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Unlike a regular flashlight, the role of a UV flashlight isn’t so much to provide you with light in the dark but rather to reveal what is missed with the naked eye. It is easy to forget that what we see in our everyday life isn’t quite the objective fact we like to think of it as, with colors, for example, being somewhat of a subjective interpretation.
UV flashlights may offer you a glimpse into a world usually hidden from sight. Best of all, they can be acquired at an affordable price and bring unique and useful functionality you don’t find with other devices.
Our Other Recommendations
Best Lightweight UV Flashlight
The LE Ultraviolet Flashlight comes in at less than an ounce, but don’t let the lightweight fool you; this compact option still offers good illumination and a durable design—a great option for hikers and campers.
Brightest UV Flashlight
With 100 LEDs, the Kobra UV 100 Black Light Flashlight is the most powerful and brightest flashlight on our list. It is rugged and waterproof and can throw a beam of up to 25 feet. The bulbs should last 100,000 hours; that’s a lot of stains searching! Your average set of batteries will last 20 hours
Our Selection of the Best UV Flashlights:
Now that you understand how UV flashlights work and what they are used for, let’s look at some of the best UV flashlights on the market to find what is best for your intended purposes.
1. uvBeast V3 385-395nm UV Flashlight
Additional Technical Specifications
|LED Lights: 3 (SMD) LED|
|Weight: 13.3 oz|
|Batteries: 2x Rechargeable 18650 Lithium-Ion|
|Battery Life: 4 hours|
The uvBeast V3 offers a distinct change from many other popular UV flashlights. Traditionally, we’ve seen a lot of UV flashlights using large quantities of low-intensity LEDs. Instead of following this approach, the uvBeast V3 offers fewer but higher quality (SMD) LEDs in order to achieve excellent brightness while at the same time ensuring a smaller device to work with.
One of the gripes we’ve had with the products we’ve looked at in this field is that you are almost forced to trade portability and brightness. This flashlight offers both. The wavelength on this flashlight is also adjustable, meaning you can tweak it to your requirements.
What we love about the uvBeast V3 is that the company has opted for two rechargeable 18650 Lithium-ion batteries. This is a huge step up from most competitors on the market, which often don’t include batteries but often stipulate that their devices should not be used with rechargeable batteries. So, while the uvBeast V3 comes in at a higher price point initially, the savings from batteries alone, over time, will compensate for that higher price.
If you’ve handled a UV flashlight before, you’re probably familiar with how they don’t feel like a regular flashlight. You’re almost always very limited in the range that the beam is thrown, and in many cases, you feel more like you’re handling a limited source of light. The uvBeast V3 ultraviolet flashlight manages to not only offer blacklight functionality, but it can cast the UV beam quite a distance! The manufacturer claims that more than 70 feet of beam distance are achievable, a feat rarely accomplished by even the best UV flashlights.
While the best performance will come from low-light environments, the uvBeast V3 also manages to illuminate stains under typical interior and ambient lighting, a testament to the strength of the beam.
We’re big fans of how uvBeast creates new product iterations as the market and the times change. The V3 steps ahead of the competition in offering a device that is both rechargeable and provides quality UV light that could be used to detect pet stains, illuminate certain animal species, and manage document authentification. We find the uvBeast V3 an excellent choice for those searching for scorpions at night. The long beam range provides a safe distance while ensuring you find what you want.
We would have liked to have seen waterproofing available on this device, as that is one area where we feel it may fall a little short.
The uvBeast V3 365nm Variant
It is also worth adding that uvBeast offers a similar flashlight with a wavelength of 365nm. These 365nm UV flashlights tend to be less common and are specifically intended for more commercial purposes. So, if you’re on the market for something in the 365nm range, we recommend looking at the uvBeast V3 365nm UV flashlight.
2. Escolite 51 UV Flashlight Black Light
Additional Technical Specifications
|LED Lights: 51|
|Weight: 10.1 oz|
|Batteries: 3x AA (Not Included)|
|Battery Life: 4-6 hours|
The Escolite 51 UV flashlight gets its name from the 51 LEDs that emit blacklight at a wavelength of between 390nm and 395nm. This wavelength is somewhat standard for ultraviolet flashlights and does well in picking up strains and illuminating fluorescent animals or banknotes. It consumes a modest 3 watts of energy, which is good because the company recommends rechargeable batteries. Instead, you should use 3x regular AA batteries with the Escolite. The manufacturer states improper battery usage will void the warranty, so follow their instructions.
