If you’ve come here wanting information on how to choose the best solar flashlight on the market to suit your needs, then you’ve absolutely arrived in the right place.
At one time, it would have been unthinkable to imagine implementing a solar cell array powerful enough to sustain not only a functional but also a highly usable handheld light for home or work use.
Luckily, that’s all now changed. We’re now going to tell you everything you need to know about what these products are, how they work, and how to choose one that’ll best serve your requirements.
What Is a Solar Flashlight?
The fundamental difference at play between this type of flashlight and others is the manner in which the light powers itself. Normally, this would be via disposable or rechargeable batteries. But in this instance, the unit relies almost exclusively on the power of the sun, and specifically solar cells.
These cells rely on photon rays being sent down to earth from the sun’s core, which they then readily absorb, convert, and distribute as usable energy throughout a connected power circuit.
In the case of a solar flashlight, the circuit is used to power an LED light, surrounded by permanent housing that we can hold and carry with us.
The reasons why you would select a solar variant of this traditional technology are numerous, but at large, it’s because you’re going to save money due to not having to replace batteries as frequently as you normally would and the convenience associated with this.
How Does a Solar Flashlight Work?
You already know that a voltaic cell structure is required for photon ray intake if your flashlight is going to be classed as “solar powered.” But depending on the model you choose, precisely how it functions is going to differ fairly dramatically.
Everything from standard to USB to hybrid and crank-powered models are available to cater for a variety of different needs for pretty much any user type.
In conjunction with a voltaic cell array, these variants also feature added hand cranks or USB ports, or a combination of battery ports and voltaic cells to ensure that you can both charge and keep your light charged regardless of your circumstances. Some include all of them.
If daylight hours are restricted in your area or you need to make use of your light for an extended period of time and you’re worried that solar power alone might not fully cover your needs, this is where these alternative varieties can be called upon for maximum peace of mind.
How to Choose the Right Solar Flashlight
In this section, we’re going to tell you exactly what features and design specifications to look out for when searching for a solar power flashlight.
After reading through the below points, you’ll find the relevant flashlight features that resonate with your individual circumstances.
Beam distance and type
Traditional focus beams are the most common variety and are often used for residential purposes or even in some commercial settings. This is the standard type of beam that you’d expect to see coming out of a handheld light and it appears in a narrow arc.
Flood light and strobe variants are also available. Combined with the beam type, you’ll need to know how much distance it can cover. The further the beam can project, the further you can see.
Resistance against impact and water
Consider where you’re going to be using your light and what for. If it isn’t durable, then it might not withstand the environment you’re placing it in. That could be disastrous if you’re relying on it for the safety of yourself or others.
The same can be said for water resistance capacity. If you know that you’ll be taking it through watery terrain, then a lack of effective water resistance could create an entire wealth of issues for you and others.
Solar-based lights can hold their own against traditional battery-based variants, but some are much dimmer. Make sure that you check the lumen count on your chosen model because it might not be high enough to cater for your needs.
Lumens are the means by which we measure light output. Solar flashes usually rate anywhere from 60 to 300 lumens. Please bear in mind that this is the crucial number you need to pay attention to when it comes to output as opposed to the number of LEDs a light contains.
Next to output, or on par with it, this is the other vital area to pay attention to, as you’ll be relying on run time along with output to cater for your specific portable lighting needs.
Home use isn’t likely to require an elaborate degree of run time, but if your light is going to be involved in any form of security or defense, you’ve got to make sure that it can last for the length of your active work time. An average run time would be 15 hours for solar tech-based handheld lights, but this number can vary widely.
This is an important factor to consider if you’ve got to make frequent use of your flashlight with small turnaround times.
On average, it takes a light of this variety six hours to charge. But as with any of these elements, that can massively vary depending on the quality of the product. If your job relies on flashlight use, you need to be able to pick it up as frequently as possible and possibly at short notice.
Though added bonuses shouldn’t be your primary concern versus most of the above features and specifications, they can still make an enormous difference in the way you practically approach the circumstances you’ll be using your flashlight in.
Everything from seatbelt cutters to AM/FM radios, utility knives, and compasses may be integrated into the housing of a solar flashlight.
Here are some of the most renowned manufacturers of solar-based handheld light systems: NPET, Gearlight, NoCry, Kizen, Meco, PrimalCamp, ThorFire, Vont. Any product purchased from one of these brands is likely to be of high quality.
Top 5 Best Solar Flashlights
5. IKAAMA Super Bright LED Handheld Spotlight
Alright, so this option isn’t strictly a flashlight, but if you’re looking for something that comes with devastating lighting power, then this is absolutely going to be the right option for you. Most situations won’t call for the level of brightness that this light has to offer, but if you work in security or rescue and you have to cover expansive areas, then it’d be hard to find something capable of offering you a higher level of visibility.
