What Are Flashlights?

flashlightsHumanity’s ways of providing a portable light source have come a long way since the days of the crude torch. With the invention of the flashlight by David Misell in 1899, humanity’s way of finding a bright spot in the dark became a lot easier. While modern flashlights are much more reliable than the crude “flash” of light provided by Misell’s invention over a century ago, modern day flashlights still provide a way to shed light on the world in areas where a traditional light source is either inaccessible or dangerous to use. The modern flashlight ranges from the small, dollar store AAA powered bulbs with colorful cartoon characters printed on the casing to industrial strength emergency response flashlights intended for use in hurricane response settings, and can come in an ever wider range of makes, models, bulb types, and power sources.

How it Works

The traditional flashlight uses the energy stored in dry-cell batteries or other forms of energy transference, such as a crank handle device that transfers kinetic energy into the flashlight’s internal electronics, generating a source of light. The batteries are connected to the light source, either a traditional incandescent bulb or another kind of light source, such as LED and mercury bulbs, by a conductor metal. The switch on the outside of a flashlight either completes or breaks the connection between the metal on the batteries and the metal base of the light source, which allows the flashlight to turn off and on. While flashlights operate off of some of the simplest electronic components, to the point where it is possible to operate a flashlight using a potato for a battery, the wide range of uses and types of flashlights outshines their simplistic technological components.

Best Flashlights For The Money

Here are some of the better examples of flashlights available to buy:

