How To Choose a Flashlight

Posted by Dave Taylor

Oct 10, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Exploring all the flashlight options from Nite Ize? If so, it’s possible that you’ve become confused by all the specs and stats. What’s a lumen? How bright of a flashlight should you choose? How long will the flashlight last on fresh batteries or a full charge? What’s an ANSI or IP rating?

It’s okay. I get it. I love flashlights and believe it’s not only important to have reliable flashlights throughout your house, but to also have the right flashlight for the job in each case. But that’s also where us consumers can get a bit befuddled because bigger isn’t always better, brighter isn’t always the best for the job and not every flashlight is ready to take on the rugged outdoors.

Radiant 3-In-1 LED Mini Flashlight

To shed some light on the situation, let’s have a closer look at these important questions relating to the purchase of a flashlight using the popular Radiant® 3-in-1 LED Mini Flashlight as our example device. Check the specs and you’ll see that it’s rated at 80 lumens, has seven different modes, including both a high and low mode, and works off one AA battery.

But what does it all mean?

Lumens vs. Brightness?

Light output is measured in a unit called lumens, whether it’s your car headlights, a searchlight or the small LED on the back of your iPhone.

A lumen is “the amount of light emitted in a unit solid angle of one steradian from a uniform source of one candela.” Sounds complicated, but it just means that lumens measure the total amount of light output. People often assume that lumens measure brightness, however brightness is impacted significantly by beam width -- meaning that a light source will be brighter with a narrow beam and dimmer with a wider beam (or 360-degree illumination). That’s why pinpoint light is brighter than a wide angle beam from the very same flashlight.

Don’t just jump to the brightest possible device, however, because in the case of flashlights, bigger is not always better. One big reason is the trade-off of light output vs battery life: higher lumens require more power!

Brightness vs. Battery Life

The Radiant 3-in-1 LED Mini Flashlight has two brightness modes. In high mode, it puts out 80 lumens, while low mode is a more modest 15 lumens. That brightness has a definite consequence with battery life: the Radiant battery will give you almost 9.5 hours of low power light, but switch to the brighter mode and run time drops to 2 hours.

For some uses, high brightness and low run time is perfectly acceptable, of course. If you have a convenient power source to recharge a flashlight in your home, on the road, or in the wild, maximum lumens might be just what you need to scare off wild creatures or find your dog on a stormy night. In other scenarios, having a flashlight stop working prematurely can be downright dangerous, so a dimmer light that lasts a lot longer is a smart trade-off.

This is why just about every Nite Ize light offers both high and low modes, so you can decide in the moment whether run time or brightness is more important. And don't forget, a narrow beam at a given lumen level will always appear brighter than a wide beam.

Battery powered vs. Rechargeable

The Radiant 3-in-1 utilizes one AA battery as its power source. This means you can have extra batteries in your hunting bag, backpack or glove box and switch them out at any time. Easy enough, though you’ll still want to pack out the expired battery so you can recycle them.

A rechargeable flashlight offers a different cost/benefit experience. When the battery runs low, all you have to do is plug it in and wait until it's ready to go - no trips to the store necessary. However, rechargeable flashlights do require access to a power source and don't offer the immediate use you get when you pop in a new set of batteries.

The ANSI & IP rating systems?

Flashlights get a lot of abuse in woods, mountains and basements. That’s why there’s a standard measure of flashlight toughness known as ANSI / NEMA FL1. It also encapsulates light output, run time and other specifications in a single place, making it easy to comparison shop. By way of example, here are the ANSI specs for the Radiant 3-in-1 LED:

3-in-1_Mini-ANSI_Chart

The four boxes on the left side indicate that the flashlight has two brightness levels: 80 lumens on high and 15 lumens on low. On full brightness and with fresh batteries, the flashlight will remain brightly illuminated for 2 hours. On the lower brightness, since less power is required, those same batteries will last 9 hours, 25 minutes.

The next set of icons indicate that the flashlight is weather proof, shock resistant to a 1-meter drop, and can illuminate objects up to 50 meters away.

There’s also an IP rating system that can be helpful too, specifying dust and water resistance detailing whether a product is water resistant or waterproof, and to what depth of water. The Radiant 3-in-1 Mini is weather resistant as indicated by the rain cloud.

Now You Know All About Flashlights

Truth is, there’s a lot involved in choosing the best flashlight for a specific application or task. It’s not just about how many batteries are required and the desired brightness level! That’s why it makes sense to do a bit of homework to ensure that the next flashlight you buy is going to be a perfect fit for your needs, whether you’re poised to ascend Kilimanjaro, take on organizing your attic, RV through Mexico or just look for lost earrings in the backyard.

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Topics: LED Flashlights, Emergency Preparedness

Because Size, and Lumens, Matter.

Posted by MJ Smoot

Apr 1, 2017 10:13:12 AM


We all have that friend. That guy in our crew that has every piece of gear he could ever possibly need but that continues to buy the newest, most light weight and high tech gear he can find. You know the type. He's the same guy that's always bragging about the new 50 lumens, 1 gram, 20 setting headlamp that he bought for $200 just before your last camping trip. Well I got news for you, bro. Size matters!

T10 Headband1_SQ.jpgThat's why I stopped playing around with all of those little, kid colored, not bright enough headlamps and stepped my game up to the Mega Headband Flashlight Holder with the Inova T10R Tactical Flashlight + Power BankAt an impressive 3500 lumens with a 6 hour run time, I'm sure to have the brightest, biggest, and most bad ass headlamp on my next camping trip with the guys. 

I know what you're thinking, and no, it's not the lightest or least expensive option out there. But I own a YETI cooler and if I can't keep my beer cold for 30 days or light up the entire campground with my headlamp, then what's the point of camping?

