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When you’re working on a vehicle, whether it’s in a garage, a shop or your front yard, you must illuminate your workspace well.
Mechanic flashlights come in a vast array of colors, shapes, and sizes. They each have their pros and cons, but which one is the best?
To make it more convenient for you to choose one, we’ve pared the list down to nine of the best.
If you’re in a rush because you’ve got a mechanical problem that you need to solve, our top choice is the Streamlight Stinger DS LED.
Our choices of the best mechanic flashlights include:
- Streamlight Stinger DS LED
- Streamlight Stylus Pro USB Rechargeable Penlight with Holster
- Coast G20 Inspection Beam Penlight
- Infray LED Pen Light Flashlight
- ThorFire Mini Flashlight
- Nextorch Flashlight
- TerraLUX InfiniStar LED Penlight
- LIGHTFE Black Light UV Flashlight
So what should you be looking for if you need a mechanic’s flashlight?
Features to Look For When Choosing Your Mechanic Flashlight
You can get a lot of bang for your buck when buying a flashlight nowadays. But what are the most important features for a mechanic?
You will not get much of an option nowadays in the bulb. The most popular and prolific are LEDs because they’re so energy efficient. The run time, brightness, and impact resistance of these bulbs also puts them head and shoulders above anything else.
You’ve typically got a choice of three types of beam. If you can get a flashlight that offers all three then so much the better. The three alternatives are:
- Fixed or flood beam: This comes in a single beamwidth. It’s most useful for everyday applications.
- Focused or spot beam: This beam provides long-distance illumination and pierces the darkness.
- Adjustable beam: This is a more versatile beam that you can adjust from focused to wide. It may also come with other settings to vary the beam in between the extremes.
This can have a big impact on the flashlight you choose. Disposable batteries have been popular for many years, but we’re all becoming more environmentally conscious and investing in rechargeable batteries more than ever before.
You can replenish most using a USB cable connected to a laptop or even a solar panel. Others will need a specific charger.
Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!
Many modern flashlights come with additional features such as SOS and strobe function. These can be especially useful if you’re using your flashlight at night or in an emergency.
The brighter the mode, the quicker it’ll drain your battery and will, therefore, have a much lower runtime than lower settings.
Additional features to look for include programmable modes and memory features that remember the setting used last.
Push buttons and slide switches are great because they allow you to operate the flashlight using one finger. This is a useful feature if you’ve got greasy or oily hands.
There are also those with a rotating bezel that can double up as a switch.
Another feature to look for is a safety lock. There’s nothing more annoying than a pocket light that keeps getting switched on accidentally.
Aluminum alloys have become the material of choice for this type of flashlight. Ideally, you want one with a thick aluminum body because this provides a high level of durability.
Also, look for anti-slip surfaces and materials to stop the flashlight rolling around or slipping out of your grip.
Lumens are a measurement of the amount of light that’s visible to the human eye. The higher the lumen, the brighter the light.
Our Lumens, Lux, and Candela article is a great resource to learn more about Lumens and light output
There are some additional features worth looking for if you will use your flashlight in the workplace.
- A flexible light head (90 degrees): Excellent for sticking in your pocket to leave your hands free for working.
- Magnetic bottom: If you’re working under the hood of a car or a dark area with a handy magnetic surface, this feature allows you to attach the flashlight and illuminate your workspace.
- Removable or reversible clip: Using the clip allows you to attach the flashlight to a hard-hat or epaulet and have your hands free.
Knowing where to start can be a challenge when looking for an ideal mechanic’s flashlight. Different LEDs, lumens, a range of build materials, battery types, and extra features make choosing the best one challenging. Look no further! Here’s our rundown of top picks.
This high lumen rechargeable flashlight from Streamlight packs a powerful 640 lumens that provide a beam distance of almost 900 feet.
There are three lighting modes, so you can adjust the beam for your needs by using the head-mounted switch or via the tail cap; both methods work independently.
Made from aluminum, polycarbonate and rubber, Amazon says the weight of this 6.75-inch flashlight is a hefty 2.2 pounds. That seemed way too high for us, so we checked the manufacturer’s site, which said it was 12.8 ounces, which sounds much more accurate.
