We often take high powered flashlights for granted, overlooking them until they are most needed, during a blackout or when our vehicle breaks down. In an emergency, or during camping or fishing trips, a good, reliable pocket flashlight can make all of the difference. Because of the huge range available, trying to buy flashlights online can be a very difficult mission, so knowing a little about the various types will help to guarantee that you find the perfect flashlight for the job.
There is a flashlight for every occasion, so wandering through the online shopping mall can be an overwhelming experience as you are confronted with a variety of styles, types, and brands. In this best flashlight review, I will help you navigate the maze and find the best flashlights online.
Traditional Bulb Flashlights vs LED Flashlights
Recently, LED flashlights have grown in popularity, as an efficient way to light the darkness. They require far less battery power than traditional bulb flashlights and are much less prone to failing at an inopportune moment. The bright, clean light of LEDs is perfect for close up work, making them popular for headlamps or for small, keychain flashlights.
For sheer power over longer distances, traditional incandescent bulbs are still a better option, making them perfect for portable spotlights and security torches. A good quality incandescent torch is cheaper than an LED torch, although you will pay extra for batteries over the lifetime of the torch.
The power of a flashlight is measured in candelas or lumens and, the stronger the rating, the brighter the beam. A more powerful torch requires extra battery power or more frequent recharging, so you may need to strike a balance. For example, if you intend to go camping, a heavy, powerful torch, with extra batteries, is extra weight that you will have to lug around.
The brightness of flashlights is generally measured in lumens, and the stronger the rating, the brighter the beam. Of course, a more powerful light requires more battery power or more frequent recharging, so these factors need to be balanced. For example, if you intend to go camping, buying a powerful torch means that you have to carry around extra batteries.
As a rough guide:
- 10 lumens is plenty for general use, such as looking under the sofa for the car keys
- 30 lumens are adequate for nighttime use, such as walking home in the dark or camping.
- 100 lumens is excellent for lighting distant objects, and is verging upon spotlight strength
Battery Flashlights vs Rechargeable Flashlights
Traditionally, flashlights used traditional, disposable alkaline batteries, which are cheap and readily available. Recent advances have increased the number of options, from powerful lithium batteries to wind up flashlights. For LED flashlights, lithium batteries offer a long life and can be stored safely for many years, making them perfect for a flashlight that will only be used occasionally. However, they are not as adept for high power consumption operations, so powerful torches often stick with alkaline batteries.
Many manufacturers offer manual torches, charged by using a wind-up handle or by shaking. Usually incorporating LED bulbs, these are perfect as an emergency flashlight or if you intend to spend time in the wilderness, away from shops and power points. However, these flashlights tend to be low-powered, and the recharging process is time-consuming, so they are best used as a back up.
Rechargeable batteries are a very cost-effective way to power a flashlight, either with recyclable Nickel/Cadmium batteries and charger, or with the batteries and charger incorporated within the body of the torch itself. These can be plugged into the mains electricity or a car lighter, making them handy to take on the road.
The downside is that they do leak charge over time, so need to be checked regularly, because a blackout is not the time to find that you flashlight has lost all of its charge. They are also inconvenient if you are camping and cannot rely upon access to a power point.
Many flashlights are advertised as water-resistant or waterproof. Water resistant flashlights are adequate for most outdoor conditions and can survive wetting. Waterproof flashlights can survive immersion in water, so they are a good investment in extremely wet climates or for marine use.
Bear in mind that waterproof does not mean that they are intended for use underwater, only that they can survive accidents. Marine torches are usually buoyant, meaning that they float when dropped in water, and usually have a bright yellow or orange casing.
Shockproof flashlights have a sturdy rubber or aluminum casing, ensuring that they can handle a little rough treatment, making them popular with law-enforcement, security, hunters and construction workers. A high quality, shockproof torch will have a Pyrex or Lexan bezel, which resists shocks and scratching.
Other Things to Look For in a Flashlight
- Regulated Power: Cheaper flashlights tend to give out a bright beam with new batteries, but the power declines as the battery power diminishes. Better flashlights smooth this out and maintain consistent power output over the lifetime of the batteries.
- Flashing Feature: For emergency use, a torch with a flashing function is useful for drawing attention in emergencies
- Color Filters: A night, sing a red light can preserve your night vision, so a torch with a red filter or some red LED bulbs is a great purchase for hunters, military and law enforcement.
- Flat Sides: These will stop the flashlight rolling off the table
Buy Flashlights Online
Whatever high powered flashlight you decide upon, try to buy the best that you can afford, because a good quality flashlight won’t let you down. Most households have multiple flashlights, a small pocket flashlight for portability; a handheld flashlight for general use or to keep in the trunk of a car; and a spotlight for distance.
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