fbpx

Your Guide to the Best Dive Lights for 2022

Recently a friend of mine wanted to go lobster diving…

If you’ve never done it, imagine swimming out in the ocean in the middle of the night trying to find lobsters between crevasses in the rocks. I didn’t have a dive light at the time so my buddy let me borrow his.

It was horrible…

Two scuba divers using an underwater flashlight
It’s always smart to carry a dive light when scuba diving or freediving at night.

The lumens were weak and it made diving tough and a bit scary.

This experience made me realize that underwater flashlights (dive lights) are essential tools for diving and freediving at night…and weak ones are the worst.

If you enjoy diving deep especially when navigating caves or shipwrecks then you need at least a few dive lights for redundancy purposes. If you like spearfishing and want to capture some sweet footage on your GoPro, then it also helps to carry a light for extra illumination. It wouldn’t hurt to also have a GoPro underwater light as well.

Today we are going to go over the best dive lights as well as the best back up lights in case your main light decides to stop working or the battery dies out.

Our Top Picks 

Thumbnail
Best All-Around Dive Light
Light & Motion GoBe 800 Spot, The Ultimate Waterproof Hybrid Flashlight Features a Powerful 800 Lumen spot Beam. The Perfect Light Every Adventure, Both Above and Below The Surface.
Best for Lobster Diving
Underwater Kinetics C8 eLED (L2) Dive Light, Safety Yellow
Hand Strap Mounted Dive Light
Light and Motion Sola Dive 1200 S/F Light, Black, 104x56x56
Feature 1
Strong illumination power
High, low, and focused beam modes
Has two precision options on its dual beam lens
Feature 2
Compact construction
Heavy-duty pistol grip
Wrist-mounted light
Best All-Around Dive Light
Thumbnail
Light & Motion GoBe 800 Spot, The Ultimate Waterproof Hybrid Flashlight Features a Powerful 800 Lumen spot Beam. The Perfect Light Every Adventure, Both Above and Below The Surface.
Feature 1
Strong illumination power
Feature 2
Compact construction
Best for Lobster Diving
Thumbnail
Underwater Kinetics C8 eLED (L2) Dive Light, Safety Yellow
Feature 1
High, low, and focused beam modes
Feature 2
Heavy-duty pistol grip
Hand Strap Mounted Dive Light
Thumbnail
Light and Motion Sola Dive 1200 S/F Light, Black, 104x56x56
Feature 1
Has two precision options on its dual beam lens
Feature 2
Wrist-mounted light

What Is a Dive Light?

A dive light is a powerful waterproof light used by divers for seeing underwater when natural light fails to penetrate to their dive depth.

Scuba diver using a dive light in a cave
Have you ever tried cave diving? Source

Dive lights are not only used by recreational divers. They are also used by rescue divers when trying to find missing persons or vehicles that have been submerged.

Underwater photographers use dive lights to capture pictures and videos of marine life, sunken ships, and other wonders of the deep.

The top three key considerations for a dive light include:

  • Waterproof
  • Hold a charge
  • Power of the beam

Waterproof is important to ensure the internal electronics don’t short circuit. Holding a charge is important because it determines the amount of time you can be in the water. Finally, the power of the beam allows you to see a greater distance underwater.

Trust me, diving with a low power beam can be frustrating as it takes mental energy to focus to try and make out what you’re seeing underwater.

Don’t try and use a regular flashlight underwater especially when diving. The water pressure will find its way through improper seals and damage the electronics.

Nothing is worse than being away from shore in the pitch black and your flashlight goes out.

NOTE: Don’t try and vacuum seal a normal flashlight to try and make it waterproof…I’ve tried it and the water will penetrate the pores of the plastic and ruin your flashlight.

What Makes a Good Dive Light?

Dive lights are made by different companies in different shapes, sizes, bulb types, and battery types.

Dive Light Bulbs

LED, Halogen, and HID are the bulb types for most dive lights.

LED Bulbs

LEDs are the most popular type of bulb used by most recreational divers. They are cheap, powerful and last for longer than the housing will stay waterproof.

Scuba diver retrieving his friend's lost flashlight
A friend retrieving his buddy’s dropped the flashlight. Use a wrist strap when possible so this doesn’t happen to you! Source

Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs are some of the oldest bulbs used by divers and are being discontinued by most manufacturers.

