Everyone has a flashlight in their home. But how many of us have one that works when you need it? If you haven’t used yours in over a year, it’s probably nonfunctional. The problem is the batteries.
Even if they were installed with a full charge, a few years of sitting in a drawer will render most batteries completely useless. In the event of a power outage, light is the one thing you really need. What about when you’re out camping? Why not get a torch that doesn’t require batteries at all?
Hand crank flashlights have a tiny little dynamo generator built in. Just crank the handle a few times and hit the button for a cheap, reliable, eco-friendly source of light.
Sure, they’re nothing new but modern models do much more than just produce light. Some of them charge your phone or include a radio, while others can even help you survive a car accident!
Top Rated Crank Flashlights
If you’re on the market, this guide will show you the five coolest designs on the market.
The American Red Cross Clipray
As one of the most well-known nonprofit agencies, the volunteers working for the red cross have responded to emergencies all over the country. Averaging one emergency every eight minutes, it’s pretty clear that this organization knows what it takes to be prepared. The Red Cross Clipray is designed to be cheap, simple, and reliable. By making this technology accessible, they want to make sure that every citizen has access to light and communication.
The clipray is simple in design. It’s compact, durable, and easy to carry. The LED is definitely on the brighter end of the spectrum, but not obnoxiously so. It’s suitable for use indoors, and only requires one minute of cranking for ten minutes of light!
It can even charge your phone! It provides a USB port for charging, which should give your mobile phone just enough power to make a few calls.
Just as the Lifelight was designed for your car, the iRonsnow Dynamo was designed for your home. It will be especially useful during a weather related power outage, as its built-in radio can tuned into the NOAA emergency weather broadcast, as well as FM or AM stations. During a natural disaster, this built in radio will allow you to keep tabs on the current situation.
The three-LED illumination and 300mAh battery are efficient, but still produce bright light. One minute of hand cranking can run the radio for five minutes, or nine minutes of light. It can also be trickle charged through the built in solar panel, making this a handy tool in any weather related emergency.
Cynergy Waterproof Lifelight
Designed to be your most valuable waterproof tool in an emergency situation, the Cynergy Lifelight offers much more that your basic flashlight. It’s best suited for use in your vehicle and can attach to your car door with magnets. A small blade can be used to cut seatbelts and two steel probes are designed to break glass. In the event of a car accident, these three features could save your life.
The crank is a little harder to turn, but the handle is long. One minute of cranking produces about seven minutes of bright light, and the internal battery will hold a charge for a long time. This battery can also be used to charge up your phone, making this the most valuable tool in your car in the event of a roadside emergency.
MECO Rechargeable Flashlight
Don’t let the low price fool you. The Meca Rechargeable flashlight is designed with reliability and efficiency above all else. It’s army-green case doubles as a clip, so you can snap it onto your backpack to be ready at a moment’s notice. It’s tough enough that a little rain, snow, or mud won’t harm it.
Another key selling point is the efficient electrical system. You’re not going to spend much time cranking it. Crank it for one minute, and you get 10 minutes of light. Don’t feel like cranking? Just leave it out in the sun. The built in solar panels will produce power for you without any effort.
It puts out 200 lumens, which is quite bright. This isn’t the kind of light that you use to read a book. This is what you use to set up your campsite, hike through the woods, or explore your surroundings.
ThorFire LED Camping Lantern
The unique construction of the ThorFire Camping Lantern allows it to serve two purposes. Opened up, the accordion walls allow it to function like a lantern, filling the room with light. Collapsed, it works like a typical flashlight.
In either mode, the light has two different brightness settings. On low, it produces a perfect atmospheric light. You could comfortably prepare food by it, or search through your backpack.
At full brightness, it’s surprisingly powerful. We’d be comfortable using it to illuminate a larger campsite, or use it to see far into the distance while hiking.
There are two ways to charge it up. You can plug it into a standard Micro-USB charger – the exact one that your Android phone uses. Once it’s full, you’ve got 40 minutes of light on high, or four hours of light on low.
You can also charge it by cranking the lever. When you’re turning it at about one full revolution each second, one minute of cranking gave us 11 minutes of light at low intensity, or five minutes of bright light.
Just like some models above, it can also charge your phone. At full charge, it will add about 30% to your phone’s battery. You can keep charging if you cranked it continuously, but we could only see ourselves doing this in an emergency situation.
Which Hand Crank Flashlight is Right for Me?
Before you decide which one to buy, you should think about how you’re going to use it. If you’re after something that you’ll only use a couple times, your first instinct would be to buy the cheapest one you can. However, these products can literally save your life in certain circumstances. In those cases, it might be worth spending an extra dollar or two in order to have something you can keep around the house.
The No-Fuss Outdoorsman
The Red Cross Clipray (with a phone charger) is the best value for money and packs a bright punch but if you’re convinced that these extra features aren’t for you, the Meco Rechargeable is the best option.
The Meca does one thing, and it does one thing well. It’s extremely efficient, providing an hours’ worth of light with only six minutes of winding the crank. It’s durable and built for the outdoors, making it a great for outdoor enthusiasts.
Want to be prepared for anything? There are two options you should consider. The Cynergy Lifelight is a must have for anyone who drives long distances, or by themselves. With the ability to cut a seatbelt, break a window and charge a phone, this flashlight will keep you equipped for any roadside emergency.
For the home, we’d recommend the iRonsnow Dynamo Emergency. This model features a phone charger and a radio, so you’ll always be in touch with the outside world in the event of a disaster.
Heading out camping? We’d recommend the ThorFire LED Camping Lantern. When you’re lounging at camp, it folds out into a lantern. When on the go, it collapses into a really powerful flashlight. Since it charges your phone at the same time, this is something that we wouldn’t want to be caught without while out in the woods.
The Thrifty Saver
On a budget? The American Red Cross Clipray is still the best bang for your buck. With a powerful light, a phone charger and a durable enclosure, this is a great buy.
What do others say?
Let’s see what other reviewers had to say about each option.