It doesn’t matter if you’re a mechanic, a plumber, an electrician or none of the above; flashlights are a piece of equipment that is essential in nearly every toolbox. With so many models on the market, how do you know which kind to choose? Learn everything you need to know about with our flashlight guide.
Why Is a Flashlight Important?
Flashlights are devices that provide illumination without the use of electricity. This strong beam of light can be easily controlled for specific tasks. These tools are necessary for countless environments and situations. Like most tools, flashlights are not a one size fits all for users.
Flashlights come in three different categories or grades:
- General purpose
Learn all about these uses to find the right device to accomplish the task at hand.
Warehouses and facilities require an industrial flashlight for safe and efficient use. These flashlights range in lumen and brightness depending on the model. However, the most important characteristic for facility use is in the safety rating. These characteristics are determined based on what hazardous materials may be present. With the wrong flashlight, it could cause an explosive or chemical reaction. Safety standards fall into four different categories: classes, divisions groups and temperature codes.
||Type of Hazardous Material
||Class Location Examples
||Flammable gases, vapors or liquids.
||Petroleum refineries, utility gas plants, gasoline storage and dispensing areas and dry cleaning plants
||Grain elevators, coal preparation plants, and producers of plastics, medicines and fireworks, spices, sugar and cocoa
||Ignitable fibers and flyings
||Textile mills and plants that create sawdust as a byproduct
||Presence of Hazardous Material
||Division Location Examples
||Where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors or liquids can exist all of the time or some of the time under normal operating conditions
||Loading zones or areas near relief valves at a petroleum refinery because flammable hazardous materials exist under normal operations
||Where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or liquids are not likely to exist under normal operating conditions
||Storage room with oil drums where an ignitable concentration of gas vapors would only exist under abnormal operating conditions, like if a drum were to be leaking
||Nature of Hazardous Material
||Acetylene (typically used in welding)
||Hydrogen or gases of equivalent hazard (including ethylene oxide, propylene oxide, etc.)
||Ethylene or gases of equivalent hazard (including carbon monoxide, ether, etc.)
||Propane (including butane, gasoline, natural gas, ammonia, hexane, ethanol, etc.)
||Metal dust (division 1 only – including aluminum and magnesium dust)
||Coal dust (including charcoal dust, coal, etc.)
||Grain dust (including starch, flour, etc.)
||Max Surface Temperature (°F)
||Max Surface Temperature (°C)
Tactical flashlights provide bright vision no matter the time of day or place. This form of illumination goes above and beyond to provide more than just light. These types of flashlights are typically used in professional defense industries including:
- Search and rescue
- Military use
- Security/police/law enforcement
- Self defense
What is a tactical flashlight used for?
With their compact and lightweight design, tactical flashlights allow for simultaneous use of another tool, such as a weapon. In fact, some models are designed to be mounted to a weapon for low-light shooting. It can also withstand the shock and vibration of a firearm, which makes it the No. 1 choice for law enforcement professions.
This type of instruments provides more light than a general model without the heavy weight, making it easily transportable. Because of the simple design and versatility, tactical flashlights are also commonly used among civilians for self-defense.
General Purpose Flashlights
The basic kind of flashlight has a simple, yet effective design. These handheld flashlights are lightweight for easy transport and relatively inexpensive. Their typical uses are for everyday tasks like household chores, car repairs, hiking and exploration, etc. When it comes to choosing a general purpose flashlight, there are three categories to consider: light output, battery type and size. Learn all about them:
- Brightness: The light output of general flashlights is what mostly dictates price difference. Lumen capability and beam distance are the two main considerations and typically go hand-in-hand. Light output can range from 20 lumens to 3500 lumens.
- Battery type: Flashlights can come with disposable, rechargeable and renewable batteries. Disposable is the most common type, as you can pick up batteries nearly anywhere. However, renewable flashlights are recommended for emergency kits because of the potential for scarce resources, even batteries.
- Size and Weight: The overall size of your flashlight comes down to personal preference and can be decided based on application. However, with the proper accessories like holsters and cases, any flashlight can be easily transported.
There is a wide selection of quality flashlights to choose from. It all comes to down to how, when and where you will be using the tool.
Flashlight Safety Ratings and Approvals
The Beginner's Guide to EDC Flashlights
How to Use a Flashlight in a Tactical Situation
The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This publication is not a substitute for review of the current applicable government regulations and standards specific to your location and business activity, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.