A diving light is not just for scuba diving at night. While not as essential as say a dive knife or computer for daytime diving it is a good idea to always have one, even if its just a small light to keep in your BCD pocket.
If you plan on diving wrecks or cave diving, then your choice of dive light is much more critical than if you just want to take a look back into a crevice to see what might be hiding in there.
For more of my scuba diving gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links:
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Dive Lights For 2018
- Underwater Kinetics C8 eLED Dive Light
- Big Blue Lumens LED Technical Light
- SecurityIng 1000 XM-L2 LED Diving Flashlight
- Light and Motion Sola Dive Light 80
- ORCATORCH D520 Scuba Diving Light
- Princeton TEC MaxBright LED 550 Dive Light
- Andoer Diving Video LED Lighting Lamp
Best Dive Lights
Dive Light Reviews
Underwater Kinectics is well known in the diving community for making quality diving equipment. The C8 eLED dive light is made to be a primary dive light. It offers a TRUE 1200 lumens on high power unlike some dive lights that claim more lumens but really are not.
In high power setting it will give you a solid 3 hours of battery life with the rechargeable battery. In low power mode, 560 lumens, battery life improves to 5 hours.
The C8 has a regulated power output so it gives a consistent beam strength for the length of the battery charge. The rechargeable battery is airline safe is designed to last 10 years with normal use.
Being this is designed as a primary dive light, it works in spot light mode only and with UK’s patented 2 eLed optics system, it puts 90% of the available light into the center of the beam. This virtually eliminates backscatter and glare.
Since the light is so concentrated the range is an impressive 500 feet or 150 meters. With the long range, this might be the best dive light for spearfishing you will find.
The tough, composite body can withstand a lot of abuse, and is rated to last 20 years of salt water exposure! The C8 dive light polymer body is rated to a depth of 500 feet.
In my opinion, this is the best LED dive light in its price range. The UK C8 eLED light is made in the USA and makes a excellent choice as a primary dive light.
The Big Blue is relatively small primary dive light that is by far the brightest light on our list. At full power it puts out 3500 lumens!
That is some serious power and is designed for technical diving.
With the easy to use push button you can cycle through its 4 power levels of 350, 875, 1750 and 3500 lumens. The push button is large enough to operate easily with gloves one.
At full power you get about 1.5 hours and at the lowest setting it lasts for over 15 hours!
Its powered by a rechargeable 32650 Li-Ion Battery. Its made from anodized aluminum alloy to resist corrosion and is rated to 100 meters (300 feet).
It comes with a reinforced Goodman-style glove and a lantern style handle. You can mount it on a hard Goodman handle but that is an optional accessory.
If your looking for the brightest dive light available, the Big Blue 3500 is for you!
I would put the SecurityIng dive light as a perfect secondary or backup dive light. This dive torch has a Cree XM-L2 LED rated at 1000 Lumens.
Honestly, I don’t think it actually is 1000 Lumens but it is bright! The SecurityIng is one of the brightest dive lights available in its price range.
This dive light is rated to 150 feet (45 meters) and made from aviation quality aluminum alloy built to military specifications so this is a quality product.
This is a simple operation light, just on or off, there are no other modes. It is powered by 3 C size batteries, you can use rechargeable batteries but just make sure you do not use a battery that goes over 4.5volts or you will fry the LED and it will not be covered under warranty (1 year).
While this is not what I would consider a “small” flashlight, it should fit easily in your BCD pocket. This may be the best dive light under $100. I like this light a lot and I highly recommend it.
The Sola Dive light 800 is a hybrid dive light that can function as a primary dive light OR be used for underwater photography. The wide beam (60 degree width) at 800 lumens is an exceptional light for photography providing a wide, consistent light pattern.
It has a mounting system that allows you to strap it on your wrist securely, with a better design than most other dive lights I have seen. This gives you both hands free to hold a camera, look at your gauges etc.
If you don’t want to use the strap, you can take it off and use it pistol grip style, giving you flexibility in how you use it.
The light is rated to over 300 feet (100 meters) and features a regulated output, meaning that it doesn’t dim as you use it so its maintains roughly the same light output for the life of the battery charge.
The Sola 800 has display that shows battery status and allows you to easily change power settings.
There is an option camera tray you can purchase that mounts on the bottom of the dive light for more convenient operation of the camera.
The Sola 800 is made in the USA with a 2 year warranty making this light a solid option.
The Orcatorch is bright diving flashlight that could be your primary diving light but most likely a better secondary light option that is small enough to keep in a BCD pocket.
Similar to the SecurityIng light above its rated at 1000 lumens but in a small, more compact package.
I love the fact that its powered by a rechargeable AND replaceable 18650 Lithium battery. No need to throw the light out when the battery no longer holds a charge.
The dive light is rated for 150m (450 ft) so its suitable for recreational and advanced scuba divers.
Being made from AL6061-T6 aluminum its corrosion resistant is triple sealed with 3 O-rings for superior leak resistance.
The Orcatorch is unusual compared to other dive lights in it has no on/off switch. You turn tighten the head of the light and the light turns on, so its always on.
You can look at it as a negative in that its always on and using the battery but you also don’t have to worry about the switch breaking and the light not turn on when you really need it.
It also has no power settings, so when its on you get full power and will last about 2 hours on a full charge.
It comes with 2 batteries so you can always have a fresh battery when you need it.
For less than $70 you get a solid, reliable dive light!
I put the Princeton TEC in the primary class of diving light and one of the best primary dive lights in its price range. This is a larger size light with a pistol grip so its comfortable to carry and handle for long periods of time.
The trigger switch is large enough to use with gloves and features a momentary on with a half pull and constant on with a full pull of the trigger.
