Guide to Choosing the Right Flashlight
Streamlight makes serious lighting tools. We make them for a wide variety of applications, but typically, there is no one light that works well in all situations. Flashlight choice depends on intended use. You need to consider your applications and how you will be using the light to select the light that's best for your specific needs.
To help you determine the right light for you, Streamlight created an interactive, online beam demonstration. You can check it out by clicking here. Want more information our different beam patterns? Click here.
Use this beam information, as well as the information we provide below, to choose a light that meets your needs and will last.
Can the budget pay for disposable batteries or does frequent use demand rechargeables?
- Disposable: Disposable batteries, either alkaline or lithium, have excellent storage life, 7 and 10 years respectively. They generally offer longer run times for a given bulb power, are typically lower in initial purchase price and are easier to keep spares on hand. Their operating costs are considerably higher than rechargeable lights (see chart) and they are seldom as bright. Lithium cells have high energy density, but are even more costly than alkaline.
- Rechargeable: Rechargeable flashlights using nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium ion batteries feature extraordinarily low operating expenses and are well suited for frequent use. Depending on the model, they often store conveniently in custom charger holders. Their initial purchase price can be higher, but cost savings are seen over the total life of ownership.
- Rechargeable 18650 USB: Turn high-performance lights into a rechargeable system using a USB rechargeable lithium ion 18650 battery. (Streamlight's 18650 USB battery features an integrated charging port and on-board safety circuit. It provides an alternate power source for our products that accept 18650 batteries or standard CR123A batteries, giving users Multi-Fuel innovation to ensure they always have a beam when it's needed. As with other rechargeable flashlights, the initial purchase price is higher, but there is significant cost savings over the total life of ownership.
|Battery Cost Analysis - 18650 vs CR123A|
|ProTac 2L-X with 18650||ProTac 2L-X with CR123As|
|Purchase Price of Light||$85||$85|
|Cost of Replacement Batteries||$20||$6.12|
|Cost of batteries over 1,575 hours of use*||$20||$3,505.09|
|Cost of batteries over 3,150 hours of use**||$40||$7,010.18|
|Total Cost of Ownership for 1,575 hrs.||$105||$3,590.09|
|Total Cost of Ownership for first 3,150 hrs.||$145||$7,095.18|
Cost Savings with 18650 USB Rechargeable Batteries:
In first 1,575 hours of use: $3,485.09
In first 3,150 hours of use: $6,950.18
|* 1,575 hours based on 500 charge cycles of 18650 USB battery|
** 3,150 hours based on 1,000 charge cycles of 18650 USB battery
LUMENS AND CANDELA
"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".
"Candela" or "Peak beam intensity” is a measure of the brightest spot in a focused beam.
Historically, flashlights were
available with several different kinds of bulbs, such as xenon and halogen
incandescent lamps. Nowadays, as technology has evolved, most flashlights
depend on LEDs, which are cost efficient and long lasting, to produce light.
By using LEDs, Streamlight has the
flexibility to adjust a flashlight’s output and beam patterns to meet a
customer’s needs. The following are the different types of “bulbs” we use:
- LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes): Solid-state construction. A high-intensity "solid-state" bulb which lasts up to 100,000 hours. Do not require periodic replacement. Able to run for very long periods of time on very little power. Available in various colors including Ultraviolet. Streamlight pairs LEDs with a Streamlight-engineered reflector and other technology to increase the brightness and create an intense beam of light that pierces the darkness.
- "Chip On Board" (COB) LED - Multiple LED chips (typically nine or more) that are packaged together as one lighting module. The LED chip diode is built directly on the circuit board. When it is lit up, it looks more like a lighting panel than multiple individual lights.
- Combination LED/COB LED – Combines the intense brightness of a Streamlight LED for distance lighting and a COB LED for a smooth, flood beam for up-close work. Provides a multi-function flashlight to provide you flexibility for your lighting tasks.