When you are choosing a flashlight, you’ve most likely heard two terms - flood beam and focused beam. But what are they? And what is the difference between them? What are their advantages and disadvantages? What factors decide the beam profile? How to select the right one in different scenarios?
The flood of the flashlight means the width of its beam angle. That is, how much the light can spread out. When the torch is described as “flood”, it means it owns a wide-angle beam that can light up a large area around you. The broader beam allows you to see everything up close, so it’s ideal for reading or general tasks such as camping or hiking.
In general cases, wide-angle illumination is a good thing. However, it becomes negative when it impacts the beam throw.
In contrast to flood, focused beam lights cast a narrow beam of light, which is usually no wider than 45 degrees. Thus, the beam is more concentrated and easier to point further down the road, lighting up obstructions, animals, etc.
Reflector plays a very important role in the beam profile. There is a general rule that the more elongated and deep a reflector is, the farther the beam throw it reaches. Thus, if you prefer a flood beam light, try to get a torch with a flat and wider reflector.
There are two kinds of reflector textures - smooth and orange peel. A smooth reflector is a mirror finish, which can throw the light as far out the front as possible. Thus, it’s helpful for the light to reach a farther beam distance.
Instead, the orange peel is slightly bumpy, like the outside of an orange. Probably you are difficult to see your reflection clearly in a bumpy mirror, same with light. It hits all the texture and bounces all over, creating a flood of light that goes more to the sides instead of the front. Thus, if you are looking for a flood beam torch, an orange peel reflector would be a more popular choice.
BTW, some people may have noticed there is generally a small difference on the spot with orange peel and smooth reflector, especially when you throw the light on the wall. So people often use a textured one to make the spot look perfect.
This last one might seem obvious, but the LED itself will also have an effect on a flashlight’s beam profile. While some LEDs are designed to maximize the total lumen output, others are engineered to support high-intensity applications.
CREE, one of our favorite LED suppliers, designates their brightest LEDs with HD (high density) and the most intense LEDs with HI (high intensity) at the end of the model names. For example, the CREE XHP35 HI is used on some of our long-range flashlights like H3, H5.
In 2021, another famous LED brand Luminus released an innovative LED SST-40-W, which allows an ultimate ratio of beam throw to portable size. As the first manufacturer to use SST-40-W, FreasyGears has used it on our 600m long-range portable flashlight K3. The beam distance is double of the similar-sized lights in the market.
The light is distributed in the flood area evenly. The lighting range is wide and the viewing angle is large. The objects covered by the light are clear but not glare.
The illumination distance is not far enough, and the light is slightly dispersed.
The light is more concentrated and the central spot is strong, which allows you to see objects more clearly in a long distance.
When incense spotlights are used for close-range illumination, the spot of light will be a very intense small diameter of light, which can cause a lot of reflection and make your eyes uncomfortable.
Floodlight, such as the 3000 lumens 21700 flashlight P25 from FreasyGears, is the best choice for the large area or close-range illumination such as camping, hiking, night riding, fishing, mountain climbing, repairs, DIY, mechanics, power outages, indoor use, and so on.
In general, the flood beam is more versatile for general situations and the spotlight is more specialized for long-range illumination.