Mini Flashlight Buying Guide
Some mini flashlights have multiple "modes" or brightness intensities. For example, there may be low, medium and high light settings. Each setting has a corresponding number of lumens.
In the case of a multi-mode compact flashlight that "twists" on, setting a specific "mode" of operation may be a bit tricky. Obviously, the bigger or brighter the beam, the quicker the battery's charge will draw down when the unit is on.
We saw no mini flashlights that took anything more or larger than three AAA batteries.
Vicki installed a single rechargeable AAA battery in ours. Whenever the beam did not seem as bright, this was an indication that the battery needed to be recharged, not that the flashlight was failing.
Truckers who are deciding if it is worth it to them to start using rechargeable batteries will need to first determine if they have the ability to recharge batteries in their trucks. For many company drivers, an inverter is required.
Vicki checked the specs on the bottom of our recharging unit and found that it takes only 6 watts of power, so even a small cigarette lighter style inverter may work.
Each mini LED flashlight (that takes one or more AAA batteries) is physically smaller in size than a standard flashlight (which may take "C" or "D" cell batteries). In fact, the unit that Vicki tested is about as long as a standard tube of lipstick, but not as big around; it easily fits in a loose pocket, purse or belly pouch.
The unit Vicki tested is longer than a standard key, so for truckers who put their keys in tight-fitting pants, it may be a bit uncomfortable. There are mini flashlights that are specifically intended to be attached to keychains. Before putting a keychain flashlight in one's pants, refer to the section above about press button switches.
Because of their smaller size, compact flashlights may be easier to lose than bigger ones. They can also fall down in small crevices in your truck. Unless you have a designated place in your truck where you always store your unit without fail, you need to take this matter of storage into account.
Money saving tip: Do not let the physical size of a mini flashlight fool you. Depending on the model, it can put out as much or more light than a standard flashlight.
Better-made mini flashlights may be more expensive but may also have a lifetime warranty. Take into account the warranty when evaluating the difference between price and quality.
For example, how would you evaluate the difference between a $3.95 compact flashlight that has no warranty and a $34.95 mini flashlight that is waterproof and has a lifetime warranty? How many non-warrantied units can you buy for the cost of a more expensive one?
How prone are you to losing small things? If this is a problem for you, you might want to stick with a larger flashlight.
If a lifetime warranty is offered with your unit, make sure that you register it. That way, if you ever need to use your warranty, you can.
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