Your dive light is an essential piece of kit, whether exploring a wreck, night diving or just wanting to be seen on the surface, buying the right dive light can be a minefield. I’m breaking down my ten favourite diving lights right now for 2022 in ten different categories because a great torch for one diver would be completely unsuitable for another diver. Now, full clarity; I’m going to stick to the bigger brands because there are countless unbranded torches out there today available online that claim certain specs for ridiculous prices and it’s just impossible to keep up with them all and verify
Dive light technology has come along a huge way even since I started diving. Battery technology combined with LEDs have made underwater torches more powerful and with longer burn times and some specialize for specific applications so, lets dive straight in and see if your torch is on the list…
A lot of divers today travel for their scuba diving and if you’re on a week long liveaboard where you’re using your torch a fair bit, that can make things tricky, mostly around power management. For this situation I prefer a rechargeable torch that you can top up as you go so I don’t have the dilemma of taking a torch with a questionable amount of power left in the battery or swapping the battery and wasting that charge. So, I picked the Apeks Luna ADV dive light.
The Luna ADV is a beast with up to 36 hundred lumens of light. But, for travelling divers you can recharge it through the body with a USB cable. So, you can use the same USB charger as your tablet and phone and you don’t need to bring any additional bulky chargers or spare batteries, just a USB cable. The Luna ADV is also factory sealed so you never have to worry about O-Rings opening it up or anything, it’s a really handy design if you’re out and the screen on the back ensures that you know exactly how much power is left and at it’s lowest setting you can draw 36 hours of burn time out of it.
If you want to get into underwater videos then you can’t use a standard dive light because they often have hot spots and hard edges to their beams that will show up in your footage and bring you out of it. A dedicated video light like the Sea-life SeaDragon 3000F is a great starting point because you can usually get it with a tray to connect your computer and a quick change arm system to pose the light just where you need it.
The 3000f evenly casts it’s light over a wide 120° angle that gently tapers off around the edges so it illuminates your subject without standing out. The 3000F also has red LEDs that won’t disturb marine life while you line up your shot and a light sensor that can detect photo strobes for less interference and an auto brightness mode that dims the light to reduce over exposure
Backup Dive Light
As divers we love equipment redundancy. Should something go wrong, we carry a spare. And a lot of divers carry a primary dive light for when they know they need a torch but, tend to carry a backup dive light on every dive, just in case they need it. So, you want something fairly compact, with a decent punch and most importantly reliable. That lead me to the Apeks Luna Mini
The Luna Mini is factory sealed and you charge it through the body with a USB cable. So, you don’t have to worry so much about it clipped off to a D-Ring or in a pocket. It’s also pretty compact, so you’re not going to notice it in that pocket or shoulder strap. And the Luna mini kicks out 1000 lumens of light, which is suitable as a primary light for a lot of divers
If you need more power you typically need a larger torch. So, for long dives where you need a powerful light to burn for a long time. Instead of having a two-handed dive light, you have a battery pack that you attach to your waistband or behind you with a cable that runs to a head that actually produces the light. You can have a very powerful light that can run for a long time. And a great umbilical light is the Ammonite Nautilus.
With a sensible size, the Nautilus can produce 4000 lumes and the Nautilus has an adjustable beam angle, power settings. And with a big enough battery you can get 6 hours out of the Nautilus at full power. The Nautilus also has a cool feature where if it registers that it’s low on power, it switches to a low power for it’s final hour so you still get light for as long as possible.
If you’re looking for one dive light that can cover most dive plans then you’ve got to give it to the Mares EOS LRZ range. And I say range because it’s not just a single torch, they make an entire range from a big 3200 lumen to a compact 520 lumen light depending on your needs. But, each torch is flexible.
They each have variable power settings so you can set high beam and low beam as you need them but a nice feature of the EOS range is that you can change the beam angle on the go. Most torches are just a fixed beam angle, either spotlight, floodlight or something in the middle. The EOS torches can be whatever you want and the rechargeable battery inside can be topped up with a USB charger, a great all rounder of a torch.
Budget Dive Lights
If you’re on a budget, but you want a half decent dive light I do like the OrcaTorch D560. It’s the smallest torch on this list and only uses a single AA or 14500 battery which makes it quite handy as well. You can use the rechargeable battery and also swap it out for a standard AA battery if you need to.
Despite it’s small size the D560 kicks out 630 lumens of light which is plenty for a night dive in clear water and it’s not that much bigger than a AA battery so it can fit anywhere. If you’re wearing clunky gloves it might be a little fiddly but for a cheap torch with a decent amount of power
Most diving torches are just torches, they produce light and you could arguably use them to bash things, but, that’s about it. But, the D570-GL from OrcaTorch has a laser pointer in it. When used responsibly, this can be a very handy tool for scuba divers. If you need to point something out underwater, you usually have to either get fairly close and point to it with your finger or a pointing stick which can be dangerous for you, if the thing doesn’t like to be crowded, you can bump into things, scare things off or you can use your torch beam but that can be a bit vague.
With a laser, you can point things out from a distance accurately. It also has a regular torch to shine your way but when and if you need to you have a laser pointer built in. Just be sure to avoid pointing it in eyes, marine life, scuba divers, be responsible.
The Tovatec MERA is one of those hybrids that before you heard of them you wouldn’t have considered. Like putting a camera on a phone, now all phones have at least one camera. The Mera is a dive light with a built in camera, and it kind of makes sense, you want some light to bring colour back to your footage and while it won’t come back with Blue Planet quality footage, if you’re bringing your torch, you also have your camera with you if you need to take a quick snap
It has two lights built in as well, a spotlight and a floodlight and a rechargeable battery so it makes for a pretty decent dive light and an underwater camera all rolled into one.
If you need pure unadulterated power to turn night into day underwater, or probably cook your breakfast, then the Metalsub KL1242-FS12 is the way to go. Bear in mind that I consider a 1000 Lumen light to be a little too bright for a night dive in clear water. The FS12 emanates 12 thousand lumens if you use both flood and spotlights together.
It’s also a brute, like most metalsub torches you can probably hammer a nail in with it and I’ve personally seen a MetalSub torch that’s been lost at sea and recovered. With a little cleaning it was back to full working order. With a big 15Ah battery it can run at full power up to 3hrs
Should the worst happen and you need to be seen on the surface most dive lights today have a strobe or SOS function but, of course they’re focused to whatever the beam angle the torch has so, you have to be pointing in the right direction to be seen. The TekTite 4500 Strobe is a dedicated strobe to help you stand out.
Your choice of body colour and lens colour so if you want you can colour code whatever you’re attaching this to and identify things in and out of the water. Waterproof to 150m and a 60 hour burn time from three C cell batteries The 4500 will help you be found out at sea and find whatever it’s attached to.
As I said at the start; the underwater dive light market has exploded over the past few years and these are just ten of my top contenders that you should take a look at if you’re in the market for a new dive light. If there are any others out there that I missed that you like by all means pop them in the comments for others to consider. Why you chose them and how you’ve got on with it.