Guide to Choosing the Right Light

Streamlight makes serious lighting tools. We make them for a wide variety of applications, but we also make it easy to select the light that's best for your specific needs. If you ask yourself a few basic questions and answer based on the information provided here - you can choose a light that will serve you well for a long, long time.

Streamlight Takes Led Technology to a Whole New Level

Flashlight choice depends on intended use. Typically, there is no one light that works well in all situations. Consider your applications and the following basic questions:


Is the work close up or is a long range beam required?

Is the extraordinary bulb life and reliability of an LED needed or is the blinding power of a halogen or xenon bulb critical?

Can the budget pay for disposable batteries or does frequent use demand rechargeables?

Disposable or Rechargeable?

Disposable batteries, either alkaline or lithium, have excellent storage life, 7 and 10 years respectively. They generally offer longer runtimes for a given bulb power and are typically lower in initial purchase price and easier to keep spares on hand. Their operating costs are considerably higher than rechargeables (see chart) and they are seldom as bright. Lithium cells have high energy density, but are even more costly than alkaline.

Rechargeable flashlights using nickel cadmium or lithiumion batteries feature extraordinarily low operating expense and are well suited for frequent use. They can often support a brighter bulb or LED and store conveniently in custom charger holders. Their initial purchase price is higher and they self discharge at a higher rate when in storage.

Typical Costs of a Rechargeable vs. Disposable
Year Rechargeable Flashlight Costs D-Cell Flashlight Costs
1st $97 $103**
2nd $0 $78
3rd $0 $78
4th $0 $78
  $97 $337
* Average suggested cost of a rechargeable flashlight
** Includes $25 flashlight purchase and a year’s worth of replacement batteries

Lumens and Candlepower

“Lumens” of a bulb is a measurement of the entire output of the bulb. (Focus is not considered.) “Lumens” of LEDs is a measurement of all the light inside the “beam angle”. “Peak beam candlepower” is a measure of the brightest spot in a focused beam.

How Bright?

Flashlights come with several kinds of bulbs. The biggest differences are the amount of brightness, longevity of the bulb, and the cost. Here’s a rundown of bulb choices:

INCANDESCENT – Streamlight uses premium gas-filled lamps for high performance. Both xenon and halogen lamps provide high output for their size and a white, natural-appearing light. Halogen lamps “blacken” less as they age and may have longer life than xenon. Both require periodic replacement and can fail on extreme impact. They are easily focused – most powerful, highest performance, top choice for long distances.

LEDS (LIGHT EMITTING DIODES) – Solid-state construction. Very durable and long-lived – up to 100,000 hours. Do not require periodic replacement. Soft focus, short range. Good for close work. Typically much less power than incandescent lamp, but can give extremely long (100’s of hours) runtimes at low illumination levels.

C4® LED – New C4® LED Technology pumps up the brightness up to 3X more light intensity.

Streamlight introduces a whole new kind of LED. With a brighter, more powerful, blinding light than any LED that’s come before. Our new Streamlight-engineered reflector with C4 Photonic Crystal technology almost triples the brightness and creates an intense beam that pierces the darkness. So you get the long-run times and indestructibility of an LED with a new level of brightness that leaves other LEDs in the dark.

C4 approximates the range and brightness of a xenon bulb

COMBINATION LED/INCANDESCENT – Streamlight’s exclusive patented LED/Xenon combination lights combine the long running times and durability of LEDs with the brightness of an incandescent. Arguably the best of both worlds.

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