Many firefighters need to rely on many different tools to do their job correctly. The industry has come a long way since the old firehook days. Firefighter flashlights are no exception.
A firefighter will often use this tool for various reasons, including signaling teammates, illuminating dark areas for search and rescue, or locating heavy objects that may be blocking passageways.
With so many different functions, it’s important to know how to choose the best one.
According to the NFPA, the leading cause of death in firefighters is stress. Part of this is due to equipment failure.
Keep reading for our guide on choosing the best firefighter flashlights.
Firefighters work in tight quarters with few resources available. Make sure your flashlight can accommodate these conditions by finding one with a small form factor and lightweight.
The output of any flashlight is measured in lumens. High lumens will allow you to see further out in the dark, while low lumens will give you an illuminated close-up view of the area.
Make sure you know what you’ll be using it for before you choose a flashlight.
In a smoke-filled room, a light with a longer wavelength, such as amber or warm white light, is preferable to a shorter wavelength, such as a blue or cool white light.
For example, blue lights are typically brighter but have shorter wavelengths and may scatter in fog or smoke. This can reveal the smoke rather than the thing you want to focus on.
Flashlights are available in either wide beam, spotlight, or narrow beam, adjustable, and hybrid. An adjustable beam sounds great but takes too much time to get right. A wide beam will illuminate a larger area, improving your peripheral vision and situational awareness, but it may also spread on the smoke and render you ineffective.
A spotlight might offer you reach with your light, but everything will be concentrated on one spot; as a result, your peripheral vision may be reduced.
The type of beam you choose will depend on your needs. For example, you may opt for a hybrid beam if you want a combination of beams suited to different situations and applications.
Hybrid beams have a hot spot in the middle where most light output is concentrated, but they have a wide beam that spreads out the rest of the light on a broader arc.
This hybrid method delivers focused illumination while also supplying enough light for your peripheral vision and situational awareness to get around your immediate surroundings.
With firefighters often working in enclosed areas prone to flooding, water-resistant flashlights are necessary to prevent water damage. You’ll be more likely to get a useful product by making sure it has this feature.
When you are on the scene, all that matters is that your equipment function. You don’t have time to mess with a dead flashlight. However, utilizing a rechargeable flashlight may work if you have the time to keep the flashlight charged and ready for action.
Lights with the ability to rapidly change between primary cells are ideal for dealing with power outages on-site if you have suitable batteries. Having a box of “AA” batteries in your vehicle does not assist you if your light uses CR123 Lithium cells.
A dual-fuel flashlight is one way to combine the advantages of each type. These flashlights incorporate a rechargeable battery pack such as NiCd, NiMH, or Li-Ion and permit you to replace that with primary Alkaline or Lithium cells.
The material of the flashlight should be sturdy enough to withstand the harsh conditions firefighters often face. Rubberized handles are popular for this reason, but plastic should also hold up well enough if made properly.
Like any other product you buy, certain brands are well known for quality. Brands like Surefire are widely acknowledged for quality firefighting flashlights.
You need an affordable quality flashlight, so do some comparison shopping before buying. Don’t let the price of one flashlight hold you back from getting the best one possible.
In the end, you’ll want to choose a firefighting flashlight that is lightweight and powerful enough to meet your needs but small enough to fit in your gear bag or pocket so you can always have it with you in case of an emergency.
What Is Different About A Firefighter’s Flashlight?
Flashlights have been a vital part of firefighters’ gear for many years, but the features that define a firefighter’s flashlight are what set it apart from other kinds.
When you’re sent into jobs that could involve fire, smoke, or even medical requirements, you need to be prepared.
Firefighting flashlights typically have several important features that help achieve safety and success at their job and protect those they work alongside.
These features include:
A Firefighter Flashlight Needs to be Waterproof
Firefighters deal with water daily, making it necessary for them to purchase a firefighting flashlight with an IPX rating to ensure its resistance to water damage.
In addition, firefighters may often encounter hazardous conditions requiring immediate action – meaning they cannot wait or chance to have wet equipment causing further damage injury.
Therefore, firefighter flashlights should be water-resistant, so you do not have to fear getting them wet. Firefighter flashlights are designed with this in mind. They offer a rubber covering around the exterior of the flashlight casing, allowing for extra protection against damage from splashing or other sources of moisture.
Firefighter Flashlights Have a Sturdy Build
Firefighters need strong flashlights that they can rely on to work when called upon because they could save their lives and those of others around them.
Therefore, firefighter flashlights have an extra solid build to protect the electrical components from being damaged by impacts or unwieldy movements that could cause them to fall or be dropped during duty. In addition, firefighter flashlights will typically have a slip-resistant grip as well as a rubberized casing to protect the flashlight from any damage that may be caused by falls or hits against hard surfaces.
Firefighter flashlights are built for durability within the harshest conditions, and only the best Firefighter Flashlight Brands offer products with this level of quality.
Firefighter Flashlights Have Multiple Light Functions
Firefighters need a flashlight that can meet their different lighting needs on duty; they cannot risk having equipment fail them at an important moment.
Firefighting flashlights usually have an adjustable focus function so you can choose how wide or narrow your beam of light will be, depending on its use. Firefighting flashlights should also have additional power settings like strobe and emergency signal functions for critical moments when signaling help is needed immediately.
