Last updated: August 8, 2021

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Whether for geocaching, checking banknotes or in the hygiene sector - a flashlight is essential for many of these tasks. But which one is the right one for the respective area? Are there also low-priced versions that are nevertheless of good quality? What are the most important purchase factors that I have to pay attention to?

We have compiled the most important information for you in our big flashlight test 2021. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best UV torch for you. We have compared the black light torch and the 2in1 LED torch with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages.




Summary

  • A UV torch is useful for many different situations. When buying a torch, you should always consider what you want to use it for. It is particularly useful for outdoor activities, cleaning and hygiene or for checking documents.
  • UV torches can basically be divided into two categories, namely the black light torch and the 2in1 LED (white light/black light) torch. The decision for one of these two types depends on your own needs and the desired application.
  • When buying a torch, you should base your decision mainly on the wavelength, intensity (brightness), range, handling (diameter), useful life and water resistance.

The Best Flashlight: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a flashlight

What is a flashlight/UV torch?

UV torches, or black light lamps, are a special type of torch. Their aim is not to shine as brightly as possible or to produce light, as is the case with conventional torches. Normal torches are used to find your way around in the dark, or to help you find something specific or to illuminate something more precisely, e.g. for repairs. UV torches, on the other hand, as the name suggests, produce UV light. This helps to make things like markings or substances visible to the human eye. With normal LED light, these things are invisible to humans and cannot be perceived with any sense.

UV Taschenlampe-2

UV torches are particularly suitable for making fluorescent substances glow and thus become visible in the dark, although the human eye would not be able to recognise them with normal light.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Andreas Dress)

Humans can perceive light with a wavelength of 380nm to 780nm.

Ultraviolet radiation, on the other hand, known as UV, ultraviolet radiation, UV light or black light for short, covers the wavelength range 100nm to 400nm. It is an electromagnetic radiation that is invisible to humans. Among other things, it makes white and neon colours glow in dark rooms.

For whom/what is a flashlight UV torch suitable?

The application possibilities of a UV torch are very versatile and larger than often assumed. It can be used in the private as well as in the professional sector. Among other things, the authenticity of banknotes and documents can be checked. But a UV torch is also frequently used in the field of hygiene and cleaning to check the cleanliness of objects in the dark, especially urine stains, blood or sperm. Especially on bed sheets, carpets or other textiles, hygiene deficiencies can be quickly detected with the help of the UV torch. UV torches are also used in the private sector for outdoor activities. Among other things, a UV torch is advantageous when geocaching at night, searching for amber or examining minerals.

What does a flashlight cost?

There is a wide price range between the different UV torches. Depending on the quality and size of the torch, the cost varies. The range goes from about 8 to 130 Euros. The price alone is not always decisive for the quality of the torch. Even a cheap UV torch can provide first-class performance. Nevertheless, the rule also applies to UV torches that the expensive products usually also have better performance.
Type Price range
Cheap models from 8€
Professional models up to 130€

For as little as 20 euros, you can get models that do well in comparative tests. If you need a lamp frequently, you should consider a professional UV torch, which can cost up to 130 euros. To make the right decision, you should ask yourself how important the use of the lamp is for you and how much money you are willing to spend on it. The price alone should not be the deciding factor, but you should also consider other factors and weigh up which torch offers the best price-performance ratio for you.

Is a flashlight / UV torch dangerous?

The effect of UV radiation depends on several factors, including intensity, distance and length of exposure.

It is important never to look directly into the LEDs of the torch. This is because the UV light from the lamp can damage the eyes. To protect against damage, protective goggles with suitable UV protection should be used for this reason. In addition, care should be taken not to shine the torch into the eyes of anyone else, whether it is a human being or an animal. Also, a UV torch should be kept away from children or should only be used under supervision in order to reduce danger.

What are the alternatives to a flashlight?

There are several alternatives to torches, but you should always consider what you want to use them for in order to make the right choice.
Type Description
Head torch Its advantage is that you don't have to hold it, so you have both hands free to do things.
Mobile phone torch For everyday use, the integrated torch on the mobile phone is often enough. In the meantime, however, there are also numerous apps that offer different torch functions for free or for a fee.
Searchlights These are more suitable for professional use. However, searchlights are much more expensive, larger and therefore more difficult to operate.
conventional UV torch For special outdoor activities or search tasks requiring UV light, you should go for the conventional UV torch, as it is more specific and can be used perfectly for your task due to its different ranges and brightness.

Decision: What types of UV torches are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy a UV torch, there are two alternatives you can choose between:

  • Black light torch
  • 2in1 LED torch

Both types have advantages and disadvantages in terms of use and handling. Depending on your own needs and the desired application, one of the two types is better suited for you. In the following section, we would like to make the decision easier for you and take a closer look at both torches and work out the advantages and disadvantages.

What distinguishes a black light torch and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The big advantage of the black light torch is the effect of the radiation. This is because fluorescent substances can be made to glow and thus become visible in the dark, although the human eye would not be able to recognise them in normal light. This makes them ideal for optical brightening / detection of counterfeits, the search for scorpions / repair tests / leak detection / urine trace detection / stain testing and detection of bacteria. The wide range of applications are used in both the private and professional sectors.

Advantages
  • Fluorescent effects visible
  • Long service life
  • Wide range of applications in the UV range
Disadvantages
  • Dangerous to the eye
  • Not helpful in the dark
  • Safety goggles required

What are the characteristics of a 2in1 LED (black light/white light) torch and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The 2in1 LED torch comes with white light and ultraviolet black light. This means that on the one hand things can be illuminated and on the other hand UV light can also be used. This makes it a reliable companion for trips into the wilderness, camping or at home. The 2in1 torch is a mobile light source for finding your way in the dark in an emergency. LED torches are ideal for everyday use as well as for professional use. LEDs offer better performance, they are significantly brighter and more robust than conventional light bulbs. The longer the waves, the more light is visible and the more the torch then also serves as a normal illuminant.

