Best LEP Flashlights: LED vs. LEP Flashlights
In recent years, flashlight technology has advanced significantly, with LEP (Laser Excited Phosphor) flashlights emerging as a leader in the industry.
These powerful, efficient, and compact tools have captured the attention of outdoor enthusiasts, law enforcement personnel, and others who require reliable illumination in the form of long-range, very focused light beams.
Published: May 4, 2023.
What Are LEP Flashlights
LEP flashlights, also known as laser flashlights, employ laser-excited phosphor technology to produce a highly focused and intense beam of light. The process involves a laser diode that emits blue light, which in turn excites a phosphor layer to create white light.
This light is then focused and directed through a lens, resulting in a narrow and far-reaching beam. LEP flashlights have gained popularity due to their ability to maintain brightness over long distances, making them ideal for various professional and recreational applications.
LEP Flashlights Features and Specifications
- Beam Distance: One of the most crucial aspects of an LEP flashlight is its beam distance. High-quality models can project a beam up to several kilometers, making them ideal for search and rescue operations, hunting, and long-range observation. When choosing an LEP flashlight, opt for one with a beam distance that meets your specific requirements.
- Lumens: Lumens are a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a source. LEP flashlights offer high lumen output, which translates to a brighter, more powerful light. While high lumens are essential for specific tasks, it's crucial to balance brightness with battery life, as higher lumens typically require more energy.
- Battery Life: LEP flashlights often utilize rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which offer extended runtimes and a higher energy density compared to traditional alkaline batteries. Consider the battery life and charging options when selecting an LEP flashlight to ensure it will last through your intended use without constant recharging.
- Durability: As with any tool, durability is an essential consideration when purchasing an LEP flashlight. Look for models with sturdy construction, such as an aircraft-grade aluminum body and a shatterproof lens. Additionally, many LEP flashlights come with a high IPX rating, which indicates their level of water and dust resistance – a higher rating means better protection from the elements.
- Size and Weight: LEP flashlights come in various sizes and weights, making it crucial to select one that meets your needs and preferences. A compact and lightweight model will be more comfortable to carry for extended periods, while a larger, more robust design may offer added durability and features.
LEP Flashlights Uses
The most common LEP flashlight uses include the following:
Search and Rescue Operations
LEP flashlights are an invaluable tool for search and rescue teams, as their long-range, focused beams can penetrate through the darkness, fog, or other adverse conditions, helping locate missing individuals or objects. The intense, concentrated light enables rescuers to cover vast areas quickly and efficiently.
Law Enforcement and Tactical Use
LEP flashlights are an excellent choice for law enforcement officers and tactical professionals who require powerful illumination during operations. Their intense beams can be used to momentarily disorient or distract suspects, while the long-range capabilities aid in identifying potential threats or targets from a distance.
Hunting and Wildlife Observation
The long beam distance and focused light of LEP flashlights make them ideal for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. The concentrated beam allows users to spot and track animals from a distance without disturbing them, making it easier to observe their behavior or line up a shot.
Outdoor Recreation and Exploration
Hikers, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts can benefit from the focused, long-range illumination provided by LEP flashlights. Their compact size and energy efficiency make them easy to carry and use during nighttime navigation or exploration, ensuring that users never lose their way in the dark.
Astronomy and Stargazing
LEP flashlights can be a valuable tool for amateur astronomers and stargazers, as their concentrated beams can be used to point out celestial objects or features without polluting the surrounding area with unwanted light. This focused illumination helps preserve night vision and minimizes the impact on fellow stargazers.
Including an LEP flashlight in your emergency preparedness kit can prove invaluable during power outages, natural disasters, or other emergency situations. The long-range, focused beam allows users to navigate through darkness, signal for help, or perform crucial tasks with ease and precision.
LEP flashlights offer a range of specialized applications thanks to their unique combination of long beam distance, focused light, and energy efficiency.
What Is The Difference Between LED and LEP Flashlights: LED vs. LEP Flashlight
Two of the most popular types of flashlights on the market today are LED (Light Emitting Diode) and LEP (Laser Excited Phosphor) flashlights. Both have distinct characteristics that make them suitable for different applications.
LED flashlights use light-emitting diodes to produce light, which are semiconductor devices that emit light when an electrical current passes through them. They are highly energy-efficient and have long lifespans, making them a popular choice for many applications.
LEP flashlights, on the other hand, employ a laser diode to emit blue light. This light is then directed onto a phosphor layer, which converts the blue light into white light. The resulting white light is focused through a lens, producing a narrow and intense beam.