A great deal of energy used in a halogen bulb is transferred to heat instead of light. They are good but finicky and some can only turn the light on underwater. This is due to the glass getting heated up prematurely and shattering when it touches the cold water.

HID Bulbs

HID bulbs are expensive. The Xenon gas in the bulb glows when barely stimulated by electricity, they last 5 times longer than halogen bulbs and emit a bright white light. They use a much smaller amount of energy compared to halogen bulbs.

From an efficiency and durability standpoint, we recommend you stick with LED flashlights if possible. 

Lumens and Beam Angle

When picking a flashlight it’s important to know how many lumens you need for your task at hand. Dive lights are rated with a number of lumens of light output. A 500 lumen light will be significantly weaker than a 2,000 lumen light.

Depending on the flashlight, you’ll be able to control the amount of light spread from the bulb. If you light angle it will decrease the distance the light will travel underwater. This could be an issue if the water is murky and you’ll get considerable backscatter similar to when driving through the fog with your high beams on.

For example, a 12-degree beam is about four times the area than a six-degree beam, therefore it will appear to be less bright underwater.

NOTE: Just because a manufacturer says they have a certain amount of lumens don’t make it so. I’ve seen 500-lumen dive lights that outperformed 2000 lumen ones because of the difference in quality by the manufacturers.

Dive Light Batteries

There are three types of batteries that are the most used in dive lights.

Traditional Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries are common and easiest to get but tend to have a shorter battery life than lithium.

Lithium Batteries

CR123 lithium batteries perform better than alkaline batteries, however, they are more expensive and harder to get ahold of in some countries.

They are also frowned upon by some European nations and can be difficult to get through customs due to the lithium. A key benefit is that they can be recycled when they are used up instead of thrown away normally.

Rechargeable Batteries

If you dive regularly, then pick up some lithium rechargeables and a charging station. They are the most economical as well as the best choice environmentally.

They require time to charge and do not hold a charge well in storage. Therefore if you need some emergency batteries, have a stash of alkalines handy.


8 Best Dive Lights

8. Audeamus Rechargeable Waterproof LED Dive Light

Best Backup Dive Light

Audeamus Rechargeable Waterproof LED Dive Light 1300 Lumens
  • 1300 lumens, waterproof to 100m, rechargeable Samsung 18650...

Key Features and Notes

This light is a 1300 lumen torch with high, medium, low, and S.O.S. settings.

It is rated up to 100 meters with a double O-ring sealed body.

Its rechargeable Samsung 18650 battery lasts up to 90 min on its lowest setting, therefore, it is a good secondary light.

It is a spotlight, so it only got an 8 degree angle.

The body has a battery meter that reads high, mid, low and S.O.S.


7. Orcatorch D520 Diving Flashlight 1000 Lumens 

Best Fixed Strength Dive Light

ORCATORCH D520 Scuba Dive Light 1000 Lumens Waterproof Diving Torch Submarine Diving Lights Underwater Diving Flashlight (Black)
  • Super bright: this scuba dive light is equipped with CREE...
  • Rotary switch: the dive light uses professional mechanically...
  • Long-range spot beam: this diving light has 12 degree narrow...

Key Features and Notes

This light’s max output is 1000 lumens. It is a one setting torch. This light runs on 1 18650 battery, 2 16340 batteries, or 2 CR123A batteries.

Its max runtime can reach up to 120 minutes with one 18650 battery. This light is rated up to 150 meters with three mechanical o-rings.

This light has an easy to operate the mechanical rotary switch to turn this light on. With this, it takes most all chances of mechanical issues due to buttons or switches.

It is most indefinitely one of the best choices for a main or backup light. This light is good for many uses from a simple flashlight to one of the best diving torches money can buy.


6. Orcatorch D550 Dive Light

Best 2000 Lumen Underwater Flashlight

ORCATORCH D550 Dive Light 1000 Lumens Scuba Diving Flashlight 3 Modes IP68 Waterproof Underwater Lights Night Dive Submarine Torch for Outdoor Exploration Under Water Sports
  • Super bright: equipped with high quality Cree LED, the...
  • Bonus wrist strap: this scuba diving torch comes with wrist...
  • Light and portable: this scuba diving light is a small and...

