Flashlight Buying Guide

The days of only considering Maglite when purchasing a flashlight are long gone. While acknowledging the significance and unmatched success of the Maglite design, LED, HID (High Intensity Discharge), and Xenon technology as well as extremely durable casing materials mean that the flashlight has evolved to a point where the stronger the beam, the smaller the flashlight need not necessarily be.

It’s simple to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of brands available when looking for high-quality lighting products at competitive prices. The early 21st century offers a bewildering variety of bulb types, body materials, body sizes, power sources, and price points for flashlights. This buying guide is a succinct summary of the important factors to take into account when purchasing any high-quality flashlight.

Lumens measure brightness in the same manner that feet measure length. The beam will appear brighter and farther out as the Lumen count increases. On occasion, brightness levels may be expressed in Candlepower or Candelas; these terms refer to a source-based unit of light. 12.57 Lumens make up one Candlepower or Candela.

The L.E.D. was arguably the most important development in lighting technology (Light Emitting Diode). Unlike a regular bulb, which heats a filament to produce light, LEDs produce light at the molecular level, requiring less energy while producing the same amount of light. An L.E.D. will last forever as a result, greatly extending the life of a battery. Their purity does, however, vary. Similar to diamonds, some lights emit pure white light while others have a very faint blue, violet, or green tint.

Xenon Lights produce a broad spectrum of light (including infrared) and can be made to have a high maximum lumen output by the inclusion of Xenon gas in the bulb thus enabling light to be produced at a higher pressure, but they are comparatively less efficient users of power. H.I.D technology (High Intensity Discharge) uses a Xenon bulb slightly differently with the addition of a tubular outer bulb and an inner arc tube with a cerium-doped quartz partition in the bulb to block out most ultraviolet. HID torches have lumen output of approximately 500-1000. Lighting technology could be described as a battle between light and heat, as the energy to produce the heat detracts from that which produces the light.  The undoubted master is the LED. It makes light without the need to heat a filament, thus lengthening bulb and battery life. However the power from a Xenon bulb can be astoundingly bright yet harder on the batteries.

Casing material has advanced to the point that it is essentially water resistant in extremely wet situations and almost indestructible if dropped. A high-quality flashlight will always feature a body made of aerospace-grade aluminum and a robust structure.

Manufacturers’ quality and areas of expertise vary. A wide variety of quality Xenon and LED flashlights and accessories are available from Surefire. Excellent, potent, and affordably priced LED and Xenon lights are produced by Ledwave. A variety of clever, adaptable LED, Xenon, and rechargeable torches are available from Nextorch, including the amazing Saint, which can produce a whopping 450 lumens.

It can be challenging to navigate the maze of flashlight manufacture, which ultimately depends on the task that needs to be accomplished. When choosing a lighting instrument that will survive and operate over time, it is crucial to take into account the lumen output to size ratio, a durable hardwearing casing material, and bulb or battery life.


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