You never know when you need a flashlight and don’t have a battery handy. So what are the best hand crank flashlights? We’ve reviewed and compared them for you.
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What’s Important In A Flashlight?
Whether the power has gone out in your home and you want to avoid stumbling around or if you are adventuring on mountain trails and camping in the great outdoors, you should have a reliable flashlight. In addition, it would help if you had several flashlights handy in the household.
While there are many different options available on the market today, most of these require battery power. This is somewhat inefficient, and if it can be avoided, then so much the better.
Hand cranking flashlights represent a solid option for those who do not want to worry about whether the batteries in your emergency/safety flashlight are fresh.
With the ability to recharge the battery with physical effort, hand crank flashlights are reliable and easy to use.
Not only that, but they are also environmentally friendly and do not produce a constant stream of battery waste. As such, they should be a part of everyone’s home emergency or outdoor survival kit.
When choosing a hand-crank flashlight, one should keep several things in mind. First, be on the lookout for extra added accessories that come with the flashlight, which may be handy. Many reasonable offers come with sturdy cases to keep the flashlight safe when not in use.
Also, consider the strength and durability of the flashlight itself and the hand crank mechanism. You do not want to buy a cheap piece of plastic that will fall apart in your hands when you need it most!
Additionally, consider other recharging features such as a small solar panel.
This can save you some effort when you grow weary of turning the dial. It is also essential to consider how long the battery can hold a charge. One should not have to shift the mechanism to produce light (ideally) constantly.
Finally, it is also crucial to consider the function or intended use of the flashlight when looking at its overall brightness capacity.
Whether in the woods or your living room, you might consider a brighter or dimmer option.
The Best Hand Crank Flashlights
Here are the best solar and hand crank-powered flashlights on the market in no particular order.
MECO Solar Powered Flashlight
This offer from MECO is at the top of this list for good reasons.Check Price On Amazon
Not only is it hand crank-able like all of the other options on this list, but it also comes complete with a small solar panel to help you recharge the battery (and yours) when hand cranking becomes too much.
The battery can hold a decent charge, and the mechanism has a high conversion efficiency. This means that approximately six minutes of cranking is all that is required to generate an hour of battery life!
The classic military design is sleek, and the body’s build is highly sturdy and durable (yet only weighs three ounces!). It has a carabiner clip just in case you want to attach it to a backpack, making it ideal for camping and hiking. All of this is available for a very reasonable price.
Pros Of The MECO
- High conversion efficiency.
- Aesthetic rugged design.
Cons Of The MECO
- The carabiner clip can be challenging to open and close.
- The “On” switch can easily be triggered by brushing against objects.
Energizer Weatheready Rechargeable Crank Light
This flashy red hand crank flashlight is sure to serve you well in case of an emergency.Check Price On Amazon
With three powerful LED bulbs, the illumination provided by this reliable option is impressive.
It comes with a carabiner clip built into the unit to clothe backpacks or clothing easily. You will never need to buy batteries and the “lifetime” LED light never needs replacing.
The low conversion rate can be forgiven for the amount of light this flashlight produces: it is estimated that one minute of cranking time provides three minutes of light though consumer reviews suggest that the actual illumination time is much longer.
This option stands out, is from a highly recognizable brand, and is suitable for working in low-light environments.
Pros Of The Energizer Weatheready
- Highly durable.
- Small size and lightweight.
Cons Of The Energizer Weatheready
- The crank conversion rate is low.
- The crank piece itself is somewhat flimsy.
Thorfire Solar Flashlight
This compact flashlight from Thorfire makes Amazon’s Choice list, and it is easy to see why.Check Price On Amazon
Beyond the hand crank – which makes it easily rechargeable for emergencies – it also has a built-in solar panel to keep it fully loaded when your hands are tired.
This unit also has an excellent conversion capability. One minute of cranking provides up to one hour of illumination! It is also submersible to up to 45 feet, making it one of the most durable options on this list.
The dynamo device is well constructed and feels sturdy. The Thorfire would be ideal for outdoor activities where you might encounter various obstacles that might jolt the light around or expect uncertainty with the weather.
Pros Of The Thorfire
- Excellent crank to power conversion rate.
- Waterproof and submersible.
Cons Of The Thorfire
- Slightly tricky to wind up.
- Light power is somewhat on the dark side.
Kaito Wind-up Flashlight
If you like to take other electronic devices with you on a hike – or if you might need to do an emergency recharge – take a look at this offer from Kaito.Check Price On Amazon
With a built-in cell phone charger port, you can hand-crank your way to a fully loaded phone! It also includes an AM/FM radio and NOAA weather radio for outdoor adventures.
The built-in speaker and telescopic antenna provide decent sound and surprising reception. Remember that this is a flashlight too! The light it generates is respectable, and the battery is fully rechargeable with the hand crank. In sum, given all of the features included here, this option would be perfect to have in an emergency survival kit.
Pros Of The Kaito
- The curved build makes it ergonomic for your hand.
- Many additional features (including charger and radio).
Cons Of The Kaito
- Cell phone charger works only with certain phones.
- The recharge feature takes some significant physical effort.
Chromo Inc Flashlight
This offer from Chromo Inc. comes with four flashlights (for the price of one)! It lands on Amazon’s Choice list and is a top-rated product.Check Price On Amazon
One flashlight weighs only 2.4 ounces making it highly lightweight and easy to carry. Each piece comes with three LED lights for reliable illumination and a wrist strap to help you avoid dropping it.