Both LED and LEP flashlights are known for their energy efficiency. LED flashlights typically have longer runtimes than traditional incandescent flashlights due to their lower energy consumption. LEP flashlights are also energy-efficient but tend to have a higher power density, resulting in a more concentrated beam.
Beam Distance and Characteristics
One of the most significant differences between LED and LEP flashlights is their beam distance and characteristics. LED flashlights typically produce a broader beam that is more suitable for general illumination and close-range tasks. The light output is spread over a wider area, making it ideal for tasks such as camping, hiking, and household use.
LEP flashlights are known for their long-range, narrow beams. They can project light up to several kilometers, making them suitable for applications requiring focused, far-reaching illumination, such as search and rescue operations, hunting, and long-range observation.
Note: The laser component in LEP flashlights, while typically considered safe for normal use, can still pose a risk of eye damage if misused or viewed directly. It is essential to follow safety guidelines and exercise caution when using an LEP flashlight. Also, in some regions or situations, the use of laser devices, including LEP flashlights, may be subject to regulation or restrictions. It is important to be aware of and comply with any local laws or guidelines governing the use of LEP flashlights.
LED flashlights have an exceptionally long lifespan, with high-quality LEDs capable of lasting up to 50,000 hours or more. This longevity is one of the primary reasons for their widespread popularity.
LEP flashlights also have a long lifespan, although not as long as LEDs. The laser diode in an LEP flashlight is the primary component subject to wear, but it can still last for tens of thousands of hours with proper use and maintenance.
In general, LED flashlights are more affordable than LEP flashlights. The price difference can be attributed to the complexity and specialized components used in LEP technology. However, both types of flashlights offer a wide range of options, with prices varying based on factors such as brand, features, and build quality.
In short, when choosing between LED and LEP flashlights, it is essential to consider your specific requirements and intended applications. LED flashlights provide versatile, energy-efficient illumination for a wide range of tasks, while LEP flashlights excel in long-range, focused lighting scenarios.
The Best LEP Flashlights
The following list shows some of the best LEP flashlights on the market - to find "the best" one is a rather difficult task since people differ, and so do their requirements.
Fenix HT30R LEP Flashlight
Fenix HT30R LEP Flashlight is a very tough and durable LEP flashlight with IP68 dustproof and waterproof (2m underwater for 4 hours) rating. The body is made of A6061-T6 aluminum, making it both strong and relatively lightweight - it features 1m drop height impact resistance.
The flashlight features 500 lumens and a maximum beam range of 1640 yards (~1500m) - almost a mile.
The flashlight is rechargeable via a hidden USB-C port and features three light modes:
- Strobe Mode: 500 lumens,
- High Mode: 500 lumens, 2h 20 min, 600000cd,
- Low Mode: 100 lumens, 7h 15 min, 100000cd.
Note: Flashlight features safety protection from overheating - when the unit is used in High Mode, 2h 20 min runtime includes operation at 500 lumens AND runtime at reduced output levels.
The physical dimensions are:
- Length: 7.05 inches (179 mm),
- Head Diameter: 1.57 inches (40 mm),
- Tail Diameter: 1.1 inches (28 mm),
- Body Diameter: 1.02” (26 mm).
The weight of the flashlight is 9.31 ounces (264 grams), including ARB-L21-5000 V2.0 21700 Li-ion rechargeable battery.
Fenix HT30R is compact enough to be easily carried, but it is a little bit too large to be carried in a pocket, for example. But, considering its performance, one should not expect it.
What's in the box? When the flashlight arrives, the box contains a Fenix HT30R LEP flashlight with battery, nylon holster, USB-C charging cable, and a LumenTac battery case.
If You are looking for an LEP flashlight with a very balanced design that also features excellent performances and sturdy design at a reasonable price, consider this flashlight.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Fenix HT30R LEP Flashlight Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
Nitecore P35i LEP/LED Flashlight
Nitecore P35i LEP/LED Flashlight is an excellent performer with a maximum output of 3000 lumens, maximum beam distance of 1804 yards (~1650m), and beam intensity of 678000 candelas.
The physical dimensions of the flashlight are:
- Length: 7.36 inches (186.9 mm),
- Head diameter: 2.56 inches (65 mm),
- Weight: 10.46 ounces (~297 grams).
