or cold vapor may cause frostbite or freeze burn. Exposure to concentrations above 10% of the LEL may cause a general central nervous system (CNS) depression typical of anesthetic gases or intoxicants. Aliphatic hydrocarbon gases may build up in confined spaces and may cause dizziness, light-headedness, headache, nausea and loss of coordination. Continued inhalation may result in narcosis, unconsciousness, and possibly lead to death. Always follow manufacturers guidelines when refilling lighters.