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How Do I Choose the Best Spotlight?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many different uses for a spotlight and, therefore, many factors to consider before you can choose the best one for your needs. Both handheld and fixed spotlights are available on the market; handheld usually is smaller than and not quite as bright as the fixed variety. A spotlight typically has to be very bright but, depending on your needs, brightness may be another consideration. Operating this type of light may use a lot of energy, which can increase operating costs, so power consumption should be considered. Regardless of the light being mobile or fixed, it can fall, making durability an issue to consider.

In a broad sense, spotlight units come as either handheld or fixed. Handheld are mobile and commonly used for hunting and camping trips, while a fixed spotlight usually is for theatrical uses or for pointing out people or materials on a work floor. Handheld units normally are lighter and not quite as bright, while fixed units are heavy and can only be used in one place. You should choose a light based on how you will be using it.

A high lumen, or brightness, rating typically sets a spotlight apart from most other types of lights. This lumen rating usually is expressed both by the light itself, and the light bulbs used with it. At the same time, increased brightness normally comes at a cost, with brighter spotlights costing more. This means it typically is best to choose a light that is bright enough, but not too bright, for your needs.

A spotlight is much brighter than other lights, so it tends to take up a lot of power. With handheld units, this means stronger batteries may be needed if the unit is to do its job for a reasonable length of time, while fixed units draw in a lot of electricity. Power rating often affects brightness, so you may want to choose a spotlight that can make enough light without using too much energy.

Handheld and fixed units both can fall, and handheld units can be dropped. Such an incident can cause the body of the light to break or the light bulb to shatter, ruining the light unit. This means durability likely should be a consideration when making a purchase. While the light bulb usually will remain fragile, there are spotlights with rugged bodies that should not break as a result of typical falls.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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