Understanding Your Flashlight Choices

The key factors to compare when selecting a flashlight:

  • Light output
  • Battery type and run time
  • Size and weight

Flashlights range from under $20 to over $200, yet they may be the same size. What are the differences? Brightness is the biggest one. A pricier light is more powerful due to the use of advanced bulb, battery and circuitry technology. A rechargeable battery can add to the cost, as can features such as strong impact- and water-resistance, effective heat dissipation and multiple lighting modes.

Shopping in person? Check out the following:

  • How does the light switch on and off? Could it be inadvertently switched on inside your pack? Or, if you plan to use it in cold conditions, how easily could you switch it on or off wearing gloves?
  • Does it appear rugged enough (or, conversely, light enough) for your needs?
  • How does it feel in your hand?
  • Is a tool required to change batteries?

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