8 Easy Steps To Choosing The Best LED Flashlight

perfect backpacking torchAs you know,  the LED flashlights are very popular around the world. With everyone from the basic dog walker, camper, survivalists, and even law enforcement agent, are calling on the led version of light over the old school style. But how do you know what is the best one for your needs? How do you know if you should pay $300 or $5?

 

Here Are 8 Easy Steps To Help You Choose The Most Suitable LED Flashlight:

1.  What do You Need It For?

First up, you will need to determine what the real need is. Basically if you are conducting a search and rescue operation in the mountains of Colorado, then you should probably start looking at the long range torches. These are usually the lights with a focused beam that has more than 1,000 lumens. I suggest making sure it is durable too, it would really suck to be out in the woods without a light because you dropped it when stumbling over log on the ground.

If is for camping, hiking, fishing, sailing, or basic recreation, you probably can get by with 300-1000 lumens. This type does not have to be so technical in options but yet it should be tough.

For those general use situations such as around the house, attic or for power outages, look for one that is 100-300 lumens. This brightness is plenty bright for short distances like when searching in the garage for the light switch.

lumens scale

2.  Decide How Much Brightness You Need

Brighter is not always better! Since the brightest LED flashlights are not just tools and have become cool gadgets, everyone thinks the brighter the light the better it is. Flashlight Connoisseurs would disagree. Finding the right brightness of torch is kind of like pairing a good beer or wine with your favorite dinner. It’s not one size fits all situations. Think about it, you don’t necessarily need to carry a $400 300+ lumen light in the glove box of your car.

You need to decide how bright the light really needs to be because that could affect the weight and size too.

10 – 20 Lumens: good for close range tasks such as finding keys in your backpack, finding the keyhole in the front door, beam distance up to 100 meters.

20 – 150 lumens: beam distance of around 120 meters, great for around the garage, house, dog walking and especially handy when working on mechanics such as cars.

160 -200 lumens: these torches throw a beam around 250 meters and are great for general purposes, walking/hiking, camping, around the house, tactical work and personal security.

200 – 500 lumens: purpose made for tactical/hunting, work, climbing, hiking, various work uses, fishing, and sailing

600 – 1,000 lumens: this is where it gets fun.  You get beam distances of over 300 meters in some models which is great for camping, hiking, hunting, caving, fishing or industrial uses.

1,000 plus lumens: not for around the house or in built-up areas!  These are serious outdoor lights fantastic for search and rescue, hunting, work or recreation on large properties. This level of lumens is even great for spotting boats on the water.

2,000 plus lumens: Do you really need anything this bright? Seriously, there are flashlights/spotlights this bright and even brighter for that matter, but you can start getting into some serious coin when looking at good ones.

Click here for current pricing and reviews for LED flashlights.

3.  Weight and Composition and Waterproofing

Now every time I use a torch I think about these 3 features. The first feature being the most important in my opinion, but you judge for yourself. The weight of the light is important because if I am hiking or backpacking the Appalachian trail, the last thing I want is to have is an over weighted pack. Now for those of you who are avid hikers, know it is more than the weight of your flashlight, but every  ounce you can shave off the better. So keep the weight in mind to is all I am saying. Here is an example of a small compact Fenix flashlight with 860 lumens.

Composition and waterproofing sort of goes hand in hand when you think about it. Most of the quality led flashlights are made from aircraft grade aluminum is has become the standard for most tactical style lights as well. The same goes for waterproofing too. If you are looking for a high quality led light then chances are you will end up with an aluminum housing that is waterproof. For the few that just need a good led light then check out the Dorcy brand.

David and Goliath4.  Size Doesn’t Always Matter

Look at David & Goliath. David was a runt but yet he knew his tool the slingshot and took down a giant called Goliath.

LED flashlights have come a long way over the years. They are becoming more compact in size mainly due to the American Cree energy efficient technology. Engineers know the tools that people are looking for and have been able to produce large amounts of power and lumens off of small AAA and AA batteries. Lithium batteries provide even more power than the standard alkaline.

Flashlights are now smaller and more compact largely due to the Cree technology and smaller batteries or fewer batteries in some cases.

5.  Type of Batteries

That leads me to tip 5 – Type of batteries the LED flashlight will use.

Normal alkaline batteries: easy to source from your local supermarket, handy and convenient.  However they don’t have the runtime or shelf-life of lithium batteries

Disposable Lithium Batteries such as CR123A batteries have a longer runtime and shelf-life than alkaline but cost a bit more, so this could cause some problems unless you buy rechargeable lithium-ion batteries

Rechargeable Lithium-ion Batteries are the best power source for top quality LED torches.  With long runtime and shelf-life as well as the added convenience of being rechargeable, the real advantage is that you’ll never be out of batteries.  You can use turbo mode (maximum brightness) as much as you like without having to constantly buy new batteries

6.  Beam Features and Modes

Most of the lights that I look for these days have various modes vs the standard

flashlight features

on/off button.

Low-mid-high-turbo brightness levels

Pencil beam – handy for honing in on a target or object

Wide beam – great to illuminate your surroundings

Strobe mode – good for emergency and signaling

Flashing mode – good for signaling, Morse code and emergencies

7.  Brand Name

Here is where I am going to challenge the Flashlight Connoisseurs about brand names. Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer in the brand name torches such as Surefire, Fenix and Olight. However, I believe it comes down to the purpose in which you need the tool in the first place. Does it really make sense to spend $150 on a Surefire to keep in the kitchen junk drawer to use around the house? On the flip side of that do you really want to trust a cheaper tactical light that you paid $15 for at Lowes but you just know the quality and performance are just not there? Imagine you are relying on this during a search and rescue op or spelunking…

So keep these points in mind too:

  • Better performance 
  • Bigger brightness 
  • Additional beam variations 
  • Longer lifespan, some brands up to 50,000 hours 
  • Excellent warranties up to 3 years 
  • Peace of mind 

With that said, can you really compare apples with apples when it comes to all the features these brands of flashlight are supposed to have?  That’s a great question.  The answer is that you can confidently compare the functionality of all flashlights that have ANSI International Standards accreditation.

8.  Price

Like the saying goes,”You get what you pay for”.

As with everything, you get what you pay for.  You can spend $20-$50 and get a small LED that’ll serve you well for a short time. The top brand names will cost you $30-$200 depending on the brightness and functionality.  For the big search and rescue torches, you’re looking at paying over $200.

 Click here for current pricing and reviews for the top led flashlights.

The best thing to do in determining the best LED Flashlight is work through these 8 steps and determine your exact flashlight then you’re well on your way to owning the perfect light for you and also getting the best value for your money. To learn about BestFlashlightSpot.com or read about flashlight reviews; Click Here.