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Pocket Flashlight Buying Guide

Are you packing for your next adventure trip? Every hiking or camping trip is incomplete without keeping the best pocket flashlight in your bag!

Pocket flashlights are super handy for everyone to use whenever they want a reliable light source. So, are you looking for an ultimate pocket flashlight that you can carry around in your pocket?

No worries, there are hundreds of options available in the market to choose from. Thus, it is crucial to know the best one that suits your particular needs!

Well, we have crafted this fantastic buying guide that covers every aspect of this incredible tool. Mind you! This article is a one-stop guide with all its features included minutely that will surely aid in making an informed decision later. Let's get started!

What are Pocket Flashlights?

We all know flashlights are convenient and resourceful. They evolved from lanterns and headlamps, which were challenging to carry being bulky. Now, even flashlights have evolved into smaller, more compact devices by the name of pocket flashlights. As the name suggests, they are small, so they can fit in pockets, making them easily portable.

Why Should You Buy A Pocket Flashlight Than Any Other Light Resource?

Pocket flashlights are safe to use when compared to candles or lanterns. They are electrical appliances, which makes them easier to use. They emit less heat and instead channel the energy towards a better beam of light. It can help you focus the light on the specific areas rather than scattering the light. They are easy to store and carry. In a nutshell, they are the epitome of convenience in a small package.

Why is a Pocket Flashlight Buying Guide Important?

A Pocket flashlight is the ideal emergency help anyone would need. Owing to its small size, it is an excellent partner for everyone, especially for hiking or camping with minimal backpacks. Not just adventure trips, a pocket flashlight comes as a blessing in disguise anytime when there is all dark, and you need light!

So, it becomes imperative to know every noteworthy feature to help you pick the right one. This buying guide will provide you all the necessary answers!

Types of Pocket Flashlights

There are mainly five types of pocket flashlights available in the market:

  1. Incandescent Bulbs

Since times immemorial, these are the bulbs found in pocket flashlights. They are usually inexpensive and produce bright light by heating a tungsten filament wire, so it glows or incandescent. It is, however, extraordinarily wasteful of energy because of the immense amount of heat it generates. This heat leads to the evaporation of the tungsten filament, which ends up failing the bulb, giving it only a short life.they have low efficacy and are heat-generating which are its major drawbacks.

  1. LED Lights

Light Emitting Diodes are specially designed for longer-lasting usage and efficiency. They waste negligible energy by producing bare minimum heat. However, due to several of these features, they are quite an expensive bulb. However, it pays for itself in the long run, because it is durable. They are usually white, which is preferred over yellow electric lights. The convenience and ease of using an LED light flashlight, thus, have more advantages than shortcomings.

  1. HID

High-Intensity Discharge bulbs are known to be bulky and expensive and are difficult to come across. They are lit up by electric current passing through a ball of ionized gas. Their point-of- value is their intense light, attributed to the arc or ball enabled by noble gases. They make much more light than incandescent bulbs or fluorescent lamps, but they lose this ability within 10,000 burning hours. They have low durability and cost much.

  1. Xenon, Halogen and Krypton Bulbs

Bulbs that are lit up due to gases pressurized into tubes rather than making use of batteries fall into these categories. They are known for the brightest light emission and are substantially in use, but their demand still does not match those of LED lights because they are not as long-lasting.

The gases facilitate the filament to last longer and heat up quickly and to a higher temperature for luminous efficacy. They often pose the risk of fire because of the high temperatures. In case of contact with flammable materials, using these types of bulbs can prove catastrophic, and several measures need to be taken to ensure safe use.

  1. Shake Flashlights

Named after the man who discovered them, the Faraday flashlights work according to the electromagnet principle. It works without batteries and is free of any type of recharge because they work by muscle. The physical movement of the flashlight back and forth creates energy that is used to emit light. A minute of shaking gives a few hours of light, but it is dim.

The electronic market offers a variety of choices when you look for the pocket flashlights you need. It may be for general purposes or specific ones. Whatever you need, you can check for them by going through the following checklist that tells you everything you need to know to make the perfect purchase of a pocket flashlight.

Things to Consider While Buying Pocket Flashlights

  1. Performance Features

Pocket Flashlights differ in prices but are of similar size. What changes are the performance levels that are of importance? How much light is emitted, and if it is bright enough, and how far does the light reach? The longevity of the performance is also worth noting. Whether it is sturdy enough and resistant to shock and falls and even water are note-worthy points to check performance levels of various flashlights.

