How Bright Is a 1000 Lumen Flashlight?

September 15, 2020

How Bright Is a 1000 Lumen Flashlight?

A flashlight comes in handy when you need to signal, set down a light to work on a task, or any time you want the strongest portable light. When buying a 1000 lumen flashlight you have some factors to weigh and some terminology to learn.

A 1000 lumen flashlight is bright enough to let you see items at a far distance as most of these flashlights feature reflectors or lenses to focus the light into having a range of 150-200 meters depending on their design.

In this article, we delve into detail to explain what lumens are, how lenses affect light output, how bright different lumen flashlights are, and whether the stated lumens on flashlights are accurate.  In a world full of false claims and cheap knock-offs, it is important to know what you are buying before you spend your hard earned money, Read on.


 

The Brightness of a 1000 Lumen Flashlight

A 1000 lumen flashlight is quite bright and, depending on the lens or reflector design, powerful enough to reach a distance of 200 meters or more. This type of flashlight allows you to see objects from a far distance

In order to achieve 1000 lumens, these powerful flashlights need the proper battery power to support the light output.  Therefore, most come with lithium ion batteries, such as the popular size 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion battery. 18650 refers to the battery size, 18mm dia x 65mm length. 

These high capacity batteries range from 2000mAh - 3400mAh a piece. Using high quality lithium ion batteries with high mAh will give you maximum runtime from these high powered tactical flashlights. As one might expect, powering a 1000 lumen flashlight will pull a lot of power. On high, these flashlights will drain even the best batteries in a matter of hours.  

If you need longer run time, buy a flashlight that allows you to swap the battery, or use the lower power modes to extend battery life.  Most models have one to five modes, with the common ones being SOS, strobe, low, high, and medium. 

The most underused feature on tactical flashlights with 1000 lumens or more is the SOS mode. Having a tactical flashlight means being prepared for instances where you might be lost in the woods, a blackout, or a situation where you are caught unprepared. 

Although SOS code is dated, and many people in today’s world might not recognize the distress light pattern, professional search and rescue teams will recognize your plea for help.  You could also use the strobe mode to attract attention, or even distract a would be attacker. 

The strobe mode releases a rapid strobe light that can disorient your enemy. This light blinds the attacker while also drawing attention to the scene, which could allow you to escape.  In the event that you need to do more than blind the attacker, most 1000 lumen flashlights have a barrel design that can be used in self defense.  

Additionally, most 1000 lumen flashlights are made from aluminum.  They are extremely durable and are made to withstand extreme and tough weather conditions. 




What Are Lumens in a Flashlight?

When purchasing lights and light bulbs in the older days of the 60-watt incandescent light bulb, you were taught to think in terms of watts. At that time the watts had a direct correlation with how bright the light was. If you tried to save money by using less watts, then you got less light.

Then fluorescent and LED technologies came along and broke that relationship. You could get more light and use fewer watts with these newer technologies. But now that you couldn’t use a brightness comparison in bulbs using the old school method of watts. That’s where lumens come in.

A lumen is the unit of measurement for the amount of light generated by a light source. The phrase lumen means light, which means it measures the amount of light your light produces.  Lumens are often compared to candlepower

Candlepower and lumens measure different light qualities, and 1 candlepower equals 12.57 lumens. When measuring lumens, you can also think of it as the light illuminated in a 1-square-foot area one foot away from a single candle.

To be clear, lumens measures total light output of a light source, and is properly measured in a specific tool called an integrating sphere.  Lumens are not the brightness of a spotlight generated by a flashlight.  

Lumens is actually not the best way to measure light from a flashlight because a flashlight uses a lens to take all of the light produced and focus it in one direction.  The focal point and brightness of the spotlight will be different from one flashlight to another depending on the design of the lens and the power of the light source.  

When comparing flashlights, the brightness of the spotlight you see is a combination of the lens or reflector, and the total lumens produced by the light source (typically an LED).  A flashlight with less lumens can have a brighter spotlight than a flashlight with more lumens if the lens or reflector is designed to focus a greater percentage of the total light into a smaller spot.  

A 1000 lumen flashlight with no reflector or lens can light an entire room like a lantern, but it will not cast light a far distance.  However, the exact same flashlight with a lens or reflector would cast a small round “hotspot” of light on the wall of the same room.  Most of the room would remain dark, but that spotlight would be extremely bright.  

The flashlight without the reflector or lens might be better in close range situations, but the version with the reflector or lens would be much more efficient in long range situations.  So don’t buy your flashlight entirely based on lumens.  Think about your uses and buy the right combination of lumens and lens / reflector design.    




