It might be frightening to be alone in the dark when the lights go out, whether you are secure at home or on a camping vacation. The issue can worsen if there aren’t any candles to light or batteries to power a regular flashlight. However, you can use a hand-crank flashlight to light up the area so that you can either work to fix the issue or get ready to ride out the current scenario.
You generate electricity by rotating the flashlight’s crank using kinetic energy, allowing it to run with just a tiny bit of extra work from you. A built-in radio, a seatbelt cutter, or a window-breaking tool are just a few extra features that some hand-crank flashlights have. If you need assistance choosing the best hand-crank flashlight for your emergency pack, look at the top products below.
Want to read more about hand crank tools we’re loving? Check them out here!
Why Choose a Hand Crank Flashlight Instead of an Electric One?
I get it, electric flashlights are more convenient, AND you don’t have to crank them. However, hand crank flashlights have a ton of benefits as well. First of all, hand crank flashlights last forever. Seriously. Every time my parents lose power, they get out the same hand crank flashlight—one they’ve had since I was a child.
Secondly, you never need to worry about a battery dying and being stuck in the dark. This has happened to me on a couple car camping trips. Now, I bring a hand crank flashlight that I never have to worry about. It’s always there for any type of emergency situation.
What To Consider When Buying a Hand Crank Flashlight:
Hand-crank flashlights may appear to be an old-fashioned product in the modern world. Still, this perceived weakness is a strength since it enables users to recharge the flashlight and produce their own illumination without needing batteries or electrical connections. Read on to learn vital factors to consider while looking for the finest hand-crank flashlight, including size and weight, robustness, brightness, and numerous other crucial aspects.
If a hand-crank flashlight is only used in a home emergency kit, size and weight aren’t major issues. However, size and weight should be considered if the flashlight will be utilized on camping excursions, treks, or even as an emergency device in the automobile. A hand-crank flashlight typically measures 6 inches by 1 inch by 2 inches, though this can vary significantly depending on the extra features.
The size of a hand-crank flashlight that has solar panels, charging ports, built-in radios, or any other additions will be more than a typical hand-crank flashlight. These multipurpose devices are also heavier and sometimes too large to fit comfortably in a vehicle’s console or glove box. But in a power outage at home, where the flashlight’s size is less important, these other capabilities are really helpful.
Longevity and Reliability
The last thing you want in an emergency is a delicate flashlight that may be shattered by a few bumps or a hefty drop in a backpack. Emergencies require dependable equipment, devices, and supplies to ensure that you and yours are safe and secure. To be sure that the hand crank flashlight is manufactured with sturdy, durable material, such as ABS plastic, look for items that specify resistance to impact damage and abrasions.
Also, think about whether dropping the flashlight in a river will ruin it or if it is water-resistant. Another component that must be durable to resist frequent use is the hand crank. Otherwise, the user won’t be able to charge the flashlight, rendering it useless.
Some hand-crank flashlights have built-in radios, making them more prepared to handle emergency scenarios. If there is no available power source, having a radio that doesn’t require batteries or an electrical connection can save your life. People can prepare for impending storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes by listening to real-time weather updates, including the emergency broadcast system.
Radios are amusing devices that may pass the time during a power outage and be used for purposes other than emergency survival. They’re also a great tool for a camping trip because they let you and your party enjoy the outdoors while listening to radio shows, talk shows, or popular music.
Depending on the particular device, the brightness level of a hand-crank flashlight is measured in lumens, with an average brightness level ranging from 8 to 150 lumens. For comparison, a typical cell phone flashlight typically produces around 10 lumens, whereas an incandescent light bulb can produce roughly 800 lumens. It is uncommon to find hand-crank flashlights that provide more light than 300 lumens. They are often designed for standard use in emergencies.
Larger devices may also have lantern illumination, USB charging ports, and other bulkier features. This is to provide more light than smaller hand-crank flashlights that are made to fit in a pocket or hang from a clip. A flashlight with between 100 and 200 lumens is a good choice because it can illuminate a sizable area to handle or be ready for an emergency.
A hand-crank flashlight’s internal battery will determine how long it will last. The number of times a flashlight can be recharged ties directly to its performance. Typically, in hand-crank flashlights, rechargeable Ni-MH or lithium-ion batteries with lengthy run periods of between two and forty-eight hours are used. On average, these batteries can withstand 500 to 1,000 charges before they start to degrade.
Other hand-crank flashlights, however, employ capacitors instead of batteries, which store less energy but have a longer lifespan (up to 500,000 recharges). This makes them a perfect choice for emergency packs or everyday camping gear. The energy output of a hand-crank flashlight also affects how long it will operate. In contrast, small, pocket-size flashlights can operate much longer, and powerful lights quickly deplete batteries.
Solar panels, USB charging ports, seatbelt cutters, window smashes, and SOS signals are among the many extra features of hand crank flashlights. These additions either make them easier to operate or are just more practical.
- Solar Compatibility: Some flashlights can be charged using solar power and the hand crank. For these, the internal battery of the flashlight can be charged by leaving it out in the sun. This innovation saves time and labor by eliminating the need to turn the hand crank.
- USB Compatibility: The lamp can double as a battery for portable electronics like smartphones and tablets, thanks to USB charging banks. Just turn it on and start it up. For use in an emergency, you simply need to recharge it by at least 10 percent. Alternatively, attempt to obtain a greater charge to keep using your devices for pleasure and other purposes.