Firefighter flashlights are designed to help save lives, so they should be crafted with this in mind. Firefighter Flashlight Brands that have a solid reputation for quality will offer Firefighting flashlights that meet all these needs and more.
Why Do Firefighter’s Need A Flashlight?
Firefighters are exposed to many hazardous conditions daily. Firefighting flashlights are important tools that every firefighter needs to have with them, as they can make or break their success in any situation.
Firefighting flashlights help them see better when there is low visibility due to smoke or fog and allow them added security whenever entering an unknown and potentially dangerous space.
Fire fighting flashlights also come in handy at the scene of car accidents where rescue workers need reliable light provided by a tool that has been crafted for dependable use under harsh conditions.
Firefighter Flashlight Brands, who put quality first, understands what firefighters need and why they must purchase equipment that will always be ready when needed most.
8 of the Best Flashlights
Let’s take a look at some of this year’s best flashlights. There are some great choices here.
1. Streamlight 90540 Survivor LED Right Angle Flashlight
A sturdy handheld right-angle light designed for hazardous work. Works well in most situations.
It’s simple to operate with gloves on. You can choose from a wide range of beam modes, including an ultra-intensity beam that works well in dense smoke.
What’s not good
Some customers have reported that they’ve struggled with the warranty. Therefore, it might be good to purchase this from a provider that can support you properly.
2. Streamlight 44450 Fire Vulcan LED Standard System Flashlight with AC/DC Charger
Very solid and easy to use. This model has a top-quality LED and comes with a mains charger.
This light has one of the best beam intensities available. It’s also very durable and won’t break easily in the field. Even when working with gloves, the eight operation settings are simple to scroll through. When compared to other flashlights, it is also relatively lightweight.
What’s Not Good
This unit uses non-standard batteries. So you’ll need to make sure you always have a spare set or two.
3. Streamlight 88850 PolyTac LED Flashlight with Lithium Batteries, Black
A highly fashionable and conventional flashlight that delivers what it promises.
There isn’t a bulb to break in this flashlight because it uses LEDs. LED lights also have a lot longer life expectancy than regular bulbs. The waterproofing and structural durability are both excellent, and you’ll find it difficult to damage the rest of the body as well. Operating it is simple with the tail cap switch.
What’s Not Good
There have been some consumer reports saying that the PolyTac stops working periodically. Though that’s not confirmed, it’s a good idea to check on the warranty from your provider.
4. Streamlight 88854 PolyTac LED Helmet Lighting Kit
This helmet kit is straightforward to use. Streamlight specializes in easy mounts and kits, and this is a good one.
This torch will get you 50,000 hours with 275 lumens of LED light. It’s an excellent flashlight for everyday use, and the controls are very responsive. When dropped, it’s much easier to locate than other flashlights because of the bright yellow exterior. It clips onto the helmet without using any tools and stays in place nicely.
What’s Not Good
Another round of specialist batteries. That means you’ll need to have a couple of spare sets if you want to keep going.
5. Nightstick NSP-4650B Helmet Light, Black
An excellent helmet kit and well priced for what you get. A solid choice for any use.
For the price, you get an extra-bright flashlight at 220 lumens. You’ll also get a 45-degree angle with 100 lumens on the periphery. In desperate situations, you can enable the 15-lumen “survival mode.”
Nightstick has gone out of its way to make sure the torch works with every helmet design.
What’s Not Good
Due to the unique design, you’ll need an Allen key or wrench to attach it. This can be a pain when you want to get going quickly.
6. Streamlight Knucklehead Work Light With Charger
This is a great light. However, that comes with a hefty price. You won’t be wasting your money, but you might want to consider it carefully.
Streamlight boasts an “unbreakable” lens system and an LED that’s shock-resistant. In addition, the unit itself is rated to last 50,000 hours.
The single reflector (parabolic) gives an incredibly tight long-range beam compared to other flashlights.
What’s Not Good
As we mentioned, the price tag is pretty high. It’s excellent value for money, but you need to be really sure you want this particular unit.
7. Streamlight Survivor Rechargeable 90509 Flashlight
With a broader range of charging options, the Survivor is always ready to go. Though it’s more expensive than some, it packs a great punch.
Dual power means you never need to run out while you’re on the job. The beam is very bright at full capacity and works superbly in smoky environments. A big bonus is the low power mode which can run at 60 lumens for 13 hours.
What’s Not Good
The price tag is a bit of a downside, but this flashlight has many excellent reviews, so it probably balances out.
8. Streamlight Vantage 180 X
A versatile and practical flashlight that is both attractive and useful.
The design is chemically resistant, and for certain fires, that can be a real blessing. The steel clip makes it super easy to attach this to your gear whenever you need to. It’s got one of the best levels of waterproofing of any model that we’ve tested too. It even has a handy turnout gear attachment hook.
What’s Not Good
This flashlight hasn’t been well designed to operate with gloves. It’s possible, but you will find it awkward.
The Right Firefighter Flashlights
Firefighters need many tools to do their job well, and firefighter flashlights are one of them. However, firefighter gear is a niche market, so it’s important that you know what you’re looking for to choose the best product.
In this article, we discussed how to select the right firefighter equipment by considering budget, features, waterproofing, and more. Some factors may be more or less relevant depending on your needs as a firefighter.
These guidelines should help point you in the right direction when selecting necessary equipment such as helmets or gloves.
When you’re ready to find the perfect flashlight for you, check out our catalog.