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
3,352 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
8,028 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
2,836 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
Anker Super Bright Tactical Flashlight, Rechargeable (18650 Battery Included), Zoomable, IP65 Water-Resistant, 900 Lumens CREE LED, 5 Light Modes for Camping and Hiking, Bolder LC90
3,311 Reviews
Anker Super Bright Tactical Flashlight, Rechargeable (18650 Battery Included), Zoomable, IP65 Water-Resistant, 900 Lumens CREE LED, 5 Light Modes for Camping and Hiking, Bolder LC90
  • SUPER-BRIGHT: 900-lumen (max) Cree LED sweeps bright light over the length of about two football fields (660 ft / 200 m) and reaches nearly 1000 ft. Fully zoomable from wide to narrow beam. Features 5 adaptable settings: High / Medium / Low / Strobe / SOS.
  • LONG-LASTING: Up to 6 hours (Medium-beam mode) of powerful, non-diminishing brightness from the included premium rechargeable 3350mAh battery. LEDs boast an extended 50000-hour lifespan. Recharge in just 6 hours with a 1A adapter (not included) and the included Micro USB cable.
  • TOUGH & RELIABLE: IP65-rated water resistant and designed for use in heavy rain. Its durable aluminum body and shock-resistance endure rough handling.
  • SMART DESIGN: A pocket-friendly compact chassis with an anti-slip finish holds fast in your hand or stands on-end as an emergency lamp.
  • WHAT YOU GET: Anker Bolder LC90 Flashlight, 18650 3350mAh rechargeable battery, Micro USB cable, wrist strap, welcome guide, and our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
SaleBestseller No. 5
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
3,864 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!
Bestseller No. 6
GearLight LED Headlamp Flashlight S500 [2 PACK] - Running, Camping, and Outdoor Headlamps - Best Head Lamp with Red Safety Light for Adults and Kids
135 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.
SaleBestseller No. 7
LOFTEK UV Flashlight Black Light, 51 LED 395 nM Ultraviolet Flashlight Perfect Detector for Pet (Dog/Cat) Urine, Dry Stains and Bed Bug, Handheld Blacklight for Scorpion Hunting
1,208 Reviews
LOFTEK UV Flashlight Black Light, 51 LED 395 nM Ultraviolet Flashlight Perfect Detector for Pet (Dog/Cat) Urine, Dry Stains and Bed Bug, Handheld Blacklight for Scorpion Hunting
  • QUALITY ASSURANCE: Made from sturdy and high quailtity aluminum and 51 LEDs with 100,000+ hour bulb lifespan.
  • EFFICIENT INSPECTOR & MULTIFUNCTIONAL TOOL: Hotel room inspection, reveal hidden pet stains fluids, detect scorpions bed bugs, rodent contamination,authenticate counterfeit currency,etc. Essential tool for law enforcement, postal inspections, customs, medical forensics, HVAC repair.
  • LARGE WAVELENGTH & WIDELY COVERAGE: 51 powerful UV LED bulbs emits 395 nanometer wavelength, allow to cover a larger area, requires 3 AA batteries (not included).
  • HASSLE-FREE SUPPORT:12 months warranty.Purchased from LOFTEK Direct, Feel free to contact and reflect any manufacturing issues during the warranty, Support by LOFTEK Direct.
  • IMPORTANT TIP: Improper usage of batteries or using poor quality of batteries would cause terrible for your flashlight. We recommend to use reliable quality batteries. If the flashlight is not used, please take the battery out and place in a dry place.
SaleBestseller No. 8
Escolite UV Flashlight Black Light, 51 LED 395 nM Ultraviolet Blacklight Detector for Dog Urine, Pet Stains and Bed Bug
4,747 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
4,369 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
RAYOVAC Value Bright 85-Lumen 6V 10-LED Floating Lantern Battery with Battery, BEPLN6V-BTA
736 Reviews
RAYOVAC Value Bright 85-Lumen 6V 10-LED Floating Lantern Battery with Battery, BEPLN6V-BTA
  • 85 lumen long range 10 LEDs that never need replacing
  • 45 hour runtime, which is 10 times longer than the incandescent floating lantern EFL6V-BA
  • Waterproof lantern floats
  • 410 feet (125 meters) beam distance
  • Tray packed for easy display and includes one 6V alkaline battery, lifetime warranty

