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
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
2,365 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.
SaleBestseller No. 2
GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 [2 PACK] - High Lumen, Zoomable, 5 Modes, Water Resistant, Handheld Light - Best Camping, Outdoor, Emergency, Everyday Flashlights
2,352 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. 3
Escolite UV Flashlight Black Light, 51 LED 395 nM Ultraviolet Blacklight Detector for Dog Urine, Pet Stains and Bed Bug
4,394 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.
SaleBestseller No. 4
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
3,252 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!
SaleBestseller No. 5
GearLight High-Powered LED Flashlight S2000 - Brightest High Lumen Light with 5 Modes, Zoomable, and Water Resistant I Powerful Camping and Emergency Flashlights
410 Reviews
GearLight High-Powered LED Flashlight S2000 - Brightest High Lumen Light with 5 Modes, Zoomable, and Water Resistant I Powerful Camping and Emergency Flashlights
  • BIGGEST & BRIGHTEST - The S2000 is the biggest and brightest GearLight on the market. With a solid build and blinding brightness, the S2000 outshines the competition. This mid-size flashlight is big on power but still compact enough to fit in your backpack, survival bag, or car glove compartment.
  • SUPER BRIGHT WIDE BEAM - Ultra wide beam effortlessly illuminates a whole room or backyard. It is 20 times brighter than old incandescent lights and has double the lumen output of the popular As Seen on TV model. Conveniently takes 4 standard AA batteries. (Batteries are not included.)
  • ZOOMABLE & 5 MODES: Focus in on objects up to 1000 feet away or zoom out to sweep a large area. 5 settings replace the need for multiple flashlights: (High|Medium|Low|Strobe|SOS) Makes for a practical addition to any household or emergency kit.
  • WATER RESISTANT & DURABLE: Rain and snow will roll right off the all-weather aluminum body. Designed to be virtually indestructible, this flashlight can survive a 10-foot drop or being temporary submerged under water. Its durable and weighty feel delivers a sense of quality that smaller flashlights simply can't offer. Ideal for use around the house, dog walking, or fishing.
  • ONE-YEAR RETURN POLICY - Buy with confidence. You have a full year to put this flashlight to the test and through its paces. Every purchase comes with an extended one-year return policy and friendly customer service provided by GearLight, a US-based company.
Bestseller No. 7
Tactical Flashlight, YIFENG XML T6 Ultra Bright LED Taclight with Adjustable Focus and 5 Light Modes for Camping Hiking Emergency (2 pack)
1,540 Reviews
Tactical Flashlight, YIFENG XML T6 Ultra Bright LED Taclight with Adjustable Focus and 5 Light Modes for Camping Hiking Emergency (2 pack)
  • ADJUSTABLE FOCUS: Intense Spotlight for long range observation can up to 600 feet, Circle Floodlight for large area illumination
  • FIVE LIGHT MODES: High / Middle / Low, With ON / OFF button, easy to operate the taclight
  • SPECIAL POWER: The Super Bright Taclight is powerful enough to light up an entire room or zoom in on distant objects
  • ADVANCED DESIGN: Skid-Proof design & Water Resistant design (Highest water-resistant level of IPX-6)
  • POWERE SOURCE: 1×18650 Li-on Rechargeable Battery (Not Included) or 3× AAA Battery (Not Included)
Bestseller No. 8
Energizer Headlamps, Vision LED
1,483 Reviews
Bestseller No. 9
Wsky LED Tactical Flashlight, Best S2000 Water Resistant Work Light Flashlight with 5 Modes, Zoomable, Perfect for Camping Biking Hiking Home Emergency or Gift-Giving (Batteries Not Included)
85 Reviews
Wsky LED Tactical Flashlight, Best S2000 Water Resistant Work Light Flashlight with 5 Modes, Zoomable, Perfect for Camping Biking Hiking Home Emergency or Gift-Giving (Batteries Not Included)
  • SUPERIOR LIGHTING EXPERIENCE: S2000 Flashlight is powered by T6S Advanced Wick Chip, 150% larger and 70% more brightness than basic LED flashlight. Focus on objects up to 1200 feet away!
  • SURPRISE WIDE BEAM: Ultra wide beam effortlessly illuminates a whole room or backyard. 20 times brighter than old incandescent lights. Conveniently takes 3 standard AAA batteries or 1x18650 Rechargeable Button Top Li-ion Battery. (Batteries are not included.)
  • COMPACT & ZOOMABLE & 5 MODES: Easy to fit in your backpack, survival bag, or car glove compartment. Focus in or zoom out to sweep a large area. 5 settings replace the need for multiple flashlights: (High|Medium|Low|Strobe|SOS) Makes for a practical addition to any household or emergency kit.
  • UPGRADED NEW DESIGN: A pocket-friendly belt clip make it easy to carry, anti-slip finish holds fast in your hand and hand strip stands on-end as an emergency lamp. This powerful and practical, mid-size general purpose flashlight is the perfect gift for a father or husband, for any occasion.
  • EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, INCLUDES 2 FLASHLIGHTS - Keep one in your car, one in your home, or gift one to a friend or family member. Every genuine Wsky flashlight comes with a one-year no questions asked replacement warranty and friendly customer service provided by Wsky, a U.S.-based.
Bestseller No. 10
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
2,762 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.

The Latest In Flashlights

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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