Sunday, December 2, 2012
I'm preparing a detailed article on lamps, lights and flashlights as part of my Emergency Preparations series (see the list of articles in the sidebar). However, there's a deal on right now that's so good I can't wait to finish that article to tell you about it. (For the record, no, I'm not making a cent out of doing so, or being paid any referral fee.)
Something everyone needs for emergency situations is a powerful flashlight - the sort of thing that can throw a beam long distances for navigation at night, or light up a room or a property while searching it for intruders. Low-power lights just won't cut it for such applications. High-power 'tactical' flashlights are excellent for this purpose, but relatively costly; and most of them use specialized batteries such as CR123A lithium cells, which are also expensive and not freely available over-the-counter at most supermarkets or corner stores. Flashlights using standard consumer battery sizes are frequently less powerful, and/or have a shorter life until the batteries must be replaced.
That's why I was delighted to find this very powerful LED flashlight at Home Depot last week. It uses three standard 'C' cells, which are available almost everywhere. Home Depot's Web site lists it as having 500 lumens light output, but its packaging claims 550. It's available for the ridiculously low price of $19.98 - almost four times less than the lowest-cost 'tactical' flashlight of similar power I've been able to find online. Competing flashlights with similar features and light output at other vendors appear to be at least twice as expensive.
At first I feared this low-cost flashlight would prove to be a disappointment - it might be flimsy, breaking easily, or throw a poorly-focused beam. I bought one to test it, and found that my fears were groundless. It's made of aluminum, not plastic, which I prefer; and it throws its beam a very long way. It's more of a flood than a spot, but I can easily see 200 yards or more with it, including being able to read street name signs through binoculars three blocks away.
I was so impressed with this flashlight that I went back to my local branch of Home Depot today and bought every one they had in stock. Some will be for Miss D. and myself, to go into our emergency kits. Others will be Christmas presents for friends. I think this is an extraordinarily good deal. I've no idea how long these flashlights will be available, or whether Home Depot will import any more once these are gone; so I strongly suggest that if you need a good high-output flashlight and are on a tight budget, get to your local branch before everyone else does, and buy one or two of these for yourself and your loved ones. Based on my experience with them so far, they're worth every penny, and then some.