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Light emitting diodes (LEDs) offer an energy-efficient way of producing light using solid state technology. This means that the light comes from the activity of electrons as they pass through a semiconductor, instead of using a light bulb. Rechargeable LED flashlights use this technology coupled with the ability to recharge and reuse batteries to create a reliable, affordable, and portable light source. The bright beam makes them popular with police and fire personnel as well as campers and security guards.
LEDs have become increasingly popular as a light source for a wide variety of applications. They are in use for household lighting, holiday lights, businesses, and many other applications. Many countries are moving towards LED lighting as the main lighting source in the future. In the United States the goal is to have widespread LED technology in place by the year 2027 as a means of saving energy and reducing costs.
One advantage of light emitting diodes is that the light that is produced is directional, which means that it is output in a single direction. This is one reason LEDs are much brighter than other kinds of lighting. Rechargeable LED flashlights are more efficient than other types of flashlights; standard light bulbs turn up to 90% of the energy used into heat, wasting much of the power produced by the batteries. LEDs produce very little heat, on the other hand, meaning a minimum of energy is wasted and instead goes to producing light.
Rechargeable LED flashlights that are well made can last a very long time, up to 100,000 hours. This means that a light that is used for six hours each day, every day of the year, will last about 45 years. It is more likely that other components, such as the switch or the housing, will wear out before the light does.
Often the cost of using a flashlight is not in purchasing the light, but is instead in the cost of having to buy batteries for it. Rechargeable LED flashlights have batteries that can be charged repeatedly, and seldom need to be replaced. It is not uncommon for the batteries in rechargeable LED flashlights to be able to be charged up to 500 times before they must be replaced.
When the flashlight is not in use it can be plugged into the wall and left to charge. Some rechargeable LED flashlights can be charged with solar power packs, designed for campers who are away from power sources for extended periods of time. Many can also be recharged using a car charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter of a car.