Reviews

LAST UPDATED: October 8, 2019

Best Mechanic Flashlights: Illuminate Your Work Space 

Use these mechanic flashlights to create high-visibility working situations

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    13 Reviews

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PUBLISHED ON October 8, 2019

Forget the older large and heavy flashlights that don’t allow you to multitask when working in your garage. Most modern flashlights are compact enough to fit in your pocket and are bright enough to help you see everything under your car’s hood. However, buying a flashlight isn’t as straightforward as it seems. There’s a process for determining the best option that will work for your profession. We will help you pick out a few options in the buying guide below.

  • Best Overall
    INFRAY LED Pen Light Flashlight
    INFRAY LED Pen Light Flashlight
    Summary
    Summary
    A super bright flashlight with an unbreakable aircraft-grade construction.
    Pros
    Pros
    Ultra-compact design. It can attach to a key chain. Rainproof. Abrasion and corrosion-resistant. It offers up to 14 hours of consistent lighting. Great 230-feet beam distance.
    Cons
    Cons
    May wear out the installed batteries fast. Can get hot if used for long on the highest setting.
  • Best Overall
    INFRAY LED Pen Light Flashlight
    INFRAY LED Pen Light Flashlight
  • Best Value
    Coast Inspection LED Flashlight
    Coast Inspection LED Flashlight
    Summary
    Summary
    An inexpensive LED penlight that’s small enough to fit in a pocket.
    Pros
    Pros
    Bright beam. Great illuminating distance. Convenient rear switch system and pocket clip. Water-resistant. Compact and easy to use. Good battery life.
    Cons
    Cons
    The button may not always work. Fragile construction. Not long-lasting.
  • Best Value
    Coast Inspection LED Flashlight
    Coast Inspection LED Flashlight
  • Honorable Mention
    Streamlight Stinger LED Flashlight
    Streamlight Stinger LED Flashlight
    Summary
    Summary
    A rechargeable flashlight that offers a 50,000-hour lifetime.
    Pros
    Pros
    Lightweight. High lumen flashlight. It features three lighting modes. Water and impact-resistant. Scratch-resistant.  Features an anti-slip rubber grip. Has an anti-roll head. Respectable beam distance.
    Cons
    Cons
    Expensive. The switch may fail. The battery may die with frequent use.
  • Honorable Mention
    Streamlight Stinger LED Flashlight
    Streamlight Stinger LED Flashlight

    Forget the older large and heavy flashlights that don’t allow you to multitask when working in your garage. Most modern flashlights are compact enough to fit in your pocket and are bright enough to help you see everything under your car’s hood. However, buying a flashlight isn’t as straightforward as it seems. There’s a process for determining the best option that will work for your profession. We will help you pick out a few options in the buying guide below.

    Best Mechanic Flashlights Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    Nobody wants to be burdened with a heavy flashlight, especially when you need to use it for a long time. This is why the Infray penlight flashlight tops our list. It has a slim profile that’s only 5.7 inches long. It's made from an anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum construction with a scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens. The unit offers three light modes: high, medium, and low. On the high setting, it emits 220 lumens of light, which is enough to cover 230 feet for seven hours. On the low setting, it can run for 14 hours.


    You can zoom the beam for more focus or to increase the length of the light. It’s IPX4 waterproof rated and will, therefore, come in handy for unexpected breakdowns in the middle of a heavy downpour. In addition, it comes with a convenient clip for securing it on a keychain or your breast pocket. The LED bulb has a lifespan of 80,000 hours and runs on two AAA batteries.


    Unfortunately, there are a few nagging issues with this model. One is that it can overheat when used on the highest setting for over an hour. Also, the battery life may be shorter than expected when used on the highest setting.

