Let’s talk about flashlights!
I’ve written before–wow, that post is more than ten years old–about flashlights that I use regularly at work and such. And all of those flashlights from that post are still around, except, sadly, the one with the laser pointer on it; that one died a while back. But my love of flashlights lives on! Every day at work I have a flashlight on my person, and of course I am never happy to own just one daily work-horse flashlight. I now have four such flashlights, and I rotate through them all. Here’s the current lineup:
Here they are, each shining in a different lighting mode (except the one at left, which only has one mode):
I don’t rotate these daily. Rather, I use one for a few weeks at a time and then I use one of the others. For daily-use pocket flashlights, I tend to prefer roughly the sizes seen here, though there is a bit of variance. Here they all are, from a higher angle, switched off:
Aside from the red one at left, they’re all roughly the same length. Let’s run them down, left to right!
First up we have a flashlight by Amprobe:
This is the most obscure light in my kit. I don’t even know where to buy these; I got this one through The Day Job, where for a time this was the brand flashlight that we could order. This one is longer, but it’s also thinner, which is a nice trade-off. The red brushed-metal casing is lovely, and the light is very bright, powered by two AA batteries. I like this flashlight a great deal.
Pluses: Bright light, pocket clip and a wrist strap; AA battery use.
Minuses: Only one light setting, and the light cannot be focused.
Next is a flashlight by Klein Tools, which is one of my favorite tool companies.
I also love the tactile feel of this light, with that rubber Klein grip (well known to anyone who owns any of Klein’s screwdrivers). It’s a stubby light, but it’s not heavy and its orange brushed-metal look is also nice to look at. This flashlight, as well as the other two below, uses three AAA batteries, all inserted into a cartridge that is in turn about the size of a standard C battery.
What’s really cool about this light is its double nature. If you look to the photo up top, you’ll see what looks like five LEDs on the flashlight’s side. That’s exactly what those are, which means that the Klein flashlight can also be used as a worklight in tight places. This functionality is helped along even more by the fact that the flashlight’s bottom contains a powerful magnet so you can stick this light someplace and have it shine on what you’re working on! That is cool.
Also, the main light is encircled by a rubber ring that glows in the dark. This means that the flashlight’s ring will, after use, be all glowy for a bit. This looks kind of cool, but I have to admit that I am not totally sure how useful this is.
Pluses: Size and comfort of use; orange casing looks great. Two light modes: standard flashlight and work light. Magnet in base so the flashlight can be stuck someplace for use as a work light.
Minuses: Only one light setting on the main lamp; No ability to focus the beam.
Next up is a flashlight by a company called Coast.
I don’t know a great deal about Coast, but their flashlights are carried by Home Depot (at least in my area), and I actually own several lights by Coast. This is the only one that I ever carry around with me. It’s a nice flashlight with a black “tactical” look, even if this is probably too small to be a tactical flashlight. The knurled casing looks great, and the light is again a nicely bright beam, powered again by three AAA batteries.
The Coast light also adjusts for focus by twisting the lens piece one way or the other, which is great. There’s a nice big belt clip, too. I use this one a lot.
Pluses: Bright beam, two light settings, nice clip.
Minuses: Mine has started getting a bit touchy about if it wants to turn on and stay on.
Finally, the one I’ve owned the longest (I actually wrote about this light in that original post linked above), my MagLite Mini. This wonderfully bright flashlight has three settings: full brightness, half brightness, and a pulsing “signal” mode which I expect would be useful if you’re lost in the woods and are singaling help. The beam also focuses, though not quite as well as in the Coast light.
I used to keep up with Maglite a lot, but I don’t see their products at Home Depot very much these days, so I hope Maglite is hanging in there!
Pluses: Light-weight; three light modes. Shines very brightly; I can illuminate spots on the high ceiling at work with this one.
Minuses: No clip or strap of any kind. This flashlight has to live in my pocket when I’m carrying it around. Sometimes the flashlight “forgets” what mode it’s in, so when I click the power switch, it…hiccups.
The MagLite flashlight has been in my collection for over a decade and is still going strong (in fact, it’s my pocket-flashlight of the day as I write this), and I’ve owned each of the others for a while too; I’ve had the Klein light for four or five years, and the other two a couple of years each, so these flashlights are quite durable. Durability is important in a flashlight. I’ve bought many a spiffy flashlight over the years that I thought would be keepers, only to have them die quickly.
I do also have other flashlights like pen lights and work lights with magnetic bases and there’s a larger version of the Coast light which I use for brighter rooftop or ceiling inspections. You really can never have too many flashlights, in my opinion.
In fact, maybe this week I’ll stop by Home Depot or Lowe’s and see what’s new in the wonderful world of flashlights!