Key Features and Notes

This light uses 3 CREE LEDs to produce an amazing 2100 lumen output.

This light uses two 26650 Li-ion batteries and its runtime can reach up to 200 minutes which makes it one of the best main dive lights available.

This light uses a mechanical rotary tail switch to engage the light. Which in turn means you can turn it on before you enter the water and turn it off when you get out of the water.


5. HECLOUD Dive Torch

Best for Beginners/Budget

HECLOUD Diving Flashlight with Rechargeable Power Scuba Dive Light IPX8 Waterproof Underwater 80ft Snorkeling Diving LED High Lumens Torch, 3 Modes with Charger for Underwater Sports(2Pack)
  • 【Solid Durability & Long Lasting Batteries】The diving...
  • 【IPX8 Waterproof Rating】This professional diving...
  • 【3 Working Modes--Widely Use】High / Low / Strobe 3 modes...

Key Features and Notes

If you’re planning your first-ever night dive, or you need to spend as little money as possible, HECLOUD’s dive torches are a decent buy.

Priced at the far lower end of the spectrum, they aren’t anything to write home about but will get the job done in allowing you to see in pitch black conditions – and in the event that you find that you don’t enjoy it, you’ll have incurred a minimal loss.

The flashlight uses a screw cap to connect the electrical components of the flashlight to the battery and uses the same system to set it between the three settings of high, medium, and low.

This package also comes with three rechargeable batteries and their chargers but can also be used with three standard AAA batteries. 

I’ve used these as loaners for as long as I’ve owned more than one torch. Again – not fancy, but a torch is a torch, and my buddies never complained.


4. Mares Aluminum EOS Torch (Rechargeable)

Best Value for Money

Sale
Mares Aluminum Eos Torch LED Rechargeable Dive Light (Orange, Strobe)
  • EOS 15RZ: 1504 Lumens, Magnetic Adjustable Focus, In-house...
  • EOS 5RZ: 503 Lumens, Adjustable Focus, In-house Rechargeable...
  • EOS 15RZ: 1200 Lumens, Material: Hard-anodized Grade...

Key Features and Notes

So, you’ve either gone on a few night dives, and you’ve decided you want to stick with it, or you’re looking for a “solid but not too expensive” option.

Mares, a household name in freediving and spearfishing equipment, has a solid option in the EOS Torch with multiple premium features perfect for the harvesting night diver.

At 1200 lumens, it packs enough light to be able to cut through the darkest of waters. The Mares EOS Torch also comes with an adjustable magnetic lens to focus or widen the spot of the flashlight as needed, which is helpful in environments such as kelp forests or tight hidey holes.

The light also comes with the lowest power setting to extend its battery life during a swim out or in. It also has an aluminum body construction which by and large keeps it from damage, making it a long-lasting value option for any night diver.

Having used this light, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a solid “I’m going to do this regularly but don’t want to spend too much” option.

The small profile makes it easy to transport, and the aluminum body gives some peace of mind with regard to the light build and longevity. It’s also the brightest dive light in this price range. Just don’t forget to charge it!


3. Light and Motion Sola Dive Light

Best Hand Strap Mounted Dive Light

Light and Motion Sola Dive 1200 S/F Light, Black, 104x56x56
  • Powerful, compact, and rechargeable - dual beams and...
  • 1200 lumen flood and 500 lumen spot dive light certified to...
  • 60 degree flood and 12 degree spot underwater beam angles;...

Light and Motion is known for its slick underwater products, and their Sola Dive Light is no exception.

Some divers prefer a hand/wrist-mounted light over a lanyard tether due to conditions specific to their environment, such as kelp that might need to be moved with both hands or a strong current that might require two hands to anchor to the reef.

Other divers just plain prefer a wrist-mounted light due to the freedom it brings to both hands.

With this in mind, the Light and Motion hand strap mounted Sola Dive Light is an exceptional option. It has two precision options on its dual beam lens, one with a 60-degree flood angle as well as a 12-degree spot angle.

The 60-degree flood hits at a 1200 lumen spread, while the 12-degree spot hits a 500-lumen beam – which is more than enough when all bulbs are concentrated in one area.

