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Top 5 Best Solar Flashlights for 2020

There has been a significant advancement in solar technology since it first debuted in the 1960s. Initially, solar photovoltaics had been regarded as a thing of the future. But today, they have spearheaded technological breakthroughs, resulting in an array of solar-powered devices that include backpacks, lanterns, and flashlights.

Overall The Best Solar Flashlight

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  • Doubles as a battery bank
  • Equipped with a variety of modes to save on energy
  • Comes with car safety tools like a seat belt cutter
  • Includes a compass
  • Sturdy, water-resistant build

Our point of focus today is on solar-driven flashlights. We’ve highlighted the benefits they offer over conventional models and recommended the best solar flashlights on the market.

Why You Should Have A Solar Flashlight

The greatest benefit of using a solar flashlight is the fact that it relies exclusively on sunlight as a source of energy. There are a couple of models that use hybrid mechanisms, meaning they use a combination of solar and chemical energy. But even then, these have minimal effect on the environment.

To show just how eco-friendly solar flashlights are, it helps to explain how the latter work. Conventional flashlights are powered by rechargeable or disposable batteries. The production of these batteries involves the use of chemicals such as cadmium, lead, nickel, mercury, lithium, and electrolytes. The worst bit is that these batteries are difficult to dispose of safely.

If your flashlight uses disposable batteries, then it’s likely that you dispose of them along with other household trash. Ultimately, the batteries end up in landfills. As the casing of the battery begins to corrode, the chemicals used in its production leach into the soil, and find their way into water bodies.

Worse even is the risk that lithium batteries can react in a volatile way when they’re exposed to the environment. They have the potential to cause landfill fires.

If you invest in solar flashlights, you don’t have to worry about any of these risks that arise from using battery-powered flashlights.

Plus, you have a ready source of energy. Whenever there’s a power outage, all you need to do is find your solar flashlight and switch it on. No need to start purchasing disposable batteries or searching for a means to recharge your rechargeable flashlight.

1. Multifunctional Solar Flashlight

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This solar flashlight is an excellent tool to invest in. What makes this such an incredible flashlight is the fact that it’s multipurpose.

On the surface, it may seem like simply a flashlight, but it’s so much more. It doubles up as a seat belt cutter and a safety hammer. It’s also equipped with a compass on the rear to direct you whenever you’re lost.

However, the manufacturer recommends using the compass feature on its own, exclusive of its flashlight capability. The reason for this is that the flashlight has a magnet, which can affect the accuracy of the compass.

On the plus side, the magnet allows for hands-free operation. It gives you the freedom to attach it to any metallic surface; hence use freely without holding it.

Speaking of the flashlight, this solar flashlight offers 7 working modes to suit different needs. The flashlight has different runtimes depending on the modes. With the headlight mode, it can work for 4 to 6 hours. Inside the white lamp, its runtime is 4 to 7 hours and inside red light, it works for 6 to 7 hours.

Pros

  • Doubles as a battery bank
  • Equipped with a variety of modes to save on energy
  • Comes with car safety tools like a seat belt cutter
  • Includes a compass
  • Sturdy, water-resistant build

Cons

  • Bulky design

2. MECO Solar Powered Rechargeable Flashlight

MECO Hand Cranking Solar Powered Rechargeable...

If you’re looking for a cheaper and more lightweight solar flashlight, you won’t go wrong with the MECO Hand Cracking Solar Powered Flashlight. Going for half the price of our top pick, this emergency flashlight is another option worth looking into.

It comes in an army green color, which is perfect for outdoor excursions where you want to conceal your presence- such as when you’re hunting. It’s equipped with a built-in rechargeable battery, which enables you to store solar power.

Its compact and lightweight design are other aspects of why we choose the MECO Flashlight. To be specific, it measures 4.92 x 1.77 x 0.91 inches and weighs about 3 ounces. These features make it incredibly easy to carry on long trips.

For ease of operation, the flashlight is fitted with a carabiner clip. This allows you to attach it to your backpack and take it out for camping, hiking or fishing. And to sweeten the deal, the manufacturer provides a reasonable warranty and money back guarantee. The refund policy applies to goods returned within 40 days while the warranty lasts for one and a half years.

Pros

  • Has a built-in rechargeable battery to store solar power
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Equipped with a carabiner clip for ease of carrying
  • Low-priced
  • Backed by 18-months warranty

Cons

  • Brightness level can be improved

3. ThorFire Solar Flashlight

ThorFire Solar Flashlight Hand Crank Solar...

