LED technology is growing in popularity. You might even see clusters of LEDs as the red, yellow and green indicators in you local traffic lights. LEDs as light sources are better than regular incandescent bulbs because they last longer — up to 100,000 hours — LEDs are durable, and will never really need to be replaced.
Now you can own LED technology at an affordable price. This review will concern three LED flashlights manufactured by Streamlight. Price quotes are from Amazon.
This $30 flashlight uses 10 “ultra bright white” LEDs to illuminate
your way. The flashlight needs “C” size batteries and you get a
powerful bluish beam in a small form factor. You can flicker the light
or turn it on for a constant light stream. The batteries will run the
flashlight for up to 336 hours and reportedly lasts 20 times longer
than a regular, non-LED, flashlight. I could not figure out how to get
the batteries into this light.
I emailed customer support and 24 hours
later I had a reply: After removing the lens cowl, tap the LED housing
on the table until it pops out. I did that and it worked. I had been
trying to unscrew the LED housing and the included instructions never
detailed exactly how to get the batteries in the device. This light is
a winner even though you must purchase your own batteries. I love it so
much I purchased a second one.
This $23.00 flashlight is the smaller, weaker, noisier, middling,
brother to the 3C and it has seven “ultra bright white” LEDs rated to
last 100,000 hours. The four AA batteries will run the flashlight for
up to 155 hours and that, too, is reportedly 20 times longer than a
non-LED flashlight is able to run on the same charge. You can blink the
light or have a constant-on state. The batteries were easier to install
in this version but they do not feel secure in the housing. The
batteries rattle in the hollow.
This is not a light for clandestine
work where silence is the word of the day because you never know when
the batteries will bellow from within the husk. While this flashlight
is smaller than the 3C version its light output is similar — there
isn’t much difference to the naked eye between 10 LEDs and 7 LEDs. I
prefer the 3C and its twice-as-long battery life. The 4AA is a
mid-level compromise and doesn’t offer much in the way of dynamism or
aesthetic effect — the housing is narrow and oval-shaped to hold the
batteries in two columns of two batteries each. The 4AA come bundled
with four AA batteries you self-install and a lifetime warranty but for
only $7.00 more I’ll choose the 3C every time.
This $13.00 single LED “pen light”
is curious because it is a tall and gangly 7 inches and only a
marketing person would call it a “stylus” pen light with a straight
face. It certainly won’t comfortably fit in your pocket and the “pocket
clip” feels weak and ill-conceived. This pen light is rated at 100,000
hours of life for the single LED and the three AAAA — that’s right,
this monster needs 3 Quadruple “A” batteries — should last 60 hours
and the unique, tiny, batteries come already installed in the pen
light. The packaging claims this single LED is “visible from over a
mile away” and that may be true in perfect weather.
The pen light is
made of “aircraft aluminum” and it has a serial number and a lifetime
warranty. I am uncertain why the individual serial number is important.
This light is heavy. It has a “glare guard” cowl that you can put over
the end of the light to give it “a more focused” beam but that
cheap, plastic, cowl will easily be lost. I’m giving it another two
days before I never see it again. The cowl cannot be stored on the pen
when not in use. This is a great pen to play around with in the dark.
You can blink the light or twist the end to place it in a constant “on”
state. It’s the perfect flashlight to have on your nightstand but I
would not purchase another one of these pen lights. I have seen similar
LED pen lights that are smaller and lighter and that provide a better,
I have come to love LED technology and I can’t imagine ever going back
to an incandescent flashlight in the future. I also look forward to the
day when LEDs come into the house proper and become ordinary so they
can light us all up an affordable, ultra bright white, way.