Published on February 17, 2014
Finding The Best Flashlight
Purpose • Flashlights have various applications, and each application calls for a slightly different type of flashlight. For example, if you want a flashlight for power outages and emergencies you’d benefit greatly from getting a fairly large and bright flashlight with a long battery life. • If you want a flashlight for outdoor uses such as camping or hunting, it’s good idea to focus on durability, water-proofing and brightness. It may also be better to get a lighter flashlight to keep your load lighter while traveling. • For more regular uses such as a flashlight for your car or for jobs that involve frequently looking in small dark places, a small yet bright flashlight that is easily portable and can fit in any pocket or small storage area is the best option. • You can also buy tactical flashlights for emergencies and self-defense purposes. These flashlights come with useful options such as tasers, a blindingly bright light setting, and they can even be used as a billy club.
Size • Size is an important aspect to consider because it affects several aspects of the flashlight such as weight and usefulness in certain situations. There are four basic sizes for flashlights to consider when looking for the best flashlight.
• Large • Large flashlights are typically handled by the top on a handle because they’re too large for most people to comfortably grasp them in their hands. Large flashlights have a wide beam of light that is usually bright enough to reasonably light a small room or allow you to see long distances ahead of you. These flashlights are great for power outages, emergency situations and industrial work. However, they’re not very useful in survival situations or outdoors because of how bulky and heavy they tend to be.
• Medium • The most common size of flashlight is medium sized. These usually fit comfortably in your hands without a handle, but some of them do have handles to provide a better grip. These flashlights are also commonly used for emergencies and power outages, but they’re not quite as useful as larger flashlights in these situations due to their smaller beam of light. However, these flashlights are perfect for survival and outdoor use as they’re large enough to be useful in those situations without being bulky or heavy while traveling.
• Small • Small flashlights can easily fit in the palm of your hand, and they’re commonly used as everyday portable flashlights to keep in cars or toolboxes. While even small flashlights can be very bright, they’re mostly just useful for looking in small dark places or reading in the dark.
• Keychain Size • As the name suggests, these are flashlights that are meant to be on keychains. They’re even smaller than small flashlights as they are usually merely held with just two or three fingers. Keychain flashlights are useful as you can carry them around nearly all the time, but the beam is usually quite weak. These flashlights are typically used to see locks at night or to find something in a glove compartment or purse.
Battery Type • Traditional Batteries • Most flashlights use traditional batteries as power, and these batteries are quite useful. They tend to have fairly long battery lives, and there is no need to wait to use your flashlight if the batteries die. All that you need to do when the batteries die is replace them. While traditional batteries are useful, there are also several disadvantages to consider
• Rechargeable Batteries • Rechargeable batteries are great for people who use flashlights on a daily or weekly basis such as while walking a dog or for work purposes. Unlike traditional batteries which need frequent replacing, rechargeable batteries can be used for years. They merely need to be recharged after every use to ensure that the battery is always full when you need it. Like traditional batteries, there are also downsides to rechargeable batteries.
Bulbs • Flashlights can either have traditional incandescent bulbs or LED lights. While everyone has their own preferences, LED lights have a very apparent edge over incandescent bulbs. They’re brighter, have a more appealing pure white or very light blue color instead of having a yellow tinge, and they can achieve this brightness without using a lot of battery power or wasting power by creating heat instead of light.
Brightness and Beam Distance • Lumen Level • Brightness is measured in lumens, and almost every flashlight available lists their lumen level on the package. Typical household flashlights range in brightness from 10 to 100 lumens, which is a perfect range of brightness for merely walking around a dark house. For more intense purposes such as survival situations or outdoor use, anywhere from 100 to 500 is recommended.
• Distance • Brightness should not be confused with power or distance. While brightness is obviously a factor in the power and distance of the beam, having a high lumen level does not automatically equate to having a long beam distance. When it comes to distance, flashlights measure their distance or power in meters. A beam distance of 100 to 250 meters is really effective while walking a dog or for power outages. A beam distance of 300 meters or more is most beneficial in survival situations and outdoor activities such as camping, hunting and hiking.
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