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What exactly are lumens and how important are they in a flashlight

Tamara Avatar By: Tamara | Last updated February 13, 2019

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There are a lot of key factors you have to consider when looking for the best flashlight. Not everybody has the same needs so you have to choose something that works best for you.

Flashlights come in a variety of sizes, designs, price ranges and so on. You can buy a flashlight for $2 or you can spend as high as $10,000 on one, depending on its features, durability, battery life, brightness, etc.

But even though customers have different preferences and needs, there’s one particular thing everybody looks for in a flashlight: brightness. The more powerful the beam of light, the better. So what exactly should you pay attention to when you want to choose a bright flashlight?  

Lumens. We’re pretty sure you’ve seen them mentioned under specifications for every flashlight you’ve browsed so far. So what exactly are lumens? They measure the intensity of the light emitted by your flashlight, when it is set on the highest level of brightness and when it is fully charged. One lumen can provide the same light as one candle. Manufacturers usually indicate the number of lumens for each of the setting of the flashlight, since most flashlights have several brightness settings: low, middle, high and sometimes turbo. Although they are not the only important factor when talking about the brightness of a flashlight, generally speaking, the more lumens a flashlight has, the brighter it will be. Flashlights range between 1 lumen and thousands of lumens, although you’ll most likely never need that many. Flashlights that pack such an insane number of lumens are only used by specialized emergency services, for rescue missions. If you are just going to use your flashlight for outdoor activities such as camping, you can do just fine with anything ranging from 5 to 100 lumens. If, however, you need an efficient tactical flashlight, you’ll need something that has at least 100-150 lumens.

Beam distance

The beam distance is also very important in a flashlight. It is also referred to as the ‘throw’ of the flashlight and it measures how far the emitted light goes. It is measured in meters. The beam distance depends on the brightness setting of your flashlight.


While both are important when you choose a flashlight, you should also look at the runtime of the flashlight. More lumens also means a higher consumption of the battery and if you run out of juice extremely fast, where’s the deal in that?


But one of the most important aspects to consider is the lux (lx) of the flashlight. It measures the amount of lumens per unit area. One lux is equal to one lumen per square meter. If the light from your flashlight is focused on a smaller area, it will be perceived by you as a really bright light. If the area is bigger, you will perceive the light as being weaker. The higher the lux of the flashlight, the more powerful the flashlight will seem to our human eyes.