Once you have your own set of scuba equipment you will be able to dive more frequently and getting into different types of diving. This is when having certain dive accessories may come in handy. If you plan on diving wrecks, caves or simply want to explore those cracks where colorful wildlife live, having a good diving torch is essential. But how do you know what’s the best dive light for your needs?
That’s where we come in. In previous articles, we’ve explained you the best way to choose scuba gear such as dive computers, scuba masks, dive fins and more. This article will guide you to find the best dive light on the market according to your needs.
Dive torches come in different sizes, specs and price tags. Every model is designed for a particular use in mind so finding what you need can be overwhelming.
Here at The Adventure Junkies we like keeping things simple. Think about what type of diving you plan to use your light for, how much you want to invest and what features you would like to have. Then check out the models that fill those needs best. Remember that it’s about finding what you need rather than buying the most popular or expensive model.
To help you out with this task we’ve put together these dive lights reviews so you can find exactly what’s the best underwater dive light to suit your needs.
QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST DIVE LIGHTS
- ScubaPro Nova 230
- UK Light Cannon eLED
- SubGear Prolight SP30
- Ikelite Gamma
- Light & Motion Sidekick
- Light & Motion GoBE 700
- UK SL4 eLED L1
- Dorcy 411467 Dive II Submersible
- Light & Motion Sola Photo 1200
- LED Lenser D14
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST DIVE LIGHTS
DIVE LIGHTS 101
5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST UNDERWATER DIVE LIGHT
1. TYPES OF DIVE LIGHTS
There are 3 different types of diving lights depending on how you plan to use them: primary lights, secondary (or back-ups) and photo-video lights.
A PRIMARY DIVE LIGHT should be very bright, have a long lasting battery and be very durable. For these types of lights, the more power is normally the better especially for night diving, when a high brightness is the best choice for proper underwater lighting.
A SECONDARY DIVE LIGHT is normally more compact and lightweight. It’s carried as a back-up in case the primary light fails for any reason. I personally like having the secondary light with a narrower beam angle as it’s more versatile. A bit more about this in a bit.
If you’re planning to do some underwater photography or video, you’ll need a specifically designed PHOTO-VIDEO DIVE LIGHT. These can be mounted on strobes and feature a wider and brighter beam to light your subjects.
2. BEAM ANGLE
Bigger is not better when it comes to the beam angle of your dive light. Both a tight beam or a wide flood may each be appropriate depending on the type of diving you plan to do.
A DIVE LIGHT WITH A WIDER BEAM ANGLE will be very useful for night diving and it’s the recommended choice for maximum visibility.
A DIVE LIGHT WITH A SMALLER BEAM ANGLE will provide a tight bright spot which is useful for looking into crevices and under ledges. It’s also a must for limited visibility when diving in murky water. Tech divers normally prefer narrow beam lights as you can see further down long passages or into wrecks. Lobster hunters love them too so they can easily spot their prey.
3. DISPOSABLE OR RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES?
There are three types of batteries a dive light can take and each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages.
TRADITIONAL ALKALINE BATTERIES are inexpensive and available almost everywhere in the world but they have a lower level of performance and a reduced battery life.
CR123 LITHIUM BATTERIES provide an excellent performance but are more expensive than alkaline batteries. Also, they might not be available in remote dive locations. It can also be a pain to take them on the plane with you. From an environmental standpoint, these batteries can be recycled.
RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES are the best choice if you dive frequently. You save money from buying new batteries each time. Also, they are the best choice from an environmental standpoint since they are reusable. The only downside is that they require both time to recharge and access to power, so you need to plan for that before going on a dive.
4. XENON, LED OR HID?
The best dive lights are built with one of 3 different materials: Xenon (incandescent), LED (light emitting diode) and HID (high intensity discharge).
XENON DIVE LIGHTS tend to be less expensive, but they don’t provide the brightness of an LED or HID and have a shorter battery life. The main advantage of a Xenon light is that the lamp gives warm natural colors versus the bluish colors of LED and HID, an important factor for underwater photographer and videographers.
LED AND HID DIVE LIGHTS provide an unmatched brightness, longevity, and energy efficiency. HID lights used to provide a higher color temperature but they have been surpassed by the new generation LED lighting. LEDs can now provide higher efficiencies and they are more robust and durable than the HID models. That’s probably why they are the most popular type of dive lights used within the diving community.
5. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO USE YOUR DIVE LIGHT?
How you plan to use your new dive light will determine what kind you need.
