We’re pretty big fans of solar lights for several reasons. They don’t waste polluting batteries, save money over their lifespan, tend to be light, and are extremely convenient. But the biggest advantage of this genre is also the biggest weakness: solar lights require the sun to charge. You know, when there’s light outside. Exactly when you don’t need any extra light. If you forget to recharge before the sun goes down (which is probably more likely than actually remembering to), you’re out of luck. Thankfully, the Solar LED Flashlight from Energizer won’t leave you in the dark.
This little lifesaver can be powered by two of the more reliable sources of energy on this earth: solar power and muscle power. Alongside the solar panel running across the side is a small, recessed crank. The handle is designed so that it is pretty easy to engage into the charging position, but not so loose that it causes problems by constantly moving around. Exactly opposite of the crank handle is the simple on/off button, with the nice touch of being rubberized and large enough to easily find in the dark. At the tail is a sturdy carabiner, making it convenient to loop onto a backpack so your light source is charging before you even think about slowing down, while the rugged exterior prevents any damage. Five hours of direct sunlight will provide up to two hours of light, and every minute of cranking will provide four minutes of power. Output is a modest 13 lumens. The Solar LED Flashlight wasn’t designed to be a spotlight or pick out the thing that just went bump in the night from 400 feet away (chill, it was just a squirrel), but instead to be the go-to light for everything around your home and campsite.
Given my penchant for preparing for the end of the world and trying to enjoy parts of it while it’s still here, this light seemed a perfect fit. The balance between practicality for everyday use and being the ideal emergency flashlight was immediately obvious. Searching a dark closet, finding a lost shoe under the bed, and letting my 2-year old use it as a toy as well as dodging doggy landmines in the yard and navigating through brush at night were all done with ease. For most basic tasks like this, I wouldn’t ever need more light then the Solar LED provides. And on the couple of occasions where I forgot to charge the flashlight after using it a good deal, the crank feature was a lifesaver. The handle is fairly small, but it doesn’t take much getting used to before it becomes second nature. I was pleased with this light, and it’s new home is clipped onto the outside of our family 72-hour kit. When we aren’t using it, anyway.
Relatively small and lightweight, an inexhaustible power source, easy operation, and a color that is very easy to see (whether you’re looking for your flashlight or emergency personnel are looking for you) all combine to make this a great choice. If you’re looking for a super powerful beacon to pierce the darkness, this isn’t it. As a practical, convenient, and dead-useful flashlight that could become an enormous resource in an emergency, however, the Energizer LED Flashlight is ideal. Especially when you consider you can pick one up for around $16 (it pays to shop around). Check out the Energizer website for their other lighting products.