Shedding some light on things

In the past, there was only one type of flashlight available: the standard battery-operated incandescent flashlight. Today, however, there is a dizzying array of flashlights on the market, showcasing advanced lighting technology and incorporating innovative and useful features that consumers love.

LED Flashlights

LED bulbs put out a very bright, focused, crystal-clear light from a surprisingly small source. Each LED bulb is about the size of a pea, but you won't believe the incredible light that emanates from it! Many LED flashlights on the market actually incorporate dozens of these tiny bright bulbs for impressive light quality. As an added bonus, LEDs use less electricity than conventional bulbs, so your flashlight's batteries will last longer, saving you money and saving the planet, as well.

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For a simple, high-quality LED lights, check out the Stylus and MicroStream lines of Streamlight flashlights. These tiny, pen-sized devices fit in your pocket or purse and are perfect for helping you illuminate the keyholes of your car or front door. You may also want to keep one in your tool kit for working in dark or poorly lit spaces.

For an LED light with a bit more punch, choose the Defender line of Surefire flashlights, which are constructed of rugged aerospace materials.

Rechargeable Flashlights

Another type of new technology is used in rechargeable flashlights. These handy and economical lights use batteries or a battery pack that can be recharged over and over again using cheap electricity from a wall socket. Some rechargeable flashlights use removable batteries that can be bought in bulk and exchanged when needed, while others use a battery pack or plug right into the wall.

Among the most notable rechargeable brands are Maglite flashlights, of which the heavy-duty RX1090 model is particularly popular.

Solar and Motion Powered Flashlights

For times when electricity isn't available, check out solar or motion powered flashlights, which recharge using the solar or kinetic energy, respectively. Solar flashlights have a panel designed to absorb and store the sun's heat, converting it to energy to run the flashlight after dark. You don't need a bright day to charge these flashlights to full capacity, either — even low ambient light should be sufficient if you leave the flashlight in it long enough.

Motion powered flashlights use the energy created by motion to charge the batteries — when the flashlight gets dim, just shake it up and down a few times to recharge it. No electricity is required, so these flashlights are great for camping or power outages, and unlike traditional rechargeable flashlights, they can be recharged a virtually limitless number of times. Although relatively new to the market, motion powered flashlights have already gained popularity through the Forever flashlights brand.