Looking for a flashlight to check 30' to 50' into water reservoirs


Newly Enlightened
Feb 22, 2024
Something that will have a beam that isn't too narrow for checking water color and clarity in drinking water reservoirs. I figured there's a flashlight version to upgrade from a chunky Dewalt spotlight that is annoying to climb ladders with hanging off a carabiner. I understand I will likely be relying on full turbo brightness for this but it only has to be used a few times a day maybe 30 secs max per check. Preference to a kit with battery for ease of supervisor to purchase.

Flashlight Recommendation Checklist================

1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?

____I would like to purchase the light in person from a brick and mortar store. I am located in ______________.
__X__This will be mail-order or Online (location doesn't matter).

2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :)

____I don't know yet
____Up to $25.
____Up to $50.
____Up to $100.
__X__Up to $200.
____Up to $300.
____Essentially unlimited.

3) Format:

____I am not sure, please help me decide.
__X__I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).
____I want a self-contained headlamp.
____I want a headlamp with an external pack/power source.
____I want a mounted light (typically for a bicycle or vehicle)
____I want a lantern/area light.
____I want a portable spotlight (it may have an external power source).
____Other ____________________________________________

4) Size:

____MICRO - Keychain size.
____TINY - Every day carry (2-4 inches).
____SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).
__X__MEDIUM - Holster/belt ring carry. (>7 inches)
____LARGE - Big enough to need its own travel case.
____I don't know/I don't care.

5) Emitter/Light source:

__X__LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)
____Incandescent (known for superior color rendition)
____HID (known for max output, but often at the expense of size)
____I don't know.

6) Manufacturer:

__X__I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
____I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).
____I am interested in assembling my own components. (for example a "host" or flashlight body from one manufacturer, and a "drop-in" emitter from another source).

7) What power source do you want to use?

____I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Alkaline batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
____I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Lithium batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D and CR123 sized cells common to most stores (often a cold weather or long storage choice).
____I intend to use Rechargeable cells (NiMH or NiCD) based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
____I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).
__X__I want a light with an integrated rechargeable battery pack.
__X_I don't know/I need more information on power sources.

7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option
__X__I want a light that plugs directly into the wall (literally with prongs built into the light)
__X__I want a light that has a recharging adapter (your typical "wall wart")
__X__I want a light that snaps into a cradle (usually mounted on a wall)
____I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)
____I don't care

8) How much genuine out the front (OTF) light do you want/need? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is not a happy experience).

____I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (1-10 lumens).
____I want an indoor "blackout" light (15-50 lumens)
____I want to confidently walk around an unlit/unpaved rural area (60-150 lumens).
____I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
____I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
__X__I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).

__X__SPECIAL NOTE: Burst/Turbo mode Category - There are several lights that will run at a super bright maximum for a very limited period (usually 5-10 minutes) and then will "step-down" to a lower level for thermal control. Check here if this is acceptable.

9) Flood vs Throw: Flood covers an area, Throw reaches out to a distance.

____All Flood: I am doing "arms length" tasks like reading and campsite cooking.
____Wide Flood: I want a defined flood area for semi-close tasks like after-dark campsite tasks or working on a car.
____Narrow Flood: I want a sharply defined flood area that will project some distance for tasks like trail walking.
__X__Wide Throw: I want a beam with a noticeable hot-center for distance throw and a significant amount of "side-spill". Good for rough trail hiking, search and rescue, and general distance work.
____Narrow Throw: I want a beam with a very tight "hot center" and minimal "side-spill". Good for distance viewing, fog, and looking through dense undergrowth.
____Turbohead: I want a far-distance projector with a sharply focused spot of light and minimal or zero side-spill. Good for extreme distance and impressing your friends.

9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)
____Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
____Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
____5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)
____30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)
____50-150 yards/meters (I live in a very rural area/farm with wide open spaces)
__X__150+ yards (I am searching from a helicopter)

10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum continuous output).

