Light emitting diode (LED) flashlights have emerged as one of the secondary sources of lighting in recent years. You can use them everywhere right, from homes to offices to outdoors, in open spaces as well as cramped areas. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global LED market size was USD 77.79 Billion in 2021 and is estimated to be USD 264.08 Billion by 2029 at a CAGR of 17.6%. This growth is owing to the increasing use of LED flashlights across industries. Owing to their increasing use, it is quite common to see LED flashlights in different designs, sizes, and light capacities on market shelves. But remember, not all flashlights are made the same. You need to consider many factors while purchasing flashlights for your use. The following post discusses a few important considerations that would ease your selection process.
Tips to Choose an LED Flashlight for Your Application
Here are some general tips for choosing an LED flashlight for your application:
Purpose of a Flashlight: A flashlight can be used for different purposes. It is quite common to find one in the drawer or glove compartment of a layman, a contractor, a DIYer, and of course you! Depending on your use and convenience, you may want to choose a flashlight that comfortably fits into your drawer, tool case, or pocket. Isn’t it ?
Water Resistance: A flashlight can be used for finding things in cramped spaces, fixing things around a house, examining plumbing or electrical work, and many more tasks. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you may want to carry it during camping, hiking, fishing, and biking. If so, among various things you need to focus on the IPX rating of the flashlight. Here IP refers to Ingress Protection and indicates the capability of flashlight to resist water. Refer to the table below for more details .
Can resist water drops falling on it for 10 minutes (1mm per minute rainfall)
Can resist spraying water when tilted up to 15o angle (3mm per minute rainfall)
Can resist spraying water when tilted up to 60o angle
Can resist spraying water from any angle
Can resist low pressure water stream directed at it from any angle ( 6.3mm rainfall for 15 minutes)
Can resist high pressure water stream directed at it from any angle (12.3mm rainfall for 3 minutes)
Can be submersed in 1 meter water depth for 30 minutes
Can resist continuous water submersion when used underwater for a long time
Note: If you plan to use a flashlight under water for a long time, then consider dual rating – IPX6/IPX8. This is because IPX8 can resist water submersion but can be damaged from water spray from beside. However, IPX6 indicates that the flashlight can withstand high pressure water stream from any angle.
Brightness: Until a few years ago, we associated brightness with watts. We usually preferred buying bulbs with certain watts. However, LED technology has changed it all. Today, you can find LED flashlights with fewer watts but assuring high brightness. Here lumens matter, which indicates the amount of light produced by a light source. The below table will give you an idea of the lumens required for your tasks .
Suited for searching in cramped places. It works well up to 100 meters.
Suited for searching up to 120 meters within home and outdoors
Suited for searching up to 250 meters while outdoors or inside home. It can serve as your best companion for hiking, camping, or challenging outdoor tasks.
Suited for most outdoor tasks. You can carry it during hiking, biking, sailing, fishing, hunting, and many other tactical tasks.
Suited for most outdoor tasks and can light up to 300 meters. It is perfect during caving, fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, and various tactical tasks.
Suited for most search and rescue and recreational activities outdoor.
Light Control Mode : As the name suggests, these modes will help you control the brightness of light during the use. The following are some common light modes of flashlights.
Strobe or Stroboscope
You can use this mode for additional power for a brief period of time.
Boost or Burst
You can use this mode for additional power for a brief period of time.
You can use this mode to produce emergency signal whenever required. In this mode, the flashlight will flash producing the word SOS in Morse Code.
You can use this mode when using flashlight during the night. Some brands may promote it as moonlight mode.
You can use this mode to draw attention outdoors. The flashlight will blink or flash multiple times. The speed of the flashlight can be easily adjusted.
Note: Some brands may promote flashlights with unique codes such as high beam, low beam, red emergency light mode, red SOS mode, and so on.
Battery Type : Flashlights may be equipped with 1.5V, 3V, and lithium-ion batteries. Generally, the 1.5V batteries may include type AA, AAA, C, and D batteries. The 3V batteries may include CR123A batteries, and lithium-ion batteries offer high outputs and last longer. Whenever choosing 1.5V batteries, the battery chemistry is quite important. There are three battery chemistries: Alkaline, Nickel-Metal Halide (NiMH) and Lithium.
Alkaline Batteries: This is the most common type of battery used in a flashlight. These batteries are not rechargeable and must be replaced at the end of their lifetime.
Nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH): You can recharge these batteries and reuse them multiple times before discarding them. NiMH batteries do not leak and possess longer runtimes than alkaline batteries.
Lithium: These batteries are not rechargeable, but last longer than the other two types mentioned here. Like NiMH, these batteries do not leak and store more energy than the earlier ones. If you keep flashlights in storage for a long time, these batteries are the best. They will last longer and you can start using the flashlight as soon as you pick it up.
Bulb Type : LED flashlights have gained popularity over conventional krypton bulb and incandescent bulb flashlights owing to the following reasons.
According to Energy Star, LED flashlight produces 90% more light than incandescent bulb flashlights.
LED lights do not fail or burn out like incandescent or krypton lights, rather, they experience lumen depreciation. The lifetime of LED flashlights is based on the output of light, which decreases by at least 30%.
These lights produce a narrow spectrum of visible light and there is no loss of energy to UV, IR, and more.
Many LED flashlights last longer up to 100,000 hours.
Budget : An LED flashlight may be priced anywhere between $25 and $200 or higher depending on its features. The high-priced ones may feature additional functions and are suited for special occasions. You can buy a flashlight that possesses features serving your purpose and fitting your budget.
Durability : Most LED flashlight bodies are made from plastic or aluminum. You can choose the right one depending on your use. For instance, flashlights made of plastic are ideal for carrying around; however, aluminum-bodied ones are ideal for tactical uses.
Flexibility : This may not be the regular feature that most others discuss, but it is quite important. There are times when your hands are full, still, you may need to carry a flashlight for finding a way in the dark or things in cramped spaces. You can consider headlamps or flexible flashlights that can be hung, stuck, clamp, wrapped, and stretched.
Now that you have the LED flashlight buying guide, the selection will be much easier. A good flashlight will illuminate your surroundings and lead you through the darkness.
Ashwani Kapur’s early career in India taught him the strict discipline of engineering in a competitive environment, Yet he wanted to discover a bigger world. Decades later, after visiting some 40 countries, Ashwani realised that the most important innovations simply make day-to-day life better.
Although he has had a successful career at some large multinational firms, Ashwani believes that “you don’t have to be a part of the space program to create a change”. That’s why he has built a flashlight to start with. According to design research conducted, customers wanted a reliable flashlight that would be hands free. So, he made one – and the world loves it!