Torches, or flashlights, are small lamps that are most commonly powered by batteries or battery packs. They provide lighting for a range of applications such as small areas where the light beam reaches into smaller darker space and are ideal for maintenance as well as for outdoor activities, emergency services and general-purpose illumination in case of power failure.
How does a torch work?
A traditional torch is battery powered and is operated by a simple 'on/off' switch to turn the light on or off. Many modern torches also include a flash or SOS feature, allowing the user to engage SOS when in distress without the need to repeatedly switch the torch on and off in sequence.
Torches have two main ways of illumination:
- An incandescent bulb with a tungsten filament - the older, more traditional torch or flashlight with a softer amber glow.
- A solid-state bulb that is normally a light-emitting diode (LED) - the newer bulb that is used in torches that emits a bright light and can come in varying colours.
What are the key features of a torch?
- Torches have different beam distances, run time and light output so it is important to select a torch based on the application it is required for.
- The light output of a torch is measured in lumens (lm); the higher the lumen rating, the brighter the light is that the torch emits.
- Some torches are impact-resistant and water resistance to ensure they are suitable for using outdoors in extreme elements.
- Size, weight and functionality are also important to ensure that it meets the requirements of the user.
What different types of torches are available?
There are many different types of torches available, each of them useful and beneficial depending on the application they are required for:
- Handheld torches - the most common type of torch because it is versatile enough to be used across most applications. They can range from being used as a general-purpose household torch or a rugged torch for use in harsh environments.
- Penlights or pen torches - easily carried around in the user's pocket and often feature a pocket clip. Sometimes limited in their brightness but they are ideal for when only a small area needs illumination for closer inspection.
- Compact torches - a compact torch, often under 100mm in length, is a torch suitable for everyday use. Suitable to be carried by the user in a bag or pocket but still boasting a powerful light output for the user.