Nitecore P35i LEP Flashlight has several very interesting features, including three user modes:
- Spot Mode: provides a maximum distance of 1650 meters and a maximum output of 410 lumens,
- Flood Mode: suitable for close-range illumination, with a maximum output of 3000 lumens,
- Mixed Mode: Spot Mode and Flood Mode combined.
Brightness levels are also adjustable; Spot Mode and Flood Mode feature UltraLow, Low, Mid, High, and Turbo brightness levels, while Mixed Mode features Low, Mid, High, and Preset brightness levels.
Note: Preset brightness level can be set by the user. For the exact procedure, check the Owner's Guide.
The Nitecore P35i LEP Flashlight comes with a high-capacity NL2150HPi battery, but it also supports CR123A and RCR123A batteries.
The flashlight is charged using a USB-C port which should be used to charge ONLY 21700 battery and NOT RCR123A batteries (if used).
Note: personally, if You plan on using Nitecore P35i LEP Flashlight as a backup flashlight that is going to be used rarely, go for a CR123A battery. If You plan on using this flashlight more often, go for a rechargeable 21700 lithium battery.
Nitecore P35i LEP Flashlight also comes with an OLD real-time display, providing all the required information to the user.
If You are looking for a versatile LEP/LED flashlight that can be used in various situations, consider this unit.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Nitecore P35i LEP Flashlight Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
OLIGHT Valkyrie LEP Tactical Flashlight
OLIGHT Valkyrie LEP Tactical Flashlight is a gun-mounted LEP flashlight that can also be used as a standard LEP flashlight.
The flashlight features a maximum beam range of 530 meters, 70225 candelas intensity, and maximum beam output of 250 lumens.
The flashlight is rather compact, with the physical dimensions of (D x W x H) 3.55 x 1.44 x 1.33 inches (~90 x 37 x 34 mm).
The flashlight is powered by a pair of CR123A batteries, which are enough for ~3 hours of operation (4 minutes at 250 lumens, ~180 minutes at 60 lumens).
The flashlight is very simple to use and rather robust, with an IPX6 rating and an impact resistance height of 1m.
If You are looking for a gun LEP flashlight, consider this one - after all, it comes with Glock "GL" adapter installed and with Picatinny (MIL-STD-1913) adapter included.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the OLIGHT Valkyrie LEP Tactical Flashlight Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
Acebeam W30 LEP Flashlight
Acebeam W30 is one of the best LEP flashlight performers, but it comes with a very nice price tag - but what you pay is what you get.
Acebeam W30 features physical dimensions of (L x D) 7.84 x 2.4/1.18 inches (~199 x 61/30 mm), and it weighs 8.75 ounces (~250g) - it can be easily carried around, but it is too big for a pocket flashlight.
Acebeam W30 LEP flashlight features very impressive performances, including:
- maximum beam distance of 2408 meters/2650 yards,
- maximum light beam of 500 lumens,
- maximum beam intensity of 1450000 candelas,
- 100m diving depth and 1m drop height.
Acebeam W30 features a beam cone of only 1.8° and a light beam diameter of:
- @100m: 0.165m,
- @500m: 0.825m,
- @1000m: 1.65m,
- @1500m: 2.48m,
- @2000m: 3.3m.
Acebeam W30 Long Range LEP Flashlight can be powered by a single 21700 battery (a single 3.7V 5100 mAh IMR21700NP-510A battery included) or one 18650 battery using a special battery holder.
Since 21700 batteries feature a larger capacity and are able to produce stronger currents, 21700 battery is highly recommended - it can power the flashlight for up to 1h and 45 minutes.
Acebeam IMR21700NP-510A battery can be recharged directly using any 5V 1A USB charger and can even be used as a small power bank.
Acebeam W30 LEP flashlight comes with excellent performances regarding beam distance, strength, and intensity, but it is also slightly more expensive than other flashlights on our list.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Acebeam W30 LEP Flashlight Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
Few Final Words
LEP flashlights have revolutionized the lighting industry, providing users with an efficient, powerful, and reliable source of illumination.
When selecting the best LEP flashlight for your needs, consider factors such as beam distance, lumens, battery life, durability, size, etc.
If You are unsure which flashlight is for You, write down your requirements and preferences and search accordingly. And if You are still unsure whether you should go for a LED or LEP flashlight, consider a good LED flashlight with a long throw or even adjustable lenses - LEP flashlights are excellent in long-range, focused applications but are not as usable as a good LED flashlight in everyday situations.
Note: when your LEP flashlight arrives, be sure to read the Owner's Guide in order to get accustomed to your new flashlight. Also, never, but really never, point it into somebody's face ...