Tricks to Consider When Buying LED Flashlights
With their low energy consumption and high light output, LEDs are widely used especially in strong lanterns, also known as tactical lanterns, search and rescue lanterns, camp lanterns and lamps, and projector lanterns. LEDs, which were extremely expensive when they were first released, can be very cheap today. But a flashlight is not just a light bulb inside. That is why I will tell you what to consider when buying a LED flashlight, and what features you should consider when evaluating a flashlight is good or bad.
What is the Advantage of LED Flashlight compared to Ordinary Flashlight?
In the past, incandescent lamp technology was common. These lamps or bulbs would convert most of their energy into heat. If something you want to produce light produces heat, it means that technology is inefficient in producing light. LED bulbs produce almost no heat, and their light-generating efficiency is very high. Therefore, even LED bulbs that are very small and consume very little energy can provide extremely high light output.
Considerations When Buying LED Flashlight
The price range of a LED flashlight is very wide. You can easily see that many brands on the market are trying to attract customers with false false scales. However, there are some standards that determine the compatibility of flashlights with various features. Most “fictitious” brands illuminate up to x distance. It uses uncertain and strange expressions as to what can be seen from far away. However, in nature, even a lighter flame at night can be seen from approximately 1000 meters. However, the lighter flame cannot illuminate 1000 meters. It is not the same thing as how far from a light source is seen, how much distance the human eye can see.
How to Understand the Light Power of LED Flashlight?
More precisely, the unit of measurement that expresses the power of a light source is called lumen. The abbreviation is lm. Lumen is such a unit, just as the measure of how long a meter corresponds is the same everywhere and does not vary from person to person.
Since the lumen does not change, why does the 100 watt incandescent or classic bulb emit the same light as the 20 watt economic bulb? ”. The answer to this question is simple. In this example, the unit that is changed is not the lumen. If the incandescent bulb consumes 1000 lumens of light by consuming 100 watts of energy, it means that the energy saving bulb consumes 20 watts to produce 1000 lumens of light. For this reason, one is efficient, that is economic, the other is not.
There are expressions such as CFL (Compact fluorescent lamp) sold in the markets or 20 watts = 100 watts in our common name. Don’t be confused by these. What is meant here is that the energy saving bulb produces 20 watts of power, and the incandescent bulb produces 100 watts of light, equivalent to that of light. The reason why companies write this on the packaging in this way is that most of us are accustomed to incandescent lamps and we can visualize the amount of light emitted by them. In short, this is how we can easily understand.
Already this behavior is gradually abandoned; Because lighting technologies are increasingly diverse, there is no point in expressing the amount of light based on the efficiency of the incandescent lamp. Since the production of incandescent lamps has been banned years ago, the new generation does not know how much light the incandescent lamp emits. For this reason, the brands with hand-held faces now write in lumens how much light they spread on the bulbs they sell, and their power consumption in watts.
To produce the amount of light produced by the incandescent bulb by consuming 120 watts of energy, the LED bulb consumes only about 10-13 watts of energy.
Now let’s see what the amount of light corresponds to in real life. Most of the lanterns we use are between 80-150 lumens. If you are going to work at your car once in a while, if you are looking at the shade places while making repairs, if you want to be in your car or when you have power cut, a led flashlight between 100-200 lumens will see your work easily.
I prefer flashlights of 800 lumens and above for works such as camping, hiking etc. However, these lanterns are not cheap.
Today, there are companies producing various LEDs at extremely cheap prices. However, one of the best is a company called Cree. Almost all good LED flashlight brands produce flashlights using the LEDs of this company. But be careful! As with all good things, Cree LEDs have counterfeits, and some “Çakıcı” brands use these LEDs and announce “There are Cree LEDs in our flashlights.” There are many videos explaining ways to distinguish fake of these LEDs. From my personal experience, the LEDs of all brands that are under a certain price and claim to be using Cree are fake Cree. In other words, if you want a flashlight below a certain price and if you want Cree brand LED to be used, we are sorry. Unfortunately, there is no world that says “be the best and be cheap.”
In addition, brands above a certain quality use either the beam distance expression or the candela (cd) unit, the dimensions of which are determined, instead of coffee shop expressions such as “There is this much meter light.” This unit, which we can translate into Turkish as a light intensity, can give you an idea about the power of light produced by the lantern.
Waterproofing IPX Standard When Buying LED Flashlight
Waterproofing is another issue to be considered when buying LED flashlights. In the past, waterproof or waterproof (waterproof, water resistant) was written on the waterproof devices. However, big brands do not do this anymore. There is a standard called IPX standard. You’ve probably heard of this concept thanks to waterproof mobile phones. It is useful to take care to buy a product that is specified on the packaging of these standards, rated between IPX0 and IPX8.
