Flashlight Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Flashlight

When learning how to buy a flashlight, you may find the number of options daunting. Thanks to modern technology and materials, many different types of flashlights are available. At first glance, most flashlights might seem the same. However, flashlights have a wide variety of functions, capabilities and styles.

>> Why do you need a flashlight?

The first step in deciding which flashlight to buy is to ask yourself what you'll be using if for. There are many different flashlight uses. If the light is for security or emergency purposes, you may want a heavier device; if you are camping, you will need a light that is easy to carry. Night work and photography may require special types of flashlights.

>> Flashlight bulb types

After you have defined what you are going to use the flashlight for, it is time to consider bulb choices. When doing a flashlight comparison, consider the following types of bulbs before choosing which flashlight to buy.

>> LED bulbs

Light-emitting diodes, or LED, flashlights are ruggedly constructed, are very durable and don't break or shatter easily. LEDs work when a current passes through a diode, exciting electrons held within. The electrons move and recombine with each other. As they move, they release photons and create light. LED flashlights don't have the strong beam that other types of flashlights do; however, what they don't offer in illumination, they make up for in run time. LEDs last a very long time. Some LED flashlights can work for hundreds of hours before you need to replace the bulb. LED light is soft but focused, making LED flashlights great for close-up work like reading or writing in low-light situations.

Some LED flashlights also have a strobe function. This can be especially useful when you are using the flashlight as a defensive tool. This is a standard feature in tactical or police or military flashlights.

>> Incandescent bulbs

Incandescent bulbs offer a bright, wide beam. The wider beam spotlight flashlight is an excellent choice for hiking or walking at night and home or automobile repair. An incandescent flashlight uses a current that passes through a filament in the bulb. The filament is encased in a gas-filled glass chamber. The gas in the chamber varies. Halogen and xenon create a more intense glow. Incandescent bulbs are the most powerful lights available. However, they are not as durable as LEDs. Because the filament is encased in glass, this light should be treated more gently than other types of flashlights. This is not the ideal flashlight for heavy-duty handling.

High-intensity discharge lamps function much like fluorescents. The super-bright bulbs have no filament. Gas in a sealed chamber ignites to create energy-efficient light. Combination lights allow you to switch between or combine bulb types. This gives you the ability to use the flashlight in many different situations.

>> How much brightness will you need?

Another factor in choosing the best flashlight to buy is deciding how much light you will need.

A flashlight's illumination is measured in two ways. Candlepower refers to the highest amount of light emitted at the most focused point in a flashlight's beam. Light is also rated in lumens. A lumen is technically the amount of light you would get from a candle sitting 1 foot away. Lumens per watt are a measurement of how efficiently the flashlight uses battery power to produce light. Lumens do not tell the consumer anything about the focus power of a beam; rather, they are a measure of overall light output.

Low-light flashlights are preferable for close-up work or quick usage at night. Higher-powered lights are useful for household use, and brighter flashlights can be useful for purposes where the light has to cover a wider area.

>> Flashlight uses based on lumens

Lumens Flashlight Uses 1-20 Close work in the dark, quick jobs at night 30-100 Common household and outdoor use, camping, car and home repair 100+ Hunting, security, tactical use 200 + Night biking 1000 Scuba diving, caving, mining, wilderness search and rescue >> Do you need a colored bulb?
A modern flashlight advantage to consider is the color of the bulb. With LEDs becoming ubiquitous, a broad spectrum of colors for bulbs is available. Colored lights are useful for photography and tactical and emergency situations. A colored bulb is preferred anytime you wish to aid your night vision. Adding color to a light helps your eyes adjust to the dark faster, and without glare. Wilderness expeditions and hunting trips can benefit from a flashlight that uses colored bulbs. Blue, green and red filters soften light and don't scare animals away.

>> Consider flashlight sizes

With so many top-rated flashlights to choose from, it is important to know what size flashlight you will want. If you are using it to walk around, a larger light is easy to carry. A light used for emergencies should be solid, and even stand on its own if needed. However, if you are using a flashlight for medical purposes, you will need a penlight-sized tool. Tactical, hunting and military lights may be able to be mounted to a rifle. In that situation, knowing which firearm the flashlight will pair with will help you determine the best flashlight to buy. Make sure when you purchase your light that you test the device. Consider whether you will likely be holding other items at the same time. The flashlight should feel comfortable in your hand. Test the controls to ensure that activating the device is easy and comfortable. How or where are you planning to store your flashlight? When considering how to buy a flashlight, make sure the one you choose will fit the shelf, pocket, backpack, g love compartment or wherever you are planning to stash it when it is not in use.

>> What flashlight material is most suited to your needs?

Most flashlights feature either metal or plastic housing. Each type has benefits. Metal housing is durable and strong. It offers protection from falls or drops. Metal weighs more than plastic. This heft can be comforting and useful. Metal is also magnetic and produces sparks. If you are working in a medical setting or around computers, this may be something to consider.

Plastic flashlights are resilient. However, thinner plastic housing may crack under certain conditions. Plastic is lighter than metal, offering a good option if the light is used by children. Some plastic flashlights are waterproof. This can be helpful if you need an all-purpose household light. A waterproof casing can come in handy when fixing appliances and cars. A waterproof light should also be considered if you will be using the light outdoors. In addition, some waterproof lights have been tested for effectiveness at specific depths. This is useful for anyone bringing light onto open water. Some lights are made specifically for scuba diving and swimming.

>> Consider battery life

The final consideration when learning how to buy a flashlight is knowing how much battery power you need. Battery type can make the light brighter. Alkaline batteries are easy to find and dependable. A flashlight powered by alkaline batteries is suitable for home use. You can keep this type of flashlight in your automobile as well.

Lithium ion batteries last longer than alkaline batteries and offer a longer run time and a brighter light than their older counterparts. An LED flashlight powered with lithium batteries may run for hundreds of hours before needing fresh batteries. These high-power flashlights are also a lighter-weight option.

Some flashlights use rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable flashlights may not be as bright as others, but they are a convenient and cost-effective option. All top-rated flashlights are able to function properly with rechargeable batteries.

You have many types of flashlights to choose from. Navigating the choices is simple if you keep how you plan to use it in mind. Now that you know what you will be looking for, you can make an informed decision with this flashlight Guide. Let purpose drive your purchase when making decisions about size, lumens, composition and style.

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