You’ll need a torch if you plan to work in the dark. It’s also something you should have with you if there’s a power outage or a natural disaster. There are plenty of other uses for flashlights as well, including camping, working under the hood of your car and checking items in your attic. Torches are ideal for use in emergencies because they don’t require electricity to operate. They’re also good for people who are afraid of the dark, since these lights produce a lot of illumination.
There are several types of flashlights available on the market today, but they are all designed to work the same way. The major difference is the type of light given off by the flashlight bulb which is usually a LED. There is an incandescent version as well, but this type is not used as much anymore because LED flashlights are more efficient and produce a brighter light.
How Do You Choose the Best Flashlight?
If you’re planning on using your torch in an emergency (for example, if you’re hiking and get lost), then it makes sense to buy one that puts out as much light as possible. Flashlights are an essential part of any emergency kit. You may need one when the electricity is out, if you’re walking in the dark, if you’re trying to change a tire, or just want to see what’s going on around your campsite in the middle of the night. But be careful when buying one. Some may look stylish and even come with high-tech features, but could actually be a fire hazard, or even a weapon. Look for these features:
- Sufficient light. This is easy to test in a store, but it’s hard to judge from pictures and descriptions online. While brightness is important, so is throwing distance — how far away can you still see what your light is illuminating? If you use your flashlight mainly for walking at night and don’t need a lot of illumination, look for something small with a dimmer switch or slide. Brightness is most important if you need to illuminate something far away or in total darkness.
- Size and weight. The size should fit your needs without being too bulky to carry around in a pocket or purse, or so heavy that it weighs down your wrist if you carry it with a lanyard cord around your neck.
To make them even more useful, manufacturers usually incorporate additional features. One of these is adjustable focus. Flashlights with adjustable focus can be focused to shine a beam of light as narrow or as wide as you want it. This is handy for tasks like reading the fine print, but it can also be used to increase or decrease the size of a bright spot that you’re using to illuminate an area.
- Power Source: Flashlights that take AAA batteries are more convenient than those that use other kinds of batteries, because AAA batteries are easy to come by.
- Battery Life: In general, a torch with larger diameter batteries last longer than those with smaller ones. The downside is that they often require an adapter sleeve and can be clunky to carry around.
- Brightness and Beam Type: All flashlights are not created equal. You should look for one that produces enough light for your needs.
If your flashlight suddenly stops working, it might not be broken. The batteries could be the culprit — or you might just need to give it a shake. When batteries aren’t used for long periods, they tend to lose power. Batteries don’t always die at once; sometimes, one cell will go dead before the others, so the flashlight still functions with one dead cell.
To get a flashlight to work again, remove the batteries and give them a good shake. You must do this in a dark room so you can see if any of the cells move around. Then replace the batteries and try it out. If your emergency flashlight still doesn’t work, either there is something wrong with it or you don’t have enough power left to illuminate anything.
Use the Right Battery for Your Flashlight
It’s not always easy to figure out which type of battery to use in your flashlight. Here are some options, along with the pros and cons of each:
- Alkaline batteries. These are standard, long-lasting batteries that are cheap and easy to find at any drugstore or grocery store. They’re also relatively heavy, which makes them less than ideal for a flashlight that you’ll be carrying around all day.
- Alkaline batteries do have some benefits, though. They don’t leak as lithium batteries do, so they make a good choice if you’re using your flashlight in a wet environment like camping or hunting. And because they’re cheap and easy to find, they’re a good choice for flashlights that aren’t used very often.
- Lithium batteries. Lithium batteries have many of the same advantages as alkaline batteries, but without some of the drawbacks. They weigh less than alkalines do, which makes them a better choice if you need your flashlight to be portable. And unlike alkalines, lithium doesn’t corrode or leak into the atmosphere.