What’s the Difference Between Lumens and Watts?

Most bulbs have the term watts listed on their packaging. However, lumens and watts are two different things. Watts describe the amount of power that the bulb uses for illumination purposes. You’ll realize that a 60-watt bulb is not as powerful as a 100 watt light as it uses essential power. 

However, with the introduction of LED lights, power is no longer considered as the main factor. Lumens were thenew standard as LEDs use a small amount of energy, unlike incandescent light bulbs. 

Lumens measure the actual brightness, despite the needed power, but with watts, you estimate the brightness depending on the amount of power required. 




What’s the Difference Between Lumens and Candela?

Candela is the amount of light emitted by a lighting unit in a specific direction, or the intensity of a spotlight, while lumens is the total amount of light emitted by a lighting device regardless of how the light is focused or used. 




Understanding Lumens in Flashlights

Light output is a critical factor in flashlights. Lumens used to measure the intensity of the light coming out of the flashlight on the highest brightness settings. That’s why you need to familiarize yourself with the amount of light needed for various types of flashlights. Different flashlights have varying lumens. Some of the common types of flashlights include:

Tactical Flashlights

Tactical flashlights are robust flashlights that can often be mounted to guns, and used as a self defense weapon.  They also commonly feature SOS and Strobe modes to signal help or disorient or blind a potential assailant. These types of flashlights use high lumens but also come with low lumen settings to allow you to select the proper brightness and battery drain allowing the user to properly navigate at night with ease. 

Camping Flashlights

When camping, you need a flashlight that will provide you with enough hours of light as you set up the tent and get things running. Lantern flashlights are a popular camping option as they come with different brightness settings to meet your needs.  Also consider other hands free lights as you often need to use your hands while completing camping activities. 

Emergency Flashlights

Emergency flashlights are used to attract attention to where you could be stuck or lost. You need a flashlight with the highest lumens with strobe or pulse settings. That will make it easy for you to be spotted when you are miles away. A low-level setting works if you get lost at night, and you need a flashlight to find your way around for an undetermined amount of time. 




Lumen Rating and Application

Lumen rating measures the amount of visible light or brightness a flashlight can deliver

Below is a look at the different lumen ratings to help you understand where you can best use them. Knowing the lumen rating will help you find a flashlight that serves you.  Keep in mind, when talking about a flashlight, the total brightness is not only based on the lumens, the reflector or lens used in the flashlight will also greatly affect the total beam brightness, width and focal distance.  This is just a general list of what you might find per lumen range. 

1-20 Lumens

A flashlight with 10-20 lumens is usually found in micro sized, pocket, pen, or keychain lights.  They are handy to keep on your keychain or in your purse.  They are nice to have when you need them, but the light output is only good for close range situations where just a little more light could be helpful.  

This rating offers you ample light to find an item in a dark space, a keyhole, or provide light in case of an emergency. These smaller lights are often powered by small coin style batteries or a single AAA battery.  An example of a very versatile and unique light in this range would be theMagnetic Light Mine by STKR Concepts.  Its magnetic design makes it a go-to flashlight for hands-free use.  

20-150 Lumens 

Flashlights within 20-150 are ideal for home use and some outdoor activities. An average flashlight emits 100 lumens, which makes it ideal for urban and suburban areas. These are typically still pocket sized lights that are also good for “Everyday Carry Lights”, or EDC flashlights.  You can search for things within 20-30 feet. A flashlight within this range can run for 5-10 hours using two AA batteries. 

160-200 Lumens

Now you are getting into a very capable flashlight for general use.  This flashlight output is efficient and pretty effective for the cost.  Still a very affordable light, and still usually small enough to fit in a pocket or purse.  

You’ll want to get a flashlight within this rating if you plan on buying a cost effective flashlight for just about any casual activity. If you plan on using it often or really depending on it, you may opt for a more powerful and professional model.  TheB.A.M.F.F. 2.0is a perfect entry level, affordable tactical light that emits 200 lumens with a dual LED setup designed for both close and far range lighting. 

 

200-500 Lumens

Flashlights with 200-500 lumens are suitable for hunting, fishing, sailing, and tactical tasks. You’ll also find this flashlight fantastic for the home, shop and even the workplace. One drawback to flashlights in this range of lighting is the battery power.  Most in this range are still powered by alkaline batteries.  The B.A.M.F.F. 4.0 is a wonderful mid level, 400 lumen tactical flashlight that comes in two sizes, standard and XL.  It also features a dual LED design for flood and spot lighting.

