Home > Flashlight 101 > Lumens vs Real OTF Lumens
Lumens are a marketing tool for flashlights companies -anyone shopping for a flashlight will look at the lumens to decide which one to buy. The manufacturers know this and will tempt you with high lumen output claims. There are a few categories for lumen claims:

OUTRAGEOUS: Some manufacturers will claim whatever they want for light output, These claims aren't based on anything. When you buy one of these, usually inexpensive flashlights...how do you know for sure how much light it's putting out? These manufacturers depend on the consumer not knowing or being able to test their claims and so they can get away with these outrageous light output claims.

EMITTER LUMENS: This output, though based on something real, isn't real. The emitter lumens are more theoretical lumens based on what the emitter can deliver while not in a flashlight, not shining through glass, without the loss of the reflector, for just the instant they are turned on. Real 'Out the Front' lumens from a flashlight are much lower. Rating the flashlight with emitter lumens will make the flashlight sound incredible...but you're not getting this output. This is another marketing tool that most consumers fall for.

ANSI FL1: This is a step in the right direction. The manufacturer will test three of their flashlights to ANSI FL1 standards. This test measures the real 'Out the Front' lumens for the flashlights being tested. It benefits the manufacturers to sort and choose the best 3 flashlight to submit for this testing. With the stated variation in emitter output and driver performance, the luck of the draw can yield several flashlights, from the same batch, that may have much better performance than the rest. It's a little like EPA mileage for a car...this mileage is tested using a perfectly tuned car in perfect conditions. Don't expect to get the EPA mileage from you car or ANSI FL1 lumens from your flashlight, but you can use it for comparisons.

Since PFlexPRO flashlights are custom and not from large production runs...there's not 3 of a kind to test. We test each individual flashlight or drop in that is produced. If it doesn't achieve the expected output...it's scrapped. For Drop In testing, if a host is purchased with the drop in, the drop in is installed in the host and tested as it will be shipped. If only a Drop In is purchased, it is installed in a Solarforce host and tested. The output is recorded and included with the shipment. The low voltage safety is tested for each flashlight or drop in and the voltage is also included with the shipment. While the output is being tested, a thermal drop graph is created to verify the effectiveness of the thermal systems. If the flashlight does not meet our thermal standards...it's not shipped.
The photo shows a flashlight being tested in our integrating sphere and the results are recorded and shipped with each flashlight.