Flashlights: Ratings of Sources
Total of 20 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
by Editors of CPFReviews.com
Our AssessmentThough this site covers fewer flashlight brands and models than some, the editors do a terrific job. The individual reviews go into great depth and are well illustrated. Ratings on a scale of 100 are provided for looks, build quality, runtime, output, features, usability and bang for the buck. Given the huge price range for flashlights, the latter rating is especially helpful. The ratings are used to create an overall rating, and everything is pulled together on a sortable main landing page that makes it easy to see where each flashlight stands in relation to its competition. You can also create a custom comparison chart to evaluate several flashlights on one page.
Top Picks FlashlightReviews.com Favorites
by Doug Pribis
Our AssessmentFlashlight enthusiast Doug Pribis reviews and rates hundreds of flashlights based on detailed testing, but he stopped updating the site in June 2007. The list of top-rated flashlights is well organized by type and battery. The reviews are quite technical, but the site includes a detailed buyer's guide, supplemented by other articles that explain more about batteries, LED colors and much more.
The Trophy Case Best Products
by Craig Johnson
Our AssessmentThis site is excellent to use once you've narrowed your choice to two or three flashlights, but the list of "best products" is huge, with no ranking or ratings shown. The site is a leading source of information about LED devices, including flashlights, authored by a self-proclaimed flashlight nut." The author subjects each product to rigorous testing, including "The Punishment Zone" to test durability. The reviews of LED flashlights are easy to understand, though they're a little "crusty" in spots. They are also reasonably well illustrated, including a photo of the beam's brightness at 12 inches, which makes it much easier to see what you'd be getting. This site includes a virtual museum showcasing examples of breakthrough LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology since the 1960's.
Our AssessmentThe list of flashlights reviewed here can be filtered by battery type and sorted by rating (on a 10-point scale), making it easy to use -- though some of the top-rated flashlights are hard to find in the United States. The reviews are detailed and critical, with additional ratings for construction, output and value. No information is provided about the author's expertise, but the rating methods and terms are clearly explained. You can create custom comparisons of up to three flashlights, and the site also includes a discussion forum.
by Daniel Rutter
Our AssessmentThis site's author is an independent reviewer of PC hardware and gadgets, who doesn't guarantee a positive review to the manufacturers who supply products for review. Although the site is continually being updated, most of the flashlight reviews in the Lighting section are from 2001, with only a few more recent items. None of the flashlights are ranked or rated. However, even the older reviews explain LED flashlight technology much better than most sites, and many of the top picks are still excellent buys.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentThis is one of the more useful of the retail sites that publish owner-written reviews and ratings. Not only does the list of flashlights show the average rating, plus number of reviews, but the list itself is also huge, covering all major types. You can sort the list various ways, including by average rating -- but at the time of this report, over 275 different flashlights have a perfect 5-star rating from at least one person. Some of the flashlights with slightly less perfect ratings actually sell better here. Since so many flashlights are reviewed here, it's a good place to check out a model that interests you. Often reading the owners' reviews gives a clearer idea of what a flashlight will do than reading the more technical reviews at the expert sites.
Best Flashlights - Bestsellers & Flashlight Top Staff Picks
by Editors of OpticsPlanet.net
Our AssessmentThe staff at this huge retailer site selects a few flashlights as the best of their type. The site also publishes owner-written reviews, but most flashlights haven't accumulated more than a handful of reports thus far. Flashlight specifications are detailed and easy to understand, especially after reading the site's excellent buyer's guide.
by Kevin Kelly and Contributors
Our AssessmentThis is the web page of author Kevin Kelly, one of the founding forces behind Wired, and current editor at large for that magazine. It includes Cool Tools -- reviews of tools that he feels "really work." All reviews are actually written by contributors, so they are a bit uneven. Most include a few comparisons with other models, but no ratings or reviews. However, just being included here lends some credibility to a flashlight model. Lots of products other than flashlights are covered, so you'll need to search for flashlights to find reviews.
by Contributors to REI.com
Our AssessmentREI publishes owner-written ratings and reviews of the flashlights sold here. The average rating is shown beside each flashlight in the list, along with the number of reviews on which it's based. This makes REI.com one of the easier websites to browse. At the time of this report, quite a few flashlights have accumulated reviews, although only a handful have more than five or so. Some flashlights also get low average ratings, making this site especially useful.
by Contributors to Lowes.com
Our AssessmentLowes sells over 60 flashlights, quite a few of which have accumulated ratings from owners. No comments are published, but the sheer number of ratings makes the site valuable. Most ratings are on the high end, but the top models do stand out.
