No gadget column worth its salt can ignore the burgeoning field of cool flashlights, so at the risk of repeating myself, I’d like to revisit the increasingly “enlightened” category of portable illumination. The LED (light emitting diode) is actually a semiconductor — think transistor — that emits light, and it’s the future of flashlight applications. The reasons are simple. Your batteries last substantially longer, light intensity is greater, and the LED’s themselves last thousands of hours. The old incandescent flashlight bulb is a buggy whip by comparison!
LED Visor Light
First on the list is a hat mounted light. Headlights have been used by doctors and miners forever. You’ll never trip over them like work lights, and they’re truly “hands free.” The new Visor Light, with five LED’s in a compact, horizontal array, clips under the brim of your cap. It sends a nice flood of light out wherever you turn your head and runs on two button batteries (included). $13.99 freedomflashlight.com.
New MaxLife 2
If you don’t want to look like a pickup truck with a light bar attached to your head, the latest Stanley tripod light is now out. I’ve reviewed these favorably before. The MaxLife 2 uses a single 1.25-watt LED (that’s best in class) and can be focused from spot to flood. Include the flip-open tripod legs, swivel head, and handsome titanium finish, and you have quite the useful tool! $37.99 stanleytools.com.
NEBO Windup LED Flashlight
Last is a wind-up, battery-free, 4-in-1 flashlight. It addresses the only issue with all emergency flashlights: dead batteries. Crank the handle for a minute and you have one hour of light, three minutes of talk time on your cell phone with the right adapter (one is provided, but it might not fit your phone), a radio, or an alarm at your disposal! This turned out to be less of a toy and more of a tool than I expected. A great item to throw in your glove box or junk drawer. $17.99 nebotools.com.
All products listed here are available at W.C. Winks Hardware, 200 SE Stark St., Portland, OR. Call 503-227-5536 for more information.