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Flashlight Glossary

Here you will find a list of general terms related to high powered LED flashlights.

ANSI-NEMA FL-1

A series of industry standards for testing and representing the performance of LED flashlights. Regulated by the American National Standards Institute in association with the National Electrical Manufacturers association. If the flashlight you are looking at is not ANSI rated, there is a good chance that its specifications may not be entirely accurate.

Battery Magazine

A plastic or plastic and metal peripheral that holds several batteries together for placement within a flashlight. Some are integrated with the electrical contacts of the flashlight and are required for the light to function, others are simple plastic holsters that just keep batteries from rattling inside the body of the light.

Beam Distance

An estimated distance of how far a flashlight's beam will travel in average low light conditions. This statistic is generally not physically measured but calculated by taking a light's peak beam intensity, dividing by 0.25 and taking the square root of that result.

Bezel

The front portion of a flashlight that typically forms a ring around the lens. They are commonly made of metal to provide protection for the glass. Bezels can come crenelated for self-defense purposes.

Bin

A Bin number refers to a subset of a batch of LEDs. During LED production there is always variation within a batch, and each variation is sorted (in to actual bins) and categorized according to their performance or unique aspects.

Candela

Often abbreviated "cd", Candela is a standardized measurement of light intensity. Candela is used to calculate the peak beam intensity of a flashlight.

Cigar Ring

A plastic, metal or rubber ring that fits on the body of a flashlight near the tail cap. A cigar ring is used to comfortably hold a light while giving easy access to the tail switch. The ring also serves to prevent a light from rolling over when placed on its side.

Color Temperature

The color temperature of a flashlight refers to the hue of the light, and is measured in kelvin. A color temperature of over 5,000 kelvin is a 'cool' bluish white, while lower than 3,000 are 'warm' yellowish to red.

Cool White

A flashlight with a plain white light is often referred to as cool white, and has a color temperature of over 5,000. This is the standard type of LED light and it can be assumed that a light is cool white unless otherwise noted.

CPF

The Candle Power Forums is an online discussion board for everything related to flashlights and flashlight accessories. The flashlight enthusiasts of CPF provide a wealth of information and insightful discussion on the topic.

Cree

Cree is a major manufacturer of LEDs, a multinational company based out of Durham, North Carolina. They create the majority of LEDs used in high end flashlights but do not make flashlights themselves.

Diffuser

A diffuser generally refers to a plastic covering that can be placed over a light to alter the color or pattern of the beam. Red, green and blue diffusers are common for night vision purposes, and frosted diffusers are used to spread a sharp beam in to a more flood-like pattern.

EDC

Every Day Carry is a type of flashlight that is intended for persistent, everyday use. This type of light is typically build to be compact, and can either be carried in a pocket or in a simple belt holster.

Flashaholic

A Flashaholic is a true flashlight enthusiast. Are they drawn the brightness? Is it the sleek designs? Is it the tactical applications or the thrill of advancing technology that keeps them excited about lumens, beam pattern and throw distance? It's hard to say but chances are if you end up owning more flashlights that you can possibly use, you might be one too.

Flood

Flood refers to a beam of light that is diffused for immediate area lighting. Flood lighting can be achieved by using a diffuser or a light with an orange peel reflector.

Hard Anodized

Hard anodized aluminum is aluminum that has been oxidized, which makes it highly resistant to scratches and corrosion. The majority of high end LED flashlights are built out of aircraft grade, hard anodized aluminum.

Headlamp

A headlamp is small light that can be work on the head with the assistance of a strap. Headlamps are commonly used in industrial settings or for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking or fishing.

HID

A High-intensity Discharge Lamp is a specialized type of bulb that has superior output to the classic incandescent. They commonly used for large area lighting such as warehouses, parking lots and even football stadiums.

Hotspot

The hotspot of a flashlight is the very center of the beam where the light intensity is the highest. Several aspects of the light effect the hotspot such as LED power, type and size of the reflector and the quality of the lens.

Impact Resistance

Most LED flashlights are fairly impact resistant, and are generally rated to be dropped several meters without damage. Many factors play in to the overall impact resistance and include the weight of the body, quality of the solid state LED and the physical design of the light.

