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Brightest Led Flashlight

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How to Buy the Best and Brightest LED Flashlight

Flashlights are not only handy but can save your life in emergency situations. If the power goes out it can be critical to be able to find things in the dark. We are so used to being able to switch on the light in any situation that having a flashlight can be overlooked. It is always best to have an available flashlight that is charged and ready to go. It can be years sometimes before you need a flashlight and if they are forgotten in a drawer somewhere then they may not be functional when you need them the most. That is why it is best to have a flashlight that is rechargeable and ready to go at any time.

Types of Flashlights

There are a couple of choices when it comes to flashlights. The choices are basically whether to buy LED or Incandescent flashlights. The LED flashlights are by far the brighter of the two types but the incandescent are more affordable. LED flashlights are more durable and many of them are shatter proof.

Power Sources available for Flashlights

The type of power available for flashlight are convenient but there is also no standard. The batteries can be anything from AAA, AA, D or C type batteries. You can also use rechargeable batteries which are the best choice for economy and for the environment. There are also flashlights that use solar energy to recharge. The rechargeable flash=lights are a great choice because they have a charging station so everyone in the house knows where to get light in the event of an emergency. Several stations in your house makes it easier to get to the light, you never know where you will be when the power goes out.

Rechargeable Flashlight

Size of Flashlights

Flashlights come in many sizes. They are available in small compact versions and very large. The compact size can easily be carried in your pocket or in a purse. Make sure that the size of the light you choose will not compromise the efficiency of the flashlight.

Flashlight Performance

Measured in lumens. This is a measure of the intensity of the light coming out of the flashlight, on the highest brightness setting powered by new batteries. It may also be shown for multiple light settings. This is a great comparison tool, but does not tell the whole story about brightness. Beam intensity, distance and type all influence the effectiveness of a light in different applications. Light output can range from a modest 20 lumens (great for reading a book) to a terrain-scorching 3500 lumens.

Beam Distance

Measured in meters. This is how far the light will shine before the brightness diminishes to the equivalent of the light from a full moon. Full moon illumination is considered adequate for safe and careful travel outdoors. This distance will vary with the brightness setting selected.

Run Time

Measured in hours. How long does it take the light output to drop to 10% of the rated output on new batteries, rounded to the nearest quarter hour. Light output may gradually decrease over time, or remain largely constant and then suddenly decrease. Run time is commonly given for each light setting. A Runtime graph, if available, provides the best illustration of the performance of a light over time.

Impact Resistance

Measured in meters. Lights are tested by dropping them 6 times onto concrete at the rated distance. This test is primarily to ensure the light remains functional after occasional accidental drops. It is not a test of resistance for a light being run over, being struck with a heavy object or being used to strike other objects.

Bulb Type

Advancements in LED technology have rendered other bulb types almost obsolete. Incandescents such as krypton bulbs still exist in a few flashlight models, but it is hard to beat the energy efficiency, run time, impact resistance and brightness options of an LED flashlight.

 

Beam Type

The lens reflector that surrounds a bulb influences how the light is dispersed.
The 3 common options:

  • Flood (or fixed): A single beam width. Good for general tasks in camp or while walking.
  • Spot (or focused): A single beam condensed into a spotlight to penetrate a long distance. This is best for route-finding or other fast-paced activity.
  • Adjustable: Beam width ranges from wide to focused, or any point in-between. This means, for example, a climber looking for the next pitch would use a spot beam; to study a map, a flood beam.

Battery Type

The type and availability of replacement batteries is often a factor in selecting a flashlight.

  • Disposable: The most common battery sizes in use, AAA or AA, are readily available. CR123A is also a common choice, but is more expensive and can be harder to find. Their upside is a higher voltage output for a smaller size and weight, making possible a brighter flashlight in a smaller, lighter package. Flashlights using D cell batteries are still available if you want a baton-sized tool for security or a light that will not get lost in a pocket.
  • Rechargeable: Built-in lithium-ion batteries can be recharged through a USB connection from a computer, AC or DC outlet or solar panel. The higher upfront cost is more than made up for by the low ongoing running cost, no need for disposable batteries and reduced waste.
  • Renewable: Flashlights with a built-in battery energized by a hand crank or solar panel are ideal for emergency kits.

Caution: Do not use lithium or lithium-ion batteries with any flashlight unless recommended by the manufacturer. You risk damaging a light by mismatching it with lithium batteries.

battery types

Modes of Operation

A single setting is sufficient for general-purpose use. Some models offer 2 or more modes like low, medium, high and boost). You may rarely use more than one mode, but having the option to throw an extra-strong beam on demand can be reassuring. The brighter the mode, the shorter the runtime. Some models may offer special modes like a strobe or SOS feature. User programmable modes or mode sequencing may be an option. This may be a feature that is integrated into the flashlight, or set up on software and downloaded to the light via a USB cable.

Flashlight Controls

The type of on/off and lighting mode switches is important for some users. Push buttons and sliders are typically thumb operated. A rotating bezel can also serve as a switch, requiring 2 hands to operate. A safety lock feature prevents the light from being accidentally turned on, helping prevent unexpected flat battery exasperation and inconvenience.

Some lights feature a silent (non-clicking) insta-beam function in which slightly depressing the switch activates the light until either a full click leaves it on, or releasing the switch turns it off, without having to cycle through all modes. This is a desirable feature in law enforcement operations.

Materials and Shape

Most flashlight bodies are either plastic or aluminum alloy. Some feature stainless steel in the head of the flashlight for extra impact resistance. Not all aluminum bodies are the same—thinner styles are lighter, thicker ones are tougher.

Cylindrical bodies are the most common shape, but as these tend to roll around when laid on a surface, some models are profiled to resist rolling. Additionally, the surface of the body may have a knurled pattern to provide grip and reduce slipping.

Size and Weight

This is mostly personal preference. A larger, heavier unit is not necessarily brighter, but it is likely to feature an extended run time due to a greater battery capacity.

Accessories

Add-ons that may be included or sold separately include a lanyard, belt clip or holster, and lens filters and diffusers to provide lighting options.

Flashlights Mounts

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