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10 best torches for dog walking, camping or running

We shed some light on the best illuminators for your adventures 

Rebecca Miles
Tuesday 06 July 2021 16:28
<p>We tested these lights in a range of situations, from nooks and crannies at home to camping trips</p>

We tested these lights in a range of situations, from nooks and crannies at home to camping trips

Illuminate your surroundings and shine a light on life with our round up of the best torches on the market.

Whether you’re camping, doing some DIY around the house or having nighttime adventures, there’s a torch, lantern and lamp here for you.

When looking for a new torch, first thing to think about is where you’re most likely to use it – if it’s for camping, can it be hung inside your tent; if it’s for DIY can you use it hands-free?

Then look at things like run time (and power source – will it gobble up batteries, or can it be recharged via USB), and brightness, measured in lumens. Lumens measure the light’s output and the higher the number the brighter it’ll be. As a guide, a standard 40w bulb emits about 450 lumens.

We tested these lights in a range of situations, from delving into nooks and crannies at home to camping with the family and love the range of versatile options available. Here you’ll find everything from the most technical flashlight to the most stylish lantern.

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You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The best torches 2021:

  • Best overall– Liggoo light kit, £40, Tinkerandfix.co.uk
  • Best for music lovers– Alpkit soundbite, £34.99, Alpkit.com
  • Best for versatility–Alpkit trinity, £21.99, Alpkit.com
  • Best for young nighttime readers– Brainstorm toys t-rex head torch, £8.94, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for hands-free heavy-going DIY– Draper rechargeable LED head torch, £59.98, Drapertools.com
  • Best for stylish camping– Fermob balad outdoor lamp 25cm, £79, Furl.co.uk
  • Best for camping children– Hape hand-powered flashlight, £18,Johnlewis.com
  • Best for small, technical jobs– Imalent LD70, intensity 370 LED torch, £49.95, Heinnie.com
  • Best for late night adventures–Lifesystems intensity 370 LED torch, £24.99, Freewheel.co.uk
  • Best for bargain campsite lighting– Quechua camping lamp BL100, £9.99,Decathlon.co.uk

Liggoo light kit

Best: Overall

  • Weight: 254g (including all parts and case)
  • Lumens: up to 150Power: Rechargeable via micro USB
  • Waterproof rating: IP44 (splash-proof)
  • Beam range: N/A
  • Runtime: 1.5- six hours

By far and away the most versatile torch here, there is nothing the Liggoo can’t do. The handy little light unit with three LEDs can attach to a magnetic belt clip (and clipped on to the included head band), slotted into the torch handle, clipped onto the rubber strap or attached to the hook, so it can be positioned in pretty much any location possible, and the front of the clip can be angled up to 45º. Simply press and hold the centre of the light to turn it on, and rotate through four settings – three different brightnesses and a flash setting. It’s an incredibly useful piece of kit, and comes in a handy and neat carry case.

Alpkit soundbite

Best: For music lovers  

  • Weight: 201g
  • Lumens: 7-180Power: 3200mAh Li-Polymer rechargeable
  • Waterproof rating: IP64 – splash-proof
  • Beam range: N/A
  • Runtime: 30min-105hrs

Combining light and sound in one nifty little package, the Soundbite from Alpkit is a decent sounding Bluetooth speaker, plus a rechargeable camping lantern with three light settings. We love that it comes with a foldaway hanging hook and a magnetic clip so it was always close to hand – we hung it from a tree, stuck it to our bike and hung it inside the tent. It’s really simple to use – one button on its base turns the Bluetooth on, and flicks between the low, medium and bright light. And the low setting is plenty bright enough to shed some light on a middle of the night loo break.

Alpkit trinity

Best: For versatility

  • Weight: 250g
  • Lumens: up to 190Power: 4 x AA batteries (included)
  • Waterproof rating: IPX5 water resistant
  • Beam range: Up to 90m
  • Runtime: 3.5-190hrs

We love how easy it is to turn Alpkit’s Trinity from a torch to a lantern and back again – simply slide up the cover, and the light glows through the frosted plastic; slide it back down and it beams through the clear plastic at the end. The only fiddly bit is the cover has to be open to turn the torch on, but we like that one button controls everything – just press and hold to adjust the brightness. Throwing out a really decent light at full beam, we like the thoughtful extras, such as the retractable feet for stability, tripod fitting and the fold-flat hook.

Brainstorm toys t-rex head torch

Best: For young nighttime readers

  • Weight: 122g
  • Lumens: N/APower: 2xAAA batteries (not included)
  • Waterproof rating: No
  • Beam range: 2.5m
  • Runtime: Up to 50 hours

What this T-Rex head torch lacks in technical specs, it more than makes up for in fun functionality. Our younger tester thought this the best on test – and not just because it’s a dinosaur, but also because it roars at the press of a button; the other button turns the light on or off. An adjustable headband and two angles – one for outdoor adventures, one for bedtime reading, complete the package.

