When you’re outside at night, camping, or the electricity has gone out, one of the most valuable tools at hand—a flashlight. The invention of the flashlight made doing anything in the dark easier and much more accessible. Now, solar powered flashlights maintain the functions of regular flashlights, but are better for the planet.
Environmental Impact of Flashlights
There’s no doubt, a flashlight is incredibly convenient. But the batteries that run this handy device aren’t very good for the environment. Batteries contain chemicals that can cause harm including cadmium (a known human carcinogen), lead (linked to birth defects and neurological damage), nickel (a carcinogen), or lithium (may cause landfill fires).
Often batteries end up in landfills. As the battery casing corrodes, chemicals leach into the soil and can make their way into the water supply. The good news is that there are some great solar powered flashlights that can keep you going strong in the dark while reducing energy waste.
How Solar Flashlights Work
Solar flashlights work by gathering energy from the sun via photovoltaic, or solar, cells. Most solar flashlights use LED or Light Emitting Diode lamps instead of an incandescent light bulb. LEDs take less current to operate and last longer. Generally, a charge can produce light for several hours.
These flashlights typically still have batteries to store the solar energy, but the batteries last much longer than regular batteries (about 2500 hours of use compared to the 15 hours of a normal battery). Solar flashlight batteries are rechargeable, and may last up to two years, even with regular use.
5 of the Best Solar Flashlights
There are a lot of options out there when selecting a flashlight. Take a look at some of the top solar powered flashlights to find the best one for your needs.
1. Multi-Tool: NPET T09 Solar Flashlight
This multi-functional NPET T09 Solar Flashlight is also an emergency tool, with window breaker, seat belt cutter, and compass. A powerful magnet makes it hands-free to easily use as a work light, camping light, or emergency warning light. The battery can be charged with both solar power and a USB cable (which can also be used to charge your cell phone). It’s also water-resistant and shock-resistant.
2. Battery-Free: ThorFire Solar Flashlight
If you’re looking for a true battery-free, green flashlight, the ThorFire Solar Flashlight is a solid option. It is both solar and hand-crank powered; no batteries needed at all. Just one minute of cranking will generate one hour of light, and an hour in the sun can give you two hours or more of power. This flashlight is quite durable and waterproof (submersible up to 45 feet). It also has a flashing SOS mode for emergencies.
3. Charge Indoors or Outdoors: Hybridlight Journey
The Hybridlight takes solar charging to the next level. The solar panel will charge the flashlight outdoors OR indoors under incandescent lighting. And as further backup, you can use a USB cable for a rapid charge. The manufacturer claims it can hold a charge for years, so you won’t get stuck with a dead flashlight when you need it. This flashlight is also extremely durable and waterproof—and it floats in water so you won’t lose it.
4. Versatility: Otdair LED Solar Power Tactical Flashlight
This ultrabright flashlight has five light modes, adjusted intensity (low, medium, high, strobe, SOS), sidelight with three modes. It can also be charged with a USB cord, and is equipped with an emergency hammer, knife, and emergency alarm.
5. Value: Simpeak Hand Crank Solar Powered Flashlight
For those on a limited budget, the Simpeak Hand Crank Flashlight can be powered through solar energy or by cranking. It doesn’t produce super bright light or give you any frills, but it provides what you need in case of an emergency: light and power. This may be an especially good option for children or in emergency kits.
Doing Your Part for the Planet
Solar powered flashlights are better for the environment and great choices for emergency kits, bug out bags, or for those who live or spend time in remote areas. For other ways to do your part for the planet, contact Kiwi Energy to see how they can help you reduce your carbon footprint.