SaleBestseller No. 1
GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 [2 PACK] - High Lumen, Zoomable, 5 Modes, Water Resistant, Handheld Light - Best Camping, Outdoor, Emergency, Everyday Flashlights
3,606 Reviews
GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 [2 PACK] - High Lumen, Zoomable, 5 Modes, Water Resistant, Handheld Light - Best Camping, Outdoor, Emergency, Everyday Flashlights
  • ULTRA BRIGHT & LONG-LASTING - Easily light up an entire room or focus in on objects up to 1000 feet away! 10 times brighter than old incandescent lights. Conveniently powered for hours with 3 AAA batteries or one 18650 rechargeable battery. (Batteries not included)
  • COMPACT, ADJUSTABLE FOCUS, & FIVE MODES - 5 Useful Settings (High|Medium|Low|Strobe|SOS) and wide-to-narrow beam zoom makes it ideal for use around the house, dog walking, or camping. It is compact enough to fit in your pocket, backpack, or purse allowing for easy storage and quick access.
  • WATER RESISTANT & VIRTUALLY INDESTRUCTIBLE - Built for rough handling, this flashlight can survive a 10-foot drop or being temporary submerged under water. You can even freeze or run it over with a truck and it will still work! Suitable for use in rain, snow, or emergency situations.
  • AS SEEN ON TV + BONUS - Same "military" tactical flashlight as seen on TV, shopping networks, and commercials but at a fraction of the price! Includes a bonus pouch/holster to safely store your flashlight.
  • EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, 2 FLASHLIGHTS & 2 BONUS CASES - Keep one in your car, one in your home, or gift one to a friend or family member. Every genuine GearLight comes with a one-year no questions asked replacement warranty and friendly customer service provided by GearLight, a U.S.-based company.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Vont 2 Pack LED Camping Lantern, Portable, Great Addition to: Survival Kits for Hurricane, Emergency, Storm, Outages, Outdoor Portable Lantern, Black, Collapsible, Battery Powered
8,152 Reviews
Vont 2 Pack LED Camping Lantern, Portable, Great Addition to: Survival Kits for Hurricane, Emergency, Storm, Outages, Outdoor Portable Lantern, Black, Collapsible, Battery Powered
  • SUPER BRIGHT: Awarded Amazon's Choice for "LED Camping Lantern" because their 30 individual LED bulbs provide 360° of super-bright light. Our version is the original patent pending design.
  • FEATHER-LIGHT: Smart construction and streamlined design make these easy to pack and carry. Easily fits in any backpack.
  • MILITARY-GRADE CONSTRUCTION: Built to withstand the rigor of country excursions, natural disasters and over-caffeinated toddlers. We construct these with military-grade materials that are practically indestructible. Fully water resistant.
  • HIGHLY EFFICIENT: Our low-power, long-lasting LEDs provide bright, powerful illumination without sucking up all your battery power so you can light up the darkness, without lightening your wallet. Each lantern provides over 20,000 hours of light and can be used indoors & outdoors. We are a completely green company.
  • FOLDAWAY HANDLE: Includes a foldaway handle you can use to hang our lantern from a branch, beam or tent-pole. You can also use to hand-carry your lantern.
SaleBestseller No. 3
UV Flashlight Black light UV Lights, Vansky 51 LED Ultraviolet Blacklight Pet Urine Detector For Dog/Cat Urine,Dry Stains,Bed Bug, Matching with Pet Odor Eliminator
2,974 Reviews
UV Flashlight Black light UV Lights, Vansky 51 LED Ultraviolet Blacklight Pet Urine Detector For Dog/Cat Urine,Dry Stains,Bed Bug, Matching with Pet Odor Eliminator
  • PRACTICAL -- Vansky UV flashlight black light is Perfect for Revealing Dry Dog, Cat and Rodent Stains and unfavourable Spots that Couldn't See With the Naked Eye. Easily Spot Scorpions, Authenticate currency,Driver license,Official Identification cards,Passports. It can also act as Nail Dryer. Matching with Pet Odor Eliminator
  • Detect Larger Area with Brighter Light -- This UV Light has 51 UV LEDs which is 30% Brighter than other lights. It Also covers larger area without weaken the light. No Need to Crawl Around Sniffing the Floor Any Longer.There's No Need to Steam Clean the Entire Carpet, UV Sight Will Pinpoint the Areas With Ease.
  • QUALITY ASSURANCE -- The Black Light Emits 395nm wavelength with 51 top quality ultraviolet flashlight, each LED lasts up to 12 years. Heavy Duty Aluminium Alloy Blacklight Flashlight for this URINE DETECTOR.
  • Save Time & Money - With the urine detector light,You can exactly detect the invisible stains in carpet.Just think No more paying for professional cleaners,With the best rank Rocco & Roxie odor and stain remover http://a.co/elW1qUT ,Make your cleaning simple.
  • WHAT YOU GET -- This is an Exclusive Selling by Vanskytek Direct.We never authorize other sellers to sell our uv flashlight.If you purcahse it from other sellers,we would not offer Hassle-free Guarantee .Vansky 51 Leds Pet UV Urine & Stain Detector UV Flashlight Blacklight(Batteries are not included),45 Days Money Back & One Year Guarantee and Friendly, Easy-to-reach Support.
