The 10 Best Spotlights
10. Brinkmann Q-Beam Max Million III
- good for all outdoor activities
- halogen bulb is extra bright
- plug gets very hot
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
9. SP2 Solar
- optional extension cable
- automatically switches on at dusk
- charging can be impacted by weather
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
8. Stanley Fatmax SL10LEDS
- holds a charge for a full year
- red lens cap included
- very susceptible to water damage
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
7. Cyclops Flare Sport Handheld
- over 3 hours of run time
- integrated power meter display
- doesn't have a rechargeable battery
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
6. Mr. Beams MB371
- easy cord-free installation
- three brightness settings
- not particularly bright even on high
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
5. Rayovac Sportsman LED
- low medium and high output modes
- perfect for use on a boat
- limited lifetime warranty
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
4. Streamlight Waypoint
- available in yellow or black
- can be used as a fill light as well
- impact resistant up to 1 meter
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
3. Wagan 18M Brite-Nite
- convenient battery status indicator
- detachable shoulder strap
- flashing emergency led
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. URpower 2-in-1 Solar
- come in a 2-pack
- great for showing off landscaping
- batteries are replaceable
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
1. Golight Stryker
- fast or slow rotating speeds
- runs on 12-volt dc power
- compact design fits a car dashboard
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
On Lighting Up The Night
Our ancient ancestors first harnessed fire as long as a million years ago. Evidence found in South African caves points to the controlled use of fire by populations of Homo Erectus hominids, who evidently used fire to cook meats and vegetables. This early fire control was not only an important step in the ever more rapid physical evolution of early man (foods can be digested much more rapidly when cooked, allotting more time for the development of language, tools, and culture in general), but it also, for the first time, would have enabled these ancient beings to conquer the darkness of the night.
The world was lit only by sunshine, star and moonlight, and by the flickering flames of fire from those prehistoric times right up until the 19th Century, when brilliant, inventive minds finally managed to harness yet another awesome power: electricity. With control of electricity established, it was not long before the electric light afforded mankind yet another way to illuminate the world after dark. Yet even the inventor of the first electric light, British scientist Humphrey David, and the creator of the modern incandescent bulb, Thomas Edison, would be awestruck to see the array of lights available to the common consumer today. So too would these and many other brilliant minds be amazed at the affordable price, efficient batteries, and multiple functions of the lights we take for granted.
For years, the incandescent bulb perfected by Edison was at the apex of illumination technology. Today, there are two light sources that vie for the claim to brightest and most efficient light generation source. LED -- or light emitting diode -- bulbs work by releasing photons, AKA light, when an electrical current is passed between the leads of two semiconductors. First developed in the 1960s but limited to use as indicator lights in instrument panels, today LEDs are ubiquitous, seen in everything from flashlights to clocks to traffic signals and more.
The halogen lamp is in fact an advanced take on the incandescent lightbulb: it consists of a durable globe with a tungsten filament housed in an environment containing both inert gasses and a percentage of halogen gas. The chemical reaction between the heated filament and the halogen environment helps to maintain and preserve the tungsten even while producing an exceptionally bright light with a notably pale color temperature.
If you are looking for a spotlight, your first considerations should not be the actual light source, however, but should depend on why you need the light in the first place.
Choosing A Handheld Spotlight
There are myriad reasons you might want to own a handheld spotlight. The most basic uses for such a light would be to illuminate the sidewalk or path as you went for an evening stroll or walked your dog. However these powerful lights can also be invaluable in the hands of first responders tasked with first aid and rescue operations, or for law enforcement officials who need to survey a crime seen or seek out a suspect. A handheld spotlight is also a good idea for the caver or for the hikers or mountaineers headed out over rough terrain at night.
Most handheld spotlights have pistol grip style handles, which allow for an extended period of comfortable use and for easy, precise direction of their beam. As to the type of beam directed, make sure you check the various concentration settings available with any spotlight you consider. Some units offer wider light patterns good for illuminating rooms or swaths of an outdoor area, while others throw long beams good for scanning the darkness at a distance. Still other handheld spotlights can be adjusted to accomplish both tasks.
Make sure to factor in battery life before you commit to buying a handheld spotlight; while some units can run at their brightest setting for several hours, others only offer around a half hour of full powered light before their batteries grow exhausted. If you anticipate that you will need access to an extremely bright light for a shorter period of time, that shorter battery life may be no issue; on the other hand, a spotlight that has drained its battery is no better than an old tin can when it comes to lighting up the night
Choosing A Static Spotlight
Spotlights come in all shapes and sizes, and boast myriad functions as well. Some spotlights are the size of a backpack and have both shoulder straps and carry handles, and are perfect for when you need to illuminate objects as much as several thousand feet away; these mighty lights are great for nighttime boating, for search and rescue, and for filling nighttime worksites with light. They also tend to drain batteries quickly and are simply too bright for some users, and are too large for any protracted handheld, thus the included stands.
On the other hand, there are also much smaller, more demure spotlights that store up solar power by day and then add a bit of extra illumination to your landscaping, entryway, or outdoor areas once the sun has set. These can serve as both accent lights and can add a bit of extra security to your property.
If security is your concern, consider a spotlight that is either motion activated, remotely controlled, or both. And some remote control spotlights can not only be switched on and off, but can have their beam maneuvered about from afar. This can keep you safe within your home or business even as your light surveys the night for unwanted animals or prowlers.