So you work or are going to start somewhere that could explode and you need a flashlight?
The thought of working in a dark space that is combustable sounds exciting…
Not the work that we want to be in but good for you.
Well there are flashlights for that. We go over the best intrinsically safe flashlights along with their explosion proof cousins.
What are Hazardous Atmospheres?
Instrinsically Safe is a requirement of working in hazardous atmospheres which are categorized into three classes and two divisions in each class. The classes are typically given in Roman numerals
An environment with flammable gasses, vapors, or liquids
Group A is specifically for Acetylene
Group B is for Hydrogen and manufactured hydrogen containing gasses
Group C is for Petrochemicals
Group D is for Methane
Class II is for environments with combustible dust like certain metals, coal, and grain silos.
Groups E-G are for both class 2 and 3
Group E is for metal dust like aluminum, magnesium, etc.
Group F is for carbonaceous dust like coal and carbon black that have more than 8% entrapped volatiles.
Group G is for combustible dust not in group E & F like flour, grain, sugar, wood, plastics, and other chemical dusts.
Class III is for environments with combustible fibers like a paper mill or woodworking facility
Then each one of these is split into two divisions based on if the combustible material is always present or that it might be present.
So you will see instrinsically safe flashlights with the terminology covering what environments it is safe for like the following.
Intrinsically Safe: Class I Division 1 Groups A-D; Class I Division 2 Groups A-D; Class II Divison 1 Groups E-G; Class II Division 2 Groups E-G; Class III;
What Is Instrinsically Safe?
Instrincically Safe is a classification that means that the lighting can not spark at all. It can not produce enough energy to ignite or produce enough heat to ignite.
This terminalogy is widely used and there are mulitple certifications that govern it.
Thre is FM Approvals FM3610 which states that it is constructed such that electrical energy in a device that is exposed to an explosive gas atmosphere is restricted to a level below what could cause ignition by sparking or heat.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that has IEC 60079-1 “Explosive Atmospheres Performance” which focuses on flameproof enclosure “d”, in explosive gas atmospheres.
The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) that has UL1203 that is concerned about explosion-proof and dust-ignition-proof electrical equipment.
What is Explosion Proof?
Explosion proof is another type of safety classification that tries to get around the idea of not having enough electricty to have a spark or high enough heat but focusing on the container.
It does not mean that the flashlight will survive an explosion but that anything on the inside of the flashlight that could cause an explosion is inside of a container that will prevent it from causing one.
Instrinsically Safe Vs Explotion Proof
From our point of view the better choice here is to go with Instrinsically Safe since the whole design of the electronic is that it will be impossible for it to produce combustion.
The benefit of having explosion proof lighting is that it is not limitied to low voltage flashlights. As long as the wiring and the enclosure is explosion proof the light can be very powerful.
While with intrinsically safe there is always a balance of how much light can be produced with the required low voltage. As technology improves and LEDs require less power to produce more light there is a balance happening.
The reason us and many experts believe that intrinsically safe is better is that explosion proof is inherently carrying risk that could fail. While with inbtrinsically safe that risk is not there.
Best Instrinsically Safe Flashlights
Some of the top brands in the intrinsically safe flashlight arena are Brightstar, Pelican, Streamlight, Night Stick, Underwater Kinetics, and Dorcy. Recently flashlight brands like LedLenser, Fenix
One of the top brands in the intrinsically safe flashlight market is Koehler / Bright Star. This light has a lumen output of 325 lumens is intrinsically safe for Class I, II, III for Div I, II, and for Groups A-G T3. The light has a beam distance of 237 meters.
This light runs on 3 AA Alkaline Batteries and will run for 7 hours. This light also keeps itself safe with being watertight, dust tight, and is able to float.
- Simple design
- Only 1 mode
- Weight: 7 oz. with batteries
- Dimensions: 7.125 inches long and 1.75 inches diameter
- Highest Setting: 325 lumens for 7 hours
Underwater Kinetics is also a top industry brands. They are popular on work sites and also for specific like diving. This light uses 4 AA batteries to output 170 Lumens for 6 hours out of the main forward facing LED and also 20 Lumens in the down direction to help with footing. It is classified as intrinsically safe for Class I, II, III Div 1 A-D T4, Class II Div 1 E-G, Class III Div 1 Ex ia.
- Downward Beam
- Mounts to helmets with separate helmet clips
- Weight: 5.6 oz. with batteries
- Dimensions: 6.2 inches long and 1.6 inches diameter
- Highest Setting: 170 lumens for 6.5 hours
Steamlight is very well known in the flashlight industry. They have some of the most popular and high quality pistol lights, work lights, and law enforcement lights. The Dualie 2AA is rated for 175 lumens out of 2 AA batteries and tat will last on high for 15 hours. The Dualie like the previous light also has a beam that goes forward and down. It has 2 different beams that shoot forward also so you can choose to have a flood or a spot beam. It is classified as intrinsically safe for Class I, II, Division 1, Groups A, B, C, D, E, F, G; Class III; CL I, ZN 0, IIC; Exia; T-Code: T4
- Downward Beam
- Spot or flood beams
- Only IPX4
- Weight: 3.9 oz. with batteries
- Dimensions: 6.1 inches long and 1.6 inches diameter
- Highest Setting: 175 lumens for 15 hours
Intrinsically Safe Headlamp
The USB HAZ-Lo Headlamp from Streamlight is a great choice for those looking for an intrinsically safe headlamp. It is one of the few USB rechargeable safety headlamps on the market. Which we really like so you can recharge it in a car or where ever in between work sites. Similar to the other Streamlight on this list it has both a spot and flood beam which matched with its tiliting head design will allow for hands free work in lots of differenet situations. With a resistance rating of IP67 this is also very durable. It is classified as intrinsically safe for Intrinsically safe, Class I, II, Division 1, Groups A, B, C, D, E, F, G; Class III; Class 1, Zone 0, Group IIC, T-Code: T4
- Li-ion rechargeable
- Spot or flood beams
- A little bulky
- Weight: 4.1 oz. with batteries
- Highest Setting: 250 lumens for 7 hours
Best Explosion Proof Flashlight
The Nitecore EF1 Explosion-proof flashlight uses a Cree XM-L2 U3 LED and is capable of a high output of 830 lumens. Something that we have not seen in the Intrinsically safe lights is an actual mode selection with a standby, low, medium, and high. It runs off of one 18650 li-ion battery and is dust and waterproof to IP54 standards. Being explosion proof this light is much closer to a typical high end flashlight since it can use all of the same things. The main difference is how the contain acts as a barrier to the internal power. It is classified as Explosion Proof to ATEX Mark: II 2 G EX d IIC T6 Gb, Type II non-mine explosion proof.
- Really high lumens
- Actual different mode brightnesses
- Explosion proof instead of intrinsically safe
- Weight: 8.81 oz. without battery
- Dimensions: 6 inches long and 1.57 inches diameter
- Lowest Setting: 4 lumens for 150 hours
- Highest Setting: 830 lumens for 1 hour and 45 minutes
We hope that you found what you were looking for on the site. This in an interesting category of lights needs to be looked at from a different angle than our typical more power, more brightness, hot rod mentality. These are work lights and they serve a purpose but also they make it so people can use light in really dangerous environments. If this got you interested in flashlights and you are looking for something that is not intrinsically safe then check out our flashlight buyers guide starter page.