____Up to 30 minutes (I want the brightest [and potentially smallest] light for brief periods)
__X__30-60 minutes (I have plenty of batteries just ready to be changed)
____90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
____3 hours + (I critically need this light to run on max for extended periods in between battery changes/charges).

11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase "you get what you pay for" is very accurate for flashlights.

____Not Important (A "night-stand" light).
____Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood).
__X__Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
____Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival).
____I don't know.

12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):

____Any size switch will do.
____I need a BIG switch (I'll be using gloves or have very large hands or coordination issues).
____I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
____I want a reverse clicky (For use with multi-mode/level lights).
____I want a momentary switch (Predominantly for use with signaling and short bursts of momentary light only).
____I want a twisty switch (Tighten the head/tailcap to activate, and the light will stay on until the head/tailcap is loosened).
____I want a body mounted switch (near the head, like on a Maglite).
____I want a tail mounted switch (found on the majority of today's high end lights).
____I want a remote switch (usually found on high-end bicycle headlights)
____I don't care.
__X__I don't know.
____Other, please specify____________________.

13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.

____A simple on-off with only one output level is fine for me.
____I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
____I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
____I want a programmable light.
____I want a selector ring.
____I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")
____I want SOS mode. (blinks in ...---... emergency pattern)
____I want a beacon mode. (Regular flashes at full power to show location.)
____I don't care.
__X__I don't know.


____Plastic/composite body (this may limit your choices significantly).
____Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today's higher end flashlights).
____Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
____Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
__X__I don't care.
____I don't know.
____Other, please specify____________.

15) Water resistance
__X__None needed
____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
____IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
____IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)

16) Storage conditions
____In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
____Emergency kit (long standby periods)
__X_Automobile glove-box (wide temperature swings, long standby periods, critical reliability)

17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.

____Red filter (for preserving night vision).
____Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________).
____Dedicated R/G/B secondary LEDs.
____"Hybrid" light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
__X__Pocket/belt clip
____Wrist/Neck Lanyard
____Crenulated bezel
____Non-sparking, Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments


Jun 27, 2021
I'd add a high CRI of 95 or better if color is part of the inspection. SST-20 at 4000K cri of 95 is one that gets used in many lights. There are others but that's one I have a few of & use often


Newly Enlightened
May 28, 2017
High CRI (color rendering index) was the first thing that jumped to mind for me since you're concerned with correctly gauging the color of the water. The Streamlight Stinger Color-Rite isn't far off from most of your requirements, but it maxes out at 500 lumens (short of your 800+ preference, but still plenty for most applications). There are much brighter lights, but they usually carry a strong blue tint that messes up perceived colors. Established brand, charges from a cradle, medium size, within your budget, etc... I wouldn't pull the trigger on this until a few more folks bring up their options but I think it's in the right direction.



Mar 3, 2021
I'm not sure I have seen a flashlight with high color rendering and such tremendous output, but I'll try to folow this thread, hopefully learn something new.


Sep 14, 2008
I've no idea just how much lumens of output, lux@1M throw and degrees of focus from the lens would be necessary to penetrate 50ft of water. As well, it'd also depend upon how murky such water would be, though I suppose "drinking water reservoir" equates to reasonably light on the sedimentation.

If I were looking for such a thing, I'm betting it'd be mostly a try-it-and-see thing. I'd begin at the 3500+ lumens range, and seek very high throw (ie, 50K lux @ 1M) and moderately tight focus (ie, 20-25 degrees) of the central beam, something that also has modest-to-moderate spill, in order to penetrate sufficiently. (I've no idea if these are sufficient specs, but it'd be the point I'd try first.)

Fenix makes a couple of lights that might suit.

Fenix list of flashlights with 2500+ lumens, sorted in descending order of price:

Basically, ^that list roughly corresponds to the lights with the greatest amount of output and throw first. But you'd need to narrow down where to start. The specs don't show how tightly-focused the lens is, or how much lux output at a standardized distance (ie, how much penetrating "punch" the beam has), etc. Would need to call Fenix to inquire, I'd think.

