Heresy -- Flashlights are useless

TPA

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Okay, maybe they're not completely useless... but in the majority of uses, I'm finding lanterns and flashlights with diffusers to be far more useful and practical than flashlights. Of course, YMMV.

The only thing I find myself using a flashlight regularly for is inspecting aircraft or looking for dropped screws

Otherwise, it's a lantern of some sort for me. Even post-flight, I'm usually magnetically-sticking the tail of an EDC18 with diffuser on the speaker grille. Repairing engines? magnetic lantern. Repairing HVAC? magnetic lantern. Night-light in a foreign hotel? Lantern. Power outage? Lantern. Changing a tire? Lantern.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy playing with fire-breathing, pocket-burning monsters...but practically, they're shelf queens here.

/I'll go make a bag a popcorn.
 

Guitar Guy

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As bright as flashlights & lanterns have become these days, even on the lower to mid settings, I can see how one could easily be substituted for the other with good results.

I find myself using my diffusers & lantern when I'm wanting to light up the campsite, or a room in a power outage, or my camping trailer when I'm looking for something.

Other than that, I too use the flashlight 99% of the time. For one, I like being able to direct the beam / hot spot to the area where I'm looking. Secondly, when I need it, I'm usually pulling it out of my pocket on the go, and it's easier, more practical, and takes up less room in my pocket without a diffuser, and definitely more practical than carrying my lantern around.

My couple of lights that have great clips for clipping onto the brim of my ball cap are also VERY handy when I need both hands.
 
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M@elstrom

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Lanterns are handy for working on cars and camping but I also find them bulky, thus I use (and prefer) torches/flashlights 99% of the time 😉


Flashlights are useless?
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pnwoutdoors

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The mobility aspect is what makes flashlights useful, from my perspective. A facility light, or table-top lantern, or a light hanging on the hood hook of a vehicle (for engine bay access), say, simply cannot deliver that mobility such that you get various views of a tight spot or crevice.

I'm all for good lighting. But a flashlight then adds to the light, by providing mobility and a variable light angle that few other lighting options can give. No good alternatives to it.
 

Poppy

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OMG talk about a trolling thread! That's really funny.

Working on a car? Headlamp. It shines the light where I am looking, and it gets into the crevices. IMO a lantern no matter how strategically placed, will cast shadows, where I am looking, and introduce glare into my peripheral vision, thusly closing my iris some and making it harder to see into the shadows.

Silly thread, but you got me to post. :clap:(y)
 

Dave_H

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With COB technology you can have your cake and eat it too. A 2aa pocket light can be a lantern.
Exactly, there are combos out there with flashlight plus a side (work) light which could be COB or a small grid of LEDs, even in the dollar-store price range. I have a low-cost 18650 headlamp with both spot and flood, independent controls. No need for a big debate, just use what is best at the time.

That being said, I find lanterns and other non-flashlight sources generally more useful around the house. Flashlights are always at the ready though.

Dave
 

IMA SOL MAN

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Use whatever works for you. Keep an open mind, is what I say. OP, if you could post some photos of your lantern usages, that would be super, I am open to being convinced. Convert me if you can! :crackup:

For me, personally, the only time I like a lantern, is camping, and that is hanging a white gas Coleman lamp up a bit, for area lighting. But I haven't been camping since...OH MY! Well, not for a looong time. So, for my indoor needs, a ceiling bounced flashlight provides very nice area lighting (I have white popcorn ceilings, with glitter!) and I use a flashlight in normal mode 🔦 for most everything else, unless I need hands free, then I use a headlamp.
 

blah9

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OMG talk about a trolling thread! That's really funny.

Working on a car? Headlamp. It shines the light where I am looking, and it gets into the crevices. IMO a lantern no matter how strategically placed, will cast shadows, where I am looking, and introduce glare into my peripheral vision, thusly closing my iris some and making it harder to see into the shadows.