If you plan to USE IT DURING DAYTIME DIVES TO LOOK UNDER ROCKS and into little caverns to see what’s in there, a small handheld narrow beam light that you can store in your pocket might be your best bet.
If you plan to USE IT DURING NIGHT DIVES to view broad seascapes, then a bright dive light with a wider beam angle is what you need.
If you want to EXPAND THE CAPABILITIES OF YOUR NEW GOPRO or get into underwater photography, you’ll need a video light (maybe 2) with a wide, consistent beam and no hot-spots, and probably some strobes and/or a rig to put all the system together.
If you are SEEKING A PRIMARY TORCH FOR TECHNICAL DIVING, you’ll want a dive light with a bright and tight beam, and very long battery life.
Photo provided by Aqua Lung
DIVE LIGHT REVIEWS
THE TOP 10 BEST DIVE LIGHTS
1. SCUBAPRO NOVA 230
“AFFORDABLE, COMPACT & GREAT PERFORMANCE”
The Scubapro Nova 230 is a compact and sleek dive light with an affordable price tag. It’s been designed to be used as a primary light for recreational use or as a back-up for tech-divers. It has a narrow beam and fits into a large BCD pocket. A great option for your first diving light.
2. UK LIGHT CANNON eLED
“WIDE BEAM AND VERY BRIGHT LIGHT”
The UK Light Cannon eLED dive torch is able to output up to 850 lumens and maintain its battery as the power drops. With one of the broadest beam angles on the market, the Cannon eLED can be used with a pistol, a lantern grip or a photo arm. A great choice if you’re looking for a bright and wide diving light.
3. SUBGEAR PROLIGHT SP30
“ULTRALIGHT & AFFORDABLE DIVE LIGHT”
The SubGear Prolight SP30 dive torch weights just over a pound and it’s 8.5 inches long. With a compact design and a very affordable price, the SP30 is a good choice as a back-up light. It has a relatively narrow beam. It has a bumpy grip, which makes it easy to hold, even with thick gloves.
4. IKELITE GAMMA
“THE BEST VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY”
The Ikelite Gamma is a high performance dive light with a compact design at a very affordable price. It doesn’t have much texture on the grip, but its design makes it easy to hang onto. It weighs only 5 ounces and it’s one of the best values available.
5. LIGHT & MOTION SIDEKICK
“TAKE YOUR GoPRO INTO THE DARK”
The Light & Motion Sidekick light has been specifically designed to use it with your GoPro camera. It weighs less than the camera, and adds ergonomics with a new way to hold, point, and shoot video and photo underwater. It’s possible to shuffle through spot and flood beams in high, medium, and low modes to get the amount and type of light you need for any situation. A great complement to take your GoPro videos and photos to the next level.
6. LIGHT & MOTION GoBE 700
“A VERSATILE & LIGHTWEIGHT DIVE TORCH”
The Light & Motion GoBE 700 can be used above and underwater. It’s handheld, lightweight and compact. It’s ideal for base camp, taking video or photos, or for illuminating a wide area. With a 60 degrees wide beam, this dive light is one of the most versatile models you can find.
7. UK SL4 eLED L1
“AN AFFORDABLE LIGHT FOR DIVE TRAVEL”
The UK SL4 eLED L1 is a fantastic option for diving trips. It minimizes weight for travel due to its high brightness, small size and long burn time. It can be easily stored in your bcd pocket and can also be used as a back-up light. Being one of the most affordable models, it’s also one of the most popular ones among the diving community.
8. DORCY 411467 DIVE II SUBMERSIBLE
“LIGHTWEIGHT & CHEAP ENTRY LEVEL DIVE LIGHT”
The Dorcy 411467 Dive II Submersible dive torch is able to output 220 lumens of light and a 200-foot beam distance. This flashlight provides 8-hours of continuous use and it runs on AAA-cell batteries (x6). A good entry level option if you don’t want to invest much on an underwater light.
9. LIGHT & MOTION SOLA PHOTO 1200
“THE BEST OPTION FOR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY”
The Light & Motion Sola Photo 1200 offers a choice of a powerful massive flood beam, or red light each with three power settings. It can provide up to 1,200 lumens, it weighs only 8.75 ounces and has a 60 degrees beam angle. A fantastic option if you want a high quality powerful light to take awesome pictures underwater.
10. LED LENSER D14
“VERSATILE AND BUDGET FRIENDLY”
The LED Lenser D14 can be used both in land and underwater. With a beam distance of 180m (when out of the water), this dive torch can provide 135 lumens of light. A good option if you are on a budget and are looking for a multi-purpose light.