How Bright Is Your Flashlight?


When you’re buying a flashlight, like in our Pelican or Streamlight lines or Petzl headlamps, you sometimes want to know how bright it is.  Often the terms used to describe this can be confusing, so here it is–down and dirty:

Candlepower is obvious–it’s how bright a candle is (“radiance”) right next to the candle.  Candela is an alternate term for this.

If you measured how bright the light was a foot away from the candle, you’d have a Foot-Candela. (So far, no problemo, right?)

The amount of light reflected off a one-foot area a foot away from a candle is a LUMEN. This is “illuminance” as opposed to “radiance,” as it is basically how much you’re lighting something up.

The guys or gals with the pocket protectors have made it easy for you–you can find out how much candlepower is needed for a certain amount of lumens by dividing the lumens by 12.57 (one candlepower yields 12.57 lumens–but you knew that, didn’t you?).  This works if it’s a 360 degree light source, but if  it’s a very small light, where the beam is really focused, the candlepower will yield a much smaller amount of lumens.

We also carry LED lights which last longer, are safer for the environment and are much brighter than traditional bulbs.

That’s probably about all you need to know to decipher most light specs on