Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Jan. 3, 2019

The first flashlight was invented in 1899, back when batteries were still a novelty.  Fast forward to more than a 100 years later and this 19th-century invention is still considered an important part of any modern-day kit. The need for a lightweight yet portable light source gave way to more durable and energy-efficient flashlights that are tailor made for both professional and recreational use. These flashlights come in different shapes and sizes and are ideal companions for mechanics, cave explorers, and law enforcement officers who use tactical lights in conjunction with other gear.

Choosing the right flashlight is easier said than done, especially if you need more than one. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the best mechanic flashlights on the market for your reading pleasure.

The Best Mechanic Flashlight

The Stinger DS LED high lumen rechargeable flashlight from Streamlight offers a wealth of features, including three output modes and dual switch technology. The Stinger was designed to provide powerful and long-lasting illumination that is crucial in dark or dimly lit work areas. The highest mode lasts for an hour and fifteen minutes and can come in handy in long underground corridors or air-conditioning vents thanks to its 297 meter beam distance.

If you are looking for longer run time and less brightness, then the medium option is better suited for your workplace needs. When it comes to durability, the Stinger was built to last with an 8 inch machined aircraft aluminum exterior and a polycarbonate lens with a scratch resistant coating. Moreover, this Streamlight product can be recharged up to one-thousand times and comes with its very own smart piggyback charger. It is also compatible with NiCd batteries and is shock proof in addition to being water and impact resistant.

Key Features
  • C4 LED technology with a 50,000 hour lifetime
  • Generates a concentrated beam with optimum illumination
  • Includes rechargeable NiMH battery – can be charged up to 100 times
  • Water and impact resistant
  • Made of anodized aluminum with rubber grip
Specification
  • Brand Streamlight
  • Model 75458
  • Weight 2.2 lbs

The G20 Inspection beam LED flashlight from Coast is small but powerful. Its compact size makes it practical for everyday use and the 65 beam distance it delivers makes it the ideal companion for detail oriented people or those in need of a consistent light source that can last up to 2 hours and 30 minutes at a time.

Every G20 flashlight comes with 2 AAA batteries and 9 lumens output. It is also encased in sturdy metal and has a pocket clip for professionals who need to keep their flashlight on hand at all times in case of power outages or during work related emergencies. This product is resistant to water and has a durable aluminum body that provides a one meter drop protection, making it one of the best led flashlights that money can buy.

Key Features
  • LED light with 9 lumens output
  • Provides 65 ft. beam distance and 2 hour 30 minute runtime
  • Includes adjustable pocket clip and 2 alkaline batteries
  • IPX4 rated design for water resistance
  • Tough aluminum exterior for 1 meter drop protection
  • Offers up to 10 hours of life on a single pair of batteries
Specification
  • Brand Coast
  • Model G20
  • Weight 2.24 oz

The Infray LED flashlight is also compact and practical, offering 220 lumens and more than seven hours of constant bright light. Every Infray pen light has an 80,000-hour lifespan and an adjustable beam that is capable of illuminating an area similar in length to two basketball fields. There are three different settings to choose from: high, low and strobe. The low setting provides 14 hours run time and the beam itself can be changed from wide to narrow depending on your needs. This focus system allows you to zoom in or zoom out by simply spinning the top section of the flashlight. When it comes to size, the Infray flashlight is 5.7 inches in length and was specifically designed for every day carry, making it a handy tool for mechanics, doctors and sports professionals.

The slim design also makes this product pocket-friendly and easy to pack inside your tool bag of choice.  The premium reflector lens is another great feature that delivers a focused and consistent  spill beam. Moreover, the military grade aluminum gives it a light yet durable quality so it does not get easily scratched or damaged if it falls on the ground.

Key Features
  • LED pen flashlight with 220 lumens output
  • Provides 230 ft. beam distance
  • 3 different settings – high, low & strobe
  • Delivers up to 14 hours of consistent lighting
  • Made of rust-resistant aluminum
  • Scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens
Specification
  • Brand infray
  • Model SD-002
  • Weight 0.8 oz

The ThorFire Mini tactical flashlight is 3.7 inches in length, generates 500 lumens and doubles as a cap light thanks to its reversible clip that enables you to attach it to the helmet of your choice. This hands free feature makes it ideal for professionals who need an everyday carry tool that is lightweight and heavy duty at the same time.

This handy led light is compatible with regular AA and 14500 rechargeable button top batteries, and has five different lighting settings including moonlight and strobe modes. The 14500 battery generates 200 lumens when using the high setting and 500 lumens during strobe mode. If you power the flashlight with a regular AA battery, you will receive 150 lumens during high mode and strobe mode.