Silly thread, but you got me to post. :clap:(y)
I agree, it's all about headlamps for me when getting work done on something. However, I also like to have some pretty decent throw on the flashlight in my pocket for seeing things that are farther away. I can always just shine it against a wall or something nearby when working up close to get some diffuse light in a pinch, but I can't really get extra throw very easily from a floody light.
 

letschat7

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I used lanterns from Princeton Tec for lighting until I realised I could use a 1600 lumen Fenix for lighting by ceiling bouncing, then I got a Led Lenser X21R at 5000 lumens and then a Lupine Betty at 5400 lumens. Now they sit in storage for camping use.
 
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I actually agree completely. A few months back, I gave up on the convenience and performance of a flashlight for a stick with cloth soaked in propellant on one end on fire. I have a patent pending. I call it 'the stick of fire.' It is neither easily portable or convenient, but is a source of intense heat and provides a floody, warm colored hue of inconsistent brightness in a nearly spherical cast. It also double as a self-defense device and ward against creatures of the night. Yes, both kinds. Let me know if you're interested and I sell them shipped CONUS for 999.99
 

SYZYGY

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Otherwise, it's a headlamp of some sort for me. Even post-flight, I'm usually magnetically-sticking the tail of an EDC18 with diffuser on the speaker grille. Repairing engines? headlamp. Repairing HVAC? headlamp. Night-light in a foreign hotel? Lantern. Power outage? Lantern. Changing a tire? headlamp.

ftfy!
 

jabe1

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I find that I enjoy being able to choose between a flashlight/headlamp or a lantern.
Mostly, I find myself using floody headlamps and flashlights.
But when I want room lighting or work site lighting, a lantern can work.
Where does the Milwaukee m18 flood light fit in; lantern or flashlight? That gets used a lot on job sites these days.
I'm glad I'm not limited to one type.
 
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TPA

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I guess I should preface this with my use cases:
1) Hurricanes. I've spent the past 13 months cleaning up after Cat 5 Hurricane Ian's damage. 24' storm surge measured at (in?) my home. Out of all the battery-operated lights I have, the flashlights were the least useful despite me having far more flashlights than I care to admit to. The Costco 4D/8D lanterns were the workhorses, but plenty of other non-flashlights were used as well. USB string lights, motion lights, glow lights, Fenix CL20/CL23 lanterns, even Christmas lights were used often and heavily.

2) Aviation. Inspecting the aircraft and pre/post-flight. Yes, the EDC18 is technically a flashlight, but it's not much of a thrower and I almost always use it with the diffuser attached. Cockpit lighting usually leaves a lot to be desired.

3) Equipment repair. I never know what I'll be asked to work on. CNC machines, relay ladder-logic systems, PLCs, elevators, HVAC, industrial machines, agriculture machines, pumps, networks, generators, building automation, etc. Go ahead, try tracing out wires in an ancient, dirty industrial control panel in a nasty closet with just a flashlight. It's much easier when you can see the whole panel lit at once. Also easier when you're not having to try to focus a narrow beam of light on the work surface while trying to work.

4) Travel. I'm usually on the road 200-300 nights/year. All sorts of uses here. Some of the lights I carry on the road are: Fenix CL05, Fenix CL20, Fenix CL23, BLF LT1 Mini, Nitecore LA10CRI. Not all at once. My vision's terrible without glasses especially at night, so I usually leave a small lantern or marker/guide light on low near any obstacles in the hotel room. I leave a battery-operated lantern or Casper Glow in the bathroom overnight. I keep Mr Beams MB800 lights in the inside mesh pocket of my carry-on, so the entire bag is lit well when opened. I have one in my laptop bag's accessory compartment as well. I was on a night airline flight last week and it was pitch black in the aircraft when they turned out the lights. I hung a BLF LT1 Mini off the tray table hook on low to provide enough ambient light to find things in my row. Last week I went out with 2x BLF LT1 Minis, 2x Yunlex motion lights, EDC18 on the nightstand for the glowing bunny, and a Casper Glow. I also have been using the BLF LT1 Mini towards the end of the night to help me wind down. So few hotels have dimmers.