Out of that list, for the basic needs you indicated, I'd probably consider one of two different lights:

1. Fenix LR35R flashlight -- currently $200 discounted; up to 10K lumens; fairly tight focus on the long-distance central beam, but a 90º lens to allow moderate spill; under 1lb with batteries; replaceable 2x21700 batteries, so you can carry a dozen spares for use in the field; can use a good-sized power bank to charge in the field via the USB-C port:

2. Fenix LR40R Long-Range flashlight -- if you find the LR35R isn't sufficient ... currently $300 discounted; up to 15K lumens; similar beam/focus as the L35R, but with more "punch"; 3.5lbs with the integrated battery pack (3x21700); uncertain if spare battery packs can be purchased, to have on-hand for field swap with a fully-charged pack, but it'd be worth checking with Fenix; can use a good-sized power bank to charge in the field via the USB-C port:

Could then add a solid lanyard for safety's sake, along with a decent belt holster to keep it on you, and you'd have a fairly decent setup.
Oct 26, 2009
Columbus, Ohio
It might be helpful if you could confirm the lumen output and candela of the light you're presently using; this would give the community a benchmark of sorts to gauge further recommendations. (Dewalt offers several models of "spotlight" ranging from 120 lumens to 1000 lumens, so greater specificity would be helpful in this regard.)

Assuming for the moment that you're using the 1000 lumen Dewalt DCL043 model, and in light of your request for a more portable and at least equally if not more potent hand-held torch, the previous recommendations of Fenix products are a useful starting point. Other lights with similar performance specifications include:

1. Jetbeam M37 Crossbow (3000 lumens / 28,000 candela)
2. Acebean P17 (4900 lumens / 49,000 candela)
3. Acebeam L35 (5000 lumens / 105,000 candela)
4. Thrunite Catapult Pro (2700 lumens / 252,000 candela)


Newly Enlightened
Jul 6, 2022
I don't know how deep into clear water an Olight Javelot Pro 2 can shine, but it'll light up stuff on the other side of a pretty wide river. A bit $$$ at $209 but it does come with a nice hard case.


Mar 8, 2021
The advantages to high-CRI LEDs are primarily in the rendering of the red end of the spectrum, so I'm not sure how critical that is in this application given that water tends to absorb reds preferentially to blues and greens. But I'll agree that the Streamlight Stinger is a good direction to be going here, as that's a pretty solid cradle-charging light system that is designed for belt-carry (it's intended as a duty light). The Ultrastinger (1100 lumens, 65,000 candela) and Stinger HL or HPL (both are 800 lumens with either a 24,000 or 48,000 candela beam repectively)


Newly Enlightened
Feb 22, 2024
Thanks for the recommendations. The Dewalt DCL043 my coworkers are using are apparently rated at 1500 lumens, 508 yard range distance on Amazon. I have a Wurkkos TD21 and I can barely see the light in the reservoirs. I sorta went down the rabbit hole thinking about a Thrunite Catapult Pro vs Acebeam L19 vs Nitecore P30i vs Noctigon K1. All the recommendations based on one versus the other really throw me for a loop, especially given my application. And then there's the led options...


Jun 27, 2021
Hank makes the D1k thrower with the SST-20/4k/95cri that should meet or beat your 800L want for output. It can be had for $38 right now with pocket clip & magnetic end cap.


I have a couple D1 lights (no sst20s) & they all hit 100yds w/o issue


Mar 8, 2021
The Dewalt DCL043 my coworkers are using are apparently rated at 1500 lumens, 508 yard range distance on Amazon.
Assuming that range distance is based on the ANSI FL-1 standard, that 508 yard distance corresponds to a candela value of about 54,000. That's what tells you how intense the spot is from the beam, and the ratio of the candela to the lumens gives you an indication of how big the spot will be (more lumens for the same candela means a bigger spot). And given the logarithmic response of the eye, I wouldn't get hung up on numbers as they are close (especially with candela, since intensity falls off with the square of the distance). If you're good with the Dewalt unit from an output perspective, I'd set a target of around 50k candela (maybe as low as 45k) and 800 lumens and go from there.