Bestseller No. 4
GearLight LED Headlamp Flashlight S500 [2 PACK] - Running, Camping, and Outdoor Headlamps - Best Head Lamp with Red Safety Light for Adults and Kids
215 Reviews
GearLight LED Headlamp Flashlight S500 [2 PACK] - Running, Camping, and Outdoor Headlamps - Best Head Lamp with Red Safety Light for Adults and Kids
  • SUPER BRIGHT & LONG-LASTING - Advanced American LED technology replicates daylight color and definition with 200 lumens of brightness. Runtime of up to 45 hours on low and 3 hours on high. (Powered by 3 AAA batteries - not included.)
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMFORTABLE - Weighing only 3 oz with batteries, it is the ideal headlamp for runners and outdoor adventurers. The removable, washable, and adjustable headband comfortably fits adult and children alike.
  • WEATHER AND SHOCK RESISTANT - Water resistant and drop tested to stand up to harsh conditions, the S500 headlamp is suitable for rain or snow, indoors or outdoors. It is the perfect addition to your running, camping, fishing, hiking, backpacking, hunting, or cycling gear.
  • PIVOTING HEAD AND 7 MODES - The 45 degree adjustable headlight gives you the freedom to direct light exactly where you need it - even in tight spaces. Quickly choose from 7 lighting modes. (WHITE BEAM: Low, Medium, High, Strobe I RED BEAM: Low, SOS, Strobe)
  • EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, INCLUDES 2 HEADLAMPS - Keep one in your car, one in your home, or gift one to a friend or family member. Every genuine GearLight comes with a one-year no questions asked replacement warranty and friendly customer service provided by GearLight, a U.S.-based company.
Bestseller No. 5
Rechargeable headlamp,Elmchee 12000 Lumen 6 LED 8 Modes 18650 USB Rechargeable Waterproof Flashlight Head Lights for Camping, Hiking, Outdoors
929 Reviews
Rechargeable headlamp,Elmchee 12000 Lumen 6 LED 8 Modes 18650 USB Rechargeable Waterproof Flashlight Head Lights for Camping, Hiking, Outdoors
  • 【Hands Free】With Elmchee rechargeable headlamp you can have a reliable, hands-free led headlight to brighten up your environment, leaving you free to work, read, and explore whenever and wherever you want.
  • 【8 WORKING MODES】 this movable brightest LED head light is prepared to adjust to a full range of lighting needs. You can set up the color mode via pressing the key light.High,low,all and SOS strobe 4 modes.When key light working, press 3 seconds mode button to enter the auxiliary light mode,and you can choose high, low, red light, and SOS strobe.
  • 【Rechargeable & Long Lasting 】--High Quality 1500mAh Li-polymer battery and 6 Super bright LEDs to shine stronger, brighter, and longer. The lifetime of the LED lights is over 100,000 hours. You should never need to change them.
  • 【IPX-4 WATER RESISTANT】It protects against splashing water from anywhere, no need to worry about rains, snow. Lamp swivels can be 90 degrees adjusted, convenient for you to light different environment. Helpful tool for camping, caving, climbing, mountaineering, fishing, hunting, car repairing, DIY works or emergency.
  • 【Two-year warranty 】We provide 100% refund guarantee and if you are not satisfactory with our projecting light we will provide fully refund or free change.This is totally free risk purchase!
SaleBestseller No. 6
LED Tactical Flashlight, Binwo Super Bright 2000 Lumen XML T6 LED Flashlights Portable Outdoor Water Resistant Torch Light Zoomable Flashlight with 5 Light Modes, 2 Pack
659 Reviews
LED Tactical Flashlight, Binwo Super Bright 2000 Lumen XML T6 LED Flashlights Portable Outdoor Water Resistant Torch Light Zoomable Flashlight with 5 Light Modes, 2 Pack
  • 【SUPER BRIGHT & LONG-LASTING】 Binwo high Lumen flashlight LED Bulb provides bright light, powerful Lumen LED generates a brilliant large area floodlight or a perfectly focused spotlight over a beam distance of 656ft/200m. Intense spotlight for long range observation. Super bright high performance LED flashlight with high quality of 50,000 hours working life.
  • 【ZOOMABLE FLASHLIGTH & ADJUSTABLE FOCUS】 Our flashlights utilize the latest durable CREE XML T6 LED chip, provides super bright light beam. This high-quality CREE LED Torch supports distance with easy-controlled head-pulling zoom and easy mode-switch by light taps of button. You can adjustable focus range for different usage, stretching to adjust its focus and get spot beam and flood beams you need.Super bright zoomable focus perfect for distant observation and wide range illumination.
  • 【5 LIGHT MODES CAN BE EASILY CONVERTED】 Binwo LED flashlight supports five switchable modes, High / Medium / Low / Strobe / SOS. A full-press to switch on and off and a half-press to cycle through lighting modes (a rapid off-on press also cycles lighting modes).Convenient for your using. If you want to buy a flashlight set (18650 battery and charger include) , please click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075DVV53M