Key Features
  • Mini LED light with max 500 lumens output
  • Made of aircraft grade aluminum
  • Lightweight and compact with reversible pen clip
  • Compatible with both AA and 14500 batteries (not included)
  • Five modes for different daily use
Specification
  • Brand Thorfire
  • Model TG06S
  • Weight 1.28 oz

The telescoping rechargeable LED flashlight from Torchstar offers two different light sources in a single sturdy product that generates 45 lumens and 15 hours run time during flashlight mode. When fully extended, the torch provides 14 inches in terms of light coverage. Its lamp head can be rotated at a 90 degree angle in multiple directions and the durable magnet base allows you to attach it to any metal surface. Moreover, it can vertically stick to almost any ironware thanks to the four-piece magnets in the bottom.  This hands-free feature is ideal for mechanics and other professionals who need a stable light source to illuminate their work area. When in work mode, this torch is able to provide three hours run time and it takes around three to six hours to fully recharge it. 

Every Torchstar work light comes with a car charger and a USB charger. It is also made of rugged ABS plastic casing that is resistant to both rust and shock. This heavy-duty surface is  designed to be cool to the touch even after long periods of use. All of the above features make this product ideal for a wide range of professional and recreational activities such as hiking, camping as well as car repair. It can also come in handy during power outages and in the absence of stable light source.

Key Features
  • Telescoping LED light – functions as floodlight and flashlight
  • Made of rugged ABS plastic – shock and corrosion resistant
  • Fitted with magnetic base for hands free operation
  • 150 lumen spotlight & 120 lumen COB side light
  • Includes 2 power supplies
  • Lightweight and pocket sized
Specification
  • Brand TORCHSTAR
  • Model Y00GM60NL2
  • Weight 8.5 oz

The Cree XP-L rechargeable flashlight from Soonfire generates an ultra-light beam that can last up to two hours and a half. This palm sized model has 5 different settings including a high, medium and shimmery mode that can last up to five-hundred hours. The beam distance is 255 meters and the peak beam intensity reaches 13500 Candela, making it ideal for emergency situations and extreme weather conditions.  The stainless steel switch allows you to switch from one mode to the next with ease, and the memory mode was designed to memorize your last used output so that it automatically appears the next time you turn the flashlight on.  An 18650 lithium ion battery is supplied with every high lumen flashlight to protect it against overcharge and short circuiting.

This model is also equipped with a thermal management safety program with overheat protection, a USB adaptable charging port and a battery indicator. This indicator blinks red while the battery is being charged and turns blue once the battery is full. As for durability, this high power flashlight is made of aircraft grade aluminum alloy and is both waterproof and shockproof.

Key Features
  • Rechargeable flashlight with 1000 lumens max output
  • Five brightness settings with memory mode
  • Maximum runtime – 500 hours
  • Includes one 18650 battery – USB cable
  • Waterproof – 2 meters submersible
  • Made of aero grade aluminum alloy
  • Impact resistant to 1.5 meters
Specification
  • Brand soonfire
  • Model soonfire E07
  • Weight 3.36 oz

The Nitecore MH10 delivers 1000 lumens and has seven different modes. All you need to do is press and hold the switch button for more than half a second in order to choose your preferred setting. Pressing the switch twice consecutively will enable special modes and if you press and hold for more than a second, you will be able to access the strobe, SOS and location beacon modes.  Ideal for nocturnal activities, this powerful LED light offers a focused beam that allows you to see up to 253 yards away. It is also equipped with an integrated precision digital optics technology for extreme reflection performance that can come to the rescue during roadside emergencies and search operations.

Every Nitecore MH10 flashlight has an integrated micro USB port that  allows you to recharge it anywhere. Moreover, the battery can last up to 520 hours on a single charge. When it comes to durability, this portable light is made of high grade aluminum and is waterproof as well. The Nitecore accessory pack includes one rechargeable battery, a USB charging cable, one holster, clips, lanyard and a bonus tactical keychain light.

Key Features
  • USB rechargeable LED light with 1000 lumens max output
  • 7 different output modes including SOS and strobe
  • Includes an 18650 rechargeable battery and USB port
  • Max. runtime – 520 hours with beam distance covering 253 yards
  • Made of aluminum – impact resistant and waterproof 
  • Easy to use  single side switch
Specification
  • Brand Nitecore
  • Model MH10
  • Weight 2.72 oz

The Nextorch flashlight features four different light modes and a memory function as well. Its compact size makes it easy to carry around inside your pocket. This K3 model delivers 180 lumens and has a 38-hour runtime. It also features a stainless steel clip, an ultra-clear PC lens and is made of aerospace grade aluminum with type two hard anodization. All of the above features make this pen light ideal for doctors, mechanics and other professionals who need bright light in one slim and handy package.  The Nextorch flashlight comes with two AAA batteries with an LED lifespan of 100,000 hours.