    Best Value

    Looking at the small size and the price, you are likely to underestimate the Coast G20 but it’s a handy item for illuminating tight spaces. It emits a uniform, narrow inspection beam to help you see every detail of hard-to-reach areas. When it comes to the design, it features a durable aluminum body that’s IPX4-rated for water resistance and can survive a 3.3-foot drop. Also, it can illuminate a 65-foot beam distance. 


    It has an ergonomic rear switch system, and you can secure it in your pocket with the help of its adjustable clip for the next time you need to use it. In addition, it runs on two AAA alkaline batteries, which provide a 2.5-hour runtime. Also, you have several colors to choose from, including red, blue, and green. 

     

    There are a few drawbacks to this model. First, it isn’t rechargeable, and you’d have to keep replacing the batteries if you have to use it for more than an hour daily. Also, at times, the power button may jam. Moreover, despite the aluminum construction, the body and lens can still get damaged if it's dropped. 

    Honorable Mention

    A staggering 50,000 hours of runtime is what you get from this compact flashlight. Therefore, it’s not only good for mechanics but also for outdoor enthusiasts. Its long lifespan is exceeded only by its durable construction made from anodized aluminum with a rubberized grip. The lens is made from polycarbonate with a scratch-resistant coating. It's IPX4-rated for water resistance and can survive a 3.3-foot drop. It can also survive extreme temperature changes, being mishandled, or being left on ice. 


    Using C4 LED Technology, it emits a brilliant light with three intensity modes: high produces 800 lumens for 1.5 hours, medium operates at 400 lumens for 2.5 hours, and low produces 200 lumens for five hours. It can also emit a strobe light for signaling for three hours. Also, a rubberized coating helps to maintain a comfortable, anti-slip grip. 


    However, we noted some complaints about how fast the battery drains with frequent, extended use. Also, the switch may stop working with frequent use. Moreover, it’s more expensive than most standard flashlights.

    Why Trust Us


    All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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    Benefits of Mechanic Flashlights 

    • Reliable lighting. For complicated projects where you need to work under a vehicle or the hood, a flashlight will work better for focusing the light on the workspace. You can hold it at any angle to get a better view. 
    • Make roadside repairs with ease. In the past, you may have relied on the light from your phone for random roadside repairs. However, it gets hard trying to balance your phone while repairing your vehicle. Mechanical flashlights are small enough to fit in your mouth, and some come with a magnetic base, swiveling hook, or headband to help keep your hands free as you work. 
    • Illuminate pathways at night. You can use the flashlight to illuminate parking garages, home doorways, footpaths, and driveways at night to reduce the risk of falling and injuring yourself in dimly lit paths. 
    • Take it anywhere. You can use it for other purposes besides mechanic work. You can hang it on your keychain and have it on hand whenever you need to illuminate a car lock or go camping. 
    • Find missing objects. It’s easier to find a small nut in your toolbox with the help of a flashlight. Also, it will come in handy for finding a small tool in a messy trunk or one that has rolled under your work table. 

    Types of Mechanic Flashlights 

    Tactical 

    Tactical flashlights are designed to handle the abuse of a harsh outdoor environment. As a result, it’s typically associated with military use. However, tactical flashlights are now available for civilians and are popular for their durability; they can withstand accidental drops and are corrosion-resistant, waterproof, and flame-resistant. They can also be used as a weapon due to the strong military-grade construction. 

    Standard

    Standard or regular flashlights come in many designs, but most have compact, ABS plastic or cheap aluminum bodies. Most peak at only 100 lumens, which is enough to cover about 10 feet. They are not meant to withstand abuse or harsh outdoor environments. Therefore, they have to be replaced often. 

    Top Brands

    Streamlight 

    Since its inception in 1973, Streamlight remains dedicated to offering the best lighting solutions to first responders and sporting and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s headquartered in Eagleville, Pa. Some of its products include headlamps, handheld flashlights, weapon-mounted lights, and work lights. Check out the Streamlight Stinger LED Flashlight, which is one of its best-rated flashlights. 

