The Flashlight Lumen Race
Kevin Felts 03.17.17
While reviewing the Thrunite Archer 2A flashlight, I kept asking myself, “Why is Thrunite trying to squeeze 500 lumens out of two AA batteries?”
With the Thrunite Archer 2A, it steps down from 500 lumens to 75 lumens. That is a pretty big jump. What niche does the flashlight try to fill? Was it trying to be a two AA tactical, camping, hiking, truck, or car emergency light?
75 lumens would be great for changing a tire. What exact purpose does the 500 lumen setting serve?
I shared the video review to reddit.com/r/flashlight, and someone explained exactly why companies are trying to squeeze every last lumen out of their flashlights,
More lumens = more sales, regardless of low long said lumens are sustained.
In other words, flashlight companies are trying to meet consumer demands. It does not matter how long the flashlight can sustain 500 lumens. It is bragging rights that they have a flashlight that has 500 lumens.
The lumen race is giving consumers what they want. However, there is a difference between what consumers need and what they want.
What consumers need is a decently bright flashlight that is reliable and has as much battery life as possible.
What a lot of consumers want, however, is the brightest flashlight possible, and battery life be damned. So, what if the flashlight will eat batteries like candy?
This is the difference in people who use their flashlights in a real world setting and people who buy flashlights as a hobby.
Let’s take a three day backpacking trip for example. Carrying a case of spare batteries to fuel a 500 lumen flashlight would be a bad idea. What would be a good idea however, is to carry a decently bright flashlight that has good battery life.
On my three day camping trips, I bring two flashlights: a handheld light and a headlight. Both have reasonable brightness of around 150 lumens or less. They work great for around the campsite.
My AR-15 has a Surefire that is rated for 200 lumens. Two CR123a batteries provides plenty of power for the light.
Is there a need for 500 lumens? Sure there is, but not for a few short minutes. What good is 500 lumens if it will only last for a couple of minutes and then the flashlight steps down to the next setting?