Incandescent

An incandescent bulb is the traditional lighting tool that creates light by heating a wire filament to high temperatures within a glass bulb filled with inert gas. While LEDs have proven to be superior in terms of overall performance, incandescent can still be found as a cheap alternative.

IPX

IPX (International Protection Rating) designates the level of water resistance a flashlight has. Rating range from 0 to 8, non-protected to fully submersible respectively. Check out our handy guide to IPX ratings here!

LED

A Light Emitting Diode is the primary light source for higher end flashlights. LEDs can convert electricity in to a stunning amount of light and are incredibly efficient. They are solid state technology (no moving parts) so malfunctions are rare, and they have remarkably long running life spans.

Lens

The lens of a flashlight covers the front of the light and protects the light source and reflector from impact and debris. Good lenses are usually made out of tempered, mineral treated glass that provides a mix of resilience and clear optics to let as much light out as possible.

Lumen

A lumen is a standard measurement of visible light output. Most flashlights are rated by lumen output and can easily be compared using this statistic.

Neutral White

A neutral white LED has a color temperature range of around or under 3000 kelvin. This gives the light a 'warm' look, or a slight yellow-red hue. Neutral white light is favorably compared to the type of light emitted from older style incandescent lights, and is often used in photography for its superior color amplification.

Orange Peel Reflector

An orange peel (or OP) reflector is a textured reflector, often looking bumpy like the skin of its namesake fruit. The orange peel texture creates many littler surfaces on the reflector causing the light to become diffused, which spreads out the light intensity and creates a flood beam.

P60 Drop-in

Certain lights are modifiable, and can be upgraded to newer LEDs by using a standard sized P60 drop-in. The P60 unit contains an LED, reflector, contact spring and circuitry to regulate the light.

Pocket Clip

A pocket clip is a simple attachment that allows lights to be securely fastened to clothing.

Pressure Switch

A pressure switch is a tactical flashlight peripheral that adds a length of cord and a pressure sensitive pad that operates the light. These are typically used with gun mounted lights so that the light can be toggled without removing hands from the weapon.

Rechargeable Flashlight

A rechargeable flashlight refers to a flashlight that can charge its own power source within the body of the light via USB, AC or DC power cords. These types of lights typically use Li-Ion batteries. 18650 sized batteries or proprietary battery packs are most commonly used in this type of light.

Reverse Polarity Protection

A light with reverse polarity protection has circuitry and programming in place to prevent damage caused by improperly placed batteries. These lights will cut off any sort of power once it recognizes that a battery has been placed in reverse.

Run Time

Run times are estimated battery lives for the modes of high end LED flashlights. Run times may vary due to extreme heat or cold, but are generally accurate in most circumstances.

Side Switch

A side switch is a mode or power switch located on the body or the head of a flashlight. These are used for conveniently changing modes while holding a light in a casual position.

Smooth Reflector

This is the most common type of reflector. A beam put out by a smooth reflector typically has a lot of rings of bright lights and patches or darkness. Smooth reflectors give off a greater throw than OP reflectors. There are no rippling effects.

Tactical Flashlight

A tactical flashlight is a flashlight that maintains several features associated with military, police or emergency use. These lights are usually hand held and weapon mountable. Tactical lights almost invariably feature a defensive strobe feature and often have crenelated strike bezels.

Tailcap

The tailcap is the end of a flashlight opposite the head. This is often where the main power switch is located, but it can also be used for a charging port, a glass breaker or just a flat surface to stand the light up.

Throw

Throw is a common term that refers to the maximum beam distance of a flashlight.

Ultraviolet

An ultraviolet (UV) light is a flashlight that emits a specific wavelength of light that has many utility uses. Ultraviolet lights are most commonly used to reveal bodily fluids, verify legitimate currency and photo identification cards.

Weapon Mount

Many tactical flashlights can be attached to larger weapons (assault rifles, shot guns) via a Weapon Mount. Weapon mounts can be generic or specific to a certain flashlight. Generic weapon mounts will hold flashlights with a roughly 1 inch body diameter, and are most commonly used with picatinny rails or a magnetic mounting bracket.


For better understanding of batteries, check out our Battery Glossary!