As bright as flashlights & lanterns have become these days, even on the lower to mid settings, I can see how one could easily be substituted for the other with good results.
The EDC18 is what spurred this line of thought with me. It's not a traditional flashlight, it's a non-focused flood light. Mine came with the diffuser, turning it into a lantern, and that's how I end up using it most of the time. Prior to this light, I didn't use lanterns all that often. Then I got ahold of a BLF LT1 Mini. I end up using these lights nightly now. I find the light quality much more pleasing and no glare like you'd have with a flashlight.
With COB technology you can have your cake and eat it too. A 2aa pocket light can be a lantern.
I've seen some of the combo lights, but man the glare on them is terrible. The Sofirn IF23 looks interesting, but without being able to dim the side light, it's a hard pass for me.

Use whatever works for you. Keep an open mind, is what I say. OP, if you could post some photos of your lantern usages, that would be super, I am open to being convinced. Convert me if you can! :crackup:

For me, personally, the only time I like a lantern, is camping, and that is hanging a white gas Coleman lamp up a bit, for area lighting. But I haven't been camping since...OH MY! Well, not for a looong time. So, for my indoor needs, a ceiling bounced flashlight provides very nice area lighting (I have white popcorn ceilings, with glitter!) and I use a flashlight in normal mode 🔦 for most everything else, unless I need hands free, then I use a headlamp.
Careful, if those ceilings have glitter they may well have asbestos as well. The ones at my grandparents' place did.

If you're talking traditional-sized lanterns, like a Coleman gas lantern, or even the Costco 8D lantern, I agree with you. They're big, heavy, put out a lot of light.

The EDC18 and BLF LT1 Mini were the game changers for me and turned them into daily use items for me.

As far as use cases, go ahead, light the hallway below with traditional flashlights. The hallway is 100' long, 12' wide, and is actually T-shaped, so there's a spur in the middle. No windows/doors to the outside world. The dark carpeting isn't going to help, especially with ceiling-bounced light. Then have multiple people trying to use the room.
20221011_130942.jpg


Likewise, this stairwell is being lit by multiple Fenix CL20 lanterns, one per floor. This is when I had movers helping me salvage what I could from the building, so it was important that they see the steps clearly. Elevators were still full of the Gulf of Mexico. Re: beer, this photo was taken in Oct 2022... don't judge. ;)
20221011_150531.jpg


The next two phots are from a different building, but illustrates the point well. The first shows a USB string light hastily thrown up. The second photo shows a power failure light with typical flashlight-style driver and optic. Sure, there's enough light in the second photo to do your business and get out safely, BUT, it's a much more harsh light with lots of shadows. Not exactly pleasant. BTW, the countertops and wall are two completely different colors, but you can't tell because of the lighting.
20210216_233332.jpg


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I agree, it's all about headlamps for me when getting work done on something. However, I also like to have some pretty decent throw on the flashlight in my pocket for seeing things that are farther away. I can always just shine it against a wall or something nearby when working up close to get some diffuse light in a pinch, but I can't really get extra throw very easily from a floody light.
Good point on the headlamps. I completely forgot about them despite having a couple of decent ones. They do indeed work, but I don't like the feel of them, and when it's 90F with an 81F dewpoint, headlamps get gross quickly. Not for me, but definitely a good option.
 

Guitar Guy

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My vision's terrible without glasses especially at night
Honestly, as I was reading your post above, before I even got to the sentence I quoted, I was wondering what your vision is like, and if you wear glasses. I think that could have a strong bearing on your preferences.

I doubt that you're going to convince very many people on a flashlight forum that "flashlights are useless", but hey, use what works the best for your situation and needs. We're fortunate to be living in a time where we have such a great variety of good choices available for lighting needs.

I remember having to inspect dozens upon dozens of homes, and plugging in dozens of electronic component cables on dimly lit rock band stages with an incan 20 something lumen Maglite for years, so I certainly appreciate the variety of choices available today.
 

M@elstrom

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Working on a car? Headlamp. It shines the light where I am looking, and it gets into the crevices. IMO a lantern no matter how strategically placed, will cast shadows, where I am looking, and introduce glare into my peripheral vision, thusly closing my iris some and making it harder to see into the shadows.

I see your headlamp and raise you one lightbar,


Screenshot_20231106-204348_Chrome.jpg
 

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