You don’t usually appreciate a good flashlight and how important having one is when out in the wilderness until you’re left stranded in the dark with nothing to illuminate your way. And although headlamps have become very popular lately, the flashlight remains the best choice when it comes to picking a bright and handheld solution. A LED flashlight offers precision and dexterity in controlling light, the strongest portable beam available to date, and the most reliable illuminating source.
That being said, you’ll find a wide range of LED flashlight models whose price range can vary greatly, but so can their performance. Usually, you get what you pay for, so a more expensive flashlight will likely shine brighter, will be more durable, and have a better battery. Furthermore, a more expensive model can have features such as water- and impact-resistance, multiple lighting modes, and effective heat dissipation.
The lighting output of LED flashlights is measured in lumens. The number of lumens represents the intensity of the light on the brightest settings, using new batteries. And while this is a good tool for comparison, it doesn’t represent the whole story about a flashlight’s brightness. Beam distance and width are also two important factors. The beam distance is measured in metres, and as you might imagine, it shows how far the light can shine before the brightness diminishes. The distance can vary depending on the brightness setting selected. In terms of beam width, flashlights can provide focused and flooded illumination. Fixed illumination can penetrate a long distance, whereas flood illumination can cover a wider area.
Flashlight run time is measured in hours, and it’s determined by the batteries. Depending on the flashlight and batteries, the light output may gradually decrease, or it can be constant and then suddenly drop. Flashlights with multiple light settings will have different runtimes depending on the output in the particular setting it’s used. Generally, flashlights use AAA, AA or Lithium-ion batteries. AAA and AA are usually disposable, whereas lithium-ion batteries are typically rechargeable.
And lastly, the impact-resistance of flashlights is measured in metres. Typically, lights are tested by dropping them on concrete at a rated distance. The test is to ensure the light is still functional after accidental drops. Water-resistance, on the other hand, is represented using the IPX system. For outdoor use, an IPX4 rated flashlight can be good enough, but if you’re going to use it underwater, you’re going to need an IPX7 rated flashlight model.