An underwater flashlight is one of the most important pieces of diving equipment. You will use one whether you’re diving at night or in the day. They’re necessary for filming underwater, making poor visibility waters easier to navigate, illuminating caves, or for properly observing coral and fish.
Without the right underwater flashlight, you could be missing out on a lot of sights each time you dive. With so many different options available, choosing the best dive light can be tricky. To help you out, we’ve put together this complete guide with everything you need to know bout finding the best underwater flashlight.
What is an Underwater Flashlight?
An underwater flashlight, or dive light, is a light source that divers use to light up their underwater environment. These lights are similar to regular flashlights, but they’re completely waterproof with the ability to go to great depths underwater.
Underwater flashlights are specially designed to provide a strong enough beam to illuminate dark waters.
History of the Underwater Flashlight
As long as there have been divers, there has been a need for underwater lights. The first underwater lights were fixed electric flood lamps with dry batteries. The first hands-free dive light used a ball and socket joint that would attach to the diver’s corselet.
The tungsten filament was introduced in 1906. In 1915, the first underwater lantern became available to the US Navy, with 150 candlepower.
Halogen bulbs were invented in the later 20th century. These bulbs, combines with advances in battery technology, resulted in more advanced portable and rechargeable dive lights being produced.
During the 1960s and 1970s, canister lights and test tube light heads were made commercially. By the year 2000, canister lights with sealed lead-acid batteries were standard for primary cave lights.
These days, LEDs with rechargeable Li-ion batteries have become the standard for dive lights. As technology advances, these lights continue to get smaller, brighter, and more powerful.
Features of an Underwater Flashlight
Before you buy an underwater flashlight, make sure you know what features you need to look out for. Here are some of the main thighs to consider:
- Brightness: The brightness of the light is measured in lumens. The brightest dive lights are around 2000 lumens, while smaller lights are available with around 600 lumens.
- Battery life: How long will the light last at full power? Dive lights usually have various brightness settings – the lowest level offering the most battery life and the brightest using up more battery power.
- Beam angle: It’s important to understand the angle of the beam and how much underwater space this will illuminate.
- Design: How will you carry the light while diving? Most dive lights include wrist straps, but some have different shaped handles you need to hold. Consider the size of the light and how convenient this will be to dive and travel with.
- Settings: Can the light operate at different levels of brightness? Most lights have a range of settings, with additional features like a strobe light setting.
- Depth Rating: How deep can the light go? For divers, this should be at least 100 meters.
10 Best Underwater Flashlights
Here is our list of the ten best underwater flashlights available right now. These lights cover a range of styles and functions.
Light & Motion Sola Dive Pro 2000
- 2000 lumen spot dive light
- Depth rated to 100 meters
- Travel lockout system to avoid accidental activation
- Compatible with a wide variety of mounts
This underwater flashlight from Light & Motion provides a perfect beam and an excellent runtime. The 2000 lumen spot dive light is perfect for technical and serious divers.
The light is powered by a high-capacity internal Li-ion battery which can last for up to 12 hours. This outlasts a lot of other canister-style dive lights. To make the flashlight easy to use underwater, it has a colored LED light to indicate the mode and battery level.
The flashlight is compatible with all kinds of mounts, including a hand strap, a ball mount, a Locline mount, a YS mount, and a D-ring kit.
BigBlue Beam Dive Video Light
- 4200 lumen underwater flashlight
- 120° extra-wide beam
- 4 power levels
- Includes a 1″ ball mount, yellow filter, and dry bag
The BigBlue Beam Dive video light is an awesome choice if you want something with serious shining power. With 4200 lumens and a 120° extra-wide beam, you can light up even the darkest underwater caves with this flashlight. It’s also pretty compact compared to how brightly it can shine.
There are four different power levels that you can adjust with the push button. There’s also a helpful battery indicator to make it easy to see how much battery life remains. The anodized aluminum flashlight Comes with a 1″ ball mount, yellow filter, and dry bag.
While the video light is powerful, its battery life isn’t as long as some other models. The light comes with a rechargeable Li-ion 32650 battery that gives you 1.5 hours of runtime on the highest setting.
Underwater Kinetics Dive Light
- Pistol grip dive flashlight
- 2100 lumens
- Waterproof to 150 meters
- Triple high intensity LED array for maximum brightness
Pistol grip underwater flashlights generally provide bigger, more powerful underwater beams. They’re easy to hold onto and control.
This light has 2100 lumens on the high setting and 900 lumens when it’s on low. If it’s on high, the burn time is two hours. If it’s on low, the flashlight will last around 5.5 hours.
The fully rechargeable battery is airline safe to make travel easy. There are triple high-density LED lights for maximum brightness, and the flashlight can also reach an impressive depth of 150 meters.
Light & Motion Sola 1200 Combo Kit
- Includes sola 1200 S/F and GoBe S 500 spot dive lights
- A combo kit for hands-free primary and secondary light
- Depth rated to 100 meters
- 70 – 280 minute runtime
This underwater flashlight dive combo kit is a great choice if you want primary and secondary light. The kit includes a 1200 lumen flood beam (60 degrees) and a 500-lumen spot dive light (12 degrees). Using this combo kit lets you perfectly adjust your lighting for any dive conditions.
