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  • Post last modified:January 9, 2024
modlite plhv2 in action 35 ft

Have you ever wondered why two flashlights with nearly the same lumen count can light up your scene so differently?

It's all about the lumens and candelas! Let's shine a light on this and explore how an 800 lumen flashlight might outshine a 1000 lumen light, just by having a higher candela output.

Check out some good weapon lights here

800 Lumens VS 1000 Lumens - Brightness Isn't Everything

modlite okw lumen intensity 18350 battery

More focused beam

modlite plh 5k beam pattern

More flood beam to see everything around

On the surface, 800 lumens and 1000 lumens perform pretty much the same. But they are really different when the candela output changes.

Remember, lumen measures how bright a flashlight outputs at the light head. Think of it as the total amount of light visible to our eyes. So, a 1000-lumen flashlight sounds more powerful than an 800-lumen one, right? Well, it's not always that straightforward.

ar15 modlite plhv2

Candela is how much punching power the light intensity has. Imagine a flashlight beam: candelas tell you how bright the center of that beam is. A higher candela rating means a more focused, intense beam of light. Most spot lights have high candela output.

800 Lumens with High Candelas

Here is a 800 lumen tactical flashlight with up to 76000 candela rating. This flashlight is basically a spot light for a rifle, so it can focus its light intensely over a longer distance. Its beam might not light up a wide area, but it can reach far and bright, making it perfect for spotting things at a distance.

modlite plh5k with 18350 battery

The same candela rating can delivery similar low light performances even if its 600 lumens.

In this case, this is the MODLITE OKW with less than 800 lumens, but with up to 69000 candela output, it's able to illuminate the scene further away than a Surefire M600DF.

1000 Lumens with Lower Candelas

On the other hand, a 1000-lumen flashlight with just 20000 candelas is more like a broad brush. It spreads light over a wide area, great for lighting up a room or a campsite. However, its light might not reach as far or as intensely as the 800-lumen one.

x300u beam pattern

So in this case, the Surefire X300 Ultra with 1000 lumens performs poorly than the Surefire X300 Turbo in terms of seeing through tree lines, and focus the beam at shadow areas.

glock 17 surefire x300 turbo

This makes a huge difference for a weapon light, and being able to see things in the dark matter a lot when you pay attention to the candela rating.

In another word, high lumen intensity isn't everything.

Which One Is The Best


If you're hiking in the woods or shooting targets at night, a high-candela, 800 lumen flashlight could be your best friend, helping you see far ahead on the trail. But if you're setting up a tent or cooking at a campsite, a 1000 lumen, flood beamed flashlight might be more useful.

p365 with tlr 6 hot spot closet low light

In the end, it's not just about chasing higher lumens. It's about finding the right balance between lumens and candelas for your needs. So, next time you pick a flashlight, think about where and how you'll use it. Remember, sometimes the light with fewer lumens but higher candelas could be the one that brightens your path the best!