Regarding the build quality of the Escolite 51 UV flashlight, we were surprised to see that it’s waterproof and sealed, which isn’t too common in even the best UV flashlights.
The Escolite 51 contains three distinct segments. The front element includes the LED chips, the power button, the antislip grip, and the battery compartment. And then the rear cap, where one changes the batteries. The construction of the flashlight is aluminum alloy, which, while not the strongest material out there, is already better than some of the plastic options out on the market.
The brightness of the Escolite 51 UV flashlight is impressive for its price point. It allows you to easily pick up on dried animal urine on most surfaces (excluding reflective surfaces and fluorescent carpets). You can even identify fluorescent objects from feet away using this flashlight, which you often don’t find on your corner store UV flashlights.
In terms of performance, you get a decent range on the light with the best distance, typically around a foot from the target. You will pick up on dried animal urine quite easily in the dark and easily spot markings on banknotes. While it can detect scorpions, we prefer the performance of some other products on this list for that purpose.
This isn’t as strong as some other UV flashlights on the market, but the price point is very affordable, and if you’re looking to venture into the fluorescent world, this is not a bad place to start. However, if you’re looking for something with a bit more juice, more expensive options could get you greater results.
3. LE Ultraviolet Flashlight
Additional Technical Specifications
|LED Lights: 9|
|Weight: 2.19 oz|
|Batteries: 3x AAA|
|Battery Life: N/A|
The LE Ultraviolet Flashlight is a compact and affordable UV flashlight intended for consumers looking at purchasing a UV flashlight but perhaps aren’t interested in the most functionality or output. In short, this is intended to fit the budget market, and for around $10 – you’ll be hard-pressed to find many other blacklight flashlights at this price point.
The batteries are easy to fit, the end of this flashlight screws off, and a small carriage can be slid out. Add the three batteries with the positives and negatives indicated on the carriage, then slide it back in. Screw the base back into position and test by turning it on. When new, it may have a protective cover on this carriage; you will need to remove this to ensure the electricity can flow from the batteries to the LEDs. That’s all there is to getting started.
Instead of one textured piece, this flashlight has two. They are situated at each end of the ultraviolet flashlight and designed to fit against the palm of your hand and your fingers. This should help to ensure you don’t drop the flashlight when you need it the most. It has 9 LEDs and operates on the same frequency range, 395nm. The 395nm wavelength, as we’ve touched on, is fairly standard for entry-level UV flashlights and should suit most needs that aren’t commercial.
This flashlight is IPX4 rated, which means you can use it in the rain without any issues – an appreciated feature at such a low price point. The single switch for activating and deactivating the light is mounted on the end of the torch.
The LE ultraviolet flashlight arrives with a comprehensive 12-month warranty; it has a ROHS Certification to provide you with peace of mind regarding the quality of this product. It can detect gas leaks, water leaks, and urine stains, verify Identification documents, or confirm genuine currency.
A handy wrist strap also helps you when you’re using the flashlight in tricky situations. One such example would be when you’re under a car trying to identify an oil leak.
When it comes to construction, the primary material is aluminum alloy, which, as we’ve seen, is fairly standard for UV flashlight construction. Unfortunately, we noted that some other customers had encountered issues with quality control on the build. Thankfully, the company is true to its warranty and will typically resolve any issues should you find yourself one of the unlucky customers who receive a product with issues.
The light uses 5W to power the LEDs, but you will need to set your expectations in line with the pricing and size of this product – as you will not get a lot of distance on your beam. This extends into use in an ambient-lit room. You will need to ensure that you have minimal environmental lighting in order to get the most out of this product. This is really where you will find the limitations of cheaper blacklight flashlights.
4. Kobra UV 100 Black Light Flashlight
Additional Technical Specifications
|LED Lights: 100|
|Weight: 12 oz|
|Batteries: 6x AA|
|Battery Life: 20 hours +-|
The head is so large because it has 100 LEDs, far more than any of the others on this list, and part of why this UV flashlight will cost you a bit more than some of the competitors. It works on the same frequency, 395nm, as the previous offerings but has 18 watts of power. Impressively it still manages to weigh just 9.3 ounces.