Both lights offer hands-free use and are super compact. The sola flood beam attaches to the wrist, and the GoBe spot light lends itself well to being clipped on a BCD. And although this secondary beam is small, it’s still a powerful and versatile light in its own right.
The lights can reach a depth of 100 meters, and have a maximum run time of 280 minutes on the low settings.
Orcatorch Scuba Dive Canister Light
- 2700 lumens
- Adjustable rotary goodman handle
- 78° wide beam
- Depth rated up to 150 meters
This primary canister dive light combines a high-intensity light strength with a compact design. With a maximum of 2700 lumens, the underwater flashlight offers more than enough brightness for most divers. The light beam distance reaches 260 meters on land.
A cool feature is the switch which can be locked when rotated 90 degrees. This makes it easier to operate while preventing you from accidentally turning on the light. This flashlight uses four rechargeable Li-ion batteries and has three different output modes.
SEAC LED Portable Scuba Diving Light
- 900 lumens
- 2 to 4 hours run time
- Depth rated up to 100 meters
- Ultra-portable flashlight design
With a maximum of 900 lumens, this isn’t the brightest underwater flashlight. However, it’s extremely portable and convenient to use while diving.
This light has three different modes, including an intermittent flash function. It will run for two hours at maximum power, or for four hours on the lowest setting. The flashlight comes with a rechargeable Li-ion battery.
Light & Motion SOLA Dive 800 S/F Underwater Light
- 800-lumen flood and 500-lumen spot dive light
- 60-degree flood and 12-degree spot
- Includes ergonomic hand strap
- Depth rated to 100 meters
This underwater flashlight by Light & Motion is small, compact, and convenient. The light includes two modes – an 800-lumen flood and a 500-lumen spot dive light. The flood has a 60-degree angle and the spot has a 12-degree angle. You get total accuracy when using this light, and can easily adjust them to suit your diving conditions.
The small light comes with a comfortable hand strap, so you don’t have to worry about keeping hold of them. The light has three power settings per mode and has a regulated output so the light won’t dim.
Underwater Kinetics Light Cannon eLED
- 1100 lumens on high, 440 lumens on low
- 20 hour maximum run time
- Dovetail handle with pistol or lantern grip
- Tough, non-corroding build
This is a powerful underwater flashlight that offers an impressive light beam and run time. When at full power, the light shines at 1100 lumens. When on low, the light shines at 440 lumens. It has a 20 hour run time on low, and a 16 hour run time on high.
This is impressive, but it requires a lot of batteries to charge this potent light. You need eight c-cell alkaline batteries, which are not included with the torch. The light comes in a lantern grip style, and can be configured into a pistol grip shape.
You can also attach a photo arm to this flashlight. It may not be the most compact or lightweight dive light, but it’s powerful and long-lasting.
Orcatorch D550 Scuba Dive Light
- 1000 lumens maximum output
- Small and convenient flashlight design
- Includes 3 modes
- Depth rated to 150 meters
For such a compact flashlight, you’ll be surprised at how brightly it shines. It has a maximum strength of 1000 lumens for a super bright white underwater beam. This is split across three modes – high, low, and strobe.
The torch is easy to operate underwater with a totally sealed and controlled tail switch. The underwater flashlight comes with a wrist strap for convenient use while diving. The light also comes with a stainless steel bolt snap, a lanyard, spare O-rings, and a tool case.
Underwater Kinetics Aqualite Underwater Flashlight
- 600 lumens spot dive light
- Narrow 20° spot beam
- 3 Power settings
- Maximum battery life of 13 hours
This is one of the most compact and convenient dive torches available. It’s super lightweight and is easily controlled by the rear power button. The light comes with a wrist mount for easy hands-free use.
And for such a compact light, you still get good power. The light has a maximum of 600 lumens with a narrow 20-degree spot beam. It’s a convenient torch for most diving conditions.
The adjustable power button lets you change between three different power settings. At its lowest setting, the torch has a maximum battery life of 13 hours. The torch is rechargeable with a USB charging port. You couldn’t find an underwater flashlight that’s easier to travel with.
You should never go diving without an underwater flashlight. It will help you see so much more underwater, even if you’re diving in broad daylight. And if you’re planning a night dive or want to film underwater, then a flashlight is essential.
All of the torches listed above are great options for all kinds of divers Whether you need a compact beam or a powerful floodlight, these are some of the best underwater flashlights to choose from.
What is the brightest underwater flashlight?
Some underwater flashlights can have up to 10000 lumens, but this is not necessary for most divers. A 4200-lumen underwater flashlight, like the BigBlue Beam Dive Video Light, offers incredible brightness for all kinds of divers.
How bright should a scuba torch be?
This depends on your requirements and the type of diving you’re going to do. Underwater light should have an output of at least 200 lumens, although most good dive lights start at around 600 lumens. 1000 lumens is enough for most recreational divers.
How bright is 1000 lumens underwater?
1000 lumens offers plenty of brightness for the average recreational diver. Lights with 1000 lumens are very bright, and you probably won’t need anything more than this in good visibility water.