How Many Lumens is Good for a Flashlight? (Lumens chart)

Last Updated on May, 2024

Today’s flashlight market offers a wide variety of flashlights ranging from 10 lumens to 100,000 lumens. We keep asking for more lumens because we believe we need more lumen power in our flashlight, but do more lumens actually provide us with additional benefits? Or is it simply more money spent for nothing?

Spoiler alert! More lumens do not necessarily mean better.

Anyone can easily become confused when purchasing a flashlight without knowing how many lumens are required or what factors to consider when purchasing a flashlight.

Quick Summary

Lumens are a unit to identify how much light a specific light source produces, and they are important when you are buying a flashlight or a bulb.

The lumen rate of your flashlight should be determined by its intended use. For example, if your intention is to keep a flashlight at home in case of an emergency, you don’t need one with a high lumen rate.

Most importantly, safety. That’s why it is crucial to understand your needs before determining how many lumens you require.

A Brief Introduction to Lux, Lumens, and Candela 

a human using a flashlight

When you shop for tactical flashlights or everyday carry lights (EDC), you may hear manufacturers use terms such as “lux,” “lumens,” “watts,” and sometimes “candela” to describe and differentiate each flashlight. Here’s what makes each of them different.

Lux is a standardized unit of light intensity measurement. 1 lux is the illuminance produced by 1 candela on a surface one meter from the light source. Ambient daylight has 10,000 to 25,000 lux of light produced. 

Candela is a unit used to measure the brightness of a particular light source.

Lumen is a unit to identify how much light a specific light source produces. In other words, a light output measurement.

Also Read: Flashlight vs Torch

Why are Lumens Important?

Lumens are the parameter when you are buying a flashlight or a bulb. Simply put, 

  • Higher lumens = the brighter the light
  • Lower lumens = the dimmer the light

Each flashlight’s packaging indicates the number of lumens produced. It helps you determine the flashlight’s brightness to purchase the ideal flashlight.

How to Choose a Suitable Flashlight for You Using the Lumen Chart?

flashlights on the floor

The lumen rate of your flashlight should be determined by its intended use. For example, if your intention is to keep a flashlight at home in case of an emergency, you don’t need one with a high lumen rate. However, a higher lumen rating is required if you intend to use the flashlight for outdoor activities.

The below guide will help you determine how many lumens are best for you. It’s a lumen scale for flashlights that ranges from lowest to highest. 

Flashlights Under 100 Lumens

The lowest flashlight in this category would have a lumen output of 10 to 20—for example, keychain flashlights, pen flashlights, and micro-sized LED lights. The brightness is extremely low.

Another well-known one in this category is the mobile phone flashlight, which has a light output of 40-50. Everyday carry, EDC flashlights are mostly 100 lumens, which is enough for home and everyday usage. 

Flashlights in this category are only helpful in obvious darkness to illuminate close-up entities in an emergency. Small-cell batteries are commonly used, but some manufacturers also offer rechargeable ones.

  • Commonly used by: kids, vehicle owners, mobile phone users, and home usage, handy in emergency use
  • Beam range: 3-5 feet of beam distance 
  • Battery type: Cell battery (two aa batteries) 
  • Price: primarily low budget

Related article: What are Everyday Carry flashlights?

Flashlights Between 100 to 400 Lumens

This category of flashlights is ideal if you want something affordable but useful for camping, hiking, and fishing.

This range is perfect for a nighttime walk.

These range flashlights are small enough to fit in your pocket and have decent battery life. Available in both replaceable and rechargeable battery models. 

This amount of lumens-containing flashlight is excellent for power outages and carrying in the vehicle for emergencies, as the battery life is long and readily rechargeable from a vehicle power outlet. 

a human holding a flashlight
  • Commonly used by: Campers, hikers, fishermen, tactical usage, emergency use
  • Beam range: 80-150 feet of beam distance 
  • Battery type: Lithium cell batteries or rechargeable battery 
  • Price: Low, medium budget 

Flashlights Between 400 to 1000 Lumens

This is ideal if you are looking for brightness and energy efficiency at the same time. Flashlights in this range are handy to carry yet can light up a room and give you a clear view of where they are pointed. 

A 1000 lumen flashlight is commonly used by law enforcement, patrolling police teams, construction supervisors, and technicians.

