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How to Choose the Best Flashlight

Choosing the Best Flashlight or Headlamp

With more flashlight options than ever before on the market, it can be confusing to know what flashlight will function well for your specific needs. Below are a few features to consider as you search for the best flashlight.

Functionality Options

Handheld Flashlights

The majority of flashlights are handheld options. If you aren't looking for something more specific, they are an excellent choice and built for functionality and flexibility.

Hands-Free Flashlights

Do you work with your hands and need both of them free while operating your flashlight? If so, consider a hands free flashlight or headlamp. There are many options available such as headlamps, mountable, and even magnetic options.

Keychain & Pocket Lights

Keychain and mini pocket lights are excellent choices for when you need a backup light without taking up valuable space in your toolbox or car.

Light and Beam Characteristics

Lumens

Light emitted from your flashlight is measured in lumens. The higher the lumen rating, the further the more intense the light output is. A higher lumen rating isn't always better, though. You also need to consider the light reach and angle to ensure you get the best flashlight for your purposes.

Beam Reach

Beam reach measures the distance of the beam before the light begins to trail off. This is measured in meters and is important to take into consideration as you select your flashlight. You will not want a flashlight that has too far of a beam reach for working in close quarters, and you need to make sure you have a beam that reaches far enough for search & rescue efforts or tactical purposes.

Beam Type

Spot or focused beams are narrow and penetrate a long distance, this is ideal for tactical flashlights. Flood beams illuminate large areas and penetrate a shorter distance. Flood beams are the ideal choose for camping, home repair, electrical work, or automotive repair applications. A flashlight with an adjustable beam will allow you to focus the beam from a wide flooded beam, to a narrow beam, or anything in between.

Additional Features

Some uses require a flashlight with a few more bells and whistles. Do you need something more out of your flashlight? Consider one with multiple brightness modes, strobe or SOS options, or alternative light modes such as green, red, or black light.

Durability

Water Resistance

What level of water resistance do you need from your flashlight? Water resistance for flashlights is measured using the IP rating system.

IPX4 Water-resistant means that the flashlight has resistance from water splashed in all directions.

IPX7 Water-proof signifies that the flashlight should have resistance of temporary submersion at 1 meter for up to 30 minutes

IPX8 - Submersible let's you know that your flashlight has resistance of continuous submersion at a specified depth for 4 hours

Impact Resistance

Impact resistance is measured in meters. Flashlights are tested by dropping them 6 times onto concrete at the rated distance. If you're a clumsy individual, or you plan to use your flashlight where you risk dropping it, a flashlight with a higher impact resistance would be best.

Run Time

If you need to use your flashlight for extended periods of time, choose one with a longer run time. Run time is measured in hours and observes the time before the light output drops to 10% of the rated output, on new batteries.

Weight & Material

Think about the length of time you may need to hold your flashlight, use this to help you determine if you need one that is heavier or lighter in weight. The material of your flashlight case or handle will also effect your grip comfort, and it's something you should think about while making your choice.

Battery Type

Knowing how much you use your flashlight helps determine what battery type is right for you. High-capacity rechargeable batteries are a great choice if you find yourself requiring a flashlight daily or weekly. Lithium batteries have a more reliable, longer shelf life, which works well for your emergency flashlights. If you are looking for a more affordable option, standard alkaline batteries will work well.