As a wise man once said, "If you're not first, you're last!" So stop playing around with those impractical headlamps that fit in your pack, and be the envy of all your friends by hanging the Mega Headband with T10R off your pack. Because size matters, and you're a big deal!

T10R_BFSQ_0001.jpg

Happy April Fool's Day!

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Topics: LED Flashlights, outdoors

The Best Flashlight You’ll Ever Have

Posted by MJ Smoot

Apr 5, 2016 9:40:23 PM

When you work for a flashlight manufacturer, there are a few questions that you'll be asked at nearly every tradeshow and event that you attend. What's the brightest flashlight? Which is the most expensive? And, of course, which flashlight is the best?

T4R-Shiprock.jpg

The INOVA® T4R shines brightly on Shiprock Peak in New Mexico (Photo by Bradley Adventure)

The first couple of questions are easy to answer. At 672 lumens, the INOVA® T5 LED Flashlight is the brightest light in the lineup, and for $149.99 you can purchase our most expensive flashlight, the INOVA T4R LED Rechargeable Flashlight. But, which flashlight is the BEST!?

It turns out that is not an easy question to answer. Identifying the "BEST" flashlight for you depends on many factors. For what activity will you be using the flashlight? How long will the flashlight be used? A couple of hours, or all night? Does it need to be waterproof? Will you need to keep your hands free while using the flashlight? Are you on a search and rescue mission, or taking your dog for a walk in the park? As it turns out, many factors play a role when determining which flashlight is the best for you.

INOVA STS Headlamp

I can recall two recent instances from Nite Ize Ambassadors who's "best" flashlights were not the ideal lights for the situation. The first came from Forrest Galante, whose primary dive light had broken during a trip at sea to hunt lobsters 25 feet underwater. Faced with the decision to either not dive or to come up with a backup, Forrest took a look around and realized that he had his STS Headlamp with him and thought he'd at least give it a try even though it was only rated as being waterproof  to three feet. Luckily for Forrest and his dive partner, the INOVA STS Headlamp exceeded his expectations and performed well throughout the dive even after taking over 60 plunges below the rated depth of the light (read the full story at LifeView Outdoors.com).

In another situation, ambassador Matt Moniz and his climbing partner Willie Benegas were descending from the 8000m peak Makalu in the Himalayas when Willie realized that he had forgotten his headlamp at the last base camp. After a quick search for a backup light, the only flashlight Willie could come up with was the STS Microlight that was attached to his gear. While not ideal for the situation, the STS Microlight was the best light in this situation and provided just enough of a beam for Willie to safely navigate his way down the mountain over the next several hours.

So, what's the moral of these stories? Be prepared and always have a backup. Had Forrest or Willie not had a backup flashlight, there is no telling how their days would have turned out. For me, there is one flashlight that I've made part of my everyday carry and that has come in handy more times than I can recall. My go to flashlight, and #1 backup, is the INOVA XS.

INOVA XS

The lip balm sized XS has a powerful 80 lumen LED, will attach to a key chain, and has an impact resistant aluminum body. From finding my car in a dark parking lot to setting up a tent at night, the INOVA XS has always been there when I've needed some extra light.

By now I hope that you've come to the same conclusion that I have. Ultimately, the best flashlight is the one that you have on you when you need it. Plan ahead for your adventures to determine which type of light would perform the best for your activity based on how you will be using it, the amount of time you'll be using it, and how bright of a light you'll need. No matter which light you determine is best for your situation, bring a backup. It could be the same light, or something more compact. Just bring a backup. After all, even the brightest and most expensive light can't help you when it's out of batteries or broken.

 

 

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Topics: LED Flashlights

Decoding ANSI Standards for LED FLashlights

Posted by Vickie Anderson

Oct 11, 2013 3:12:00 PM


Did you ever wonder what ANSI Standards really means and more importantly what does it mean to your high performance flashlight? Here is a very simple explanation of the icons and their definitions.

Light Output Light Output – The total projected light output from your flashlight when it has a brand new battery in it. The higher the number or lumens the brighter the light.
Run Time Run Time – With new batteries in your light, how long will it take for the light output to be only 10% of the initial output? Or in other words, it is time to change the batteries!
Range Range – With new batteries in your light, range is the distance in meters that the flashlight beam reflects onto a surface.

Water Resistance Rating - There are three icons that are used to depict this standard.

IPX4 IPX4 – The flashlight is water resistant. This means that it will probably survive the water balloon fight you got into last night, but not survive falling into a river on last weekends rafting trip.
IPX7 IPX7 – This indicates that the flashlight is waterproof. More specifically, it can be submersed in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. When you fall into a stream with your flashlight, if you get out quickly it will still work.
IPX8 IPX8 – A flashlight with this icon is like the submarine of all flashlights. It can be submersed deeper than 1 meter for 4 hours. Bombs away!
Impact Resistance Impact Resistance – Is simply the highest level in meters that you can drop your flashlight on concrete in the off position. So, next time you climb a ladder and drop your flashlight on concrete I hope you checked the Impact Resistance rating to be at least as high as your ladder.

Now that you know what to look for, take a look at our line of High Performance LED Flashlights. From small pocket flashlights that are great for Everyday Carry (EDC) to Tactical LED Flashlights that can handle almost any situation, we have the tools to help light your way.


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Topics: LED Flashlights

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We have over 400 innovative problem/solution based products that appeal to anyone who has ever faced a daily frustration and found that perfect product to solve their problem. Whether you are into the latest tech products, love to walk your dog, enjoy hunting & fishing, biking with your family, or just love a helpful gadget, we hope that you will find a Nite Ize product that makes your life easier, safer and more fun – night and day! We love to share stories & ideas with our friends and customers. Enjoy!

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