The product uses two NiMH, or a supplied, non-standard rechargeable lithium battery.
On a single charge, you get up to five hours of light using the low setting.
The shock-proof LED has a 50,000 hour lifetime.
The flashlight is comfortable to hold in your hand, thanks to the non-slip comfort grip made from rubber. It will resist a 3-foot impact and is IPX4 water-resistant. With its anti-roll rubber ring, you don’t have to stress about it rolling about.
- 50,000 hour lifetime.
- Concentrated beam for optimum illumination.
- Multiple recharging.
- Water and impact resistant.
- Piggyback charger.
- Small beam hotspot.
- Poor battery life
This is another great mechanic flashlight from Streamlight. This one differs slightly from our #1 choice in that you can recharge the supplied lithium-ion battery in situ via a USB.
It’s constructed from anodized aluminum, a material commonly used for aircraft, which makes it a light, 1.92 ounces, and durable flashlight.
The white LED light has just two modes, high and low, and when running on the 250 Lumen high beam, it lasts for one and a half hours.
At 3.9 inches, this flashlight is a snug fit in the hand. It has a water resistance rating of IPX4, and it can resist a 3-foot impact.
- Rechargeable using a USB.
- Durable construction.
- Switch wears out quickly.
If you like to keep a flashlight handy in your pocket, this Coast G20 Inspection Beam Penlight penlight fits the bill.
At 2.24 ounces and 5.7 inches, you can tuck it away in a pocket, yet it’s still easily accessible thanks to the pocket clip.
You can switch it on and off using one fingertip because of the rear-switch system.
The main feature of this flashlight is the inspection beam, and it comes in particularly handy when you need to do some close-up work or shed some extra light on hard-to-reach places.
Although being a penlight, it only outputs paltry 9-lumens, this is still enough to illuminate areas from as far away as 30 feet.
The product is water resistance rated at IPX4, and the 2.29-ounce aluminum body will stand a drop from 3 feet. Two AAA batteries supply power.
A great bonus with this penlight is that it comes with a lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and materials.
- Compact and powerful.
- Provides a consistent light source.
- Handy pocket clip so it won’t get lost.
- Budget-friendly price.
- Poor construction of the on/off button.
- 9-lumens output may not be enough for some
At a featherweight 0.8 ounces, this LED flashlight from Infray produces an impressive 220 lumens. The 2 x AA batteries provide over 7 hours of constant, bright light, which is more than enough for most types of work.
The lifespan of the LED is 80,000 hours, and the beam is adjustable depending on your needs. At its maximum output, the beam is strong enough to illuminate the length of two basketball fields.
If you want to preserve the life of the batteries, there are two lower mode settings, and you can also change the beam from wide to narrow.
When you need to zoom in on more intricate details, a simple twist of the top section of the flashlight will accommodate.
This is another pocket-friendly flashlight that includes a useful clip for securing it or attaching it to a keychain. It’s a little under 6 inches long, so it should fit most pockets.
Infray uses anodized aircraft aluminum in its construction, so it will not corrode or get scratched. The polycarbonate lens is also scratch-resistant.
With a waterproof rating of IPX4, you don’t have to worry about it getting wet or using it in the rain.
- Remarkable output over an equally impressive distance.
- Three different settings.
- Fourteen hours of consistent light.
- Rust and scratch-resistant construction.
- Battery life is disappointing.
With a name like Thor, you’d expect this flashlight to pack a punch, and, for its tiny 3.7-inch size, it won’t disappoint. However, there have been a few negative reports of problems with the different light functions.
There are five different light modes, two of which are strobe and moonlight.
If you use the highest setting, you get 200 lumens, while the strobe mode provides 500. You do, however, have to power the flashlight with the supplied 14500 rechargeable battery, rather than the optional 1 x AA, to achieve this level of illumination.
One useful feature is the removable and reversible clip. It means you can attach it to a cap or hat of your choice and use it hands-free. This is a fantastic option when you’re working underneath the bonnet or on the underside of a car.
