Unlike most of the "Top X flashlights" lists you find on Google, we actually owned and reviewed hundreds of flashlights on our team. Many of those lists are written by people who know nothing about flashlights! In fact, many of these people do not even own any flashlight. How we can tell? They show utterly ridiculous flashlights that should never ever be recommended. I'll do my absolute best to help you with real knowledge. I have been active on flashlight forums since 2009.. (check out our ‘About Page’) and have owned well over 100 flashlights in that time. Please ignore my non-native English, because I'm actually Dutch.. ; --)
Best 18650 UV flashlight
Convoy S2+ UV
Convoy (China) produces one of the most affordable, high quality, flashlights
With LG 365UV filter + zwb2 filter
- Available in 3 different UV LED types
- Nichia UV365 without filter
- LG 365 UV 365nm with ZWB2 filter
- LG 365nm LEUVA33W70RL00 LED with filter
- Runs on a single 18650 (long runtime)
- UV LEDs run only on Low Power (long runtime)
The Convoy S2+ is probably the prime example of great bang-for-your-buck flashlights. Convoy is owned by Simon, who is a vivid flashaholic himself. The amount LED emitter options that are available for the S2+ are endless. From low poer, to high power, from warm light to cool light, from blueish to redish tint. This might probably be the #1 flashlight type with the most LED and power options.
The S2+ UV is available in 3 options. I would recommend buying it directly from Simon at Aliexpress in order to be sure what version you're getting. The Convoy S2+ UV are avaialble at many stores, but it's not sure whether they are counterfeits or not.
The S2+ UV is available between $20-$30 with or without a ZWB2 filter.
Want to get a ZWB2 filter separately? Get it here at Aliexpress: https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/32649282235.html
Nitecore UV GEM
Nitecore produced a few UV flashlights in the new GEM series
- Available in 2 versions
- Nitecore GEM10UV = 10mm
- Nitecore GEM8UV = 8mm
- Both are 3000mW Turbo and 5mW Ultralow
- Both are 365nm
- Specificially designed to test gemstones
Nitecore is a large flashlight manufacturer that produces thousands of flashlights each year. Their new GEM series are specifically made for inspecting Gemstones. They run off a single 18650 Li-ion battery, as well as 2*CR123 / RCR123 (rechargeable) batteries. They contain a rotary switch for infinitely variable output.
They can be used for amber and diamond identifaction, authenticity authentication, fluorescer examination and more.
Check out more info: https://flashlight.nitecore.com/product/gem10uv
UV flashlight parts
P60 UV drop in
P60 type flashlights were extremely popular 5-10 years ago, but still have a few useful characteristics. One of the greatest benefits is the extremely easy replacement of the P60 Drop in. Unscrew the head, take out the existing P60 drop in and replace it with the other one.
Fortunately there are still some (smaller) P60 makers who produce P60 UV drop ins.
Unfortunately, there aren't many trustable options anymore.
The Sportac P60 365nm UV used to be very popular, but isn't available at most places any longer.
Sportac P60 UV
LED brand: unknown
UV LEDs mounted on LED boards
If you are sure you know how to mod flashlights, this might be one of the cheapest options. Simply, order a MCPCB board and add it to your favorite flashlights! Simple
Luminus SST-10 UV 365nm
3W LG UV 365nm
5W LG UV 365nm
How to test UV flashlights?
Generally speaking, measuring the output on UV LEDs can be very difficult. Lux meters don't do a proper job because they can't 'measure' UV light correctly. UV lights are in the wavelength between 310-400nm. The lower the number the less visible. So the output is hard to measure.
Here is a nice piece of content written by Djozz, that shows a technique on how to measure the output of UV flashlights. He compares some the 'better' UV LEDs used in flashlights. He tested 4 LEDs, namely a Nichia 276 A U365, LiteOn 3535 365nm, Luminus SST-10 365nm and a Nichia 233B 365nm LED.
Here is another thread with 4 more tests: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/59304
What are currently the best UV LEDs for flashlights?
There are a few UV LEDs that are high quality and work very well for their purpose. The Nichia's and LG's are high quality and affordable. Nichia NCSU276A U365, 5MM LEDs are not really recommended unless using for fun. Since UV LED emitters are very sensitive to heat, you better buy a thoroughly tested flashlight from a trustworthy seller, and not from eBay. Unless, of course, you know the seller and flashlight.
The closer the UV comes to 400nm, the more visible the light becomes.
For most applications, like checking watermarks on bills, you need a high quality LED around 365nm. And the best is to add a ZWB2 filter to take out all visible light!
See the example below for the difference of workings between high quality and low quality UV LEDs.
Image source: wikipedia
Are UV flashlights dangerous?
Just like with any other flashlight, don't point it to your, or someone else's eyes. KISS