  

600-900 Lumens

A flashlight within this lumen range is fantastic for anyone looking for serious illumination. These flashlights put out a great deal of light, can typically cast light a long distance or fill a room, and are still somewhat energy efficient.  They work perfectly for commercial and home uses as well as camping, hunting, fishing, and going deep into caves.

This is the type of flashlight you need to get when looking for maximum brightness, but you are on a budget.  Also, devices within this range typically have Li-ion batteries that allow you to push full power to an LED and be rechargeable.

The B.A.M.F.F. 6.0 steps you into the 600 lumen range, but also comes with a 2000mAh Lithium ion battery and full recharging kit.  However, if a premium flashlight is what you want, then step up to the B.A.M.F.F. 8.0.  It features all the benefits of the B.A.M.F.F. Dual LED line, plus a 2600mAh lithium ion battery and 800 true lumens of light.

1000 Lumens

A 1000 lumens flashlight comes in handy when you need a lot of light when looking for something in a shipyard, going hunting, or exploring large areas. You can also use it for recreational activities on a large property. A 1000 lumen flashlight is extremely powerful. These flashlights are also used in search and rescue operations. 

These flashlights give out more light and are more expensive compared to others with a smaller rating. However, you should note that looking directly at the flashlight or using it indoors could damage your eyes

Flashlights that are over 1000 lumens are common in the police and military service.  In fact, theB.A.M.F.F. 10.0 is a dual LED 1000 lumen tactical flashlight that comes with a direct drive 18650 lithium ion rechargeable battery and a full gun mounting kit.

When shopping for a 100 lumen flashlight take size into consideration.  Small lights can emit 1000 lumens, but due to heat and battery limitations, small sizes can’t emit that much light for long periods of time.  Although not as convenient, larger flashlights do a better job of properly managing 1000 lumens.  

At this power level, LEDs do create a lot of heat.  However, heat will prevent an LED from working at its fullest capacity, and heat will cause an LED to prematurely fail.  Larger flashlights made of aluminum are designed to dissipate this heat, and can hold larger, or more batteries. 

The large battery capacity and ability to absorb allow the flashlight to produce 1000 lumens for a longer period of time over small flashlights. After all, if a flashlight boasts 1000 lumens or more, what is the point if it will only do it for short “blast” settings of 20 seconds?    




What Other Factors Affect the Brightness of a Flashlight?

Although lumens directly affect the brightness of a flashlight, the measure doesn’t entirely contribute to a flashlight’s brightness. Other factors play a role in how bright a flashlight is and these include:

Run Time 

The run time in a flashlight determines the time the light output reduces to 10% of the rated amount of new batteries. It’s measured in hours. You may notice that the light output may decrease over time slowly or remain constant then take a dip suddenly. Some models have various light modes, which means the run time correlates to the light mode.

A runtime graph also offers an illustration of the performance of light over a given period.

Note that high lumen lights have reduced run times than those with lower lumens. 

Beam Distance

Beam distance is the distance the flashlight can emit useful light. It is measured in meters. The distance differs from the brightness settings you choose. When evaluating beam distance, you’ll find that some flashlights provide a wide-area illumination, and others throw small yet targeted illumination. Flashlights that are flood work best for close-up activation, while those with the long throw help with lighting up things that are at a distance. 

Beam Type

Flashlights are designed to either concentrate light on a small area or adjust from flood to spot illumination. 

Beam types can be adjustable, flood/fixed, or spot/focused. Flood/fixed beam types are mainly for strolling or viewing something within a specific area, while spot/focused is used to illuminate long distances and is best for finding different routes. 

The adjustable beam-type provides various beam types from focused to wide or a point in between, making it more versatile than the other beam types. 

Bulb Type

LED technologyis the most advanced today, and you can find it on most bulbs in the market. However, some new flashlight models now come with krypton or incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are difficult to beat, given their impact resistance, energy efficiency, run time, and brightness options. 

Furthermore, LED flashlights have intense reflectors or lenses concentrating the light on a focused beam to shine for a longer distance. Flashlights with several LEDs without a reflector or special optics are perfect for a large area lighting and don’t emit a concentrated beam. The color temperatures of LEDs differ from various flashlights, something that may affect the brightness. 

Brightness Levels

Some flashlights have two brightness levels-low and high. However, these devices only give you long battery life with a low setting. There are other flashlights with up to ten brightness levels, with a few that allow continuous change. All that affects the brightness and run time of a flashlight. 