Key Features
  • LED pen light with 180 lumens output
  • 4 modes for a variety of applications
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Made of aero grade aluminum
  • Includes 2 AAA batteries
  • Durable stainless steel clip for everyday use
Specification
  • Brand NEXTORCH
  • Model 77543
  • Weight 2.1 oz

The mini tactical flashlight by K Kernowo delivers up to 240 lumens and features the latest super bright LED bulb that has a lifetime of up to 100,000 hours, making it one of the best tactical flashlights on the market. The 164 foot beam distance makes it ideal for outdoor activities and other tasks that require a strong yet portable light source. This product comes with a pocket clip and its overall compact design makes it more than suitable for every day carry. It was also manufactured with durability in mind and so the five-inch tube is made of military grade abrasion and corrosion resistant aircraft aluminum.

Moreover, this device is waterproof with an IPX6 rating. Every Kernowo mini flashlight is equipped with an attack head that can be used to break glass during emergencies and can be used for self-defense as well. Each package contains two mini flashlights so you can carry one to work and save the spare for a rainy day.

Key Features
  • Mini LED flashlight with 240 lumens output
  • Provides 164 foot beam distance
  • Durable IPX6 waterproof and corrosion resistant
  • Simple tail switch – On/Off button
  • Removable pocket clip
  • Equipped with attack head for emergencies
Specification
  • Brand K KERNOWO
  • Model 860505-2L
  • Weight 5.1 oz

The Enjoydeal slim portable flashlight delivers up to 1000 lumens with a beam distance of around 65 yards. Runtime is approximately seven hours with a premium LED bulb that is operated using a one-way switch. This pen-shaped tactical light was designed to be carried around and therefore it is equipped with a clip and comes with a wrist strap lanyard so you can keep it within reach at all times.

It is also capable of remaining upright on a flat surface so it can double as a reading light during power outages. The aero grade aluminum five-inch body makes it resistant to water and abrasion. In order to power this LED light, you will need two AAA batteries.

Key Features
  • Ultra slim flashlight with 1000 lumens output
  • 7-hour max runtime – 60-meter beam distance
  • Easy to carry using pocket-clip
  • Powered by 2 AAA batteries (not included)
  • Orange peel aluminum reflector
  • Abrasion and corrosion resistant
Specification
  • Brand Enjoydeal
  • Model SGAA329B
  • Weight 0.16 oz

Best Mechanic Flashlights Buying Guide

What to Consider When Buying a Mechanic Flashlight

  • Bulb Type

Nowadays, LED has become the bulb of choice in a market that was once limited to incandescent bulbs. This is due to the technological innovations that turned LED into an energy saving light source that produces less heat than the average krypton light bulb. The run time, impact resistant and brightness modes of  LED flashlights are also hard to compete with.

  • Beam Type

Choosing the right beam type depends on how and where you are going to use your flashlight. There are three beams to choose from. The first one is a flood or fixed beam that comes in single beam width. This beam is more suitable for every day use and can come in handy during camping trips as well. The second option is a spot or focused beam that was designed to pierce the darkness and provide long-distance illumination. The third and final option is more versatile and can be used in different situations since it can be adjusted from wide to focused with more settings to choose from in between.

  • Regulated Output

A flashlight with a regulated power supply will sustain a brightness level that is consistent throughout the shelf life of its battery. In contrast, unregulated lights gradually lose their brightness as the power drains from their batteries.

  • Battery Type

Batteries also influence our decision when it comes to buying portable items such as flashlights. Disposable batteries, especially the CR123A are usually favored for their high voltage output and small size. They are also far from heavy but more expensive than the standard double A and triple A batteries. Investing in rechargeable batteries is another great option for environmentally conscious buyers who want to cut back on using disposable items, and those can be recharged using a USB cable. This cable can be connected to a laptop or even a solar panel. Another environmentally friendly option comes in the shape of renewable batteries that are powered using solar panels or a hand crank. Eco-friendly flashlights make a great addition to any survival kit.

  • Modes

Professionals who need a flashlight with multiple settings will go for a model that can offer them special features such as strobe and SOS. Having different modes at your disposal can come in handy, especially at night or during emergencies at work or at home. Bright modes use up more battery power and therefore have less runtime when compared to low and medium settings. Some flashlights offer programmable modes and a memory feature that automatically saves your last used setting.

  • Controls

User-friendly flashlights have functional on/off buttons that allow you to switch modes with ease. These flashlights usually have push buttons or slide switches that can be operated using one finger. Others have a rotating bezel that also doubles as a switch. Some models have a safety lock that is convenient for pocket lights that can get accidentally turned on. This feature works in favor of the battery since it will prevent the flashlight from draining it by mistake. Silent insta-beams are also a bonus feature that can be found in certain flashlights. This particular feature is ideal for professionals who need an instant flood of light without having to scroll through all of the available settings.