They are also available in a variety of colors to avoid misplacing them.
If you are eco-minded, you will be interested in knowing that these flashlights are made entirely of recycled materials and generate no carbon footprint in their production. Overall, they are simple, easy to use, and available for a reasonable price.
Pros Of The Chromo
- Easy to crank.
- Flashy colors.
Cons Of The Chromo
- There are potential issues with recharging after initial battery life drains (with some units).
- It is made of plastic.
American Red Cross Flashlight
This is a special offer from the American Red Cross.
Besides being a powerful LED flashlight (with three LED bulbs) that is fully rechargeable with the built-in hand crank, it also functions as a crank-powered USB cell phone charger.Check Price On Amazon
Attached to the base is a handy carabiner clip to take with you on any hiking or camping adventures. The overall build of this unit is somewhat sturdy, and the hand crank does take a bit of effort to turn. However, the weight comes in at 6.4 ounces (per flashlight) which is reasonable.
Using it as a flashlight (at the end of the day, that is what it is) works well, and the strength of the light is high.
They are sold either individually or (at a discount) as a pack of two. Consider grabbing a couple to put into emergency preparedness kits in your car or home.
Pros Of This Flashlight
- USB phone charger powered by a hand crank.
- Strong flashlight beam.
Cons Of This Flashlight
- Not compatible with all cell phones.
- Charging function may take significant physical effort.
Goal Zero Torch 250
This attractive option packs serious power: the aptly named Torch 250 does provide up to 250 lumens of output.Check Price On Amazon
It also offers several light modes (flashlight, floodlight, or red emergency light) to balance the trade-off between battery drain and illumination power.
Beyond the included hand crank, which can fully recharge the battery, this device also has a solar panel that can recharge the unit on brighter days.
Like some of the other choices on this list, the Torch 250 has a cell phone charging port.
Usefully, this USB port can also be used to charge the flashlight. This will allow you to stay connected in the event of a power outage or outdoor emergency. In addition, it is reliable and durable (and even water-resistant).
You get what you pay for at a more expensive price point, and this option is no exception.
Pros Of The Goal Zero
- Solar panel for alternative charging options.
- Built-in USB charging port for phones (and the light itself).
Cons Of The Goal Zero
- The conversion rate is somewhat low (1 minute of cranking generates 2 minutes of light) as the charge is more of an emergency feature.
- Expensive price point (but a quality product).
Suaoki Camping Lantern
For those who intend to do some proper camping and require something best used while stationary, this SUAOKI lantern might be ideal.Check Price On Amazon
The lantern is collapsible, allowing easy packing into a backpack, and folds out when you reach your destination.
It has both a hand crank and a USB port to allow for multiple sources of recharging.
High and low brightness LED light modes are perfect for nighttime way-finding or reading in a tent, respectively.
When compacted, the lantern can also be used as a handheld flashlight.
The fully charged battery lasts for about four hours, and the conversion rate of the hand crank is decent (one minute of cranking provides 4/11 minutes of high/low light (respectively). Amazingly, this unit weighs only 5.9 ounces. It even looks good too!
Pros Of The Suaoki
- Highly flexible use options.
- Collapsible and easy to pack.
Cons Of The Suaoki
- The crank handle can break with vigorous use.
- Not highly water-resistant.
PrimalCamp Hand Crank Flashlight
This sturdy and rugged unit looks and feels like a quality product at a reasonable price. It is not hard to see why this flashlight is also on Amazon’s Choice list.Check Price On Amazon
The bright LED bulb can be recharged by both the hand crank and the built-in miniature solar panel.
The conversion rate is reliably efficient: with about six minutes of cranking, you can power the light for up to an hour!
The internal battery is also quite good at holding the stored power over time. The unit’s body is affixed with a carabiner clip for easy transportation.
As such, it makes a great addition to your backpacking survival kit. It also comes with a satisfaction guarantee – you can return the product at any time if you find it does not meet your expectations!
Pros Of The PrimalCamp
- Solar panel for recharging flexibility.
- Multiple settings.
Cons Of The PrimalCamp
- Difficult to find any negatives here – an actual quality product.
- Brightness might be slightly low – functionally, it is a survival flashlight.
Ivation Hand Crank Camping Lantern
Finally, this full-on camping lantern is for those not worried about weight or space requirements. Perhaps you are taking the car to camp for a few nights?Check Price On Amazon
Or perhaps the power has gone out, and you want to play cards to pass the time? This device is perfect.
It features several charging options: beyond the hand crank, it can be refilled via USB or an optional wall adapter.
Two brightness settings conserve battery life and an SOS strobe light feature with a siren for real emergencies. Usefully, it has a built-in radio and a solid battery to charge mobile devices.
It is trendy – Amazon’s Choice list can’t be wrong!
Pros Of The Ivation
- The lantern provides excellent illumination.
- Built-in radio and mobile charger.
Cons Of The Ivation
- Radio reception can be poor.
- It is recommended for outdoor use only.
Conclusion: The Best Hand Crank Flashlights?
The flexibility of hand cranking flashlights makes them must-have devices for emergency kits and backcountry expeditions.
Research some of the options on this list and find one that suits your needs and budget.
Don’t let the need for batteries or cord-based charging slow you down!
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