The flashlight is approximately 8 inches long, less than 2 inches wide. However, the large head is approximately 3.5 inches in diameter. This makes it a little harder to carry the light discreetly in your hand. The beam of this light in the dark should carry 25 feet and be roughly 8 feet wide.
This is impressive by any standards and makes it the most powerful blacklight flashlight on this list. Of course, all this power requires additional batteries; the Kobra requires 6 AA batteries to provide this huge beam of light.
These can be fitted by unscrewing the rear end and sliding out the battery carrier. Insert the batteries, paying attention to the correct polarity, then slide the carriage back in and screw the base back on. You will need to purchase batteries separately as they do not come with this light.
The flashlight is made from machined aluminum and is designed to be waterproof and shockproof. The bulbs should last 100,000 hours; that’s a lot of stains searching! Your average set of batteries will last 20 hours; you will need to change them a few times in the lifetime of this light. This is one UV flashlight used by many law enforcement agencies and forensic teams worldwide. Kobra offers a 1-year money-back guarantee.
They will refund you if you have issues with this ultraviolet flashlight within the first 12 months of ownership. This is how confident they are in their product.
The main issues associated with this flashlight revolve around inadequate light or a failure to pick up urine. Assuming that these are stains and not fresh, these are items that the comprehensive 12-month money-back guarantee would cover. As most people find this a powerful and useful ultraviolet flashlight, it is fair to state that, apart from a few isolated cases, this is the most powerful backlight on the list and an effective tool in your arsenal against stains and animal waste.
Additional Technical Specifications
|LED Lights: 12|
|Weight: 3.52 oz|
|Batteries: 3x AAA (Included)|
|Battery Life: N/A|
The light itself is the smallest in this selection. Its length is a standard 4.4 inches. You could easily carry this in a pocket, handbag, or just in your hand without anyone noticing. To illustrate how small this is, it is two-thirds the length of an iPhone 6 and less than half the width, although considerably deeper.
The light takes 3 AAA batteries fitted by unscrewing the base of the flashlight. These fit into the dedicated battery carriage, which slides in and out. Batteries are supplied with this light. This design style is prevalent with all types of flashlights.
The base also incorporates the on and off switch. This is just one soft, textured button that you will probably find easiest to utilize with your thumb while holding the light. The flashlight body is made from extremely light aluminum; this ultraviolet flashlight weighs 4.8 ounces. This might not be the lightest on this list, but it is heavy enough to feel solid in your hand.
You will find 12 LEDs positioned in the front of the light, which should last 12 years! The light frequency is standard, 395 nm, and you will find a convenient 60-day money-back guarantee; this is long enough to confirm that it works as expected. This is another ultraviolet flashlight that can be purchased at a great price. You will also benefit from the standard 1-year warranty to deal with any issues.
Additional Technical Specifications
|LED Lights: 12|
|Weight: 6.4 oz|
|Batteries: 3x AAA (Not Included)|
|Battery Life: N/A|
The Findway is compact. It measures 3.6 inches long and just 1 inch wide, rivaling the offering from LE on this list. It has 9 LEDs set into the head of the light and produces a powerful beam with just 3 AAA batteries. These are not supplied with a torch. However, you can get five ultraviolet flashlights for an excellent price.
This makes them the cheapest backlight on this list, although you need to buy the set! It is even possible to lower this price if you buy larger quantities.
The batteries are fitted by unscrewing the base of the light to reveal the battery carriage. This slides out and allows you to insert the batteries, making sure you observe their polarities as you do so. The power button is on the base, ensuring it can only be turned on when the batteries are correctly fitted.
The flashlight is made from aluminum alloy and weighs 6.7 ounces for all 5! It also incorporates a handy belt clip that will enable you to clip onto your pocket, bag, or any other item.
As it looks like a standard flashlight, no one needs to know that you are inspecting the cleanliness of their home or workplace. Professionals who need UV flashlights to verify identification will find this pack of 5 lights beneficial; there will always be one to hand. It is worth noting that although this flashlight is splash resistant, it is not waterproof; you should not submerge it in the water!
