LEDs in flashlights are more common place for good reasons: These light-emitting diodes are brighter, smaller, longer lasting, and more energy efficient. Therefore, they should be prerequisites for any road trip, camping adventure, or 'wheeling excursion.
This month, we subjected three LED flashlights to our unscientific but stringent testing. We recommend all three—but for different reasons. See which "torch" matches your needs.
5.11 Light For Life UC3.400
Length: 11.5 in
Weight: 16 oz
Retail Price: $169.99
Brightness Three LEDs illuminate 100 yards, maximum 270 lumens.
Battery Life It has no battery! Advanced-capacitor technology allows for a 90-second recharge and about 90 minutes of run time for up to 50,000 charges—the equivalent to 136 years of once-a-day charges.
Handle Looks like cheap plastic, but it's actually water- and impact-resistant and works in cold and hot weather.
Operations Click the button for standard light, hold for peak light, and double click for strobe light.
Special Features It's supposed to last a lifetime (or longer), and with no toxic batteries needed, it's Earth friendly.
Accessories DC charger, mounting bracket, AC adapter, belt ring.
1st Impressions Made with law enforcement in mind, it's a versatile flashlight for everything from roadside emergencies to camping expeditions. And you can't beat the 90-second recharge time.
Coast LED Lenser P7
Length: 5.5 in
Weight: 2 lbs
Retail Price: $89
Brightness One LED illuminates 246 yards, maximum 200 lumens.
Battery Life 78 hours from just four AAA batteries.
Handle Textured aluminum tube offers a sturdy and durable grip.
Operations "Quick Cycle Switch" on the end provides a quick on/off and three light levels.
Special Features One-handed speed focus is ground-breaking: push the flashlight head forward for a focused beam, pull it back for a wide beam.
Accessories Nylon sheath with belt loop.
1st Impressions The P7 is extremely bright and compact. Plus, thanks to the nylon sheath, Quick Cycle Switch, and one-handed speed focus, it's easy to deploy and operate.
Primus PrimeTorch 801
Length: 10.2 in
Weight: 7.1 oz (without battery)
Retail Price: $100
Brightness One LED illuminates 115 yards, maximum 176 lumens.
Battery Life 35 hours from a rechargeable battery.
Handle This textured handle offers the most assured grip of the three flashlights. Also, makes for a great self-defense tool against wildlife and the like.
Operations Two light levels.
Special Features Its aircraft-aluminum body is durable in extreme weather and waterproof up to 1 meter.
Accessories DC charger, car charger, wrist loop.
1st Impressions This isn't child's play. The PrimeTorch 801 is a powerful flashlight combined with superb engineering. It's great to keep in your rig, garage, or home.