Have you ever wondered about shake flashlights and how they came to be? Are you somebody who has put off buying one because you don’t think they will hold up? Are you in the market for a light that will work whenever you need it with no worries about batteries or charging options? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to take a closer look at what is known as a shake flashlight. Our hope with this article is to provide you with everything you need to know about shake flashlights, as well as provide you with the best ones to buy.
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How do Shake Flashlights Work?
Shake flashlights are often referred to as Faraday lights after the scientist who discovered how to create the electrical current used to charge these lights. In 1803, Michael Faraday discovered how you can create a small electrical current by getting a magnet to pass through a coil of wire. The magnet passes through the coil of wire several times to create a current, which is then stored inside of a capacitor for use later on. The energy stored inside the capacitor isn’t used until the device is turned on.
Using a shake flashlight is relatively straightforward. To use the light first shake it anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. If the light’s capacitor is totally drained you will need to shake the light for three minutes. Once the capacitor has collected enough energy you can turn the light on and use it as you would any other flashlight. Once the light begins losing power simply shake it again. Repeat the shaking as often as needed to keep the light charged.
Shake Flashlight Components
Many people are under the impression that shake flashlights are complicated but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Learning how to use the light is not the tricky part, what you need to pay attention to is the quality of the components used by the manufacturer. The higher quality lights are made up of higher quality components. Shake lights follow the same theory as many other flashlights on the market, the higher the price the better the light.
Here is a look at the components that make up your typical shake flashlight:
Bulb – The bulbs are typically an LED as they don’t draw as much power as other bulbs and are more durable. Factors to think about when looking at the bulbs are the color of light the bulb emits and how bright the light is.
Switch and body – When looking at the materials used on the switch and body of the light what you are looking for is how sturdy the body is, will it hold up to a lot of use. You also need to consider whether the body of the light is waterproof.
Magnet – The magnet is what creates the power for your shake light. The stronger the magnet is the more power the light will generate each time you shake it.
Coil – The coil also plays a role in how much power the light creates when you shake it. When looking at the coil you want to consider the coil’s size, the more windings the coil has the more power it can generate as the magnet passes through.
Capacitor – This is where the energy created by shaking the light is stored for future use. The better quality lights will offer high quality and large capacitors. The bigger the capacitor the more energy it can store and the longer you will be able to use the light before needing to charge it again.
Things to Consider When Buying a Shake Flashlight
As shake lights have grown in popularity over the years it is important to do some research before buying one. Over the years several copy cat products have popped up in the industry. The problem with copycat products is they are not the same as the original brands and are often made with lesser quality products. Before making a decision on a shake flashlight, look into the manufacturer and retailer, be on the lookout for knock-offs that are often foreign made. As quality even from well-known manufacturers can vary from one model of light to another, it always pays to read through several reviews before making a final decision.
Are Shake Flashlights Bright?
Knowing how bright a light is before you buy it is important, as it ensures you choose a light that will provide you with enough light for the job at hand. Shake lights are not as bright as a battery-powered one, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get the job done. Most shake flashlight models provide enough light to enable you to see when the power is out.
What Are Shake Flashlights Good For?
As we just mentioned that shake lights are not as bright as a battery-powered one, but we also need to mention they don’t illuminate long distances. With those two major drawbacks, you might be wondering what these lights are good for if anything. Shake flashlight will never fully replace a battery-powered light, but they are a great backup to keep in the house and in your car. These lights make an excellent backup to your regular lights, but they are also a great choice for emergency kits as you never have to worry about dead batteries. Shake flashlight will always work when you need them too.
What is the Difference Between a Low Price Shake Light and a High Priced One?
The most important thing to remember is that you really do get what you pay for when it comes to flashlights. The cheaper lights are often not as bright as the more expensive ones, plus they have a shorter runtime even with the same number of shakes. Waterproofing is another concern with cheaper priced lights, as they often use low-quality components for housing, so water is bound to find a way in.
What is a Capacitor?
