How to Buy A High Power LED Flashlight

High Power LED Tactical Flashlights

When I got into selling flashlights many years ago, 100 Lumen flashlights were just about all one could afford for under $90.00. They were flashlights using the older incandescent bulbs that broke easy and got hot. Thankfully this technology is just about extinct. Incandescent bulbs have been replaced with low power consumption and high output Cree and Luxeon LEDs (that look more like a circuit board chip) and are more efficient. Efficiency means getting more brightness (lumens) or runtime and many of these flashlights range from 250 to 700+ lumens.

Purchasing Considerations: When purchasing a flashlight light, determine what you will use if for, how big can it be, what batteries does it use such as rechargeable, AAA, AA, CR123, CR2, etc. Here are some other questions you will cant to consider:

  • How long do the batteries last?
  • Does it need to be weapons mountable or military grade for drop, water, corrosive atmosphere?
  • Do you need a flashlight with strobe that is used to confuse an attacker?
  • How about SOS in case you get lost?
  • Do you need a flashlight with an adjustable beam or does it need to be weapons mountable with a remote on/off pressure switch?
  • What’s the warranty?
  • Do I really need the best super bright LED flashlight?

Bright light or distance: Many folks ask about what is the highest lumen flashlight that you will need. Consider how much the flashlight concentrates the light into a spot and how far it throws the light, plus the size and quality of the circle the flashlight casts. A flashlight that’s great for close-up work may not be effective for hunting, checking the house, mounting on your shotgun, etc. Some of the tactical flashlights offered at Gunner Security throw a beam over 700 feet and are rated at 700 lumens.

strobing rail mount flashlight

Construction and size: Bodies with the most durable finish cost more. Among aluminum bodies, Anodize type 3 is the hardest, but Anodize type 2 is tough enough for most users. (Powder coating is least durable.) Among the plastic/polymer bodies, price is a good clue to durability. A good body tube diameter is 1”, allowing you to purchase a standard Picatinny or weaver mount to attach your flashlight to a shotgun, AK or M-15.

Reflector: You hear a lot about an “orange peel”, dimpled or textured reflectors. This design usually smooths out the beam and display a large even pattern at short and long distances. A smooth reflector tends to concentrate the light more in the center so the light looks bright. The flashlight that s built into the Viridian C5L green dot laser is only 100 lumens but due to its small size and smooth reflector, it’s closer to 180 lumens. Determining what reflector is in the flashlight helps you select a flashlight based on whether you want maximum brightness in the center or a smoother gradation to the edge of the circle of light.

Tactical CREE LED Flashlight

Price: I started off buying flashlights advertised with all of the right claims (mostly on e-bay) only to find out many were junk and I forgot the “you get what you pay for” rule. Prices for a good, high quality flashlight usually start around $50 and go upwards to $200 or so. Just to get an idea of what’s out there, you can check out my high quality flashlights with many of the above features such as

To see all of the flashlights and flashlight/laser combos, jump directly to Flashlights and Flashlight/Laser Combos.

A really great flashlight site is Candle Power if you want to lean more.

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