  • 【SUPER DURABLE】 The body of this flashlight is built of high quality aluminum alloy. Sturdy and durable enough for long time daily using. This flashlight skid-proof, abrasion resistance and ordinary waterproof design for better experience. Waterproof in accordance with IPX-5, suitable for outdoor environment and adverse weather conditions.
  • 【PORTABLE MINI SIZE】Binwo LED flashlight is portable mini size, Length: 5.39in, Diameter: 1.37; Weight 185g, fits well in your hand or pocket. Compact to fit easily into your pocket wherever you go. Skid-proof design & water resistant for multiple outdoor uses in adverse weather conditions. Push button tail switch for easy one-handed operation, feel more comfortable and safe.
SaleBestseller No. 7
Hausbell 7W Ultra Bright Mini LED Flashlight Tactical Flashlight (2 Pack)
3,552 Reviews
Hausbell 7W Ultra Bright Mini LED Flashlight Tactical Flashlight (2 Pack)
  • Super Bright. 300 Lumens (Max) output and 3 settings (bright / dim / strobe) to meet your everyday use.
  • Skid-proof design & water-resistant design. Suitable for cycling, hiking, camping and other outdoor activities.
  • Easy to carry. Super mini size, fits in the palm of your hand. Great for keeping in the car, toolbox or beside the couch.
  • Zoom feature. Adjustable focus range to concentrate the beam or widen it to light up a bigger area.
  • Power source: one 14500 rechargeable lithium-ion battery or one AA battery (not included)
SaleBestseller No. 8
Escolite UV Flashlight Black Light, 51 LED 395 nM Ultraviolet Blacklight Detector for Dog Urine, Pet Stains and Bed Bug
4,845 Reviews
Escolite UV Flashlight Black Light, 51 LED 395 nM Ultraviolet Blacklight Detector for Dog Urine, Pet Stains and Bed Bug
  • 3 AA Standard Alkiline Battery(Not Included), Voltage:4.5V (Rechargeable battery is not recommended!)
  • 51 UV LED allow to cover a larger area
  • Perfect for outside use such as hunting scorpions and minerals!
  • Emits 390 to 395 nanometer wavelength
  • Tips:Improper usage of batteries or using poor quality of batteries could cause hazard issue to your safety.We recommend to use reliable quality batteries. Any issues caused by batteries DO NOT covered by the manufacturer warranties.
Bestseller No. 9
TaoTronics Black Light, UV Blacklight Flashlights, 12 LEDs 395nm, 3 Free AAA Batteries, for Pets Urine and Stains Detector
4,438 Reviews
TaoTronics Black Light, UV Blacklight Flashlights, 12 LEDs 395nm, 3 Free AAA Batteries, for Pets Urine and Stains Detector
  • TaoTronics UV flashlight: make invisible visible.
  • Clearly showing dried unine&stains of dogs on carpet\rugs\clothes, food stains on floor\table
  • Easily spot scorpions, authenticate currency,driver license,official identification cards,passports
  • Brighter with fairly focused output: Emits 395nm wavelength with 12 top quality ultraviolet led lights,
  • High quality batteries included: 3 AAA batteries last up to 5 hours for this UV flashlight, not work well on cat urine
SaleBestseller No. 10
Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight - 165 Lumen, 3 x AAA Batteries Operated, Bright White Cree Led + Red Light, Perfect for Runners, Lightweight, Waterproof, Adjustable Headband, 3 AAA Batteries Included
4,009 Reviews
Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight - 165 Lumen, 3 x AAA Batteries Operated, Bright White Cree Led + Red Light, Perfect for Runners, Lightweight, Waterproof, Adjustable Headband, 3 AAA Batteries Included
  • SUPER BRIGHT CREE-3W LED TECHNOLOGY (200 feet beam) - wide variety of white & red light modes + 90° tiltable body makes this headlight brightest and most versatile in its class. SOS and strobe mode will keep you safe in any situation.
  • WATERPROOF AND DURABLE - why equip yourself with anything but the best and most reliable headlamp? MX20 is built to last. It is rated to IPX5, which means it is protected against splashing or spraying water from any angle.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMFORTABLE - you won't even notice wearing it. Weighing only 3.2 ounces (with batteries) with easily adjustable, ergonomically designed elastic headband makes this light perfect for long distance runners or anyone else looking for a comfortable fit.
  • SUPER LONG BATTERY LIFE - by using leading CREE - 3W technology MX20 provides more light with less power used, resulting in up to 45 hours of run-time. 3 AAA ENERGIZER batteries included. Each headtorch has been tested for quality and is ready for adventure!
  • 100% SATISFACTION, NO QUESTIONS ASKED MONEY BACK GUARANTEE - we are so confident you will love our headlamp that we offer money back guaranty with complete lifetime warranty. Click "ADD TO CART" button now and have your FOXELLI MX20 headlamp shipped today!