It has a true 550 Lumens of illumination unlike other dive lights that claim more but are really not as bright as they say. It operates on 4 C size batteries and will last an incredible 24 hours! The beam quality is excellent, tight and while providing a nice spread.
I used it lobster diving and for wreck diving and it worked perfect for both. In my opinion this is the best dive light for the money and at a bargain price.
This dive light is specifically designed for your GoPro or similar camera. The camera is guaranteed waterproof down to 120 ft (40 meters) so you will not have any issues with it flooding for recreational diving.
What I like about this light is the output is very consistent, meaning the light doesn’t dim as the battery drains, it maintains an almost constant output for the entire battery life.
Speaking of battery life, it is excellent, in high power mode of 700 Lumens, you get 60-70 minutes, in low power mode of 80 Lumens of you get about 6 hours of battery life.
Your GoPro camera clamps directly on top of the light with the standard bracket so no extras are needed but you will most likely want to buy a pistol grip type grip to attach the camera and light to.
If you have a diving mask with a built in mount then you don’t need anything else.
Personally I prefer to hold it in my hand because its so much easier to control and you don’t have any issues with your bubbles blocking your view. Its pretty annoying when that happens.
It has a rechargeable battery Lithium Ion battery that uses a USB cable to charge, it takes about 4.5 hours to fully charge. This is an bargain priced dive photography light that works well if you plan on using a GoPro or similar camera.
Dive Light Comparison Table
|Dive Light||Lumens||Best For||Battery Life||Rating|
|Underwater Kinetics C8 eLED Dive Light||1200 Lumens||Primary||20 hrs||5.0 / 5.0|
|Big Blue LED Technical Light||3500 Lumens||Technical Diving||1.5 hours||4.7 / 5.0|
|SecurityIng 1000 XM-L2 LED Diving Flashlight||1000 Lumens||Primary / Secondary||7 hours||4.0 / 5.0|
|ORCATORCH D520 Scuba Diving Light||1000 Lumens||Primary / Secondary||2 hours||4.8 / 5.0|
|Princeton TEC LED 550 Primary Dive Light||550 Lumens||Primary||24 hours||4.1 / 5.0|
|Light and Motion Sola Dive Light||800 Lumens||Photography / Secondary||280 min||4.4 / 5.0|
|Andoer Diving Video LED Lighting Lamp||700 Lumens||Photography||80 min||4.6 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Dive Light For You
- What Are You Going Use It For?
- Light Beam Shape
- Primary or Secondary Dive Light?
- Type of Battery
- Type of Bulb
What Are You Going Use It For?
If you just want it for the occasional use of maybe looking back into some crevices to see a lobster, crab or some fish that are hiding then your choice is not that critical. Almost any small dive light like the SecurityIng will do.
Here battery life comes into play, obviously the longer the better. But also important with night diving is a dive light that has a wider, brighter beam so you just don’t have “tunnel vision”. Especially if you have any anxiety about being in the dark, (which I do) I prefer a wider beam, but that’s just me.
Have a GoPro or underwater camera and looking to try it out? The brightness and battery length is not as critical here but you do want a wide and consistent beam. You don’t want dive flashlight here, but a dive light specifically made for videography or photography.
When cave or technical diving you don’t necessarily want a wide beam but more of a bright narrow beam that allows you so see at a distance and can cut through murky water without a blinding effect like when you have on your high beams in a fog bank. Here reliability and battery life are also critically important.
Light Beam Shape
As was discussed above, what you plan on using the dive torch for will determine what the beam width should be. If its just for occasional looking for a hiding fish, a narrow dimmer beam is fine.
Wide Beam: A wide beam that illuminates a larger area is your best for night diving giving you the most visibility.
Narrow Beam: A dive light with a narrow beam is better suited to cloudy water as it will pierce through the water better than a wide beam. They are also better suited for cave and wreck diving where seeing as far away as possible is ideal
Primary or Secondary Dive Light?
Primary: Your primary dive light can be used for daytime or night dives and will tend to be larger, with more battery capacity. It should be a durable light that can withstand the rigors of diving and being tossed in a dive bag.
They can have either a disposable or rechargeable battery but ideally you would want a rechargeable.
Your primary dive light should feature either a pistol grip or a lantern grip for a comfortable grip than a flashlight type light. You need long battery life, and a brighter, narrower beam.
Type of Battery
Alkaline: Your typical disposable AA or AAA battery you can buy almost anywhere. These are best for your secondary dive light where battery length is not as critical.
Lithium Ion: Your common rechargeable battery found in most electronics nowadays. There feature decent battery life, with a quick recharge time.
LiMn: This battery is considered the best battery for a dive light. It is typically found in higher quality dive lights and features similar characteristics is Lithium Ion in that they charge quickly but LiMn is considered to have better discharge characteristics and keeps a charge longer.
Type of Bulb
Xenon: Not that common anymore because they are not as bright as an LED or HID light and they have a higher drain per Lumen than a LED light so they use up your battery faster.
Their primary use now is in photography lights because they give a “warmer” and more consistent light than does a LED light. Some people claim they cut through murkier water better than an LED but that is subjective.
LED: These lights are a silicon chip as its light source and are the most common dive light source now due to its characteristics of providing good battery life with a powerful, bright beam of light. They light instantly unlike a HID bulb.
HID: Not as well known, the High Intensity Discharge light bulb gets its light from capsule of gas where the light comes from a “arc” discharge between two closely spaced electrodes.
They provide a high intensity light but they require 15-20 seconds to light light to full power and if you turn it off you will need to wait 5-10 seconds for it to cool before you turn it back on.
While HID lights were the preferred choice for dive lights, LED has rapidly caught up with them for light quality.
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best dive light to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a light I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.
Have fun and be careful!