Draper rechargeable LED head torch

Best: For hands-free heavy-going DIY

  • Weight: 227g
  • Lumens: 900
  • Power: Rechargeable
  • Waterproof rating: IP65 (water resistant)
  • Beam range: Up to 35m
  • Runtime: 7.5hrs

A heavy-duty head torch for proper work, it’s fuss-free and stays in place, leaving your hands free to work on what’s needed. The three-way head strap is adjustable, and the light can be angled through nearly 180 degrees to shine where you need it. We love the feel of the on/off switch – it’s responsive and non-slip, and scrolls through the high/mid/low lights. In any of those modes, press and hold the button for three seconds to change to flash or SOS. The power pack at the back of the head strap is heavy, so it’s worth wearing this one over a hard hat to prevent it from sliding down your neck.

Fermob balad outdoor lamp 25cm

Best: For stylish camping

  • Weight: 530g
  • Lumens: 40
  • Power: Rechargeable
  • Waterproof rating: Showerproof
  • Beam range: N/A
  • Runtime: Seven-14hrs

Not a torch in the strictest sense of the word, the stylish Balad lamp will instead cast an atmospheric glow over your surroundings and can be carried from place to place. We love the candlelight setting but if you need a brighter light the neutral white at 100 per cent mode is the brightest.  Ideal for some stylish camping, you should get two nights of power out of it on one charge. It’s available with six different coloured handles, and in three heights (12cm, 25cm and 38cm).

Hape hand-powered flashlight

Best: For camping children

Weight: 110g

Lumens: N/APower: Hand-powered

Waterproof rating: N/A

Beam range: N/A

Runtime: N/A

A great option for outdoorsy kids and the planet, this hand-powered torch from Hape is made from bamboo and plant-based plastic and is so simple it’s a dream to use. Twist the end to turn it on and off, and pull the green chord at the other end a few times to generate light. The chord stows neatly into the base when not needed and is springy enough that young arms will manage at least a few pulls before passing to a grown up to do more. We love the look and feel of this and while the light isn’t the brightest here, it’s great for giving children a sense of independence.

Imalent LD70, intensity 370 LED torch

Best: For small, technical jobs

  • Weight: 87g
  • Lumens: up to 4,000Power: Rechargeable
  • Waterproof rating: IPX8 (waterproof)
  • Beam range: Up to 203m
  • Runtime: up to 15hrs

A mind-bogglingly powerful torch, the LD70 has an output of a massive 4,000 lumens (in Turbo mode) and a beam distance of 203 metres. It’s also the smallest and lightest to feature here, measuring just 8.1cm. It charges quickly, taking 1.5hrs to reach full capacity, and has five different brightness modes plus a strobe function. We like the little OLED display that shows battery life and current lumens, but the operation button takes a little getting used to – scrolling between the different modes and locking the flashlight requires some subtlety. Supplied with a wrist strap and in a smart presentation box, it’s an impressive piece of kit.

Lifesystems intensity 370 LED torch

Best: For late night adventures

Weight: 150g

Lumens: up to 370Power: Two x AA batteries (included)

Waterproof rating: IPX6 (waterproof)

Beam range: up to 175m

Runtime: Two-60hrs

Focus on the job at hand with this strong flashlight. Slide the head up or down to provide either a flood beam or a spot beam, and scroll through the five modes (turbo, high, medium, low and flashing). Not just good for seeing into dark corners, it’s also powerful enough to illuminate the way home on dark nights. Finished in a smart brushed metal and with a handy wrist strap, this torch is reliable, powerful and small enough to have easily to hand. Plus it’s waterproof and illuminates the darkest nooks and crannies.

Quechua camping lamp BL100

Best: For bargain campsite lighting

  • Weight: 240g
  • Lumens: up to 100Power: 4 x AA batteries (included)
  • Waterproof rating: IPX4 (withstands rain)
  • Beam range: N/A
  • Runtime: 26-130hrs

We love the glow that this lamp gives off, and while it’s not a torch in the strictest sense, it’s stable or can be easily hung (from around your neck if necessary) to shed some light on work in dark corners. Simply scroll through the three settings – the red light is brilliant if you wake in the night and don’t want to dazzle your eyes – and bask in 360 degrees of light.

The verdict: Torches

If you want to buy just one torch to cover all eventualities, buy the Liggoo. Great for everything from DIY to camping, it does it all and is easily rechargeable. For camping, we were pleasantly surprised by Alpkit’s soundbite – both its light and speaker is better than expected. For DIY, we love the simplicity of the Lifesystems intensity 370.

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