isn't always better. Too bright a light can cause glare on
a page you're trying to read, wake your sleeping partner, or make it hard
to adjust your eyes back to the dark.
compare flashlight brightness just by lumens. Consider how
much the flashlight concentrates the light into a spot -- or diffuses it more
broadly -- as well as how far it throws the light, plus the quality
of the circle of light cast. A flashlight that's great for closeup tasks may
not be effective at all for checking the outside of a house at night.
you use a flashlight a lot, consider the cost of batteries. In the long run, a more efficient flashlight may be less expensive than a
cheaper flashlight, once the cost of batteries is taken into account.
batteries are better for cold weather and long storage,
but they do cost more. If you pick a flashlight that uses only lithium-ion batteries,
experts recommend buying lithium-ion batteries in bulk, since
they store for about ten years.
the availability of batteries. For the greatest flexibility,
pick a flashlight that uses either alkaline batteries only, or more than one
type. Alkaline batteries are available just about everywhere in the
world and store for about six years.
XR-E and Luxeon LEDs are more efficient than Nichia
5mm LEDs. Efficiency means getting more brightness or runtime per watt.
reflectors usually smooth out the beam. Smooth reflectors tend
to concentrate the light more in the center, so the best reflector depends
on whether you want maximum brightness in the center or a smoother
gradation to the edge of the circle of light.
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 polymer bodies, experts
say price is a good clue to durability.
bulbs produce the whitest incandescent
light. Consider whether
or not the whiteness of the light is important to you.
bulbs and complete lamp assemblies
are the best incandescent format. Bi-Pin bulbs are tiny, so it's easy to carry a spare, but they can
come loose if the flashlight gets dropped. Complete lamp assemblies don't
loosen, but they are more expensive.
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