Oct 30 2019
LED Flashlights Have Revolutionized Handheld Lighting
High output LED flashlights have revolutionized the venerable and indispensable handheld lighting device. Historically, flashlights were big clunky things powered by two D-cell batteries, with the light coming from a small incandescent bulb, focused by a reflector. Generally, a two D-cell battery incandescent flashlight produced 15-20 lumens of light. The light quality could be good with fresh batteries, but declined as the batteries drained. Improvements in performance were gained by using argon, krypton, xenon, and halogen light bulbs in flashlights, with some special halogen bulbs producing as much as 200 lumens.
Flashlight history was made beginning around 1999, when the first LED flashlights were developed. The light emitting diode (LED) was first discovered in 1962, and the inventor predicted that LEDs would eventually replace the incandescent light bulb in lighting. It took decades to improve the technology and lower production costs to where LEDs could replace ordinary light bulbs, and also flashlight bulbs.
The Advantages of Using LEDs in Flashlights
LED lighting elements have many advantages. They use about 85% less power than incandescent filaments, immediately improving battery life. Since LEDs require less power, smaller batteries can be used; allowing the devices to be miniaturized. Thirdly, the solid state electronics of an LED allow for regulation by a microprocessor. The microprocessor normalizes the light output, allowing for a steady luminous flux as the batteries drain. The microprocessor also allows the unit to have different modes of operation, such as low, medium, and high intensities, as well as SOS and strobe modes. The user can tailor the light output for their specific need. These flashlights also use advanced reflectors to better focus the light output. Further, the LED lighting elements have up to 50,000 hour lifetimes, and cannot be broken if the flashlight is dropped.
Instead of the 15-20 lumen output of incandescent flashlights, powerful LED flashlights are commonly found with light outputs of 150-200 lumens. Some users refer to their flashlights as "torches" because they are so bright. The microelectronics and small batteries allow for these devices to be pocket-sized, with many being just 4-6 inches long and having a bezel diameter of about 1.5 to 2-inches. This allows the device to be clipped to a shirt pocket, or placed in a small holster attached to a belt.
There is a LED Flashlight for Everyone
The users of these flashlighs come from all walks of life. Many are military users who have taken their torches into combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Some are policemen, firemen, and workmen from various professions. The high luminous flux, combined with their compact size and weight, makes these devices essential items for certain professionals. If you are looking for a high power LED flashlight for your own kit, there are several reliable brands to choose from and a wide variety of price ranges. There is sure to be a top LED flashlight out there made just for you.