Emergency flashlights for cars

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  1. Best emergency flashlights for at home or in your emergency kit
  2. Best emergency flashlights for in your car

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What to know beforehand

Before you jump right into our recommended flashlights, I’d like to take a minute and explain a few things.

Alkaline batteries are the worst batteries to keep in your car. Why? Because they leak. They don’t like the heat of your car, and just leak whenever they want. Instead of Alkaline batteries, look at lithium batteries, like CR123A batteries, or rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. In case you don’t want to use lithium batteries, check out the best rechargeable AA and AAA batteries: Panasonic Eneloop.

Some dos and don’ts about keeping a flashlight in your car:

Dos (and tips, recommendations)

  • Store the flashlight in the coolest place in your car (don’t put it in the glove compartment!)
  • Lithium batteries (CR123A, Lithium-Ion etc) are better to use than Alkaline
  • If you choose rechargeable AA or AAA batteries, buy the standard white Panasonic Eneloop batteries since they can keep their charge the longest from all NiMH batteries
  • Store batteries outside the flashlight, if you can
  • Get a USB car charger, so you can charge the flashlight on the road, or anywhere with a USB connector if the car breaks down
  • Try to discharge and recharge batteries in your emergency kit at least 1 time a year (it also helps to spot any bad batteries)
  • Get a cheap diffusor so you can use the flashlight as a lightbulb (diffuser spread the light into a wide area) which is great for at night, or a red/orange cone as a warning signal
  • Get a flashlight with long runtimes (the lowest modes should be below 5 lumens to last multiple nights on 1 battery)
  • If you have to choose between AA or AAA, choose a flashlight running of AA batteries instead of AAA batteries because they are only slightly larger but have 3 times the capacity.
  • When your AA flashlight stops working with a rechargeable AA battery (like an Eneloop) try using an Alkaline battery at the lowest mode, because they can provide energy at lower voltage than rechargeable NiMH batteries…again, just as a backup
  • Get a flashlight with a magnet in the tailcap, so you can stick it to metal, like the hood or the body of the car
  • Get a flashlight with a beacon mode. This mode will blink once every few seconds and lasts long enough for a rescuer to locate your position if you’re far away
  • Get a colored flashlight so you can easily find it in your car, or outside. Don’t get one with camouflage colors
  • If you have some space left, include a headlamp in your emergency kit as well
  • Keep in mind: two is one, and one is none

Dont’s

  • Never, ever, keep a bunch Alkaline batteries in your car
  • Don’t keep Alkaline batteries stored inside a flashlight, because they can, and probably will, leak
  • Don’t store batteries in flashlights with an electronic switch (electronic switches drain the battery)

Useful emergency flashlights for in your car

Sofirn BLF LT1 lantern

Specification:Highlights:
Max output5 lumens -570 lumens
FeaturesRechargeable, 360-degrees lantern, portable
Battery configuration1-4*18650

Having a lantern is nice when you are with a couple of people in 1 area. The Sofirn LT1 is an LED lantern with a USB-C charger running on 18650 type batteries.

One of the most important things when it comes to emergency flashlights is of course runtime. The worst thing that can happen to a flashlight in an emergency situation is running out of battery. Having a built-in USB-C charger, you can always charge up the batteries with any USB power adapter, from your laptop, car, or solar panel.

On top of that, you don’t really have to use 4*18650 batteries, because they are used in parallel. You can also use 1, 2, or even just 3 batteries. Not just great for your camping trip, but also when something happens and you have to stay somewhere put for multiple days.

Armytek Wizard C2 PRO

Specification:Highlights:
Max output0.03 lumens – 2000 lumens
FeaturesUSB rechargeable, head strap, magnetic tailcap, bicycle attachment
Battery configuration1*18650 (rechargeable)

The reason why I choose the Wizard C2 PRO is the following:

  1. The right-angle flashlight can be used or carried in different ways.
    1. It includes a headband so you can use it as a headlamp, so you have both hands free to
    2. It has a magnetic tailcap, so you can stick it to something metal like your car hood
    3. It has a clamp to attach it to a bike, but you can also use it to attach it to a pole or anything else
  2. It can be charged with a USB charger
    1. Whether you have a USB charger at home, in the car, RV, or anywhere. You change charge the battery inside the flashlight
  3. Its lowest mode is extremely low, so you have a very, very long runtime.

There are however 2 caveats.

  1. The UI needs to be memorized in order to use it properly. Therefore I recommend setting it to General UI, and forget about the Advanced UI
  2. To charge the battery you have to unscrew the tailcap 1/4 turn.. so you have to remember this, which is not easy. It’s best to keep a small cheatsheet with the UI inside the flashlight.

For all these reasons, the Armytek Wizard C2 PRO is a great flashlight to keep in your car for emergencies. Also, keep in mind you better get a USB car charger adapter to make sure you can always charge the flashlight.

Use discount code: Lumen15 at the Armytek store for 15% off!

FAQ: A flashlight for car emergencies

What’s the best place to store your flashlight in a car?

Generally speaking, heat kills batteries. If you are in a location where it can get hot, never store the flashlight in the glove compartment. Even with an outdoor temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the glove compartment can get 50 degrees hotter according to some research. The coolest place is probably right underneath the seat.

What are some important features to consider getting an emergency flashlight for in your car?

Please consider the following: the color of the flashlight, the ways you carry/use it (pocket clip, head strap, magnetic tailcap, holster etc), its runtime, the battery type, if it’s rechargeable, and if it accepts multiple kinds of batteries.

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