Advantages
  • Combination of UV light and white light
  • Wide range of uses
  • Robust, economical and long-lasting
  • Easy to use
Disadvantages
  • Wavelength (always 395nm)
  • Quality UV light
  • Dangerous to the eye and children
  • Focusing not given

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate UV torches

In the following, we show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible UV torches. The criteria you can use to compare them with each other include:

In the following paragraphs we will explain what each criterion is.

Wavelength (nm)

The wavelength of a UV torch is an important criterion and is given in nanometres. Due to the different wavelengths, the human eye can perceive light or not.

  • 365nm - 375nm: Wavelengths from 365nm to 375nm produce little visible light
  • 375nm - 390nm: Wavelengths from 375nm to 390nm produce some visible light
  • 390nm - 410nm: Wavelengths from 390nm to 410nm produce a significantly higher proportion of visible light

In relation to the intended use, the choice of the right wavelength is therefore essential. UV torches can be roughly divided into two wavelength ranges:

UV torch with a wavelength up to 375 nm UV torches with a wavelength from 390 nm
Authentication of banknotes hygiene control
Authentication of documents detection of urine or semen stains
Forensic operations finding other dirt particles on textiles
Mineralogical investigations geocaching in the dark

Intensity/brightness

UV LED black light works best in dark environments.

Therefore, regardless of the area of application, it can be said: The darker it is, the better the UV intensity.

As a rule, LED lamps are used for UV torches. These are characterised by a high luminosity. They are also energy-saving, powerful and have a long service life. Particularly convincing are the so-called Cree-LEDs, which have an extremely good performance.

UV Taschenlampe-2

LED lamps are characterised by high luminosity and are therefore very well suited for torches
(Image source: pixabay.com / Stux)

Nevertheless, there are big differences in terms of LED lamps. The amount of LEDs used varies greatly. There are UV torches with 100 LEDs and UV torches for children with only a few LEDs. The light that is produced differs, of course. Normally, UV light lamps have a beam width of up to 365 mm or 395 mm. The more individual LEDs there are, the wider the light cone.

Range

The difference in the price of UV torches quickly becomes apparent in the range. A small keychain UV torch, for example, only has a range of 1 to 3 m and is therefore not particularly suitable.

The manufacturing effort is essentially determined by three performance parameters, namely the radiation cone, the range and the radiation wavelength

Therefore, it can be said that the more cost-intensive the production of UV torches is, the wider the radiation cone of the UV light, the higher the luminous range and the lower the radiation wavelength. The maximum radiation intensity of a UV torch is achieved with a wavelength of 365nm. This is because it then has a wide radiation cone and a significantly higher range. This means that fluorescent phenomena can be made visible over large areas even under normal lighting conditions.

Diameter/ Handling

A UV torch should be handy and not too big.

Aluminium promotes, among other things, lightness as well as shock resistance, robustness and also the service life of a UV torch.

UV torches come in different sizes and designs, but most are between 90 and 150 mm long and the diameter is between 20 and 55 mm. Most black light torches are made of aluminium alloy, which helps to keep the torches rust-free. The weight is made up of the material used and the size of the lamp. Therefore, the small, handy UV torches usually weigh only only weigh between 65 and 250g.

UV Taschenlampe-2

The right torch should fit well in the hand and be the right size.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Marina Grynykha)

Service life

UV torches vary enormously in their useful life. According to the manufacturer, some last up to 12 years, others more than 400 hours, and still others 100,000 hours. Nevertheless, caution is advised here, because the maximum luminous period of the UV torch is specified for the lowest luminous intensity. From this it can be concluded that at maximum output, the useful life is significantly shorter.

Splashproof/ Waterproof

A distinction is made between splash-proof and waterproof UV torches. Most manufacturers refer to the IPX standard. This standard states that there are three protection classes for waterproofness, namely: IPX-4, IPX-6 and IPX-8.

  • class IPX-4 or IPX-6 are considered to be protected against splashing water
  • class IPX-8 are generally waterproof

IPX-4 and IPX-6 are therefore increasingly used in the outdoor sector. However, they should not be exposed to heavy rain. IPX-8 are, as mentioned, waterproof, but they are not suitable for real diving, but can be immersed in water up to 2 m deep and for up to 30 minutes.

Facts worth knowing about flashlight / UV torches

Are you interested in torches in general and would like to know more about them? Then you should definitely read on.

Who invented the flashlight / UV torch and when?

In 1899, the Englishman David Misell invented the torch and patented it. He sold the patent to the American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company, which is also known today as Energizer. In Germany, Paul Schmidt received a patent for a battery-powered torch in 1906. However, he is said to have invented it in 1896.

Even back then, these lamps were so compact and small that they fit into a trouser pocket and were therefore called a lamp in a pocket.

Every year on 21 December, the "National Torch Day" takes place in the USA.

How often do I need to recharge the batteries?

There are different types of rechargeable batteries and batteries, and all have their advantages and disadvantages. Here, too, it is advisable to consider in advance what you want to use the UV torch for and how often. If you only need it rarely or sporadically, it is better to use batteries. This is because rechargeable batteries discharge over a long period of time, even when not in use. Batteries, on the other hand, can be inserted when needed and are therefore more energy-efficient in the long run.

Photo source: Klevcovs/ 123rf.com

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