These concepts have been prepared considering detailed tests and common waterproofing scenarios that can happen to these devices, and if an IPX rating is written on a product, the company guarantees that the product will never be waterproof under those conditions. The IPX standard has various degrees such as water gushing, splashing, scattering, and the device completely sinking into the water. But it can be said in a nutshell that the most guaranteed of them is IPX8. If a product is stamped with IPX8, its terms are usually specified. For example, if a product says “IPX8 2 meters 60 minutes”, it means that this product will not be waterproof for 60 minutes in 2 meters deep water. However, after 60 minutes, the company does not provide a guarantee. If IPX8 says 20 meters, it means that the device will not be waterproof unless it falls into water at a depth exceeding 20 meters.
Lighting Distance When Buying LED Flashlight
In LED flashlights, the lighting distance does not depend on a single factor, such as lumen. Lighting distance when the lumen is directly related to the power of the LED; The power of the LED depends on the material and geometry of the reflector, the geometry of the protective glass (lens or flat, etc.) and whether the LED flashlight’s light is distributed homogeneously or not. In addition, companies may have chosen a design that will keep this distance long or short, depending on the purpose of the flashlight. For example; The LEDs used in Olight S2 Baton and Nitecore P10 LED lanterns are more or less the same power; even both used Cree XM-L2 series LEDs. One sub model is U3 and the other is T6.
Although the LED used in Olight S2 Baton is 950 lumens and the LED used in Nitecore P10 is 800 lumens, the beam distance of S2 Baton is 142 meters and the beam distance of P10 is 193 meters. So the beam of the lantern with lower LED reaches farther. Why? Because the S2 Baton designed as a general purpose lantern is designed to emit light homogeneously. In other words, it tries to illuminate the entire area it enlightens evenly. However, the P10 is designed as a tactical flashlight. It is more expedient to focus on this lantern, which is used by police, soldiers, search and rescue teams and if desired as a weapon flashlight.
That is, the illumination distance does not mean anything about the quality or power of a LED flashlight alone.
Battery Topic When Buying LED Flashlight
When buying an LED flashlight, you should also pay attention to the battery issue. Because some companies are able to produce lanterns in very strange breeds that use batteries that are difficult in our country or that are sold very expensive.
Almost all flashlights above a certain power use 18650 batteries. You may have heard of this battery as an electronic cigarette battery; but of course this is not the main purpose of the 18650 battery. Today, these batteries have a wide range of uses, from laptop batteries to Tesla’s electric cars.
These batteries, which are Li-Ion and are extremely powerful, do not have an uncharged model. Therefore, if you are going to buy a LED flashlight that works with these batteries, it is also useful to get a charger. Almost all LED flashlights powered by 1 18650 battery are also powered by 2 CR123A batteries; because this battery is exactly the same diameter and half the size with 18650 batteries.
18650 batteries have models with and without head (flat-top, button-top). Notice whether the flashlight you are buying is powered by either type of battery or 18650 batteries with head only. For example; While the Olight S2 Baton works with both, the Nitecore P10 can only run on 18650 batteries with heads. 18650 batteries with heads – not known – are quite difficult in our country.
When Buying LED Flashlights, Should I Use Rechargeable Battery or Disposable Battery?
In addition to all these, the availability of the battery of the lantern you will purchase is also important. For example; It is possible to find good or bad AA batteries, also called pen batteries, at any grocery store; however, you can obtain a 18650 battery only from special suppliers. Even most major technology markets do not sell such batteries. Similarly, AAA batteries called control batteries can be found everywhere, while CR123A batteries are only available from private suppliers and rarely in supermarkets with some major tech markets.
In other words, if you can carry spare batteries with you, you can use rechargeable and special quality batteries if you use the flashlight frequently and consume lots of batteries. However, if you do not carry your battery with you and you are likely to run out frequently, it is beneficial to supply a flashlight that works with batteries that are easy to find. You can buy the rechargable batteries, such as pen battery and control battery, to get rid of the battery expense and work in disposable batteries. But we have to drop a footnote that almost all flashlights above a certain power and working hours use special batteries like 18650.
It is also useful to remind you about 18650 batteries. These batteries are very powerful and high capacity and Li-Ion batteries. So, just like smartphone batteries, there is a possibility of explosion if they make a short circuit. Some suppliers ship these batteries with single or double storage boxes. If you do not have such a possibility, be careful not to short circuit these batteries. In addition, these batteries, like all Li-Ion batteries, do not like excessive heat. Therefore, if you live in areas that can reach extremely high temperatures, it is beneficial not to leave your lanterns working with these batteries in your vehicles.
There are also batteries whose battery is never removed and charged. Although these provide savings in terms of battery costs, it is necessary to evaluate whether there is a possibility of charging in the place you go or use; aside from the possibility of replacing the lanterns’ batteries in the field, you are not even able to change batteries.