I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of an extreme high output flashlight. The idea of having 1,000 lumens in the palm of your hand is something I’ve always found very interesting.
The problem I’ve encountered is that for the most part, it’s not practical to carry one of these lights around all day. They tend to be very large and bulky and require some sort of carrying case or strap to wear over your shoulder or around your neck to keep it from bouncing around while you walk.
So a couple of years ago when cell phones started coming out with built-in flashlights, I was very intrigued by the idea. Much more convenient and portable than carrying around a big chunk of metal in your pocket. But could a cell phone light really compare to an extreme high output flashlight?
A few years ago I got a Tesla coil, which is kind of like a very high voltage transformer that can do neat things like shooting sparks. With it came an arc wand, which is a high-voltage device that lets you shoot arcs of electricity.
I’ve been having fun using the arc wand as a flashlight. It’s really bright and has a nice quality of light that makes everything look a bit more magical than normal.
The arc wand uses about 12W of power, which isn’t bad for something that’s incredibly bright. But in this video I demonstrate how three different phone flashlights compare to it in both brightness and power usage.
The iPhone 4 has a built in LED flash that is bright enough to use as a flashlight. The newest iPhone, the 4S, has a “significantly brighter” LED flash according to Apple’s website.
The iPhone 4’s LED flashlight isn’t very bright compared to dedicated flashlights but it does have two advantages over most of them: It’s always with you and it doesn’t need batteries. I was curious how much better the new one is so I set about measuring the brightness of both the old and new iPhone’s LED flashes.
The first step was figuring out how to measure their brightness. I started with an online calculator that converted from Lux to Lumens but after a few minutes of futzing around with that I realized it would be easier to just build my own setup. I went down to my lab and rigged up a simple frame made from some scrap wood and a sheet of white poster board.
It is hard to believe that a light this bright could come from such a small flashlight.
A quick search on Amazon or your favorite online retailer will show you just how many different kinds of flashlights are available. From a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, if you need light then someone has probably made a flashlight for it.
As with anything, there are recommendations and reviews out there that suggest one flashlight over another but almost all of these come with an inherent bias. Some reviews will have been written by the manufacturer themselves whilst others may be done by someone who has received the product for free.
Whether you’re in law enforcement, military, working in emergency services or just simply a civilian who needs a good flashlight then there’s a good chance you’ll find what you’re looking for by the end of this article.
The phone light is great when you are checking a message or reading the news. It’s not so great when you need to see farther than a few feet in front of your face.
Enter the flashlight. The flashlight has been around for over 100 years. The first models were carbon rods with a hand crank on one end. Crank it up, and you got light. Pretty simple, and pretty crude by today’s standards.
Today’s flashlights use LED bulbs rather than incandescent bulbs, so they are more efficient and longer lasting than their predecessors. They also come in all shapes and sizes, including key chain flashlights that can fit easily in a pocket or purse, as well as larger flashlights that can hold D batteries for longer run times and brighter lights.
Whether you’re a cop, a hunter, or just someone who likes to be prepared for anything, you know the importance of having a flashlight.
There are more flashlights out there than you can even imagine. Some of them have mind-blowing features and some of them have ludicrous specifications.
The term “tactical flashlight” was invented by marketers to sell flashlights. It means nothing! Every flashlight is “tactical” if you use it tactically. You could strike someone with your Maglite and call it “tactical”. You can’t really hurt anyone with a little EDC light, however. And if you need to do that, then why are you using such a tiny light? You should use your gun instead!
All flashlights are tactical, but not all flashlights are appropriate for every situation. There are huge differences in size, strength, and functionality between the various types. If you carry a small EDC light on your keychain and your department issues you another one, there’s no reason to carry two lights… so don’t waste your money buying one for yourself!
Before you begin looking at lights, ask yourself: “What do I want this flashlight for?” Your answer will guide the selection process.