This product is good value, but not the best on the list as one of the biggest issues seems to revolve around dropping the light, which dislodges the wiring and prevents it from working properly. This is an issue that needs to be addressed; however, considering the price of this product, a little care and attention can help ensure they work when you need them to.
In general, the quality of the product is better than satisfactory and should provide you with a good insight into the number of stains located around your home. There are guaranteed to be more than you realize! There is no doubt that these are the cheapest on this list and probably the cheapest you will be able to purchase a new ultraviolet flashlight for.
Additional Technical Specifications
|LED Lights: 100|
|Weight: 11.2 oz|
|Batteries: 6x AA (Not Included)|
|Battery Life: N/A|
Each LED is designed to last approximately 12 years, making this a durable and cost-effective investment. The light is made of an aluminum alloy that is both strong and light. This type of light unscrews more like a conventional flashlight.
The body separates from the head below the neck, revealing an opening to slide your battery carrier out. There are two carriers, and both need 3 AA batteries, creating six batteries to power this powerful blacklight flashlight. Slide the carriers back in and screw the head and body together, and your light is ready!
You will appreciate the handy hole on the bottom of the light, which allows you to fasten a wrist strap onto your flashlight. This, coupled with the textured anti-slip material coating the light, will help to ensure it stays in your hand, no matter what horrors you see.
The YOUTHINK UV flashlight is 8 inches long, making it the biggest in this collection; the head measures 3 inches, and the main body is a little under 2 inches. This is comfortable to hold and will not be lost easily. However, it is not one that you can slide into your pocket without anyone noticing!
It weighs a reasonable 12 ounces and runs on 18 watts, hence the power and length of its beam. You should be able to spot any stain almost effortlessly, provided you wait for it to be semi-dark. As well as stains, fake money, and scorpions, this black light flashlight can help you tell whether your jewelry is genuine.
The flashlight is also built with O-rings in the joins. You must ensure these are in place correctly when you screw your light back together. These seals enable the flashlight to be waterproof, not just splashproof. This product can be purchased for less than $20, making it excellent value for money considering the brightness of the light. Of course, you will probably be happy with the lower-powered models for general use, which is why this does not take the top spot. However, it is a strong contender and a UV flashlight that will meet your needs perfectly.
How UV Flashlights Work
What we see is directly tied to how light refracts off objects, creating the color we perceive. While the color of a wavelength is an objective measurement, the colors we perceive are not. The perception of color is even different between species.
Sometimes, we need some help seeing things that may not be highlighted or made visible through traditional wavelengths of light. A UV light does a great job of providing us with a visual insight into refraction that we don’t see from regular sunlight or lighting outside the extreme ends of the light spectrum.
You’re undoubtedly familiar with the term fluorescence, the word given to something that exhibits traits that cannot be seen with regular light. Fluorescent objects will require a UV light to ‘decode’ – and its uses range from simple fun to exploration and even security and forensics.
UV (Ultraviolet) is a form of electromagnetic radiation that falls outside the visible spectrum, with a wavelength between 10 nm and 400 nm. UV lights, like the above-mentioned UV flashlights, don’t offer a visible light beam. Instead, it gives off photons that react with the phosphorous to make it visible. You see the phosphorous’s reaction under UV lights, creating visible light.
This means that you won’t get the same kind of illumination as you would using something like a tactical flashlight. Instead, you’ll most likely purchase a UV flashlight solely for UV functionality.
Understanding the Difference Between UVA, UVB, and UVC
Before purchasing the right UV flashlight, it is important to understand what nm is and how it affects the light you purchase. Nm is short for nanometers. Ultraviolet light, or ultraviolet radiation as it is also known, covers the range from 10 nm to 400nm’s. It can be broken down into these specific segments:
Covers the range 315 – 400nm’s. Known as long wave UV and is not absorbed by the ozone layer.
Medium wave and covers 280 – 315nm’s. The ozone layer absorbs the majority f this.
Covers the range 100 – 280nms. This is short wave and is completely absorbed by the ozone layer.
You can discover more about the entire range here.
The only range humans can see is the top part of the long-range; hence, an ultraviolet flashlight should be within the top end of this range. All the UV flashlights on this list are rated at 395 nm, as this will allow you to see the stains while maximizing the efficiency of the light and life of the batteries.