This Aluminum flashlight weighs 1.28 ounces and has an IP rating of 65, which means it’s certified secure against dust, foreign bodies and water jets.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Powerful beam with five different modes.
- Removable and reversible clip.
- Problems with light mode functions.
With this stylish Nextorch flashlight, you’ve got the choice of four different light modes. The highest mode will give you 180-lumens. There’s also a memory function that remembers the mode you were in before you switched the torch off.
It’s a lightweight, anodized aluminum, 5-inch construction that weighs 4 ounces. It’s comfortable to carry around in your pocket, and it delivers 38-hours of runtime on two AAA batteries
The 180 lumens is more than enough for most applications, and the low price won’t break the bank.
- Four different light modes.
- A memory function that remembers the last light setting.
- Slim and lightweight.
- Long-lasting LED.
- Poor switch construction.
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This powerful (1000 lumens), lightweight (5.3 ounces) and compact (5 inches) mechanic’s flashlight from Nitecore has lots of useful features.
The diamond-shaped knurling on the aluminum tubular body of the torch allows you to get a good grip.
In accordance with IPX-8, the flashlight is waterproof up to a depth of six feet.
There is an integrated multi-functional indicator light that lets you know when the power level is dropping.
If you need illumination in an emergency, there are strobe, SOS and location light beacon functions. This is alongside four different beam modes that you can use, depending on the situation.
For replenishing the supplied18650 rechargeable battery, you can use the integrated micro-USB charging function. This means you can safely charge the torch using a car, wall adapter or a solar panel.
- Powerful output with seven different modes.
- Focus beam that illuminates up to 253 yards.
- Rechargeable battery and USB port.
- Single charge lasts up to 520 hours.
- Concerns about the accuracy of the advertised lumens.
Penlights are popular for automotive technicians because of their power, weight, and portability. This one from TerraLUX is no different. At 6.4 inches long and weighing 5.3 ounces, this Aluminum and rubber constructed offering fits neatly into a pocket or a small toolkit.
It has the bonus of being rechargeable. Using a Micro-USB cord, you can charge the lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack up to 400 hundred times.
Another feature is the penlight’s LED, which is High CRI. this type of LED enhances any colors it shines on, which is useful if you’re working in dim light and with several colored wires.
The run time is up to 1.5 hours if you keep the beam on the high, 275-lumen output, but you can expect it to last a little longer if you choose the lower setting.
- Reversible clip.
- USB recharging.
- High CRi LED for color enhancement.
- Charging status LEDs for monitoring the charging process.
- Longer runtime would be better.
This UV flashlight features on the list because of its UV function, although this limits its application, for the mechanic, it’s UV LED, 3 watts output, is perfect for detecting auto fluid leaks.
The construction is sturdy. The 4-inch, high strength, aerospace aluminum alloy case, has an anodized surface to protect against abrasions and scrapes. This material also means that it’s light, at 2.82 ounces, and strong enough to withstand a 4.5-foot drop.
It has a rating of IPX8, meaning it is waterproof to a depth of 6 feet for 2 hours.
One AA battery powers this UV device, and the runtime is up to 3 hours, depending on the quality of the battery.
Contained within this UV flashlight is an intelligent chip circuit that helps to prevent overheating and regulates the output.
- Top-quality UV light source.
- Provides pure light color.
- UV flashlight only.
A Mechanic Flashlight That Fits The Bill
When choosing a mechanic flashlight, you first have to consider when you will use it. Then you can select the right features for the job. While lumens are the most important feature, you also have to consider materials, battery type and beam.
Our top selection, the Streamlight Stinger, has all the essential features and more. It’s rechargeable, has three output modes and dual switch technology.
In the highest mode, it lasts for a little over an hour, which is more than enough for most jobs.
The build quality is excellent with a scratch-resistant coated lens and aluminum exterior. It’s also shock-proof and water-resistant.
The UV flashlight from LIGHTFE had to feature last on the list because, while it may be a nice UV light, the lack of a white light makes its usefulness somewhat limited.