The Latest In Flashlights

SaleNew
Headlamp Flashlight Rechargeable with USB,Motion Sensor Ultra Bright 600 Lumen LED+COB Work Headlight Use Time Up to 15H,5 Bright Modes,Waterproof Head Lamp for Running,Camping,Fishing,Hunting
10 Reviews
Headlamp Flashlight Rechargeable with USB,Motion Sensor Ultra Bright 600 Lumen LED+COB Work Headlight Use Time Up to 15H,5 Bright Modes,Waterproof Head Lamp for Running,Camping,Fishing,Hunting
  • SUPER SENSOR SWITCH:The headlamp flashlight adopts high quality motion sensor which ensures the light could be turned ON/OFF by waving your hand within 10cm.Super convenient while your hands are working and save time.
  • EASY CHARGE & USE LONG TIME:Bulit-in lithium battery,the rechargeable headlamp could be waterproof and could be easy to charge with USB cable which make sure for long use time.It could be used for 15 hours after being fully charged for 4-6 hours.
  • ULTRA LIGHT & 5 BRIGHT MODES:With improved three light source,high brightness main XPE lamp and COB 600 lumen and mosquito repellent sensor red led light,the induction headlamp is ultra bright compare with other headlight.5 modes for use-high brightness,low brightness,COB auxiliary light,main light+auxiliary light,red flashing SOS light.
  • COMFORTABLE & LIGHTWEIGHT:Weighing only 2.8 Oz with adjustable elastic headband,you won't even notice wearing it.Adjustable strap fits both adults and kits.Head 60°tiltable body ensures clear sight in the dark.Ideal for night time,working,hiking,camping,fishing,hunting,bicycling,car repairing.
  • 100% FULL REFUND GUARANTEE & 1 YEAR WARRANTY:Don't worry after purchased this headlamp flashlight,we offer full refund and replacement with 1 year warranty if there are any problems.We will solve your any problems within 24 hours by contacting us with customer service Email.
SaleNew
Headlamp, MOICO 13000 Lumen Brightest 8 LED Headlight Flashlight with White Red Lights, USB Rechargeable Waterproof Head Lamp, 8 Modes for Outdoor Camping Cycling Running Fishing
65 Reviews
Headlamp, MOICO 13000 Lumen Brightest 8 LED Headlight Flashlight with White Red Lights, USB Rechargeable Waterproof Head Lamp, 8 Modes for Outdoor Camping Cycling Running Fishing
  • UlTRA BRIGHT AND LONG LIFE: The headlamp consists of 8 LED bulbs and a red safety taillight with a maximum brightness of 13,000 lumens and illumination range of 600 meters, which help you clearly see the surrounding and stay away from danger. It comes with a USB line and 2 rechargeable batterries to provide a stronger bright and longer life.
  • 8 LIGHTING MODES: The LED headlamp has 2 mode buttons to control 8 modes for versatile use. Press the LED key mode button, you can control the modes of main beam, side beam, all beam, SOS strobe.Press the COB auxiliary mode button, you can control the modes of strong beam, warm beam, red light, SOS red strobe.
  • HIGH QUALITY AND WATERPROOF: The headlight flashlight has IPX4 waterproof rating, high quality battery box is more sealed to prevent water leakage. It is normal to use even when it is raining and snowing. In addition, we offer a high quality storage box for storing and carrying headlights with accessories.
  • COMFORTABLE AND ADJUSTABLE: The hands free headlamp can be rotated 90 degrees that make it ideal for indoors and outdoors to use. It is equipped with high-quality elastic band and head sponge pad for easy adjustment and installation, not sliding, which makes it comfortable for both adults and children.
  • PREMIUM SERVICE: We will provide a 2-year guarantee and a 30-day fully refund or free change with 24-hour professional customer service. There is a totally risk-free purchase.
SaleNew
GearLight UV Black Light Flashlight S100 [2 Pack] - Mini Blacklight Ultraviolet Pen Lights for ID and Hotel Inspection - Pet Urine, Bed Bug, Scorpion, and Stain Detector
3 Reviews
GearLight UV Black Light Flashlight S100 [2 Pack] - Mini Blacklight Ultraviolet Pen Lights for ID and Hotel Inspection - Pet Urine, Bed Bug, Scorpion, and Stain Detector
  • MULTI-FUNCTION GADGET FOR PROFESSIONAL USE - These UV light pocket flashlights are designed for hotel room inspections, revealing unknown human and pet fluid stains, bed bugs and rodent contamination, and hidden carpet spots that can't be detected by the naked eye. Quickly spot scorpions or use it to authenticate currency, official identification cards, and passports.
  • ULTRA-COMPACT, LIGHT DESIGN FOR TRAVEL - This lightweight, portable pocket-size ultraviolet light is ideal for outdoors, while traveling, and even for casual use around the house. It can easily be packed into your purse or travel bag, or you can use the removable pocket clip to attach it to your belt, shirt, or pants pocket to take it everywhere you go.
  • DURABLE, WEATHER RESISTANT | ALUMINUM BODY - This blacklight flashlight is meticulously engineered for rough handling. Made with durable aluminum, this torch can survive accidental drops, temporary water submersion, and perform reliably under any condition. These blacklight flashlights can be powered for hours with 2 standard AAA batteries. (Batteries are not included).
  • [EXCEPTIONAL VALUE] | INCLUDES 2 PEN UV LIGHTS - Keep one in your car, one in your home, or gift one to a cleaner, friend or family member. Every genuine GearLight comes with a 1-year, no questions asked replacement warranty and friendly customer service provided by GearLight, a U.S.-based company.
  • FOR BEST RESULTS - To enhance the black lights' lifespan, please remove the batteries when not in use. This UV flashlight will not work on wet stains, fresh urine stains, or new $100 bills.

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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