With 2,600 feet worth of distance and a 6,000 lumen output. This is about as much light as anyone is ever likely to need. There are also a host of additional features like a rechargeable battery bank, USB charging port, phone charger, and four different light modes.
- Incredible light power
- Lots of useful additional features
- Great build quality
- Multiple ways to carry in comfort
- The light will be too powerful for many scenarios
- It’s a large and fairly cumbersome unit
4. MECO Hand Crank Solar Rechargeable Flashlight
Whilst this MECO flashlight isn’t going to win any awards for being the most versatile option on this list, it’s certainly great at doing exactly what you want it to, and very cheaply. Despite the low entry cost, you’ve got a solar powered, hand cranked light on offer here with an impressive 200 lumen output. For home use, this is significantly more than you’re ever likely to need and makes it great value for money.
It’s the crank too that shines through here vs. other products. It only takes six minutes of cranking to produce an hour’s worth of light. On a single full solar charge, you’re also likely to get enough use to last you several months without the need to place it in the sun again.
- High quality hand crank yields an hour’s use with six minutes worth of cranking
- Respectable 200 lumen output
- Snap clip makes this light convenient for DIY projects
- Cheap price
- Won’t withstand harsh outdoor situations
- Not a reliable option if safety is your priority
3. Swiss Safe Products Rechargeable Flashlight with Solar Power & Hand Crank
Amongst all the solar flashlights available on the market, this variant is one of the best for both practicality and design diversity, which makes it an easy and fun to use option, especially for little campers who need a light to find their way through the dark!
Featuring an integrated snap clip for attachment to a belt as well as an array of cool color options. This might not be the brightest item in the category, but for kids and adults alike, it’ll definitely provide enough visibility to see you through to safety.
Included here is also an effective hand crank that means you can power the light in a tight spot should the solar charge run out. It’s also cheap. All in all, it’s really not a bad option for very basic camping or residential outdoor use.
- Fun and practical with an integrated snap clip and a wide array of color options
- Reliable due to additional hand crank
- Durable build quality
- Great value
- Not the most durable build quality
- Light quality could be better
2. SOS Solarlight Solar Flashlight
Probably the best option on the list for the average person’s residential use, it’s hard to beat the efficiency that this flashlight offers in conjunction with a highly durable build quality that’ll stand up to the majority of potential damage risks around the house (dropping, crushing etc.). Though other options carry a higher lumen count (this one has 60), it’s all about what you’re going to need it for.
If you’re just looking for a very reliable high quality light to use at home, then the brightness on offer here along with a 40-foot viewing cone mean that almost all residential situations are well-covered. What makes this model stand out is the low charge time of eight hours when using solar only and the backup battery array that’s included for extra longevity.
- Low charge time
- Excellent usage time
- Reliable due to backup battery
- Built to withstand and cater for all residential situations
- Not the most powerful of beams
- Compass seems like an unnecessary addition
1. NPET T09 Solar Flashlight
To start with, we’ll get the only bad part out of the way first by letting you know that if you’re relying purely on solar, it’s going to take 30 hours to charge this flashlight. Luckily, the integrated USB port will cut that time down to 5-6 hours.
Other than that, it’s all positive. Massively positive. If you’re looking for a handheld light that delivers a high level of visibility in conjunction with a wealth of additional features, then you don’t need to look any further than this model.
It features an excellent build quality that’s both highly water and shock resistant, a 700 foot light beam range, a 1,000 lumen output, plus almost every additional feature you could ever need including a compass, seatbelt cutter, alarm, and even a window breaker.
- Incredibly versatile with a wealth of additional features
- Very durable build quality
- Impressive beam range and brightness
- Convenient due to dual charging capabilities
- An incredibly long charge time if you’re relying on solar only
Pros and Cons of Solar Flashlights
Before you make a decision using the above information or select an item from our top 5 list, remember that in summary, these are the main pros and cons of using a solar flashlight:
- Cheap to run as they rely on an endless power source
- Highly versatile, often coming with many additional features and charging options
- Environmentally beneficial due to typically not relying on waste materials
- Usually powerful enough to cater for the majority of the needs of both the general public and services like fire and rescue provided you buy the right version for your needs
- Not as powerful (usually) as battery operated versions
- Arguably not as reliable due to potential power outages if the charge isn’t full
- Can take a long time to charge them
- Some models exclusively rely on sun power, which may or may not be accessible due to time of year and weather conditions
Overall, these are the main factors to keep in mind before coming to a final product decision.
You should now have everything you need to make an effective decision about which solar flashlight is going to suit your needs.
It’s important to keep in mind that none of the above options on our top five list are necessarily going to be the best for you if they don’t closely mirror your usage requirements. More light, for instance, isn’t necessarily going to equate to more use or effectiveness if you don’t need it.
Equally, an item might be cheap, but you need the best build quality, safety features and brightness. Provided you shop based on your exact requirements by analysing the individual features we’ve listed, you’ll definitely end up acquiring the right option for you.