With a depth rating of 100 meters and a long run time of 180 minutes at variable power, this dive light is a great option for anyone looking to keep both hands mobile. 

When using this light, I found that it was most useful in thicker kelp where I could keep the light on half power and the lens at flood. This was great, particularly for ascent along a kelp stem since I could use both hands to clear my surface vector.

Like anything else in a kelp forest, be aware of any stray strands that might snag on the mount itself. It’s also a great scuba diving light as the extra hand is helpful to manage the rest of your gear. 


2. Underwater Kinetics C8 eLED L2 Dive Light

Best for Lobster Diving

Sale
Underwater Kinetics C8 eLED (L2) Dive Light, Safety Yellow
  • Alkaline performance - 900 lumens on high, 400 lumens on low
  • Run time: 5.8 hrs on high / 20 hrs on low
  • Unique optical design unites two high intensity LEDs into...

The Underwater Kinetics L2 Dive Light has a heavy-duty pistol grip with a neon plastic polymer body. The UK has created many generations of dives lights, and more than one Hawaiian uncle has several sets of these in the bottom of their gear tub. 

The light has three settings in the high, low, and focused beam modes. High puts out 900 lumens, low puts out 400 lumens, and focused beam puts out a whopping 1200 lumens.

The light has a unique design in its trigger mechanism, which focuses the two bulbs into one narrow beam.

Since lobster can be sensitive to ambient light flooding from an unfocused light lens, the UK L2 dive light’s focused beam setting can be a godsend in stalking and nabbing larger lobster that often recognizes an artificial light source.

The setting is also great at penetrating still water caves which are a favored hiding place for bugs.

This is one of my personal primary dive lights – I own four of them, which I rotate out for each session or as loaners to trusted dive partners.

They are a bit heavy – but they’re also heavy duty, meaning that if you need to drop the pistol grip to wrangle a lobster, you don’t need to worry about the wrist lanyard snapping or the light bugging out on the reef.

The quarter-power setting is more than enough to locate your favorite structures coming in and out of the reef, and the full power setting casts enough crisp light to even get a shadow off of higher-profile bugs like spiny lobster or packhorse crayfish. 


1. Light and Motion GoBe 800 Spot

Editors Choice: Best All-Around Dive Light

Light & Motion GoBe 800 Spot, The Ultimate Waterproof Hybrid Flashlight Features a Powerful 800 Lumen spot Beam. The Perfect Light Every Adventure, Both Above and Below The Surface.
  • Regulated lumen output certified by the FL-1 Standard...
  • 800 lumen spot certified to the FL-1 Standard; 1.5-36 hour...
  • 12° spot beam is void of any distracting artifacts or hard...

Similar to the #3 pick on this list, the GoBe 800 Spot’s design is slick and ergonomic, forming a compact dive light. The construction is solid with metal and tempered glass light head. The platform can handle a little bit of rough handling compared to the HECLOUD #5 pick. 

The beam is a focused 12-degree spotlight with an 800 lumens rating, making it a viable option for all forms of nocturnal diving ranging from photography to nighttime harvesting.

The beam is tight enough to not spook prey before you get in range and bright enough to fully illuminate a still water cave or cut through new moon darkness to acquire a target. It’s also compatible with a variety of mounting options for any underwater videographer or photographer. 

Although the GoBe 800 is small enough to hook through a belt loop as a solid secondary light option, I actually find myself using it as a primary dive light. Although the UK L2 (#2 on the list) is great for illumination, I prefer using the GoBe due to its slim profile and ergonomic packaging.

My favored setup is my safety diver using the UK L2 light at the surface to spot the bug I’m going for and using the GoBe 800 spot flashlight as a stunner/precision tool when I’m within arms reach of whatever I’m harvesting.

The light has a long run time of 4 hours at variable power and has a clear battery indicator to show battery percentage.

With a compact construction and strong illumination power, I find that the Light and Motion GoBe 800 Spot is one of the best dive lights and an extremely solid secondary dive light option.


best dive lights
Source: Canva Pro

Other Things to Consider When Buying Dive Lights

All lights provide illumination, but the best dive lights are specialized. Here are a few things to consider:

Materials

Builds made of plastic may not be robust enough to handle knocking on the reef if you happen to let go of the light to handle something else.