As we mentioned above the capacitor is one of the main components of the shake light. It is where the energy created by passing the magnet through the wire coils is stored. The capacitor is technically two metal plates that have opposite but equal electric charges. These plates are separated by a dielectric that has formed an electric field. Think of the capacitor as a rechargeable battery for the light, but has the advantage of not needing a typical power source to recharge.
Are These Lights Reliable to use in an Emergency?
The short answer to this question is yes these lights are reliable enough to use in an emergency. In emergencies, the most important thing is for your flashlight to work. As these lights don’t require batteries for the power you never have to worry about the batteries being dead. As long as you purchase a high-quality shake light, you can rest assured they will always work when you need them too.
Are These Lights as Good as my Rechargeable Lights?
No, a shake light is not going to be as bright as your rechargeable flashlight, but that doesn’t mean it is an inferior light. Rechargeable lights require a power source to recharge once the battery dies. This can be a problem during power outages. As a shake light doesn’t require a power source to recharge it is even better than a rechargeable light during long power outages.
Best Shake Lights on the Market
Best Shake Flashlight:
If you are looking for the best shake flashlight of all time, look no further than the NightStar JP. This light is more expensive than any other shake style light out there, but it is worth the case as it is virtually indestructible. This light was made to last forever and comes with a 5-year warranty. The NightStar JP is the ultimate safety flashlight and has been recognized globally as the Best Shake Flashlight. The body of the light is made from tough polycarbonate and is waterproof up to 200 feet and will float.
The NightStar JP Shake Light’s LED has an illumination range of 30 feet with a beam diameter of 12 feet. With the NightStar JP, users will enjoy a bright light for up to 10 minutes. Once the light begins to dim, recharging only takes 30 seconds of shaking. The switch on the light's body is a glow switch that stays visible all night even when there is no extra effort giving to charge the switch. The ambient room light is enough to charge the switch to allow it to glow all night long. The Panasonic 1.5 Farad Gold Film Capacitor is what we refer to as a supercapacitor as it will allow operation for years to come with no kind of maintenance required.
- Glow switch
- Doesn’t do well around any kind of magnets
- Weight: 11 ounces
- Dimensions: 10 inches x 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches
- Light Output: 15 lumens for 15 minutes
Best Shake Light with Internal Batteries:
The Shake Light 40 uses internal batteries rather than a capacitor to provide power to the light. Although it does use internal NiMH batteries rather than a capacitor it is still a decent light for as long as it works. The NiMH batteries that come with the light are good for up to 10,000 charges. The Shake Light 40 offers a brighter light with a 25-lumen output that lasts for up to 2 hours per charge. The light has an illumination range of 50 feet. The brighter light and longer illumination distance are due to the internal batteries, but once the batteries go the entire light is no good.
Although the Shake Light 40 has a maximum light duration of 2 hours, 1 minute of shaking only provides 4 minutes of light. To achieve the maximum 2-hour runtime you will need to shake the light for quite a while. The Shake Light 40 features a cool white LED and a push-button switch to control the light. The light has the ability to tail stand with and without the lanyard attached. The body is constructed of ABS plastic and is built to withstand repeated drops of 5 feet or less. The body of the light allows for resistance to oils, alcohols, and saltwater, but it is not fully waterproof so do not submerge it in water.
- Decent illumination range
- Uses NiMH batteries
- Weight: 4.7 ounces
- Dimensions: 7 inches x 1.75 inches x 1.75 inches
- Light Output: 25 lumens for 2 hours
Best Shake Light Final Thoughts
A shake flashlight is never going to replace a battery-powered flashlight, but it is a great backup to have on hand. Shake flashlight is designed for true emergencies, as they don’t rely on batteries you never have to worry about your light’s batteries being dead when you need it most. When purchasing a shake flashlight as a backup for your home, car, or emergency kit be aware of cheap knock offs, with these lights you really do get what you pay for. Each of the shake lights we have reviewed in this post meet or exceeds our minimum qualifications as to what makes a great shake light.
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