Flashlights & Lanterns
by Contributors to Sears.com
Our AssessmentSears lets visitors filter its listing of flashlights by user rating, making the site easy to browse. Unfortunately, at the time of this report, only a handful of flashlights have accumulated more than a few reviews, but owners clearly like both Dorcy and Craftsman LED lights. On the other hand, the small Craftsman 41-5606 flashlight gets noticeably poor ratings from owners, who criticize its durability and say the bulbs burn out fast.
by Contributors to HomeDepot.com
Our AssessmentOwners rate and review flashlights here, but at the time of this report, only a few models have accumulated more than two or three comments. Still, there's useful information here. For example, several HUSKY flashlights get quite low ratings, while the MAG-LITE brand earns high praise.
Clash of the Flashlights (Abusive Lab Test)
by Jonathan Gromer
Our AssessmentPopular Mechanics publishes some excellent reviews based on testing comparable models, but this isn't one of them. We'd rank this review higher if more than three flashlights were tested, but at least this crosses one off the list -- the battery-free "shake" type of flashlight, which performs poorly. The review does give some insight into the differences between a $130 LED flashlight and a $20 wind-up light. Testing methods are refreshingly nontechnical. For brightness at 20 feet, a viewer with excellent eyesight tries reading a standard vision chart. For durability, editors throw the flashlights down a flight of concrete stairs. Editors conclude that the Surefire E2L is worth its high price in an emergency; an earlier Popular Mechanics article covers tactical flashlights.
by Contributors to BackpackingLight.com
Our AssessmentAs you can imagine, flashlights reviewed at this ultralight backpacking site are very small and lightweight. Average ratings are posted in the list, so you can quickly hone in on the top-rated models here, as well as on the ones owners think are the worst. The drawback is that most ratings are actually of headlamps, not handheld flashlights. However, ratings are especially credible since posting a review requires signing up for an account. Most flashlights have accumulated only a few reviews so far, but one stands out.
by Contributors to WalMart.com
Our AssessmentThe Wal-Mart website shows the average rating from owner-written reviews of flashlights, but you have to click on the model to see how many people have actually reviewed it. We'd rank this site higher if more flashlights had accumulated enough reviews to add credibility to the ratings. It's still useful, however, since credible reviews here confirm that a shake flashlight isn't nearly as useful as a crank flashlight.
by Contributors to BackpackGearTest.org
Our AssessmentLots of LED flashlights get detailed reviews here, but at the time of this report, only one incandescent. We'd rank this review site higher if it were easier to compare flashlights. It's a good place to read detailed owner-written reviews of specific flashlights, but tedious to browse through all the reviews. Even for a specific flashlight, there's no summary of different owners' evaluations.
Personal Illumination Options
by Editors of ImagoMetrics.com
Our AssessmentThe information provided here is from a consultancy and research laboratory that performed extensive testing on flashlights in 2003. It's the only source that seems to put the products through a rigorous scientific process to determine the best ones. However, the information is more technical and harder to digest than that of less formal review sources. Editors do offer interesting quick facts, conclusions and an overall rating of up to five stars on some standard brands including Arc, Surefire, Streamlight and Inova. This review's age keeps it from ranking more highly in our chart.
Electrilite Flashlight & Mobile Charger
by Mike Regtien
Our AssessmentThis detailed single-product review tests the wind-up 5-LED Electrilite flashlight that also charges a cell phone, confirming that a minute of cranking produces a light that's quite bright for 30 minutes, then gradually declines. You can extend the runtime by using fewer than the 5 LEDs and can choose a model that includes one red LED for night vision.
Lamps and Lanterns
by Editors of Outdoors-Magazine.com
Our AssessmentOutdoors-Magazine.com is a free online magazine written by a stable of volunteer editors from around the world. More than 20 flashlights and headlamps get detailed single-product reviews here from four different editors, but without ratings, rankings, or comparison charts. If the reviews were more current, we'd rank this site higher. At the time of this report, the most recent review is dated August 2006, not very recent in this rapidly developing arena. The only comparison review is even older, dated Feb. 2005. However, there's still good information here.
Most Highly Rated Lights
by Contributors to Light Refineries forum
Our AssessmentOwners post brief flashlight reviews here, rating them on a 10-point scale, though most models have been reviewed by only one person. The list of "most highly rated lights" shows the average rating for each flashlight, but you have to click on each model to discover the number of reviews on which it's based. It's interesting to see that the separate ranking of "most popular" flashlights doesn't match the ratings, but other flashlight review sites have more to offer.