    CAT  

    CAT is an American Fortune 100 corporation and one of the apex producers of construction, mining, and lighting equipment that has been around for more than 85 years. It’s a family-owned company that’s headquartered in Illinois. Its lighting products use the latest LED technology and industrial-grade material. Try out the CAT CT1000, which is a high-quality mechanic work light with a magnetic base. 

    GearLight 

    GearLight offers reliable and affordable LED lighting products that are designed at its headquarters in Southern California. Some of the products include tactical flashlights, bike tail lights, headlamps, camping lanterns, and safety lights. One of its best-selling mechanic flashlights is the GearLight S100 LED Pocket Pen Knife.

    Coast 

    Coast has more than 50 years of experience making LED lighting and cutting tools suitable for workers who put in more than 60 hours a week. Its lighting collections include rechargeable, battery-powered, and tactical flashlights. Some of its top products include the Coast G20 Inspection LED Flashlight and the Coast 7839 Nano Tac LED Flashlight.

    Mechanic Flashlight Pricing

    • Under $20: Expect to mostly find EDC flashlights with less than 500 lumens within this price range. Most are compact penlights that can fit on a keychain. They typically have a button at the rear end to make it easy to switch it on with your thumb. Also, most have a rubberized finish to reduce the risk of accidental drops. 
    • $20 and up: Typically, the prices of the flashlights go higher with the increase in lumen count, so expect to find heavy-duty tactical flashlights that can offer up to 1,000 lumens within this price range. Also, the flashlights carry more user-friendly features to mechanics like a magnetic base, corrosion-resistant housing, and multitools with screwdrivers. 

    Key Features

    Size

    Most mechanic flashlights have a standard size that is about 6 inches long, but you can get a larger size if you’d like to use it for other outdoor activities. However, we recommend going for the smaller penlights, since they don’t strain your hand and can be held with your mouth to leave your hands free.

    Lumens 

    What matters most is how well the flashlight can illuminate your workspace—its level of brightness. The higher the lumens, the brighter the flashlight will be. However, you should note that more lumens shorten the battery's run time. For mechanic work in dimly lit spaces, anything above 50 lumens will suffice. However, if you plan to use it outdoors, you could go as high as 1,000 lumens. 

    Beam Distance 

    You need to consider how far and wide the flashlight can shine depending on where you need to use it. You may need a spotlight to focus the light on a tight space or a wider beam to get a full view of the engine parts. This is why we recommend going for a model with a zoomable focus for the versatility it offers. 

    Other Considerations

    • Power Source: There are rechargeable flashlights and ones that run on batteries. If you don’t want to run to the store every time your batteries die, you should get a rechargeable option. However, the latter can let you down when you get an extended power blackout. 
    • Durability: With your hands greasy, you can expect to drop your tools occasionally. Therefore, you should select a model that’s sturdy enough to survive the drop. Anodized aluminum is a strong material that will protect the internal components from damage in case the flashlight accidentally falls.  

    Best Mechanic Flashlights Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall
    INFRAY LED Pen Light Flashlight

    Nobody wants to be burdened with a heavy flashlight, especially when you need to use it for a long time. This is why the Infray penlight flashlight tops our list. It has a slim profile that’s only 5.7 inches long. It's made from an anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum construction with a scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens. The unit offers three light modes: high, medium, and low. On the high setting, it emits 220 lumens of light, which is enough to cover 230 feet for seven hours. On the low setting, it can run for 14 hours.


    You can zoom the beam for more focus or to increase the length of the light. It’s IPX4 waterproof rated and will, therefore, come in handy for unexpected breakdowns in the middle of a heavy downpour. In addition, it comes with a convenient clip for securing it on a keychain or your breast pocket. The LED bulb has a lifespan of 80,000 hours and runs on two AAA batteries.


    Unfortunately, there are a few nagging issues with this model. One is that it can overheat when used on the highest setting for over an hour. Also, the battery life may be shorter than expected when used on the highest setting.

