The market for flashlights can become confusing sometimes and if you really want to narrow down your search for the perfect flashlight according to your needs, a better understanding of the relationships between throw, flood, candela and lumens will work in your favor and make it a little easier.

Via the ANSI FL1 Flashlight Standards

The easy way would be to pick one in line with the ANSI FL1 flashlight standards. Illumination is better when the lumens and peak beam intensity go up in number. Now, it is just a matter of choosing for function. If you want a combo that is good for both flood and throw, expect a tradeoff in both aspects. Specialized flashlights that do best in only one aspect like throw or flood are ideal for specialized tasks. That is as simple as it gets but by understanding these terms better you can better identify the right flashlight for you.



Under the ANSI FL1 Flashlight Standards this would be the Beam Distance. It is the distance from the flashlight to the distance where it projects a light beam at 0.25 lux. This is equivalent to the amount of useful light emitted by the full moon on a perfectly clear night out in an an open field.



This is not measured and not a part of the ANSI FL1 Flashlight Standards but an applicable measure would be “footcandle” equal to the light intensity received by a square foot of surface from a foot away from the light source. Beam lumens and Field lumens can also be used together to measure this but in simple terms it is the amount of light that illuminates a wider field of view rather than a focused point.



The unit of luminous intensity is called a candela. It is defined as the luminous intensity typically along the central axis of a cone of light. In the ANSI FL1 Flashlight Standards, this is called Peak Beam Intensity and the formula for measure is "Surface light intensity multiplied by the distance squared equals peak beam intensity".



According to the ANSI FL1 Flashlight Standards this is the measured total quantity of emitted light energy as measured by integrating the entire angular output of the portable light source. One lumen is equal to one candela (cd) multiplied by steradian or squared radian (sr).


The way I see it, making sense of it all gets it all zeroed in: you will get slightly better choices but in general if you get more lumens and candela, you already have a superior product. Throw or beam distance and flood can be affected by the reflector and purpose can then be for long distance work or short distance. There are other considerations to get the best product, for example to get one that is good with impact resistance, water resistance, water proofing, submersibility and runtime. Weighing it all in relation to price gets you the flashlight that is right for you.


LED Types

XP-G2 Cree LED

Flashlights which have the XP-G2 LEDs tend to have better throw and the beam is narrow which is ideal for hunting. Hunters want a long narrow beam which they can use to narrow down one prey.

Flashlights which have the XP-G2 LED:

XM-L2 Cree LED

Flashlights which have the XM-L2 Cree LEDs tend to have a very floody beam, and the beams are wide but cannot throw as far as XP-G2 Cree LEDs.

Who likes floody beams?

Farmers need a floody beam to see intruders such as foxes and coyotes on their open fields.

Flashlights which have the XM-L2 Cree:


Flashlights that have both the XP-G2 and XM-L2 Cree LEDs:

CandelaFlashlight floodFlashlight throwLed flashlightLumens

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