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A flashlight is an invaluable tool, whether you’re rummaging through a dark basement, tromping through the woods on a nighttime hike, or stuck on the side of the road in the evening with a flat tire. Gone are the days of cheap, incandescent bulbs; today’s flashlights employ advanced LED technology to deliver bright beams while lasting days without draining the batteries. They often feature multiple brightness levels and strobe functions for emergencies, as well as memory technology that recalls previous settings when the torch is turned on. Different flashlights are suited to different jobs, and while some of the most powerful models aren’t cheap, flashlights are generally affordable enough that purchasing different ones for your home, car, camping equipment, or tool box won’t break the bank.
At its brightest setting, the ThruNite’s 1,100 lumens can light things up over 7500 feet, which is more than enough for most day-to-day uses. Use the two-button interface—one on the side, one on the tail—to toggle through its six power levels, from very dim to blindingly bright, or activate the strobe mode for emergencies. The flashlight’s design keeps it from rolling away on flat surfaces, and it can survive a 1-1/2 meter drop or full immersion in water. The ThruNite is powered by two AA batteries, and is constructed from aerospace-grade aluminum.
When you really want to pierce the night, the Fenix PD35 delivers 1000 lumens to light things up 273 yards away. The five power levels and strobe function are activated via the metal side button, and a memory function remembers the last brightness setting when the flashlight is turned on. The battery, which is charged via USB, lasts for up to 430 hours. The slim, 1-inch body fits easily in a pocket, and with an IP rating of 68, the light won’t let you down in rain, sleet, or snow.
Maglite builds on its legacy for crafting quality flashlights with the full-sized ML300LX, which delivers 625 lumens at maximum power. It features multiple settings and a strobe function, and the rotating head focuses the flashlight’s beam from tight spotlight to wide flood with a quick twist. Made from anodized aluminum and with a matte finish, the Maglite is a hefty, solidly-built instrument.
While not the most powerful flashlight, the Dorcy’s 55 lumens are more than enough for camping with the kids, moving through the house during a power outage, or walking home at night. Its water-proof design floats when dropped in water, so it’s great for the boat or evening fishing trips, and a convenient carabineer clip lets you secure it to a bag when not in use. It’s inexpensive enough to outfit an entire cub-scout troop, and even comes with three AA batteries.