On the other hand, aluminum builds can scratch and warp, which can cause light flooding or battery degradation if it happens in the wrong area of the light. High-quality plastic and polymer blends with a rubber O-ring for waterproofing are your best bet.

Size

Depending on what you are doing in the water, you may want to consider the size of your light before making a connection. For example, divers or snoopers in kelp may want to consider a smaller profile light vs. a bulky one to avoid snags.

Weight should also be a consideration depending on your target depth and expertise, as adding another piece of gear to your body may change your comfort depth. 

Light Intensity

Although a bright light is important, lumens by itself it isn’t actually a very helpful metric.

More important is the focus of the lens – a 1200 lumen light at a 60-degree flood angle will seem darker than an 800 lumen light at a 12 degree one since the total amount of illumination is spread over an area five times the size.

For harvesting, a 12-degree spotlight is preferable as nocturnal animals can detect artificial light – however, a 60-degree floodlight is also a good choice for navigating dark waters.

The best practice is to have a light that has a variable beam angle or two settings for what the situation calls for.

Battery

A strong dive light battery life is imperative for your harvesting and getting back to shore safely. Since this is dependent on the model, the best practice is to plan accordingly and time your dives according to the life of your dive light’s battery.

An alternative solution to this is to carry a secondary or backup light or several lights to switch out of on longer sessions. A light with a battery indicator is also extremely helpful, as it will help you gauge how much longer to stay offshore. 

Another consideration is whether you want replaceable or rechargeable batteries. Most rechargeable dive lights use a lithium-ion battery, which can retain its shelf life for quite some time before needing to be replaced.

Since I go night diving quite often, I opt for a rechargeable dive light to lower my cost in the long run of replacing batteries, which are usually expensive C types. 

Modes

While variable light modes aren’t necessarily a must-have feature, they are very, very helpful. Having a low power setting to get in and out of your launch area will help extend your dive time on high power, and an emergency strobe feature is indispensable in flagging down the nearby craft.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the brightest dive light?

A: The brightest dive light is the Orcatorch D8000

Q: Who makes the best underwater flashlight?

A: The company that makes the best underwater flashlight is Underwater Kinetics. Their flashlight model C8 reigns king over all of the other underwater flashlights.

Q: What is the best scuba light?

A: The best scuba light is the Underwater Kinetics C8.

Q: What is the best dive light for the money?

A: The Orcatorch D520 is the best dive light for the money.

Q: What is the best primary dive light?

A: The Underwater Kinetics c8 is the best Primary Dive light.

Insider Advice

The best option for a dive light covers these areas:

  1. Energy efficiency – your batteries will last 25%-50% longer than your average dive time.
  2. Common batteries – find lights that use standard (rechargeable) AA, C, or D so you can pick some up at the store when in a bind.
  3. LED – they are bright and efficient.
  4. Adjustable strength – Find one that allows you to adjust the beam angle so you can narrow or widen your light depending on the conditions.

When it comes to dive lights battery life, ease of access, brightness, and depth are the main factors when choosing the best diving light. The Underwater Kinetics C8 eLED (L2) dive light is the winner of this roundup.

This light balances a 500 feet depth with up to 20 hours of usable time. This means no matter what you decide to do with this light it can and will take the wear and tear from repeated use.

This light takes c-cell alkaline batteries as well as a rechargeable pack can be acquired for this dive torch. As well as when you are thinking user-friendly what is easier than a high/off/low switch that is waterproof. You do not have to worry about it leaking water when getting turned off and on.

This light is one of my go-to lights and I use it for everything! Whether I am driving or just simply walking the dog in the local park at night. This light works and keeps working no matter the conditions.

Conclusion

Dive lights are an essential part of any night spearo’s dive gear – after all, no light, no vision, no dive. While there ultimately is no “best dive light” with so many options on the market, we hope this list gives you some guidance on what to look for. Happy diving!


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler

Johanes Godoy
Fishing Editor

Did this article help you? Yes No
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube
21 Shares
Articles » Gear Reviews » Accessories » Your Guide to the Best Dive Lights for 2022