Best flashlights for 2020: From Rayovac to ThruNite

As with fire extinguishers and other safety devices, you usually don’t know until you need a flashlight too late. Indeed, if a Storm or natural disaster When you turn off the power, flashlights can be vital not only for your comfort, but in more extreme cases, your comfort too to survive. Will your light break if you drop it? Will it short out if water gets on it? Will the batteries run out in just 20 minutes?

On the Extreme casesHigh quality flashlights are useful in all sorts of everyday situations, whether you’re digging through a dark attic or garage, explore the forest at night, Jog before sunrise, go camping or catch fireflies with the kids.

Which flashlight should you buy? Not only are there too many flashlights on the market to count, but there are a number of different categories of flashlight – from batons to hands-free kits to lanterns. We researched the most popular products at a number of retailers, read expert recommendations, purchased over a dozen devices, and tested them all for you.

Here are the best affordable flashlights for 2020.

David Priest / Tips Clear

The $ 30 ThruNite wand-style flashlight is an all-round fantastic device. It offers powerful output for around 40 minutes before dropping to lower lumens. The light but robust aluminum body lies comfortably in the hand. The two-button interface (one to switch on, one to toggle the four brightness settings and the strobe effect) is intuitive. The belt clip is practical and prevents rolling. Its beam is wider than many similarly priced flashlights. and the flashlight is waterproof up to 2 meters.

One of the cooler features of the ThruNite was its firefly setting – a soft light that’s perfect for nighttime use when you’re not trying to scare wildlife or wake sleeping children.

Basically, casual users with ThruNite shouldn’t have much to complain about. The only real shortcoming was the 40-minute high-performance duration. If you want to walk in the woods at night and spend hours exploring, you need a stick-style light stick that provides consistent, high-level performance – which is chargeable.

David Priest / Tips Clear

I haven’t tested all of the high-end flashlights on the market, but I tested a $ 90 Olight Baton Pro flashlight for comparison – a favorite brand of many enthusiasts. I can’t call it the “best” high-end light, but it certainly showed what a bit more money can buy.

The Olight blew the other baton lights out of the water when it came to performance and consistency at a high level. Over the course of an hour, the power, which was already higher than most low and mid-level lights, barely moved. Its small body is light and robust. The designers have creatively packed a number of functions into the one-button interface: settings for low, medium and high power; a low-level firefly mode and a super-bright turbo mode; a strobe effect; Timer; and a lock to prevent the lights from accidentally turning on and draining the battery.

In short, the Olight is a marvel of design, and if you are looking for a reliable light in the market that will get a lot of use, it will do better for you than lights in the under $ 50 range.

David Priest / Tips Clear

At its simplest, the Rayovac floating LED lantern offers the best performance for the money. The plastic body feels cheap (even though it floats in the water), and the rubber button does two things: turns the lights on and off. The output over 60 minutes was impressive. Sure, it wasn’t as persistent as a high-end light like the Olight, but even after two hours in a stress test, the Rayovac still gave out more lumens than almost any light I’ve tested after just an hour.

The major disadvantage of the Rayovac, in addition to its simple design, is the 6-volt battery that you have to replace when it runs out. That costs almost as much as the flashlight itself.

That said, if you want a solid light to stay in a closet until disaster strikes, Rayovac’s Lantern is the one.

David Priest / Tips Clear

Although Rayovac’s light is technically a lantern light, unlike some lights with 360-degree coverage, it still has a forward-facing beam. These lights are great for camping or group activities in the dark. The best one I tested was LE’s rechargeable LED lantern.

While LE’s performance in one direction was not exceptional – which our testing procedures highlighted – it effectively lit a large room for over an hour, brighter than the slightly cheaper Energizer lantern.

The real charm of LE lies in its inventive design. Two baton lights detach from his body, allowing potential campers to stop and carry out their own activities without stealing the light from everyone else. It’s a cool idea that cleverly anticipates real people’s concerns and use cases.