Although these flashlights are rechargeable, they may also be equipped with lithium cell batteries in case of an emergency. That makes this category the most suitable for tactical usage. 

a construction worker holding a flashlight

Campers, hikers, and fishermen use these flashlights to prepare for rough terrain. If you are looking for flashlights for emergency carry or home use, flashlights with more than 1000 lumens will NOT be ideal.

  • Commonly used by: Law enforcement, construction workers, technicians, Campers, hikers, and fishermen, outdoor activities, tactical usage
  • Beam range: 80-300 feet of beam distance 
  • Battery type: Rechargeable battery, lithium ion batteries, multiple batteries
  • Price: Medium to high-budget options 

Flashlights Between 1000 to 3000 Lumens 

Flashlights in this range are used by the military, special forces, search and rescue teams (land, air, and sea), and hunters.

This number of lumens is exceptionally bright and can light up a large area to have clear vision. 

People and animals at a greater distance can spot this light, and pointing it in the human eyes can cause temporary blindness, thus making these types of flashlights the best as a non lethal self defense weapon.

Such lumen ratings are available in flashlights that often come with different brightness modes.

a human using a flashlight while camping

These flashlights are designed for heavy-duty use and come with various light modes, including the “strobe” mode. It is a self-defense mechanism to distract and blind the attacker or animal. It makes the flashlight a blinding and disorienting weapon.

  • Commonly used by: Special forces, military, search and rescue teams, advanced camping, hunters, self-defense, tactical usage
  • Beam range: 500+ feet of beam distance 
  • Battery type: Rechargeable battery, lithium cell battery
  • Price: Higher medium to high budget options

Flashlights Between 3000 to 7000 Lumens 

Flashlights in this category are heavy duty; they can survive a 15000 lbs truck driving over them, as well as fire, ice, and boiling water.

These flashlights are commonly used by firefighters, deep sea divers, and rescue squads in extreme weather conditions. 

You will have the option of changing through multiple light modes to control how much light you need.

The light beam can project for a range typically greater than 0.6 miles (1 km).

a flashlight on the table
  • Commonly used by: Firefighters, deep water divers, search and rescue teams, advanced camping, military personnel, tactical applications 
  • Beam range: 1+Km
  • Battery type: Rechargeable battery
  • Price: High budget

Flashlights Between 7000 to 25000 Lumens

These are high-performing, extremely powerful flashlights. The total light output can reach a mile or more. These flashlights are larger in size, weight, and length and include a cooling system to manage the heat produced. 

The battery life in the highest brightness modes is relatively short due to the high brightness and heat produced. Military ships and seafaring vessels may be equipped with these types of flashlights for serious professional work that requires an extremely bright flashlight.

  • Commonly used by: serious professional work 
  • Beam range: 1+Km
  • Battery type: Rechargeable battery
  • Price: High budget

Anything Above 25000 Lumens?

a human holding Imalent flashlight

You are crazy if you are looking for a flashlight with more than 25000 lumens. That is not a flashlight; that will be your personal mini sun.

There are flashlights with lumen outputs greater than 25,000. The highest-lumen flashlight available is the “IMALENT MS18” flashlight, which has a maximum brightness of 100,000 lumens. This many lumens are enough to light up a football field. Here you can learn more about this flashlight.

This is the option for you if you want your own personal sun. 

Conclusion

Projecting the correct luminosity of light is critical to engaging in the task efficiently and productively. Most importantly, safety. That’s why it is crucial to understand your needs before determining how many lumens you require. 

You may now understand that lumens are not the only factor influencing a flashlight’s performance; other factors include longevity, beam range, weight, portability, durability, etc. 

Don’t bother thinking; we’ve got you covered with the best flashlight you can choose for your needs. Check out this article to get yours

FAQs 

The iPhone flashlight has a light output of 40-50 lumens, while most other smartphones have a similar luminosity in their flashlights.

At least 1000 lumens of light are needed to temporarily blind an attacker, though 500-750 lumens can cause temporary blindness at a closer range.

Cool white is the best option for tactical flashlights, as it reflects natural colors and has the color of daylight or natural light. Neutral white is the second-best option.

Most law enforcement and patrolling teams use police tactical flashlights with 1000 lumens, which is enough to see for about 300 feet and easily search inside a vehicle at night. Flashlights range in light output from 400 to 1500 lumens.

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Author
Dillon Morrison
I have been involved in the flashlight community since 2007. My brother has a flashlight shop from where I have tested and reviewed more than 600+ different types of flashlights. You can find more about me here.

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