The design of your flashlight’s reflector affects both the beam’s strength and focus. Without a reflector in place, no matter how powerful the light, the beam would just diffuse everywhere – like a solitary candle sitting on a table. So, reflectors are important. Without them, you just bought a very expensive candle.
But you don’t want a candle. You want a mean and surly tactical flashlight, and for that, you need to understand reflectors.
Most modern flashlights allow you to adjust the reflectors – most of the time by twisting the bezel – to narrow or widen the beam. It’s when you perform this function that you truly notice the difference in the various types of reflectors: smooth, faceted and orange peel.
Let’s examine each of these:
Smooth reflectors have been around as long as flashlights. Actually, they were around before if you count lanterns as the precursor to modern flashlights. They are cheap and easy to make. That’s why they are typically found in lower quality flashlights. The problem with smooth reflectors is that they project patches of bright light and darkness. You may have noticed this when using a cheaper flashlight – there a big shadow right in the centre of the beam.
Now, some smooth reflectors are well made and can project a quality beam when tightly focused, but when you broaden the beam, the rings of shadow and light come back again. It’s just a design flaw.
This was the next evolution in reflector technology and eliminated the rings of shadows and light seen with smooth reflectors. Faceted reflectors are comprised of hundreds – or even thousands – of tiny little mirrors that focus light in the same direction at a slightly different angle – this eliminates those annoying rings. Now, you do lose some of that tight focus you get with a smooth reflector, but many find the trade-off to be worth it. As a general rule, the more facets a reflector boasts, the cleaner and smoother the beam – no matter how tight.
Orange Peel Reflectors
This is the final evolution – thus far – of flashlight reflectors. Instead of facets, the entire surface of the reflector has a smooth yet textured appearance. The reflector – with the exception of colour – takes its name from its resemblance to an orange peel. Because it projects such a smooth light regardless of focus, this type of reflector is used in most high-quality flashlights like the ones found in our store.
As you consider your next flashlight, take into consideration the different types of flashlight reflectors. Especially when you are evaluating the varying beam distances that are available on flashlights, take note of the reflector type as it just might impact which light accompanies you when the sun goes down.
For a wide range of flashlights, with a variety of quality reflectors - contact Klarus Light today!