Table of Contents
- The guide to this guide
- Why carry?
- Picking your first flashlight
- Basic terminology
- Light sources
- Power sources
- CR123 Lithium batteries
- AA batteries & NiMH
- AAA batteries
- Coin and button cells
- Lithium-ion batteries
- Flashlight circuitry
- Switches and switching mechanisms
- Twisty switches
- Momentary twisty
- Two-stage twisty
- Piston Drive
- Three-stage twisty
- Clicky switches
- Mechanical clickies
- Electronic clickies
- Smart PD
- Other switching mechanisms
- Selector rings
- Body Parts
- Stainless steel
- Coatings and finishes
- Type II anodize
- Type III anodize (hard anodize)
- Chemkote and other similar electroplating
- Crenellations and Scallops
- Coming soon
- Useful links
- Thanks to
- How to contribute
- Legal disclaimers
The guide to this guide
This guide is meant for flashlight newbies and enthusiasts alike. For the flashlight newbie it should serve as an excellent starting point for understanding purchasing criteria and for the enthusiast it will hopefully serve as a valuable reference guide. Being a longtime fan of FlashlightReviews, a site that is sadly no longer updated, I hope to offer this guide as a more current reference to the state of contemporary flashlights.
This guide is written from a non-technical point of view and will gloss over some of the more technical aspects but also aims to cover everything that the fledgling flashaholic should know about. Cheaper, low-budget flashlights, as well as flashlight modding are outside the scope of this guide, although users who are interested in said categories will still find information they may find useful. I have tried to make this guide as factually correct as within my ability, and where my biases are included I attempt to make it clear.
Interspersing the sections of this guide are "read more" links -- URLs to other websites containing more information for the curious, usually more technical and hence out of the scope of this guide. I am always interested in finding new links, so if you (the reader) knows of an informative page that I do not link to, I would appreciate knowing about it.
I plan on updating this guide casually with new information as time permits and if you should find any erroneous information or believe there is something I should write about that I have not please do not hesitate to let me know via the comments or email.
Of special note is the upgraded navigation system as of version 0.70 for this guide. Along the bottom of the browser window you will see a navigation bar, provided for your convenience as you read the guide.
Version 0.10 -- 2008 June 30 -- This guide was conceived of and written. Original sections: Why Carry?, Picking your first flashlight, Put those Maglites away!, Light sources, LEDs, Power LEDs, LED bins and tints, Incandescents, Power sources, CR123's, AA's, AAA's, Li-ion's.
Version 0.20 -- 2008 July 1 -- Many new additional sections: LED vs. incandescent, Flashlight circuitry, Multi-mode vs. multi-stage, What's right for you?, Body parts, Materials, Aluminum, Titanium, Stainless steel, Coatings and finishes, Type II and Type III. I am also looking for information for the following sections: Brass, Chemkote.
Version 0.21 -- 2008 July 2 -- "Put your Maglites away!" has been replaced by "Retail store lights don't cut it anymore". Corrected Li-ion battery size for AA batteries from 14400 to 14500.
Version 0.30 -- 2008 July 2 -- Rearranged sections Body parts and Switches. Added more content to Clicky switches. New sections: Momentary twisty, Two-stage twisty, Piston Drive, Three-stage twisty, Electronic clickies, Selector rings, Potentiometers, Polymer, Useful links, Legal
Version 0.40 -- 2008 July 2 -- Added a hyperlinked table. Updated The guide to this guide. New sections: Basic terminology, beams, lumens and lux. Added other hyperlinks for interested readers.
Version 0.41 -- 2008 July 4 -- Corrected definition for "flood" and claim of 15-year shelf-life for lithium AA instead of 10. Thanks WildChild!
Version 0.42 -- 2008 July 4 -- Added more information on beams.
Version 0.43 -- 2008 July 12 -- Tweaked information on LED vs. Incandescent, polymers and multi-mode per CPF user h_nu's suggestions. Added section on Programmability.
Version 0.44 -- 2008 August 3 -- Tweaked information on Incandescent and corrected spelling errors throughout.
Version 0.45 -- 2008 August 4 -- Added more links pertaining to batteries.
Version 0.50 -- 2008 December 26 -- Added mention of LOTC, wrote about regulation and crenellations.
Version 0.55 -- 2009 March 8 -- Wrote about reflectors and lenses, more about regulation and Chemkote
Version 0.70 -- 2010 January 15 -- Started the long arduous process of switching hosts and to enhancing the guide's reader experience