Understanding Flashlight Options
All flashlights are rated using the ANSI FL1 standards. These standards were introduced in 2009 as a way for manufacturers to perform standardised testing on each of their products.
While not all companies subscribe to this process it is the most up to date system available.
The light output is measured in Lumens – the intensity of the light coming from the front of the flashlight.
This number is based on the flashlight set to high or full capacity on new or fully charged batteries.
The majority of reputable brands will use this number as their max lumens reading when describing their products, while some not-so-reputable brands will list the max output of the LED within the product instead which technically provides a false reading.
You can get flashlight s that range in lumens from a modest 20 lumens right up to well over 3500 lumens which are, in most cases, too bright for normal use.
You also have to consider beam distance when calculating lumens which is described in more detail below.
Beam distance is measured in meters and is calculated based on how far the flashlight beam will shine above .25lux.
This is equivalent to the brightness of the moon on a clear night and considered bright enough to walk around in.
The run time of any good flashlight is measured in hours and stops when the light output drops down to 10% of the output of new batteries. It is not an exact science because the results are rounded either up or down to the nearest 15 mins. Some brands will provide you with a run time graph.
This comes in handy because when your flashlight starts to discharge it very often isn’t a gradual reduction in power.
Sometimes your torch may be humming along and then suffer a quick drop off in power.
Most of the new models come with indicator lights to let you know well in advance that you are running low on juice and should either change out to new batteries or start charging asap.