Understanding the technical aspects of flashlights can be confusing. What are battery amps and how do they affect the volts, brightness, and life of the device? Many factors combine to influence flashlight performance and the battery life of your device. Heat, cold, and humidity can all work to alter the electrical capacity of your flashlight battery. However, with all things being equal, understanding battery amps and why they are important to high-performance flashlights will help you select the right light for your needs.
An amp is the abbreviation for ampere and amperage and generally refers to the unit used to measure electric current. Flashlight batteries are rated using Milliamps Hour (mAh) which is an easy way to distinguish the capacity of a battery. In general, the higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last. If your battery is rechargeable then the mAh rating is how long the battery will last per charge. An analogy that is often used to explain this concept is to think of a car’s gas tank. The mAh is the size of the gas tank and the battery’s voltage is how much gas is being used. The bigger the battery’s gas tank (mAh rating) the longer the flashlight will run.
When considering what battery to use for your high-performance flashlight first consider batteries that are rated using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standardized rating system. This system provides a reliable comparison of batteries from different manufacturers and from different countries. For quality assurance, all of Fenix batteries are rated using ANSI standards. Next, understanding battery amps will help you select the right flashlight for your needs and how to safely operate the device. Lastly, lithium-ion batteries allow for high-performance flashlights to take advantage of higher levels of amps with less internal resistance to increase run times in a smaller battery. However, some devices rely on the internal resistance to control the battery amps output; this means that putting a lithium battery in a device made for alkaline batteries can cause too much current to be released and damage the device and be potentially dangerous.
To avoid damaging your high-performance flashlight, make sure to use the manufacturer’s suggested battery and follow recharging instructions to prolong the life and performance of the battery. Never mix lithium with traditional alkaline batteries. A high-quality flashlight will ensure the right match of amps and volts for the bulb wattage. Fenix makes batteries specifically designed to increase the performance in their flashlights. These batteries enhance flashlight output particularly when the light is operating in the highest modes. These high-tech batteries not only improve performance characteristics, but they also help prevent short circuiting and overheating found in other manufactures’ batteries.