The disadvantage of the LE lantern is the battery consumption. For best results, you will need three D batteries for the lantern and three AAA batteries for each demolition stick, for a total of nine batteries. So you have an expensive device to maintain and a heavy lantern for a night hike. That said, the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages here.

David Priest / Tips Clear

The $ 15 rechargeable headlight from Foxdott is a fantastic device for the price. The performance was not constant, but much higher than other headlights in the same price range. In addition, the multi-light design enables countless settings. One button controls the standard LEDs, switches two, four, six on or activates a strobe effect. The second button activates two extra bright LEDs, dims them, colors them red and makes them flash red. You can then use both buttons to select any combination of the above effects.

I love that you can run six powerful LEDs with two flashing red safety lights at the same time, especially if you’re jogging the street at dawn. Or you can just activate two dark LEDs for exploration after dark. It gives you flexibility and performance that other headlights just can’t.

How we tested

The two main tests I conducted measured the power of a particular flashlight over time and the spread of its beam. For the first test, I attached the flashlight to a tripod that pointed at a reflective screen 6 feet away. I then aimed a light meter at the reflective screen and tracked the relative lumens over a period of 60 minutes.

Although I tested the lights in an almost completely dark garage, the light values ​​should not be taken as absolute. Instead, they give a glimpse of how the flashlights compare to each other and how their output changes over time.

This table shows the relative change in lumen output over a test period of 60 minutes.

The other test was to place a flashlight 6 feet from a white wall and then measure the diameter of the light beam. This gave an idea of ​​the general breadth you should expect from these lights – although this is obviously only true of some of the lights. Lantern lights, for example, offer much wider light coverage.

Beyond these two tests, I used the lights in a dark room and outside at night to get a general feel for each of them and the features they offer. Here I was looking for options for the light output, extras such as safety lights or strobe effects and a light but robust body that felt intuitive to use even in the dark.

The rest of the pack

By and large, most of the lights I tested weren’t great. They either produced little light like that $ 14 J5 Tactical Flashlight and Eveready flashlight (which costs only $ 6.50 for a two-pack), or they produced wildly inconsistent light over the 60-minute test window. And while the best products, like the Olight, can perform consistently for hours, I recommend even good, affordable options like the ThruNite and Rayovac units to see either a steady or eventual cliff-like drop within an hour.

David Priest / Tips Clear

The $ 18 Mini MagLite Pro Rod, however, is a solid product in its performance. For example, it starts out with lower lumens than the ThruNite, but maintains solid performance for much longer – even after 90 minutes of use, it will still perform better than the ThruNite after 40 minutes.

The problems with the MagLite are mainly due to its physical design: you turn it on by rotating the top. If you keep turning, the light head will be removed. Yes, the same movement that drives the light also takes it apart. You also don’t get any of the various settings that ThruNite offers, and the MagLite almost seems designed to roll off surfaces (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned off all the flashlights and had to catch the MagLite crawling off of the Table edge).

David Priest / Tips Clear

As for lantern lights, I’ve found the most, including LE’s $ 37 Searchlight, Samlite’s $ 27 lantern and Energizers $ 19 lanternto have low overall performance. The LE lantern was the best of the bunch thanks to its clever modular design.

Headlights were surprising to test due to their erratic performance – especially the $ 14 Energizer and Switching devices (Selling two for $ 14) that ricocheted all over the map during their 60-minute trial periods. The $ 12 ARCBLD headlamp was much more uniform, but it produced poor light compared to competitors. With that, the steadily declining performance of the Foxdott headlamp stayed at the forefront even before the superior features (like charging and the aforementioned lighting arrangement) were even considered.

Which light is for you

After dozens of hours of testing these 14 flashlights, it is clear, among other things, how different user needs can be – and how different the recommendations are. These devices are great for casual users, but for those who are really interested in high-end flashlights, devices like the Olight (or any number of others) might be better suited.

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