You’ll notice the visible spectrum separated from the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum in the image above. UV light falls just to the left of the visible spectrum, with infrared on the right. Below, we can take a further look into the UV side of the spectrum in more detail.
The Purpose of UV Flashlights
We now understand how they work, but what exactly are they used for, and why would you need one?
Fluorescence is used to manufacture government documents and banknotes to help detect fraudulent copies or counterfeit cash. When you go to the bank, you may have seen that the teller will wave the notes under a light while processing them; the light being used is a UV light. There will typically be fluorescence within the security strip of bills that won’t be visible to the naked eye but will show clearly under UV light. Similarly, with documents like passports, fluorescent fibers embedded in them will become visible under UV light.
A UV flashlight, in turn, is a great way to scan over bank notes or documents to see whether or not they are legitimate. It is a useful tool for someone who wants to ensure they never possess counterfeit banknotes, which happens occasionally through currency circulation outside the bank.
Finding Traces of Body Fluid
Perhaps not the most pleasant of uses, but one that can offer some beneficial insight into the quality of a particular garment or even a hotel room. Urine, semen, and saliva all contain traces of fluorescence, which can be picked up under UV light. A common use is looking for pet urine stains or finding body fluid in a shared space.
Crime Scene Investigation
UV light has become a handy tool for forensics detectives who must comb a scene for evidence. Not only are bodily fluids detected via UV flashlight, but so are tooth and bone fragments. Of course, the professionals in the FBI will be using state-of-the-art equipment that uses UV light. However, a UV flashlight can still reliably offer some of these functions and is sometimes employed by private investigators.
Gemstones & Minerals
You may wonder how something that, in many cases, already looks spectacular directly from the ground could get even cooler. Some gemstones and minerals have hidden tricks we never get to see. There are actually over 500 different types of minerals that have been found to contain fluorescence.
Aside from just seeing the stone in a new light (no pun intended), a UV flashlight will also allow you to identify fake gems that are supposed to contain fluorescence. Once again, UV light comes to lend us a hand in avoiding getting scammed by providing a method of verification.
While the presence of fluorescence exists in several species, a UV flashlight isn’t of much use for something like the Flying Squirrel, which, while glowing under UV light, probably isn’t within arms reach of the curious flashlight holder.
Instead, UV flashlights are often used to detect Scorpions or certain insects. Scorpions glow a bright blue under UV light for reasons that science has yet to uncover. While these mysterious little Arachnida species are often hard to detect, heading out to the desert at night with a UV flashlight could give you a new experience.
In addition to the Scorpion, insects like centipedes, millipedes, and crickets can all respond to color changes under UV light, thanks to their fluorescence.
Is UV Light Dangerous?
Most people are aware of or have at least heard about the dangers of UV. But just how well aware are you of what poses the risks and what it takes in terms of exposure for it to harm your health?
Thankfully, using a small handheld UV light such as a flashlight is unlikely to impact your health, assuming you use it practically and avoid looking directly into it for extended periods. We recommend always avoiding looking directly into flashlights.
Though as far as the carcinogenic nature studied concerning UV exposure, the sun remains our biggest threat. While most UV flashlights will primarily be UVA, the sun radiates UVB light, which is stronger and at higher risk of causing skin cancer. Tanning beds are another manufactured application shown to increase cancer risks among those who frequent them.
For a more in-depth look at how UV rays impact your health, visit cancer.org for a deep dive into the topic.
Your Guide To Buying The Right UV Flashlight
There are several other factors you should consider before committing to a specific UV flashlight:
Most of the flashlights on this list are small, approximately 4 inches long. This means they are straightforward to carry with you. The size of your hand and the position of the grip on the flashlight can also influence the best size for you. Larger flashlights may be able to offer you more power through the use of more diodes, though, so make a pick based on what is required for you.
Most of the flashlights in this collection have wrist straps; this is a valuable addition to prevent you from dropping the light and potentially breaking it.
It is possible to purchase a black light flashlight for under $10. This is your preferred price range, as you can afford to damage or lose it without breaking the bank. However, the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ does carry some weight.
The more expensive UV flashlights will have more power and be robust enough to survive drops and bangs, which the cheaper ones may not survive.
It is unlikely that you need to create a budget for your purchase. This list’s most expensive UV flashlights can be purchased for around $30. However, it is worth considering how much you wish to spend as this will assist you in making your decision.