  • The output of light is measured in terms of lumens. You need to make sure that the flashlight you purchase is bright enough to fulfill your needs. One lumen is said to be ten times brighter than the moonlight, while 30 lumens is as bright as candlelight. Today, flashlights have a standard average of about 100 lumens, which is enough for serving primary flashlight purposes.
  • Beam distance is measured in candela, i.e., brightness perceived by the human eye. An average flashlight is said to have a beam distance of full moon illumination, which is seen as adequate for traveling outside with good-enough visibility. It can vary from 2000-25,000 candela with better-focused light with increasing candela.
  • Run time is measured by how many hours on end, a flashlight can continue emitting light. Bulbs often begin dimming by a 10% drop in performance levels. Rechargeable pocket flashlights start deteriorating within 2 hours or so because they are compact and have smaller batteries.
  • Impact Resistance is the shockproof ability and sturdiness of a flashlight. Occasional accidents and drops of flashlights may hamper the functionality of the bulbs of low tested flashlights. On average, lights are tested by dropping them around six times to ensure they continue functioning after such an impact.
  • Water Resistance can prove useful for flashlights to be used in adverse weather like rain or even around water bodies like camping. IPX4 rating ensures resistance against splashes of water, while IPX7 indicates protection against water submersion for up to 30 minutes. The water submersion resistance increases to 4 hours in the IPX8 rating.
  1. Battery Type

There are mainly two types of batteries that can power up your flashlights – rechargeable and disposable. Each type comes with its plus-points and drawbacks. You need to consider which is more apt for the purpose you wish to cater to your pocket flashlights.

  • AA or AAA are readily available for disposable batteries. They are smaller in size and weight and yet provide high voltage output.
  • Rechargeable batteries are made of built-in lithium-ion. They are easily rechargeable from USB connections of computers, or AC or DC outlets. They are costly but efficient in the sense that they do not need to be replaced and can be reused at a minimal cost of electric charging.
  • In terms of price, rechargeable batteries cost more than the disposable ones, but they are an investment if you often use your pocket flashlight. They will save you the money of buying disposable one's time and again. But you may prefer disposable ones if you plan on using the flashlight for emergency purposes only.
  • From a convenience point of view, rechargeable batteries are more comfortable to charge and reuse. They can free you of the hassle of buying and replacing old batteries again and again.
  • Using rechargeable batteries is more environmentally friendly because it prevents you from throwing away used disposable batteries, which will only add to the growing piles of E-waste.
  • Average Nickel-Cadmium rechargeable batteries last for 2-3 hours while the average charge time for Lithium-ion batteries is up to 5 hours. Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries provide a battery back-up of about 10-12 hours.
  • Disposable batteries run the risk of overheating, which can lead to rupture and leakage.
  • Lithium-ion disposable batteries have a long life and are safest regarding the possibility of breakage and leakage. However, not all flashlights accept such batteries.
  1. Size

While choosing the perfect flashlight, the size plays a crucial role. The need for pocket flashlights might arise from a specific need that a regular flashlight cannot cater to. So, you must look for a product that fulfills that purpose explicitly.

If the pocket flashlight is for backpacking, or hiking in the dark, light-weighted and portable flashlights are perfect. Easy access is also an essential factor that you might be looking for in such a purchase.

As the name suggests, all the flashlights could easily be fit into pockets, but even then, sizes vary. You need to ensure that the product you choose fits into the pocket you have in mind- a jacket pocket or a backpack pocket. Some might prove to be bulkier than others in your pant pockets, which can be an obstacle while walking while another product may be heavier, which adds to your trouble of carrying. So, you must buy what matches your specific flashlight needs.

  1. Material

The quality of material used in the making of the flashlight is essential to ensure that you buy the right flashlight that is robust, durable, and functional even if it takes a few hits. Different materials are used to make up the body, the bulb, and the flashlight lens.

According to what the electronic market has to offer, and keeping in mind the different pros and cons of different bulbs, LED has advantages that far supersede its drawbacks. It is undoubtedly the best bulb for pocket flashlights. They may be a little heavy on the wallet, but they are reliable with longer life and high efficiency.

Having a scratch-proof and sturdy lens plays an indispensable role in ensuring the life of the flashlight. The lens also plays a role in how much light is emitted. So the best material is probably borofloat glass. It is strong and close to unbreakable and excels in the latter aspects of a good lens. An alternative to this can be anti-scratch polycarbonate. A glass or plastic lens is a poor choice.

When it comes to the housing of the flashlight, we need something light and yet heavy-duty. The answer to this is aluminium body.

  1. Tint

  • The most common and preferred tint or colour temperature is white. It may vary- cool, warm, or neutral. The colour temperature is measured by the warmth or cold of the light. While a clear blue sky is calm, candlelight is said to be warm. Anything in between is neutral.
  • The warmer tint is known for its maximum light brightness. Neutral tint provides a balanced tone of light. The cool tint is preferred out of personal choice.
  1. Brightness

Measured in terms of lumens, the brightness of the pocket flashlight must serve your conditions for making a worthy purchase. While pocket flashlights have limited capacity for brightness due to their size of bulbs, there are still options available.