    Best Value
    Coast G20 Inspection LED Flashlight

    Looking at the small size and the price, you are likely to underestimate the Coast G20 but it’s a handy item for illuminating tight spaces. It emits a uniform, narrow inspection beam to help you see every detail of hard-to-reach areas. When it comes to the design, it features a durable aluminum body that’s IPX4-rated for water resistance and can survive a 3.3-foot drop. Also, it can illuminate a 65-foot beam distance. 


    It has an ergonomic rear switch system, and you can secure it in your pocket with the help of its adjustable clip for the next time you need to use it. In addition, it runs on two AAA alkaline batteries, which provide a 2.5-hour runtime. Also, you have several colors to choose from, including red, blue, and green. 

     

    There are a few drawbacks to this model. First, it isn’t rechargeable, and you’d have to keep replacing the batteries if you have to use it for more than an hour daily. Also, at times, the power button may jam. Moreover, despite the aluminum construction, the body and lens can still get damaged if it's dropped. 

    Honorable Mention
    Streamlight Stinger LED Flashlight

    A staggering 50,000 hours of runtime is what you get from this compact flashlight. Therefore, it’s not only good for mechanics but also for outdoor enthusiasts. Its long lifespan is exceeded only by its durable construction made from anodized aluminum with a rubberized grip. The lens is made from polycarbonate with a scratch-resistant coating. It's IPX4-rated for water resistance and can survive a 3.3-foot drop. It can also survive extreme temperature changes, being mishandled, or being left on ice. 


    Using C4 LED Technology, it emits a brilliant light with three intensity modes: high produces 800 lumens for 1.5 hours, medium operates at 400 lumens for 2.5 hours, and low produces 200 lumens for five hours. It can also emit a strobe light for signaling for three hours. Also, a rubberized coating helps to maintain a comfortable, anti-slip grip. 


    However, we noted some complaints about how fast the battery drains with frequent, extended use. Also, the switch may stop working with frequent use. Moreover, it’s more expensive than most standard flashlights.

    Tips

    • Try to use gloves every time you use your flashlight. That way, you will keep the gadget clean and less prone to the contamination that may degrade the outer construction. Also, avoid using your teeth to hold the light
    • Remove the batteries when you are done using the flashlight. The gadget may drain the batteries even when it's not switched on. Keep the batteries and flashlight in your toolbox for easy access the next time you need to work. 
    • Any kind of light is bad for your eyes if it’s directed at your face for a long time. LED flashlights cause irreparable damage to the retina. Remember to protect your eyes every time you are servicing, maintaining, or repairing your vehicle with the flashlight. 

    FAQs

    Q: Are LED lights better than Xenon bulbs?

    A: LED bulbs are better since they are efficient and can last for up to 50,000 hours. They have no filaments, which break easily and reduce the lifespan of the bulbs. Xenon lamps produce a brighter light that mimics natural sunlight, and for that reason they are less energy-efficient and don’t last as long. 

    Q: How long does an LED flashlight last?

    A: It depends on the quality of the flashlight and how often you use it. A well-maintained flashlight from a high-end brand can last up to 100,000 hours. LED lights can outlast any other flashlight, including incandescent bulbs. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations on how long the battery can last on low and full power.

    Q: Is there a way to prevent the flashlight battery from dying?

    A: Rechargeable batteries die from constantly charging the battery and prolonged use at a high power setting. You should charge a new battery overnight to get the maximum capacity of the battery and prolong its life. However, you shouldn’t make overcharging a trend, since it can significantly shorten the battery life. Only recharge the battery when its close to being fully discharged. 

    Final Thoughts

    Our top pick is the INFRAY LED Pen Light Flashlight. The material of the flashlight is great for working in open environments, and it has good battery timing. It’s also easy to carry around and is a great tool for professional mechanics on the move. 

    You could also consider the Coast Inspection LED Flashlight, which is a more affordable option.