Jun 18, 2012
Ultraviolet LEDs, also known as black lights, have a wide variety of uses. They aid in authenticating money, driver’s licenses, and other documents by making the special watermarks fluoresce. They are also useful to auto mechanics, plumbers, and for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) maintenance.
UV flashlights can be used by crime scene investigators to make blood and other bodily fluids easily visible. Ultraviolet light is also very useful for pest detection. Stains left by mice, dogs, cats, and other animals will fluoresce under the UV light. Scorpions will turn a bright green color under the UV light, making them easier to find in and around your home. UV lights are also used in mineralogy, making different minerals contained in rocks fluoresce at different wavelengths of light.
Unlike most other flashlights which are rated using lumens or candela, ultraviolet flashlights are rated using nanometers. UV light has a shorter wavelength than visible light, ranging from 10 nm – 400 nm (visible light ranges from 400 nm – 700 nm, for reference). Because of the limitations on LEDs, ultraviolet flashlights generally only range from 365 nm – 400 nm. Not all materials/substances will fluoresce under the same wavelength of light, so it’s good to know how you are going to be using the ultraviolet light to better choose a flashlight. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite UV flashlights to hopefully help narrow down your search.
The best all around Ultraviolet light: the Inova X5 UV Flashlight
The Inova X5 UV flashlight is our choice for the best all-around ultraviolet utility light. It’s compact, fairly inexpensive, and a very nice design. One great thing about this light is that it has 5 ultraviolet LEDs, so it puts out a large volume of light compared to its competition. The 5 LEDs have a nanometer rating from 365-400 nm, so it has a broad range of usefulness in making materials fluoresce. The Inova X5 UV runs on 2 CR123 primary lithium batteries which have a long shelf life, so that’s another bonus. The ultraviolet LEDs use less battery power than standard LEDs, so the run times are long – up to 85 hours for this light.
The Inova X5 UV is available on BrightGuy.com. BrightGuy stocks over 450 types of flashlights and is an authorized distributor for Streamlight, SureFire, Fenix, Underwater Kinetics, Princeton Tec, Petzl, LED Lenser, Pelican, and more.
The Streamlight Night Com UV flashlight is a fairly new addition to Streamlight’s line of UV lights. What sets it apart from the competition is that it has a center white C4 LED that is rated at 115 lumens in high, so it has the functionality of both a standard flashlight and an ultraviolet flashlight. It has three 365 nm UV LEDs and three 390 nm UV LEDs, so it will work for a broad range of materials. To switch between modes, use the simple rotary dial to choose between high white (115 lumens), low white (50 lumens), and ultraviolet light. This flashlight also runs on 2 CR123 primary lithium batteries and measures 5.4″ long.
View the Streamlight Night Com UV flashlight on BrightGuy.com.
The Photon X-Light Micro with a purple LED is a handy when you don’t want to carry around a big bulky flashlight, but you want to have quick access to UV light. It’s also considerably less expensive than a larger dedicated UV light – great for people who need to track scorpions on their property, or business owners who need to authenticate money. The purple LED is rated at 405 nm, so it just falls within the visible spectrum of light. Since the light is so small, it’s better for close-up applications. The included key ring makes it easy to carry this light with you on the go.
Click here to view the Photon X-Light Micro UV on BrightGuy.com.
The best Ultraviolet pen light: the Maxxeon WorkStar 224 Ultraviolet Penlight
The Maxxeon WorkStar 224 Ultraviolet Penlight packs a lot of punch in a small package. It has a 400 nm UV LED and produces a large volume of light compared to other UV lights this size. The long, thin shape of this light makes it easy to store in your pocket, and the removable pocket clip keeps it securely by your side. The WorkStar 224 runs on 3 AAAA alkaline batteries, and because of the wide volume of light it’s a nice choice if you need an ultraviolet light for distance applications.
Click here to view the Maxxeon WorkStar 224 Ultraviolet flashlight on BrightGuy.com.