  • Materials and Shape

Both plastic and aluminum alloy are the materials of choice when it comes to manufacturing the best flashlights. Stainless steel is sometimes incorporated into the design to make the flashlight more impact resistant. Not all flashlights have the same degree of durability.  Those with a thick aluminum body are usually tougher than your average slim led torch. Some manufacturers have come up with ways to prevent the flashlight from rolling out of reach or slipping from a person’s fingers. Therefore, most quality flashlights have an anti-slip surface with rough ridges to reduce slippage.

Types of Flashlights

  • Incandescent

Flashlights with incandescent bulbs were used long before the invention of the LED. Incandescents are cheaper but they are also known for wasting energy. They emit more heat as well and this drains the battery at a much faster rate when compared to LED bulbs.

  • LED

LED flashlights are one of the most powerful flashlights on the market. In addition to saving energy, they also have a longer shelf life when compared to incandescent bulbs. Their durability lies in the absence of glass and filament from their design. The durability and longevity of this type of flashlight also affect the lifecycles of its bulb and batteries. These bulbs might be more expensive but they are incredibly cost-effective in the long run. LED flashlights are now sold in a wide array of colors including regular white light.

  • HID

Flashlights with high-intensity discharge bulbs (HID) generate an ultra-bright light that is capable of cutting through the darkness like a sword. These special bulbs require an electric current to flow through a ball of ionized gas, therefore, they are usually expensive and the flashlight itself is bigger than your average LED torch.

  • Xenon, Halogen, and Krypton Bulbs

The brightest flashlights available are powered using either krypton, halogen or xenon bulbs. Pressurized gas is often used to prolong the shelf life of the filament located inside each of these bulbs. This allows the bulb to burn brighter without impacting the battery.

  • Shake Flashlights

Shake flashlights are ideal for emergency situations since they rely on magnets instead of batteries. Also known as Faraday flashlights, these torches work by shaking them for a period of sixty seconds. This motion allows you to use the LED light for several hours. The light itself is not as bright when compared to battery operated torches but it can come in handy in the absence of other portable light sources.

  • Headlamps

Headlamps offer a hands-free alternative to regular flashlights. Many headlamps come with various brightness levels and a rotating head that allows you to angle the flashlight in any direction of your choosing. These convenient features make it ideal for all kinds of professional and recreational activities.

  • Penlights

Penlights are also a lightweight alternative to regular flashlights and they are small enough to fit inside pockets and tool boxes. Some of them are fitted with a reversible clip so they can be attached to helmets, making them a great hands-free alternative to regular flashlights.

What is a Lumen?

Measuring the amount of light that is visible to the human eye is possible thanks to a unit of measurement called the lumen (lm). Bulbs with a high lumen will shine brighter than those with a low lumen rating. The average household lightbulb is capable of generating anything between 300 and 1000 lumens and the most powerful flashlight tends to generate more than 20,000 lumens.

What is a Candela?

The brightness of a light source is measured using the candela, so it is the standard unit of luminous intensity in the International System of Units (SI). In other words, the candela is the measurement of the brightest spot inside a focused beam.

Best Mechanic Flashlights FAQ:

Q:  Are there ever times you wouldn’t want a high lumen flashlight?

High lumen flashlights are great if you need to flood a room with light or if you need a powerful beam that can slice through the darkness of a forest. However, if all you need is a more focused light with longer runtime, then you are better off using a low lumen flashlight. At the end of the day, it all depends on the nature of your work.

Q:  Are there differences in run time among the different types?

Yes. High lumen flashlights that deliver long-range illumination will have shorter run times compared to their low counterparts.   Flashlights designed for everyday use have long regulated run times.

Q:  Why would I want LEDs instead of Xenon lamps?

LED lamps are more durable and energy efficient. Moreover, their life expectancy is around 50,000 hours. They are also made of solid material without any filaments or breakable components, unlike xenon lamps that are more fragile and less energy efficient.

Q:  Can I use rechargeable batteries with LED flashlights?

  Yes. As a matter of fact, many quality flashlights come with their own rechargeable batteries.

Our Top Pick

Streamlight Stinger DS LED High Lumen Flashlight

The Stinger flashlight speaks for itself in terms of durability and longevity with a 50,000 hour lifetime LED bulb and a scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens. It also offers three intensity modes with a beam distance of 287 meters. One of the best things about this product is that it comes with its very own charger and has a strobe mode the was designed for signaling and disorienting. With over six hundred glowing flashlight reviews under its belt and CD LED technology incorporated into its design, it is not surprising that the 75458 Stinger ended up at the very top of our list.

Sources:

  1. How to Choose the Right LED Flashlight, wikiHow

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