If you’re looking for a solar flashlight that you can rely on specifically during emergency situations, ThorFire is your best bet.

One of the key highlights of this unit is its hand-cranking feature. Essentially, if you don’t have access to solar energy, you can simply hand crank it for a minute and it will yield an hour of light.

However, the conventional way of charging it is to expose its solar panels to direct sunlight. An hour of such exposure provides 120 minutes of bright light or 140 minutes of flashing.

Another noteworthy feature of this solar flashlight is its robust design. Featuring IPX6 waterproof rating, this gadget can submerse to a depth of 45 feet. Its durability makes it an excellent addition to your camping, hiking, or fishing gear.

ThorFire gives you 3 modes to pick from- 1 LED mode, 3 LEDs mode, and SOS Flash mode. The 1 led is meant to provide dim lighting while the 3 LEDs is designed to provide bright lighting. The SOS setting is reserved for emergency situations. To navigate between these modes, all you need to do is click the power button several times to access each configuration. Overall, you can rely on this gadget to cast out a decent amount of light.

According to the manufacturer, the flashlight has a runtime of 4 hours. This is achieved by exposing it to direct sunlight for at least 2 hours or hand cranking it for a continuous 4 to 5 minutes.

Pros

  • Provides bright illumination
  • Sports a waterproof design
  • Backed by 40-day money-back guarantee and 1 ½ year-warranty

Cons

  • It’s not ergonomically designed, which makes it difficult to hold for a long time

4. Simpeak Hand Crank Solar Powered Flashlight

Simpeak [ 2-Pack] Hand Crank Solar Powered...

It is not often that you’ll come across solar-powered flashlights in different colors. But Simpeak has gone a notch higher and provided a solar flashlight in two shades: black and army green.

The green-colored unit is handy if you’re carrying the flashlight on a hunting trip. This hue blends nicely in the forestry environment; thus, preventing you from standing out which could, in turn, tip-off prey.

Another thing you’ll love about its design is that it’s ergonomic. It’s comfortable and secure to hold in your hand for an extended period without experiencing fatigue. It’s equipped with a carabiner, which you can use to attach to your backpack or camping outfit for convenient carrying.

Aesthetics aside, this Simpeak Flashlight is a simple and user-friendly device. It can be charged either through hand cranking or by exposing it to sunlight. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery, which conveniently stores power up to that time when it’s needed.

For the price, you’ll get two such solar-powered flashlights, a user manual and a 2-year warranty. This way, you can use one for indoor applications and the other can be used outdoors.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money; comes with 2 solar flashlights for the price of one
  • Backed by a 2-year warranty
  • Includes a user manual
  • Ergonomic and rugged design for durability

Cons

  • Not the brightest of the bunch

5. Hybridlight Journey Solar/Rechargeable Flashlight

Hybridlight Journey - Solar / Rechargeable...

If you love traveling, the Hybridlight Journey Flashlight will make an excellent addition to your gear. Whether you’re walking from the train station late at night or looking for an item buried deep in your camping backpack, this flashlight provides ample brightness for illumination.

The flashlight is incredibly lightweight, tipping the scales at 4.5 ounces. It measures 6 inches long and has a diameter of 1.75 inches, meaning it’s not too bulky that it can’t fit in your backpack. Also, it has a polycarbonate shell that feels smooth to touch but is not slippery that it will slide from your hands.

Hybrid light Journey is equipped with an LED bulb that casts out a 160-lumen bulb. It also has a decent runtime. When configured to a high setting, it can operate for up to 7 hours without being recharged. In the low beam setting, you can get thrice the runtime; at least 25 hours.

Speaking of recharging, you have two options at your disposal. The most obvious way is to expose its solar panel to direct sunlight. If it’s cloudy or rainy, and you need to use the flashlight urgently, you can charge it using incandescent lighting or by connecting to an outlet using the included USB cable.

The key highlight of this solar flashlight is the fact that it doubles up as a phone charger. Though used to store solar energy, the 2400 mAh lithium-ion battery can also be used to charge a cell phone and other small devices.

Pros

  • One of the brightest with 160 lumens
  • Available in different colors including yellow, black and realtree camo
  • Has a runtime of 25 hours when set in low beam
  • Can be used to charge mobile devices

Cons

  • It’s not entirely waterproof as advertised

Final Thoughts On These Solar Flashlights

Whether you’re experiencing a car breakdown or planning an outdoor excursion, a solar flashlight is a really important tool. Since it relies mostly on sunlight for energy, you don’t have to worry about the battery running low or a power outage making it impossible to charge your flashlight.