Reflector Cones

Some tactical flashlights have a reflector cone to control focus and manage the light from the LED. A few reflectors are smooth to produce a long throwing hotspot with a transition to the light spilled around the center. It’s these reflectors that retain a center focus even when light spills off to the sides. 

Regulated Output

Flashlights with a regulated power supply have near-peak and steady brightness levels through the battery’s life cycle. If you’re looking for steady brightness levels, find one with regulated output.  These are great for giving you full power at all times, but when the battery dies, the flashlight typically just turns off without warning.

Be cautious of flashlights with no circuit boards or resistance.  These are direct drive flashlights and push all of the battery power directly to the LED trying to boast the hightest lumen levels.  They are also the least dependable and least durable.  Quality flashlights have PC boards and resistors to control the power to the LED.  This prevents energy spikes and overdriving the LED.  This will make your flashlight live a long and happy life.   

Available Light Modes

While a single setting is enough for general use, it limits how bright the flashlight can get. A few models come with two or more modes like high, medium, low, and boost. Having an extra mode gives you the chance to add a strong beam on demand. Note that the brighter the mode you choose on your flashlight, the shorter the runtime.

A flashlight with moonlight mode creates a few lumens and is ideal when you need to look for things at close range. This type of mode also doesn’t damage your eyes and works well when you need to clarify a certain space. In this case, a flashlight with 100-200 lumens will work fine. 

Some models have mode sequencing or programmable modes, which adds versatility. You can find this feature integrated into the flashlight, or you may need to download it to the light through a USB cable. 

Type of Battery

The type of battery affects the brightness of a flashlight. Models with disposable batteries are generally not as bright but do come in a compact size. You can find flashlights that take common battery sizes like AA or AAA. 

The best thing about disposable batteries is being able to pack more as a backup for your light. You can be off-grid using disposable batteries and not have to worry about charging the light as long as you packed enough power.

Those with built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are bright and last longer but are expensive. You can charge these batteries through a USB connection from your PC or DC outlet. The low maintenance costs make up for the high upfront cost. They also become useless in power out situations when you can no longer recharge them.  

The best option is to find a high quality flashlight that features rechargeable batteries that are also swappable.  The best even offer the ability to power off of lithium-ion batteries or typical alkaline batteries in an emergency, like theB.A.M.F.F. Flashlight Series from STKR Concepts.

 

Color Rendering Index

CRI orcolor rendering index affects the brightness of a flashlight. Cheaper lights have a color temperature of 7,000-8,000 Kelvin and feature a very blue hue. However, you’ll find that some high-end LED flashlights have a lower color temperature and produce an appealing and bright “white” light. 

The CRI index describes how the colors you see while using a flashlight compare when placed in natural sunlight. A flashlight with a CRI of 80-90 closely resembles the sunlight. That’s why you need to find a device that balances light quality and lumens. 

Water Resistance

Water-resistance in flashlights is rated using the IPX system. If you’re planning to get a 1000 lumen flashlight when sailing, you need one that is waterproof. If you’ll be spending most of your time around bodies of water or in the rain, you need a water resistance unit. 

IPX7 indicates temporary immersion for up to 30 minutes at a depth of one meter, while IPX8 shows submersion up to four hours at the specified depth. IPX4 shows a unit that is splash resistant from different angles. 




Are Stated Lumens on Flashlights Accurate?

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. You may see some flashlights advertised to be 600 or 1000 lumens, when in fact, they are 300 and 600 lumens. Moreover, some manufacturers do not state the lumens but place some figures in the model number.

A good example would be a model number like XTS1200, which makes it look like a 1200 lumen light when it’s nowhere near 1200 lumens. A few companies have odd numbers stated as the lumen power. 

Not all sellers follow the FL1 standard when manufacturing flashlights. There isn't any legal requirement that requires them to follow this standard.

Fortunately, you can avoid falling for some of these marketing gimmicks and scams by buying a flashlight from a trusted and well-known brand. Avoid buying products from other countries as you aren't sure of the standards of manufacturing or their quality. Verified manufacturers also offer warranties on their products, something that hints on their commitment to quality




Conclusion

A 1000 lumen flashlight is an extremely bright flashlight that is very efficient for most tasks. Remember that the number of lumens you require in a flashlight depends on your use and the applications. Also remember that the design of the reflector or lens is just as important to the overall lumens, and has a huge impact on how those lumens are utilized.

When looking for a bright flashlight, ensure that you check out other factors like the runtime, bulb type, beam distance, and beam type as all these factors also affect how bright a flashlight becomes.  Most importantly, if you want longevity, durability and quality, stick to known brands who develop and design their own flashlights, and are honest with their specifications.


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