When it comes to flashlights, versatility is the name of the game.

If you're carrying a button-cell keychain light, you can easily use it to search through your glovebox, but you can't illuminate far-away objects. On the other hand, a heavy-duty spotlight excels at long range, but good luck trying to use it to read a map without blinding yourself. There are handheld lights that occupy various positions along this spectrum, but all are compromises — a concentrated spot beam for long-distance throw, a wide floodlight for up-close uses, or a blend of the two for intermediate ranges.

This dilemma led to the development of beam-focusing flashlights, which feature a lens or reflector that moves independently from the light source to adjust the beam pattern. By pushing or twisting the bezel, these lights can transition smoothly between floodlight and spotlight beams, and can be used effectively at almost any distance.

We've come a long way from the big D-cell incandescent flashlights with rotating bezels that mostly scattered light rather than focusing it. Modern lenses and reflector arrays make the most of the light output, limiting the drawbacks compared to a fixed-bezel design.

Follow along as we shed some light on the pros and cons of these beam-focusing flashlights.

Beam-Focusing Flashlights

  • Coast TX7R

    Make & Model - Coast TX7R
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - 325 lumens
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - 7.5 hours \ Minimum Length
    Maximum Length - 6.4 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 7.7 ounces
    Battery Type - 3.7V 24400mAh lithium-ion (two, included) or AAA (four, included)
    Controls - Push-button tail cap switch with momentary-on and constant-on modes
    Output Modes - High, strobe
    Special Features - Long-Range slide-focusing optic with rubberized grip ring, micro-USB charging port with protective sliding collar, weather-resistant, dual-battery compatibility, soft fabric and hard nylon belt holsters, wall-mount holster, wrist lanyard, wall and 12V car chargers
    MSRP - $175
    URL - http://www.coastportland.com

    Coast states that this light was "specifically designed with law enforcement officers in mind."

  • Fenix FD30

    Make & Model - Fenix FD30
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - 900 lumens
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - 170 hours
    Minimum Length - 5.5 inches
    Maximum Length - 5.8 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 4.6 ounces
    Battery Type - 18650 lithium-ion (one, not included) or CR123 (two, not included)
    Controls - Push-button tail cap switch with momentary-on and constant-on modes, stainless steel side mode switch
    Output Modes - Turbo, high, medium, low, eco, strobe
    Special Features - Dual-reflector system with 360-degree twist-focus ring, removable pocket clip, fabric belt holster, wrist lanyard, dual-battery compatibility, IP68 waterproof to 2 meters, gun rail mounts and remote switches available separately
    MSRP - $75
    URL - http://www.fenixlight.com

    It's nothing short of impressive that Fenix managed to squeeze 900 lumens, an 18650 battery, and a focusing optic into a light this size.

  • Hausbell T6-D

    Make & Model - Hausbell T6-D
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - Unlisted
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - Unlisted
    Minimum Length - 6.5 inches
    Maximum Length - 7.2 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 7.4 ounces
    Battery Type - 18650 lithium-ion (one, not included) or AAA (three, not included)
    Controls - Push-button side switch (constant-on only)
    Output Modes - High, medium, low, strobe, SOS
    Special Features - Slide-focusing optic, wrist lanyard, bottle opener tail cap, glow-in-the-dark ring, dual-battery compatibility
    MSRP - $8
    URL - http://www.amazon.com

    We found this flashlight on Amazon.com for just $8. The listing describes its patented technology and so-called "Atomic Beam" — thankfully, it hasn't given us cancer ... yet.

  • Ledlenser L7

    Make & Model - Ledlenser L7
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - 100 lumens
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - 6 hours
    Minimum Length - 5.2 inches
    Maximum Length - 5.5 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 4.8 ounces
    Battery Type - AAA (three, included)
    Controls - Push-button tail cap switch with momentary-on and constant-on modes
    Output Modes - N/A
    Special Features - Advanced Focus System optic with reflector, wrist lanyard, IPX4 water-resistant, six AAA batteries included
    MSRP - $40
    URL - http://www.ledlenserusa.com

    With a 360-degree rotation of the head, the L7 adjusts from a dense spotlight to a broad floodlight.

  • Pelican 2380R

    Make & Model - Pelican 2380R
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - 305 lumens
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - 25 hours
    Minimum Length - 6.5 inches
    Maximum Length - 6.9 inches
    Weight with Batteries - 6.7 ounces
    Battery Type - 18650 (one, included) or CR123 (two, not included)
    Controls - Push-button tail cap switch with momentary-on and constant-on modes
    Output Modes - High, strobe, low
    Special Features - Slide-Beam dual reflectors, removable pocket clip, IPX7 waterproof, micro-USB charging port with protective rotating collar, charge status indicator LED, spacer sleeve for CR123 batteries
    MSRP - $110
    URL - http://www.pelican.com

    This beam-focusing light from Pelican feels rock-solid, with an all-aluminum body that's O-ring-sealed and IPX7 waterproof


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