Like many people we need rechargeable flashlights to help us in our jobs and daily activities. This may range from search lights as a police officer to a recreational camper that needs a small flashlight to see their map. Traditional flashlights have various settings for usage but they all have one thing in common, they all use batteries! The convenience of recharging your flashlight instead of having to go out and buy more batteries is tremendous. If you’re continuously using your flashlight, why not save some money and be environmentally friendly at the same time.
There are many flashlights out in the market and we’re here to help you figure out which one works best for you. Before we dive into figuring out what best suits your need, let’s learn a little bit about more on the types of flashlights there are and what the different features mean.
Pelican 7060 Rechargeable LED light
LED Lenser 880014 P5R Rechargeable LED Flashlight
Streamlight 78014 Ultra Stinger Xenon Rechargeable Flashlight
Streamlight 74751 Strion LED High Lumen Rechargeable Professional Flashlight
MagLite ML125 230V LED Rechargeable Flashlight System
Types of Rechargeable Flashlight Lamps
- LEDs: This stands for light-emitting diodes, a simple semiconductor. They are highly energy-efficient and provide an all-purpose proximity lighting for camping, reading and close-up work. LED flashlights have a long life span because they do not waste energy by making heat, thus LED’s can be significantly more efficient than traditional incandescent lamps.
There are also high-output LEDs which produce a light intensity (1-watt) equivalent of standard incandescent bulbs, which use much less battery power. The 3-watt LEDs rival the brightness of pressurized gas bulbs such as Xenon.
- Xenon, halogen, and krypton bulbs: Some incandescent light bulbs contain pressurized gasses such as Xenon, Halogen or Krypton. This helps extend the life of the filament by preventing oxidation, therefore the bulb burns brighter without wearing down the batteries. This also controls soot buildup that tends to darken traditional bulbs.
- HID: Short for High Intensity Discharge, produces light by striking an electrical arc across tungsten electrodes inside a specially designed inner glass tube. This tube is filled with a mixture of metal halide salts and argon gas.
HID lamps produce more light than an incandescent flashlight using the same amount of electricity. The lamp also lasts longer and is more shock resistant than a regular incandescent bulb. They are however much more expensive, due to the ballast circuit required to start and operate the lamp. An HID lamp requires a short warm-up time before it reaches full output.
- Incandescent bulbs: These are traditional bulbs that have been around the longest and are the least expensive. These bulbs are usually filled with an inert gas, such as argon. They shine bright, but wastes energy by producing heat. Batteries tend to drain much quicker in these flashlights.
These are just some of the different bulbs that exist in today’s flashlights. To learn more about the different type of features and settings follow the navigation on top or click here.
I’ve provided an interactive list of some of the top rechargeable flashlights found on Amazon. For the full list please visit the Flashlight Guide.
Most manufacturers provide a standard table outlining the performance specifications of the flashlight as seen below in Figure 1. As you can see it displays the different Lumens (a measurement of light output), Runtime (a measurement of how long a flashlight will last on a set of batteries), Light Distance and Light Intensity for each setting. Note that LED flashlights carry the most settings to provide different levels use. Regular incandescent flashlights typically only have one on setting.
If you look deeper you can also see that some manufacturers have additional tables which show how durable the product is in certain water depths and accidental drops.
Modes: Some flashlights have a single setting which turns on and off the light. This is good enough for general purpose use. Other models have other modes such as low, medium, turbo and strobe. Depending on what you need the flashlight for, it’s useful to have multiple modes. You may be using the light to walk a trail in the woods where you would need a large source of light and at times when you need to read something up close you would want a setting that outputs low light.
Weight: The weight of the flashlight can be considered an advantage if you need a heavy blunt weapon for security. Imagine going on a patrol as a security guard, wouldn’t you feel much safer with a heavy Maglite in your hands versus a small tactical flashlight? On the other hand, you may only need a small flashlight that can be carried around in your pocket for convenience for other jobs.
Batteries: Since we’re only talking about rechargeable flashlights, you should know that one set of rechargeable batteries can be re-used instead of several sets of alkaline batteries. This saves money over the medium to long-term and results in less environmental waste. There are multiple battery types for each flashlight manufacturer. Some of the main type of batteries sold are Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad), Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH), Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) and Lithium Ion (Li-ion).
Functionality: This can be a personal preference more than functionality but flashlight functionality can vary greatly. Some have press on/off button and some you must twist for different setting. In addition some even show how much charge is left in the batteries. Some things to consider are listed below.
- Do any of the flashlight models likely to inadvertently switched on inside your pocket or backpack?
- Can you turn it on wearing gloves?
- Is it rugged enough to withstand a car driving over it?
- Can it withstand being dropped in a puddle of water?
These are some issues you should consider when purchasing your rechargeable flashlight. Everyone has a different use for their light so think it over carefully.
How Flashlights Work.
In order to fully grasp the marvels of the rechargeable flashlight, it is important to know how a regular flashlight really works. It is surprising that most people today use flashlights without ever bothering to understand the mechanics of its function, which is really contrary to older-day cultures.
Generally when the switch of the flashlight is turned on, it makes contacts between two contact strips that initiates the flow of electrons or electricity from the power source which is usually a battery. The electricity flows from the positive electrode of the battery to the negative electrode, and so long as the circuit is still complete, it will flow into the lamp of the flashlight or the light bulb.
Regular bulbs usually have a Tungsten filament in them and when the electricity flows through, they begin to glow producing visible light. Around the bulb is a reflector that is designed and positioned there strategically to redirect the light rays from the bulb, producing a constant and steady beam of light.
It is this light that is actually seen being emitted from the flashlight, and a transparent lens is used to cover the bulb and the reflector to protect them from breakages. Maintaining this steady flow of light requires a regular change of alkaline batteries which is obviously very expensive for many; hence, the birth of the rechargeable flashlights.
Advantages of Rechargeable Flashlights.
As their name suggests, the batteries of these flashlights are not a one-time-use type of battery, and they are known to last for uniquely long periods of time. This allows for immense savings especially when the flashlights are frequently used for camping, hunting trips or for frequent outdoor activities.
They can be recharged by using regular mains electricity, solar power and even just by shaking the flashlight or rotating it with the provided lever depending on the model chosen. Because of this versatility and wide range of options, rechargeable flashlights are usually preferred by many families all year round especially in regions that are prone to natural disasters.
In the event of a natural disaster striking like a tornado, hurricane or an earthquake, it is not unusual for the main electricity to be switched off even for days, or for the roads to be impassable. It is during these times that rechargeable flashlights using solar power, regular shaking or rotations, prove to be of most value and a real life-saver to their owners.
The LED technology in the rechargeable flashlights too are designed to emit more powerful rays of light and with a much-less consumption of energy. Also, these LED lights tend to last for much-longer periods of time because they do not emit heat which is usually known to burn or shorten the lifespans of Tungsten bulbs.
Environmental Benefits of Using Rechargeable Flashlights.
Due to their energy-saving efficiencies and technology used in its development, it is obvious that using rechargeable flashlights ends up saving immense amounts of energy in the long run. Disposable alkaline batteries pose a great threat to the environment when they leak in the various trash receptacles or when they are improperly disposed.
The constant use of rechargeable flashlights prevents this from happening and its environment-conservation properties coupled with its energy-renewal abilities makes it a favorite amongst many environment-conscious consumers. In is true, that in the interest of promoting green energy initiatives and cutting energy costs in the home, rechargeable flashlights are a far much better choice of flashlights.