The Latest In Flashlights

SaleNew
GearLight LED Headlamp Flashlight V500 [2 PACK] - Running, Camping, and Reading Head Lamp/Headlight - Perfect Headlamps with Red Light for Adults and Kids
51 Reviews
GearLight LED Headlamp Flashlight V500 [2 PACK] - Running, Camping, and Reading Head Lamp/Headlight - Perfect Headlamps with Red Light for Adults and Kids
  • ULTRA BRIGHT & LONG-LASTING - Easily light up your path with this first-rate high quality headlamp. U.S. developed XPG2 LED generates a powerful beam with daylight color and definition. Runtime of up to 45 hours on low and 3 hours on high. (Powered by 3 AAA batteries - not included.)
  • FLOOD, SPOT, AND RED LIGHT MODES - The flood beam is perfect for hands-free closeup tasks such as crafting and repairs. Select the powerful spot beam mode to light up your path while walking or jogging or the red light mode to be more visible to passing motorists. 6 useful lighting modes. (WHITE BEAM: High, Medium, Strobe, Flood I RED BEAM: Low, Strobe)
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & COMFORTABLE - Weighing only 1.8 oz (3 oz with batteries), it is the ideal headlamp for runners and outdoor adventurers. The removable, washable, and adjustable headband comfortably fits adult and children alike.
  • WEATHER + SHOCK RESISTANT - Water resistant and drop tested to stand up to harsh conditions, the V500 headlamp is suitable for rain or snow, indoors or outdoors. It is the perfect addition to your tool box, fishing, hiking, backpacking, hunting, or cycling gear.
  • [EXCEPTIONAL VALUE] INCLUDES 2 HEADLAMPS - Keep one in your car, one in your home, or gift one to a friend or family member. Every genuine GearLight comes with a one-year no questions asked replacement warranty and friendly customer service provided by GearLight, a U.S.-based company.
New
Smart Win Green Light Pointer High Power Visible Beam with Adjustable Focus for Hunting Hiking
1 Reviews
Smart Win Green Light Pointer High Power Visible Beam with Adjustable Focus for Hunting Hiking
  • Super bright green light pointer: remove the cap, you can see the light rail even in mid-day, it can even light a match.
  • Different patterns: you can see different patterns when rotate cap, it can bring you or your pet interesting play.
  • Safe child lock green light pointer: rotate the switch to the red or green point to turn off or turn on the pointer anytime, anywhere.
  • Different types of batteries can be used: high-quality portable pointer can always be with you for work or play. You can use 18650 or 16340 rechargeable lithium battery in our green light pointer.
  • Set includeds: 1 x green light pointer + 1 x removable multi-pattern cap + 1 x 18650 battery + 1 x charger + 2 x keys .
New
Dinsom Green Light Pointer High Power Visible Beam with Adjustable Focus for Hunting Hiking
8 Reviews
Dinsom Green Light Pointer High Power Visible Beam with Adjustable Focus for Hunting Hiking
  • Super bright green light pointer: remove the cap, you can see the light rail even in mid-day, it can even light a match.
  • Different patterns: you can see different patterns when rotate cap, it can bring you or your pet interesting play.
  • Safe child lock green light pointer: rotate the switch to the red or green point to turn off or turn on the pointer anytime, anywhere.
  • Different types of batteries can be used: high-quality portable pointer can always be with you for work or play. You can use 18650 or 16340 rechargeable lithium battery in our green light pointer.
  • Set includeds: 1 x green light pointer + 1 x removable multi-pattern cap + 1 x 18650 battery + 1 x charger + 2 x keys