The intensity of the UV flashlight is an important factor to consider, and it’s not as easy as just looking at the number of diodes in the light. Different LED technology can provide different intensities. That is to say, just because a UV flashlight has a lot of LEDs in it doesn’t mean it will outperform one with fewer diodes.
Equally important to consider is that the varying efficiency offered by different LED types may mean that your UV flashlight can put out more light with less battery power than other models.
Because of these difficulties in identifying brightness by the numbers, we’ve done our best to represent the brighter options in our list.
Perhaps the most relevant part of your decision is considering what you plan to use the ultraviolet flashlight for.
For example, you might opt for the most powerful option if you hope to see scorpions in your backyard. But if you’re looking for a toy for your child, you can settle for the weaker, less expensive options.
If you wish to check your hotel room before you stay, you may find that a smaller, less powerful blacklight flashlight is more than capable. This will be more discreet when you arrive at the hotel.
Once you consider your intended use, you will narrow your search parameters to more or less powerful options.
Almost every UV flashlight in this list has a wrist strap; this ensures you can easily carry it and, perhaps more importantly, avoid dropping your light. This is perhaps the most practical way to carry your ultraviolet flashlight.
However, some come with belt clips; this can be an effective way to carry your light and is worth considering. There is no correct answer to the most convenient ultraviolet flashlight; it is simply the one that will fit your needs best.
It would help if you considered the reputation of the UV flashlight you intend on purchasing. The better-known brands are more likely to supply a quality light.
One of the best ways to verify the reputation of a UV flashlight is to check the manufacturer’s website and see what positive reviews have been left on the site. In addition, it is worth checking Amazon and other social media sites to see what people who have purchased the UV flashlight think of the product. You will likely have honest opinions through these sites, as there is no reason to restrict the comments.
Of course, there will always be some customers who are not happy with their purchase. Before you accept their opinion and base your decision on what they have said, it is important to look at the consensus. This will tell you how good ultraviolet light is.
It is also worth considering what the flashlight is made from. All those who made this top 10 UV flashlight list are made from aluminum, ensuring they are tough enough to carry with you and can even survive being dropped. However, some lights are made from plastic. You need to decide if this is the right material for your needs. Flashlights made from plastic will be damaged more easily, ruining your investment.
A UV flashlight can serve many purposes, from practical use to entertainment and security.
It is important to consider your options before deciding which UV flashlight is right for your needs. One factor that has been mentioned but can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your blacklight flashlight is the beam’s radius. In general, the more LEDs you have in the light, the larger the head of the light needs to be and the wider your beam of light will be. However, this must be coupled with enough high-quality batteries to be effective. This will help you cover any space much faster than a lower-powered flashlight.
However, if you deal with smaller items, such as washing powder residual on clothes or even dried cat urine, you may prefer to use a smaller radius light. Of course, the larger the radius, the brighter the beam will be when used in close quarters. This can help if the space is exceptionally dark but can also confuse the issue if there are too many other items that the light will pick up, such as fluorescent strips on the carpet.
A UV flashlight is an essential item for every home. You may prefer to have several options available. Select your preferred one from this list and order a UV flashlight today!
Frequently Asked Questions
While we’ve done our best to cover the most common questions about UV flashlights in our article, we know that it can help to have these questions written out more concisely and consolidated, so we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions.
What are UV flashlights used for?
UV flashlights have several uses, but the most common household uses include detecting pet urine stains, illuminating minerals, or finding scorpions at night. Additionally, they are used to detect bodily fluids in hotel rooms, authenticate currency or detect oil leaks in cars with an illumination liquid.
Can you use UV flashlights during the day?
If your UV flashlight is strong enough, it will be able to illuminate fluorescent objects in ambient lighting. Other UV flashlights will require you to use them in low light conditions to light the target object sufficiently.
Do UV flashlights use UVA or UVB?
UV flashlights will typically operate between 360nm and 400nm wavelengths. This puts them within the range of UVA. The wavelengths needed for the classification of UVB are <315nm.
Are UV flashlights bad for your eyes?
UV flashlights are typically safe so long as they are used correctly. The UV light they emit can damage your eyes if looked at directly, but you are unlikely to suffer from any eye damage for traditional use.