Okay, so you’ve decided to finally buy yourself a new flashlight. You’re aware you have a lot of choices to narrow down. The first BIG choice is about batteries. This is what molds your first question; is a lithium flashlight better than an alkaline flashlight? Well, since this is right up my alley…let me try to help you as much as I can.
The Upside of Lithium
In general, if size (more specifically length) matters to you, then you have way more control over this with a lithium-based light. You can choose one that’s as small as 3″ long, or one that measures over 6″.
Again, in general, the lights you see with the higher lumen counts, will most likely take lithium batteries. This is because of the higher voltage of the lithium cells. These days, you can easily choose among lights that put out as much as 1000 lumens of light.
Manufacturers tend to put some of their latest bells and whistles into their lithium-based lights. These are often where you’ll find such conveniences as illuminated switches and the always popular variable control ring.
- Longer run-time
Nobody can deny that lithium batteries pack a punch of power. Therefore, lithium-based lights always have longer run-times.
The Downside of Lithium
- Those dreaded lithium batteries
No, I’m not suddenly doing a “one-eighty” on what I’ve already pointed out as being an advantage. But, as far as the average consumer is concerned…if there ARE any downsides to a lithium-based light, it would have to be the batteries themselves!
- Keeping those suckers charged
Yes, with a lithium flashlight, you ARE REQUIRED to buy a battery charger specifically designed to charge LITHIUM BATTERIES.
Another possible deterrent to the average consumer, is that lithium batteries are not widely available in stores. As anyone, and I mean anyone, will tell you who owns one or more lithium-based flashlights, you’d be a fool to not purchase your batteries online. Besides, the ONLY lithium batteries you can buy in a store are disposable. Rechargeable lithium cells ARE ONLY SOLD ONLINE! Some consumers have been fooled by Energizer AA-size two packs that say “Ultimate Lithium” on them. These lithium’s are disposable; and not made to be recharged.
The Upside of Alkaline
- Battery availability
This is the ONLY major advantage of an alkaline-based flashlight. Virtually everyone in the industrialized world is aware that alkaline batteries are sold just about everywhere.
- Rechargeable also available
Fortunately, those who prefer to own an alkaline flashlight can also be apart of the rechargeable battery explosion. AA and AAA size Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries are available in multi-packs at large retail outlets. Sometimes, they’re sold with a charger as well.
The Downside of Alkaline
- Reverse the above
You can for the most part take all the advantages of lithium cells from above, and reverse them. This includes light brightness and battery run-time.
Alkaline-based lights that run off of a single battery tend to be about 4″ long. The downside to that, is that a small one-cell AA light won’t be very bright. To achieve even the moderate brightness of a lithium light, you’ll need a TWO cell AA alkaline light. Size-wise, these are anywhere from 6.5 to 7+ inches long.
So is a lithium flashlight BETTER than an alkaline flashlight? That’s for YOU to answer based upon what you’ve read in this article.
Personally, I recommend lithium. I like having a brighter flashlight with longer run-times, and there’s a larger variety of lights to choose from.
If you need to know more about the difference in the batteries themselves, then please visit the batteries section of Lightsngear.
If you’re ready to go flashlight shopping, you can compare models and prices HERE.
Questions/comments? I’m here to address anything you might need to know.