How To Know If Your LED Flashlight is the Brightest In the World

LED Flashlight
Pixabay

You’d think that buying the brightest LED flashlight of the world would be easy since the purchase decision is based on a single criterion: brightness. Think again!

In the midst of a baffling amount of technical information and the outlandish claims made by the manufacturers, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. So, here's a realistic look at what you need to know before you embark on your search to find the brightest flashlight within your budget.

 

Why not go for the product with the highest lumen rating?

That would be a simple enough approach, but there are two problems:

The first is that despite the impressive claims of delivering 1000+ lumens, very few manufacturers actually offer products that live up to this promise.  In order to do so, they have to use at least two LEDs. That’s because the maximum lumen output of their best single LED is only 776 lumens

Second, even if you were to find the brightest LED flashlight of the world that could give you true 1000+ lumens of brightness by using two or three or even more quality LEDs, would you really want it? Your flashlight would eat through batteries faster than you can down a bag of chips!

And keep in mind, a real 1000+ lumens multiple LED flashlights would heat up so much it would have to be extremely large to prevent it from heating up to the point that you wouldn't even be able to hold it. This wouldn't be the flashlight to carry around in your bag where it could accidentally turn on and it wouldn't be one you'd want to have around your kids.

Real multi-LED 1000 lumen brightness does not come cheap. So, the claims of "cheap" single LED flashlight manufacturers of having 1000 plus lumens output are empty at best.

Then, how do you go about finding the brightest LED flashlight of the world?

Pick the one with the most advanced and powerful LED bulb and get an honest idea about the brightness it delivers.  You'll notice that most tops of the line flashlights have LEDs manufactured by CREE Inc. (an American manufacturer and innovator in the LED lighting field) and this is often used as a selling point.

But just because the product bears the CREE logo it doesn't mean you've bought the brightest flashlight available. Without a doubt, CREE makes the best LEDs in the market but shady manufacturers will often market knockoffs as "original CREE LEDs".

The only way to make sure you're not getting duped is to buy from a reputable manufacturer. Go with a company that gets its products tested from an independent source, like Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL). Brightex Technologies, for example, is one of the few manufacturers that has had their U2 LED flashlights tested by UL, proving its claim of 600 and 700 lumens is real.

Brightex has even gone the extra mile and tested had Underwriters Laboratories test five popular flashlights claiming around 1000 lumens with T6 LEDs. The results have shown that they averaged only around 325 lumens! (You can find full test results on the Brightex web site).

Not all LEDs are as bright as claimed!

Another thing to consider is that CREE manufactures a vast range of products. Of these, the XML T6 is the most popular LED for flashlights. Most flashlight manufacturers claim that the T6 offers 1000 lumens; however, as we explained earlier,  a single T6 LED can't provide this level.

The XML T6 flashlights usually offer a modest rating of around 200-300 lumens. However, it is possible to get a whopping 700 lumens from the XML L2 U2, providing the flashlight was designed to do so. Most manufacturers, even those using this LED, will only get around 500 lumens at best out of it, do to the other component factors involved.

The LED model you should be looking for is the XML L2 U2 (and make sure you have an independent lab verifying this is the real output of the flashlight). And by the way, these LEDs can last for 50,000 hours, which only adds to their appeal.

Conclusions

Of course, you'll also want to consider things like the beam distance and the peak beam intensity when looking for the brightest flashlight of the world. However, these should be weighed in view of how you intend to use the flashlight. 

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