Accomplishing tasks one-handed is often challenging — hence the phrase “with one hand tied behind my back.” Whether you're cleaning a gun, changing your truck's oil, or preparing dinner, simple undertakings can become frustrating ordeals if you can't use both hands. This reinforces the importance of hands-free lighting.

Without it, you may find yourself clenching the light in your teeth, balancing the light in a precarious position, or wishing you could grow a third hand that can hold the flashlight as you work.

In previous issues, we addressed three common forms of hands-free lights: headlamps (Issue 2), lanterns (Issue 6), and angle-head flashlights (Issue 15). In this issue, we focus on an often-overlooked fourth variety: magnetic lights. These magnetized flashlights can be indispensable in urban areas where metal surfaces abound. Snap one onto a toolbox, door frame, ceiling joist, handlebar, trunk lid, or the underside of a desk to quickly free up both of your hands. It's easy to adjust and re-aim the light as you work, and in an emergency, you can detach it in a swift motion without fiddling with clips or straps.

Due to their many uses in and around vehicles, it's common to find magnetic lights in auto parts stores. However, these lights aren't restricted to automotive use. In fact, you might be surprised how often they come in handy during your daily routine.

Magnetic Flashlights

  • Nightstick NSP-2422B Dual-Light

    Make & Model - Nightstick NSP-2422B Dual-Light
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - 130 lumen flashlight, 110 lumen floodlight
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - Flashlight: 9.5 hrs.; Floodlight: 10.5 hrs; Both: 5 hrs
    Overall Length - 7 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 6.7 oz.
    Battery Type - AA (three, included)
    Controls - Dual push-button switches
    Output Modes - Flashlight (momentary-on or constant-on), floodlight, or both
    Special Features - Polymer body with magnetic tail, built-in pocket/belt clip with magnet, crenellated bezel, wrist lanyard, IPX7 waterproof
    MSRP - $26
    URL - http://www.baycoproducts.com

    With two magnets, two LEDs, and two switches, the Dual-Light lives up to its name.

  • Olight S2 Baton

    Make & Model - Olight S2 Baton
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - 950 lumens
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - 60 days
    Overall Length - 4.06 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 3.5 oz.
    Battery Type - 18650 (one, not included) or CR123 (two, not included)
    Controls - Push-button switch, constant-on only
    Output Modes - Turbo, high, medium, low, moonlight, strobe
    Special Features - Magnetic tail cap, TIR lens, 3- or 9-minute shut-off timer, removable pocket clip, wrist lanyard, IPX8 waterproof
    MSRP - $50
    URL - http://www.olightworld.com

    At the business end of this light, there's a CREE XM-L2 / U3 LED mounted behind a polymethyl methacrylate total internal reflection lens.

  • Pelican 2365 Flex-Neck

    Make & Model - Pelican 2365 Flex-Neck
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - 65 lumens
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - 7 hrs.
    Overall Length - 21.9 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 9.2 oz.
    Battery Type - AA (two, not included)
    Controls - Push-button tail cap with momentary-on and constant-on modes
    Output Modes - N/A
    Special Features - 14-inch flexible neck, removable magnetic mount
    MSRP - $59
    URL - http://www.pelican.com

    This light's signature feature is its 2-foot-long flexible neck, which contorts like a crazy straw to provide illumination at any angle.

  • Streamlight Knucklehead 90627

    Make & Model - Streamlight Knucklehead 90627
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - 200 lumens
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - 20 days
    Overall Length - 9.2 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 23.1 oz.
    Battery Type - 4.8v 1800mAh NiCad rechargeable (one, included) or AA (four, not included)
    Controls - Push-button switch, constant-on only
    Output Modes - High, low, moonlight, flashing
    Special Features - Yellow or black polymer body, dual-LED flood beam, adjustable head with 210-degree articulation and 360-degree rotation, side-mounted magnet, retractable hang hook, optional rechargeable battery with charging cradle and wall/car adapters
    MSRP - $262 as tested with charger, $146 for AA-only model
    URL - http://www.streamlight.com

    The side-mounted magnet on this light ships with a warning label and protective cover — probably for the best given the claimed 135-pound pull strength.

  • SureFire Y300 Ultra

    Make & Model - SureFire Y300 Ultra
    Claimed Maximum Brightness - 500 lumens
    Claimed Maximum Runtime - 45 hrs.
    Overall Length - 3.6 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 4.4 oz. without clip
    Battery Type - CR123 (two, included)
    Controls - Ambidextrous toggle switch; press for momentary, twist for constant
    Output Modes - High, low
    Special Features - Magnetic base, magnetic belt clip with parallel or 90-degree mounting, removable metal two-way pocket clip, made in the USA
    MSRP - $295
    URL - http://www.surefire.com

    If you've ever used a SureFire pistol light, you may be experiencing deja vu.


Prepare Now:

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