In very dark and small spaces, under 100 lumens can be suitable. Outdoor settings, however, would require more lumens for clearer visibility.

Brightness requirements largely depend on why you wish to possess the flashlight. For keeping it in your car, smaller lumens might be apt, while the purpose of hiking and camping something brighter might be a better fit.

  1. Types of Switches

  • Twist switch:

This switch requires a simple twist of the front of the light. It is quite common. Moreover, it is not precisely handy because it is a two-hand job to switch on a flashlight with such a switch. You may not want to consider it if you are looking for a handier flashlight, which is easy to switch.

  • Rotatory ring switch:

It has a ring that rotates between the options of functionality. Further, it makes use of a magnet and a ring. It has a high chance of growing weaker with use.

  • Tail-cap switch:

This switch allows for single-hand use, which makes it quite nifty and user-friendly. It turns on and off with the use of a thumb at the bottom of the flashlight.

  • Tail-cap twist:

It is a more uncommon version of the tail-cap switch. Also, it requires the bottom of the flashlight to be twisted for turning it on and off.

  • Side-Click switch:

This switch is one of the more typical and commonly used flashlight switches. As the name suggests, they are located at the side of the flashlight's body and are easy to use as they are operable by one hand.

  • Side slide switch:

A side slide switch uses a plastic switch which is pushed upwards and downwards for on and off.

  1. Types of Beams

Whether your flashlight will only light up a tight hole or illuminate a larger open space depends upon the type of beam of the flashlight that you use.

  1. A spot beam is befitting a long-distance application for smaller, concentrated areas.
  2. On the other hand, the flood beam can light up a more substantial space but diminishes within a short distance. A compromise between the two has also been made possible with durable LED lights that can light up large areas for a longer length.

The light is surrounded by a reflector, which is a shiny metallic cone. It plays a significant role in the beam's pattern, which will be emitted out of the flashlight. For a focussed beam, the reflector is smooth while, on the other hand, an orange peel reflector will give you a softer glow. An adjustable beam allows switching between the two types of beams.

  1. Modes

Some flashlights provide you with a choice of different modes of light- low, high, or medium. It facilitates that you serve different purposes with the same flashlight because some situations might call for a stronger throw while others might be sufficed with a standard brightness beam. Because intense rays shorten the run time and you may not always require them, using a lower brightness can help extend the batteries' lives.

  1. Controls

To change from one mode to another, one beam pattern to another, or even switching the pocket flashlight on and off, you need buttons, rotators, or other controls. These serve a chief purpose as they contribute to the handiness and even life of the flashlight. Some types of control are more likely to weaken and fail to work than others. Safety lock on controls can prevent the settings from changing, for convenience. Non-clicking or silent features of controls can also come in specific situations.


  1. How will you know if your pocket flashlight is durable?

The durability of a pocket flashlight depends upon a number of factors, especially the performance ones. Remember more the impact resistance; more is the durability. Other than that, if your pocket flashlight is composed of tough material, you will get a longer working flashlight.

  1. What are the uses of a Pocket Flashlight?

A pocket flashlight serves its purpose in a myriad of applications. For adventure junkies such as kayak-lovers, campers, hikers, etc., a pocket flashlight is a vital gadget in their backpack. They use it whenever their surroundings get dark, and they need to look for something. Even people at homes should have one pocket flashlight to cover the emergency risk.

  1. What is the best type of pocket flashlight?

Pocket flashlights with LED light are considered the best now, owing to its exceptionally bright light and full coverage. The best part is that such flashlights have a prolonged life and are perfect for helping you.

  1. Do higher lumens necessarily mean a good pocket flashlight?

Generally, higher lumens mean bright light, but the light intensity and beam distance also affect the light output of the pocket flashlight. So, you must buy a pocket flashlight that comes with a balanced set of features.

  1. Is water resistance an essential trait in a good pocket flashlight?

Water-resistance plays a pivotal role in making an efficient pocket flashlight. It helps you during the rains and also if you are underwater and unable to see much. You should opt for a perfect pocket flashlight while you leave for a specific water trip. Look for the IPX4/IPX7/IPX8 rating to know which flashlight meets your requirements better.

To Sum Up

Now that you have read the above guide, we have enlightened you with the best information guide to provide you full-fledged details on all the key aspects. It is time to start your research and look for the best pocket flashlight for you!

Shortlist a few that you like at first instance and then choose based on all the relevant features you prefer. At last, make the purchase. We know you will be happy with your purchase.

A Quick tip for budget-conscious folks: Always remember that you should not feel that an expensive flashlight is the best one indeed! Prefer the one that is of decent quality, fits your needs, and is in your budget diameters. / - © Copyright 2020