Types of Flashlights

Designs

Flashlights come in a wide range of designs, from lanterns, which are used in camping and low- electricity situations to provide a more constant overhead light, to handheld flashlights. The term flashlight also includes headlamps, which are most often used during outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, or in tight areas such as crawlspaces where holding a flashlight would be bulky or nearly impossible. For the most part, headlamps and lanterns can include incandescent and LED light options depending on the price range and intended purpose, while most other forms of lighting come in the form of a handheld flashlight.

Incandescent Bulb

The most common and cheapest option for a flashlight is the incandescent bulb. The incandescent bulb is the same kind of light source used by the original flashlight in 1899, and as such is much cheaper and widely produced than some of the other options for flashlights. However, due to the fragile nature of the filament inside of the bulbs, these flashlights are one of the most breakable ones and are not recommended for high-impact situations. Due to the need to produce heat to create light, these bulbs also end up draining the batteries of the flashlights much quicker than some other options, so for long term situations another form of flashlight may be more useful.

LED

LED flashlights are a fairly new technology that is rapidly developing. While LED lights are most commonly associated with multi-color decorative lights and electronic screens, LED flashlights come in “white” light options that have a more bluish tone to them. LED lights are very battery efficient, as they do not require the production of heat to turn on. With the bulbs being much less fragile than the incandescent options, LED lights are a good mid-range price point flashlight for an emergency kit or a camping trip. The only downside of a LED flashlight is that many people find the bluish light very unnatural and it can cause headaches in individuals that are prone to migraines.

HID, Xenon, Halogen, and Krypton

High Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs are much more bulky and expensive than LED bulbs. The light is created by ionized gas, and as such the mechanics for creating the flashlight tend to be more complex and more expensive than your average flashlight. However, HID flashlights provide an intense beam of light and are long lasting. They are often used in industrial and emergency situations to create a high powered, focused beam to light to search an area or provide a clear line of site to a safe point. Xenon, Halogen, and Krypton are flashlights that have a pressurized gas inside the bulb to help increase the lifetime of the bulb itself. This allows these kinds of flashlights to produce one of the brightest lights possible for a hand-held flashlight without draining the batteries. However, they are not nearly as durable or reliable as LED flashlights.

Crank and Shake Flashlights

While crank flashlights are slowly moving out of fashion, these incandescent flashlights produce and store light through sheer manpower. The lights are charged through a crank handle, which allows for the storing of a small amount of energy. The energy acts as a renewable battery source, allowing these flashlights to work in an environment where batteries are limited. The modern day replacement for crank flashlights are the shake flashlight, which uses a pair of magnets to generate energy when shaken near each other. The interactions of the magnetic fields allow for the generation of a small amount of energy that produces a weak source of light. While the lights provided are not nearly as bright as some of the other options, the shake flashlight does not require batteries, allowing it to be readily used without concerns of keeping batteries on hand.

Here is a YouTube video explaining how flashlights are made:

When picking out the right flashlight type, keep in mind the intended use. For a children’s sleepover, an incandescent bulb is a cheap, entertaining option. However, for a hurricane or tornado kit, or for everyday use on the job, consider looking into more durable lighting options.

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