B&H sent me a free holiday gift… an LED flashlight that came with
my recent Meade Instruments telescope purchase for my son.
(How nice of B&H!)
It was a little 45-lumen NITECORE TUBE keychain flashlight.
The TUBE normally sells for $9.20.
What was really interesting about this little, inexpensive flashlight was that you can recharge it via USB.
Had I been asleep at the wheel buying replacement batteries for my own fleet of home flashlights since I can remember?
(And believe me… my second grader has loved to play with my flashlights since he could walk. So, battery replacement has been an ongoing and expensive chore.)
Sure, I bought my dad a cool, rechargeable Klarus tactical-style flashlight to brighten his holidays a few years back…
The Klarus RS16 was rechargeable via an onboard magnetic charging port.
But I had never really considered upgrading to rechargeable battery tech for my own flashlights until my new NITECORE showed up.
The idea of ‘never’ having to replace the batteries in my flashlights ever again was quite tantalizing.
(Though I would still need to remember to recharge them)
So, I decided to take a look at today’s options…
How Many ‘Lumens’ Do You Need?
The first question I needed to address was how bright a flashlight do I really need.
(How many lumens?)
Of course, that depends on the use. For this exercise, I’ve decided to shop just for the home.
(Not for an ambitious outdoor camping trip)
Some ‘experts’ say under 100 lumens is fine. Others say you need two-three hundred lumens or more.
And there are plenty of options out there at or above 1,000 lumens!
(But that’s way brighter than I need or want)
I decided to focus my research for a flashlight in the 250-300 lumen range with a few different illumination settings.
…And rechargeable via a USB cable as opposed to a proprietary battery charging system and charger that I would need to keep track of.
Seven Rechargeable Flashlights that Get the Job Done
What I immediately found is rechargeable flashlight tech costs more.
(Not entirely unexpected)
But if you look around, you can also find additional functionality in these next generation flashlights!
Because a flashlight doesn’t have to just be a flashlight…
(More on this in a moment!)
I set my target price below $40.
And here are seven good options I found…
-85 lumens LED keychain flashlight
-$19.99 on Amazon
-120 degree tilting head
-White and Red LED
(This essentially has double the power of my TUBE.)
-360 lumens LED keychain flashlight
-$29.95 on Amazon
(And this is an even stronger cousin to the TUBE.)
-mini metallic LED keychain flashlight
-$29.99 on Amazon
(I believe this is the newer version of the TIP design.)
ULTRAFIRE Rechargeable USB Flashlight (2 pack)
-$17.99 on Amazon (for two!)
(These are mini flashlights… Think bigger than a keychain flashlight and smaller than your everyday flashlight.)
Celestron National Park Foundation Rechargeable Power Pack
and LED Flashlight
-95 lumens flashlight and charger
-$29.95 on Amazon
-2,200 mAh rechargeable battery, which can also charge your portable tech via USB
-About the length of a smartphone
(This doesn’t quite hit my targeted brightness, but it’s certainly an option. Plus, buying this one supports the National Park Foundation.)
-250 lumens flashlight and charger
-4,800 mAh rechargeable battery that will also charge your mobile gear via USB
-$35.78 on Amazon
-Can rapid-charge via Micro USB port or through its built-in solar panel. (Whoa!)
-Waterproof and floats
-I also like HybridLight flashlights, because they’re environmentally friendly.
(The HybridLight appears to give you more bang for the buck compared to the Celestron.)
-330 lumens LED flashlight
-250 lumens work light
-$35.95 on Amazon
(This one is cool, because you can ‘stretch’ this flashlight to reveal its center LED that glows as a work light.)
Time to Upgrade
So, many rechargeable flashlights today provide more functionality than just forward-facing illumination. Whether they offer to juice up your other gear or provide multiple light configurations, you’re getting more uses out of the rechargeable battery.
And this speaks to the progression of portable rechargeable batteries, which no longer offer illumination as an afterthought.
(Interesting how the evolution of tech has reversed the equation in this product line.)
And most importantly, rechargeable flashlights reduce the number of batteries you’ve got to go through.
That’s good for the environment.
Because it increases the chance that the next time I pick up a flashlight and press the button…
…It will actually turn on.