What Goes Into A Top Quality Flashlight?

Do you need a top quality flashlight? Here's how to buy one that can withstand the test of time. Read on to know what to look for.

Keyword(s): top quality flashlight


You should always carry a flashlight with you, no matter where you go. 

A flashlight can make a big difference in emergency situations and be an essential self-defense tool. Whether your camping, hiking or just looking for a flashlight to keep in the house or vehicle, quality is an important consideration.  

But what goes into a top quality flashlight?   

We'll help you figure that out.   

Keep reading to learn about the most important features a quality flashlight should have.  

What Goes into a Top Quality Flashlight?

A flashlight that costs a couple of bucks might look similar as a flashlight that costs several hundred dollars.  

So what makes one cheap and the other high quality? 

It comes down to a number of features, including brightness, material, and battery type. We'll take a closer look at what goes into a top quality flashlight so you get a better idea about what will work best for you. 

Let's dive in. 

Light Output 

The light output of a flashlight is measured in lumens. The more lumens, the brighter the flashlight. 

Keep in mind, the max. lumens measure the brightness of the light when the flashlight is at it's highest setting with new or fully charged batteries. As the batteries start to die, the light output can dim. 

Some flashlights have multiple light settings. Because of this, they'll have a lumen measurement for each one.  

Your basic flashlight can have as low as 20 lumens. Top quality flashlights usually have a minimum max. lumen output of 600 lumens and can go as high as 3,500 lumens. You might not need that many for your flashlight, but quality flashlights will have a higher number.  

Bulb Type

A high-quality flashlight will have an LED bulb. These types of bulbs are energy efficient, and they're brighter, more durable, and have a better runtime than traditional incandescent bulbs.  LED bulbs also have very long life spans with some rated to exceed 50,000 hours.

While you can still find flashlights with incandescent bulbs, it's a better option to stick with the LED bulbs instead. 

Beam Type 

The beam plays a big role in the brightness of a flashlight. The lens reflectors inside a flashlight can change how the light gets dispersed. Because of this, there are several types of beams to choose from. 

  • Spot Beam:

A spot beam, or focused beam, is condensed into a spotlight. This enables the beam to reach a long distance. 

  • Flood Beam:

A flood beam, or fixed beam, is a wide beam. You'll find this type of beam in most flashlights. 

  • Adjustable Beam:

An adjustable beam can change from a wide beam to a spot beam. It can also create other types of beams between the two options. You can use this type of flashlight for a multitude of activities. 

Beam Distance

The beam distance of a flashlight is measured in meters or feet. The number of meters measures how far the beam will reach before the brightness is diminished by another light source. 

Most flashlights use the full moon for this light source.  

In other words, the beam of a flashlight will reach a number of meters until it is diminished by a light the same brightness as the full moon. The exact distance a beam reaches will vary depending on the brightness of the bulb. 

Run Time

The runtime of a flashlight refers to how long it takes the light output to lessen to 10% of the original output.  

The output of some flashlights will lessen over an extended period of time as the batteries start to die. Other flashlights will have a light output that stays the same for a long time then suddenly drops.   

Different light settings may have different run times.  

This runtime will be measured in hours. A flashlight with a long runtime can last for hours upon hours.  


Many top quality flashlights offer several different modes and brightness settings.

The most common modes are low, medium, high, and boost. However, a flashlight can have more or fewer modes. Brighter modes have shorter runtimes than dimmer modes.    

Many higher quality flashlights will also have pulse modes and some even have emergency S.O.S. modes that can be very helpful in emergency situations or when you need to be seen.

Battery Type

There are several different types of batteries you can choose from. The right one for you depends on how you plan to use the flashlight.  

Here's a closer look at the most common battery choices.  

  • Disposable Batteries: 

You can find flashlights that run on AAA, AA, CR123A, and even D cell batteries.

But make sure you don't use lithium batteries to power these flashlights. Lithium batteries can damage your flashlight. The only time you should use lithium batteries is if the manufacturer says the batteries are safe for the flashlight. 

  • Rechargeable Batteries:

You can recharge these batteries by plugging them into a computer, solar panel, or normal wall outlet. They cost more than traditional batteries, but they save you money in the long run and reduce your battery waste. Many higher quality flashlights will come with a Lithium Ion battery that is rechargeable. These batteries tend to have higher outputs and can power the flashlight at full brightness for longer periods of time.

  • Renewable Batteries: 

You can power these batteries yourself by turning a hand crank. Sometimes flashlights with renewable batteries have small solar panels on the surface to gain energy from the sun.   


Many high-quality flashlights are tested for impact resistance. That means they're dropped a certain number of meters at least six times to ensure they can withstand the impact. 

A durable flashlight will keep working even after an accidental drop or strike against a hard object. Check for the tested drop rating in the flashlight's specifications.


Your top quality flashlight should be made of heavy-duty plastic or aluminum alloy. You can also look for other features, such as stainless steel in the flashlight's head or overall construction of airplane grade aluminum. Features like this will give it extra durability. 

Thinner material makes the flashlight lighter, but it also makes it less impact resistant. 

Water Resistance

If your flashlight will be around water or rain, you'll want to make sure it's water resistant. There are several different water resistance ratings you should be aware of when looking for a high-quality flashlight. 

  • IPX4:

This means your flashlight is splash resistant. Light water such as a rain shower can hit it from any angle without the flashlight sustaining any damage. This is a basic water resistance rating for light outdoor use.

  • IPX6: 

This rating means your flashlight can withstand a 12.5mm jet of water (at 100 litres per minute) from any direction for at least 3 minutes without affecting the flashlights performance. This rating is well suited to hiking and camping and heavier outdoor uses where the light may be subjected to water.

  • IPX8: 

This means you can submerge your flashlight in water for 4 hours. The depth can vary depending on the flashlight. This rating is ideal in marine uses.


A heavier flashlight tends to provide a longer runtime because it has a greater battery capacity. But the size and weight of a flashlight-regardless of quality-come down to your personal preference.  

Buying a Top Quality Flashlight

The most important features to look for in a top quality flashlight are light output, runtime, and battery type. A quality flashlight will have a high number of lumens and an extended runtime.  

Other features, such as water resistance, are also important to consider if you know your flashlight will need them.  

Are you trying to find a top quality flashlight?  

Make sure you take a look at some of our options!  

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