Shopping for an LED flashlight can be easy if you’re simply looking for a quick solution for your lighting needs. LEDs are cheaper and easier to produce than other light sources. However, the difference in quality and performance between LED flashlights can vary greatly.
When shopping for a quality LED flashlight, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research about the product you are investing in before handing over your hard-earned money. To that end, here are some of the common terms you may come across when comparing LED flashlight models:
LED: This acronym stands for “light emitting diode,” the technology at the heart of all LED flashlights. The first LED was officially created in 1927 by Russian inventor Oleg Losev. Basically, there are certain kinds of inorganic materials that light up when an electric current passes through them; this is the stuff that LED lights are made of. The benefit of LEDs is that they are more durable and use less power than traditional light sources.
Bezel: The bezel on an LED flashlight is the top or “head” part of the flashlight, which typically contains the LED light chips as well as the optics system that focuses the light into a usable beam. It’s also referred to as “bezel ring.”
Candela: A candela is the unit that is used to measure the intensity of a light at its source. It’s often used interchangeably with or alongside a lumen rating (see below).
Casing: The casing of an LED flashlight is the outer material that’s used to protect its inner workings. The most common casing materials for flashlights are plastic or aluminum.
Lumens: The total amount of illumination a flashlight gives off is measured in lumens. A lumen is the amount of light emitted by one birthday candle located one foot away from you. When shopping for LED flashlights, however, keep in mind that the number of lumens doesn’t necessarily indicate the quality of a flashlight.
Lux: This is a measurement of light intensity over a given area; it’s also known as lumens per square meter. In other words, lux measures the amount of light cast or “thrown” by an LED flashlight onto a surface. According to the ANSI flashlight standards, 0.25 lux is considered a useful amount of light.
Run time: A flashlight’s run time indicates how long a flashlight can run on a single set of batteries. Run time varies depending on battery type, flashlight powering method, charge method, and other factors. Longer run time is always better.
These are just a few of the technical terms you may encounter when researching LED flashlights. For a more in-depth explanation, as well as tips for choosing a quality flashlight, download our free eBook, A Flashaholic’s Guide to LED Flashlights.