What does LUMEN mean?
In a nutshell this is a measurement for the amount of visible light that a flashlight kicks out. But remember that a lower number focussed into a smaller spot will actually light things up more than a high Lumen light with a massive spread. A candle gives off around 12 Lumen, but in a 360 degree arc, so it’s bright, but very unfocussed.

  • 12 Lumen – A Candle
  • 300 Lumen – A decent LED camping lantern
  • 800 Lumen – A gas lantern
  • 1000 Lumen – A standard car low-beam
  • 1300 Lumen – A 100w house lightbulb
  • 1500 Lumen – A high intensity car headlight

What are the other ways to measure light?

Manufacturers can also quote in Foot-Candles, Candlepower and LUX. We’ll try to convert to LUMEN where possible.

What is a CREE LED?

Cree is a manufacturer of LEDs (electronic light sources) which sell their “bulbs” to torch manufacturers. They have a reputation for being very bright.

Which is brighter, a bulb or an LED?

Impossible question to answer, but bear one thing in mind – LEDs (especially the round ones) are very directional. If you look straight on at them, they can be intensely bright, but if you change the angle too much you lose a lot of this brightness. A torch’s diffractor (the shape of the silvery bit around the bulb) can have a bigger effect than the brightness of the bulb.

Which light is better to read by?

Some recent research suggests that blue light emitted by LEDs can lead to eye damage in some people. More here. Personally, I find that the yellowish light from a bulbed lamp is easier to read by, but a white light from an LED is easier to ‘see’ by.

Why do LED headtorches have a red light?

Because red light won’t ruin your night-vision. So, if you need to read a map or text at night, use red light and you’ll still be able to see in the dark afterwards. It’s also so you look scarier to small children.