- Emergency Equipment: Despite being a vast category, emergency equipment often contain straightforward additions that don’t significantly increase the flashlight’s size. In some situations, these features are vital, like a seatbelt cutter or window hammer, designed to aid passengers in ejecting themselves from a car. Additionally, SOS signals are frequently included in lighting controls so that, even in low light, a flashlight can call for assistance from a distance.
The Best Hand Crank Flashlights for Off Grid Living
Research may be necessary to choose the best hand-crank flashlight, but the models on our list are well-made and have useful features. Priority in an emergency is durability, recharge capacity, brightness, and extra functions. To be better prepared, consider these possibilities while looking for a hand-crank flashlight.
The hand-crank flashlight from DaringSnail has all the characteristics you’d expect from one, plus a few additions that make it a lifesaver in an emergency. The flashlight has four different ways to charge it: a lithium-ion battery that can be changed, a foldable hand crank, a USB charger, and an integrated solar panel for quick charging while the sun is out.
The hand-crank flashlight also contains a built-in radio with seven pre-programmed weather channels and a telescoping antenna for clearer transmission. It includes three light-level options, including a combined beam with a maximum of 135 lumens, a combined beam with a maximum of 135 lumens, and a far beam with a maximum of 75 lumens. Even better, it contains a motion detector that turns on a tiny reading lamp for 30 seconds so users may move silently through a busy tent to reach the exit.
With the carabiner clip on its base, this inexpensive hand-crank flashlight is easily tucked into a pocket or fastened to a belt loop or backpack. It has one lighting setting, which can generate 8 lumens or roughly the same brightness as a typical smartphone flashlight. This amount of light is sufficient for most flashlight applications, such as finding first aid supplies in the dark or even bandaging wounds in an emergency.
The hand-crank flashlight has a solar panel integrated into the design for hands-free charging throughout the day and a straightforward hand crank that folds into the flashlight’s body when not in use. The hand crank has a respectable conversion efficiency; it can recharge the internal Ni-MH battery in about 6 minutes and produce an hour’s worth of light.
Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight, Lantern, and USB
This waterproof hand-crank flashlight has three light settings: a floodlight, spotlight, and red lights for emergency signaling. It may be used both inside and outside. The hand-crank flashlight can emit up to 250 lumens of light at its brightest, roughly 100 lumens more than a typical flashlight. This practical device contains a cutting-edge lithium-ion rechargeable battery to store the generated energy and a USB interface for charging mobile devices like phones.
The hand-crank flashlight can easily absorb energy in direct sunshine thanks to the solar panel incorporated right into it. When completely charged, the flashlight has a 7-hour runtime with the top-mounted floodlight and a 48-hour runtime with the red emergency light.
This ThorFire hand crank flashlight is an excellent option because it features a built-in solar panel. This is great for people who require an efficient emergency hand-crank flashlight but don’t like repeatedly spinning the handle to create electricity for everyday use. The flashlight has a full-length solar panel that allows it to collect solar energy and recharge its internal Ni-MH battery.
This hand-crank flashlight can endure being submerged in up to 45 feet of water because of its outstanding IPX6 waterproof rating. It has three lighting options that can be used to call for assistance: high beam, low beam, and flashing.
Take emergency preparedness seriously with the hand-crank flashlight from LUXON that includes a variety of instruments for escaping a dangerous scenario. It contains an integrated window hammer with a sharp tip designed for swiftly and effectively shattering car windows so that trapped occupants can flee. Additionally, it contains a seatbelt cutter that can quickly free stuck or damaged seat belts.
The flashlight may be charged with kinetic energy using this hand-crank device. It can also charge several mobile devices via the USB outlet, enabling the user to connect a phone and call for assistance. The flashlight has a built-in magnet that may be used to fasten it to the car’s hood or roof. The flashlight can be installed and turned into red SOS light to call for assistance.
This cutting-edge hand-crank flashlight includes a solar panel, three charging connections, an internal rechargeable Ni-MH battery, optional AA batteries, and a hand crank to provide constant power. It has an integrated emergency radio with access to the public emergency alert system and seven pre-programmed NOAA weather channels for breaking news, 24/7 real-time forecasts, and weather information.
This hand-crank flashlight is equipped with a small reading lamp, a red SOS beacon, and a primary LED light to illuminate the campsite. Connecting a cell phone or tablet to an integrated charging port is helpful. This flashlight’s ABS outer frame is water- and impact-resistant, making it ideal for shielding the internal parts during a strenuous trip or portage.
I get it. After reading about the capabilities available on many hand-crank flashlights, you might still have some unanswered questions. The most frequently asked questions about these flashlights are answered in the section below.
Can hand crank flashlights work without electricity?
Hand-crank flashlights are made to function in emergency situations without using batteries, power connections, or solar panels. However, they still need kinetic energy, created by turning the hand crank, to produce light.
How long do hand crank flashlights typically last?
With regular use, a hand-crank flashlight will normally survive for three to four years. However, I know many people with hand crank flashlights that still work from their childhood (that’s 10+ years). Its lifespan can be increased by making sure it is never stored in extremely hot or cold conditions, which might harm the battery’s capacity.
How many lumens should your flashlight have?
A flashlight typically produces 100 lumens of light. An improved flashlight is possible, with some battery-operated models having a 1,000-lumen maximum output. However, even a hand-crank flashlight with only 8 lumens can be useful in an emergency.