A dive light, also called an underwater torch, is a great piece of equipment to own. For night dives, your torch will illuminate dark waters to help you discover the underwater treasures of the evening hours. Dive lights are also useful for day dives, providing critical light when exploring cracks, crevices and providing colour.
But a simple search for dive lights will produce an array of options. How do you know which one is a worthwhile investment?
Tip 1: Seek “water-tight” and “pressure-proof” labels
When shopping, avoid “waterproof” lights – these lights may resist water, but will not withstand the pressure of deep submersion. The last thing you want is for your light to suddenly go out because it was crushed under pressure. Look for lights that are labelled water-tight and pressure-proof.
Tip 2: Decide your preferred style
For your first dive light, you likely will want to buy the flashlight style. These are available in a range of sizes, including compact handheld lights for day dives and lantern-style lights for night dives.
If you are planning a wreck or cave dive, it might be a smart investment to research canister lights. These types of dive lights are much brighter than the flashlight style. Canister lights supply a compact light via a wire to a battery power source in a canister which you’ll connect to your waist.
Tip 3: Opt for rechargeable batteries
Dive lights can burn through batteries quickly, so unless you use it rarely, rechargeable is the way to go. Not only will they save you money, you’ll also reduce landfill waste – a win-win for your wallet and the environment.
Tip 4: Learn bulb types
Today there are more bulb types than ever before, which can get confusing. Here’s the lowdown: tungsten and halogen bulbs cost less, but use more batteries and are dimmer. HIDs and LEDs are more expensive, but are more efficient – for example, a 10 watt HID puts out the same light as a 50 watt halogen but uses only 20 percent of the power.
Contact your local PADI Dive Shop to learn more about dive lights and torch options that are right for you.