Simply, expose the tool to direct sunlight for a couple of hours and it will charge and provide illumination. One particular solar flashlight that we recommend investing in is the NPET T09 Solar Flashlight. A multipurpose tool, this flashlight doubles up as a safety hammer and seatbelt cutter. It has 7 different modes and provides a decent amount of light to illuminate a dark area.

What To Look for When Buying A Solar Flashlight

solar flashlight

Construction

Ideally, all solar-powered flashlights should have a sturdy build. But you should pay more attention to this aspect if you plan to use the device outdoors more often than indoors.

If you like going hunting or camping, there’s a high chance that your flashlight will be subjected to rough terrain. If it’s not hardy enough, it might not withstand these elements. To determine how durable your solar flashlight is, look for descriptive terms like “shock-resistant” and “waterproof”.

However, if you don’t plan to use the flashlight as much outdoors, a simple emergency back-up unit will suffice. It doesn’t have to be water-resistant but it should still be made of quality materials.

Size and Weight

There are significant differences between solar-powered flashlights when it comes to size and weight. The design of the flashlight you choose will depend on your intended purpose. If you’re planning to use it in an outdoor setting, you should opt for one that’s incredibly lightweight.

Keep in mind that flashlights weigh heavier when they’re equipped with additional elements like window shatter tools. Solar panels built into these devices also vary in size, which ultimately affects their overall weight.

For outdoor applications, consider buying a compact unit that can easily fit in your camping backpack. It also shouldn’t have too many features that add up to its weight.

Charging Methods

There are three main techniques of charging a solar flashlight. Top-rated units include a minimum of two of these charging methods:

Solar

Given that we’re referring to solar-driven gadgets, it comes as no surprise that solar power is a necessary charging method. With solar power, you’re able to charge your flashlight at no additional cost. The only challenges are that it’s a bit slow and exclusively relies on light- preferably direct sunlight.

USB/Power

If you’ve been shopping for a solar flashlight, you’ve probably noticed that some models also allow for USB charging. This offers convenience when you need a fast way to charge your flashlight. Plus, it provides a decent amount of charge, which can then be topped off as needed.

That said, this mostly applies to solar flashlights used indoors. This way, you have a ready source of power to charge your device.

Hand Crank

Another technique of charging your solar flashlight is hand cranking. Simply turn the crank for a couple of minutes and you’ll get at least an hour of charge. Often, users resort to hand cranking when they have no access to either electricity or the sun. The good thing is that this approach gives you an instant charge to work with, which can come in handy in emergency situations.

Run Time

Another vital aspect to consider the length of the run time of the solar flashlight. This is particularly important if you’ll be using it for long stretches at a time before recharging. Some quality flashlights can last for as long as 10 hours. Others can only work for a maximum of 3 hours. Generally, the standard run time for this type of flashlight is 4 hours.

If you want to get the most run-time, consider buying a flashlight with different modes- preferably the dim or low modes. This way, you can configure it to run on the low mode when you want to save on charge.

Recharge Time

The length of time that a solar-powered flashlight takes to recharge will differ from one model to the next. The recharge duration is also affected by other factors such as the technique of charging being employed (with USB connection being the fastest), size, and efficacy of the built-in solar panels.

The angle at which you place the flashlight when recharging using solar energy and the intensity of sunlight also plays a huge role in determining the recharge time.

Brightness

Most solar-driven flashlights will have one or more LED bulbs. Still, some produce greater brightness than others. If you’ll be using your flashlight in low-light conditions, consider choosing a unit that is bright enough for that application. It should be capable of producing 150 lumens or more. Also, it should be able to illuminate up to several hundred feet. The downside to this is that a bright flashlight will also drain the charge much faster.

Modes

It helps to choose a flashlight that has different modes. Most of them will offer a bright and dim mode. The benefit of this is that you can switch to the low-light setting whenever you want to save on battery. Some flashlights have up to 7 different modes that include slow or fast flashing lights for emergency situations as well as running lights.

Additional Accessories

Some solar flashlights are highly-versatile. They’re equipped with extra tools that make them handy for emergency situations. The most common tools included are:

  • A seatbelt cutter
  • A compass
  • A window shatter tool

Robert

Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API