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Updated Oct 11, 2021 9:56 AM

Just because you can’t see it with the naked eye doesn’t mean the danger isn’t there — and that applies whether you’re at home or in a filthy barracks somewhere. UV flashlights enhance your ability to observe and identify risks, especially bodily fluids. Since fluids like blood and urine are a biohazard, it’s important to know when they are around; under ultraviolet light, these fluids glow so you can spot them in an instant. While it can’t tell you if there is a specific pathogen in your environment, a UV light can tell you the risk is there. 

When it comes to health and safety, it’s very important to ensure the quality of the tools you’re using, especially if you can’t rely on your basic senses for a full assessment. To help, we’ve tracked down the best UV flashlights around along with some details about making the right pick.

If you are planning to use your flashlight for work-related tasks, then the Glossday UV Black Light Flashlight is a worthy candidate. It uses LED technology to provide an intense beam of blacklight onto your surroundings. Thanks to the 100 individual light chips, it gives you the benefits of a seriously bright beam. Using 18 watts of power, the wavelength runs at 395 nanometers. This helps the beam shine powerfully so you don’t have to get too close to the surfaces you’re investigating. It is strong enough to work as everything from a passport authentication tool to a piece of forensic equipment. With a tough aluminum exterior and waterproof design, this flashlight is a heavy-duty option that’s great for discerning users.

Those looking for a handheld light source that functions well and is compact enough to store easily can get a lot of benefit from the Amuoc Black Light UV Flashlight. It features 51 LED light chips which emit a blacklight that emits light with a 395-nanometer wavelength. It comes encased in a sturdy aluminum structure that can stand up against all types of damage. While it isn’t waterproof, the flashlight itself is still pretty tough. The material is naturally resistant to corrosion and rust, making it a remarkably durable tool. Powered by three double-A batteries, it isn’t prone to quickly draining. With a strap at the back to make it easy to transport the flashlight, it’s a great tool to keep around for times when you need to read the room.

Want something that works well and is easy to use? Consider the Escolite Black Light UV Flashlight for its balance of affordability and quality performance. Using LED light technology, it is a durable option that is built to work over the long term. By using a replaceable power source (three double-A batteries), you don’t have to worry about recharging the unit. Plus, since the 51 LED chips won’t wear down quickly and usually only need to run for a short period, it’s a seriously long-lasting option. It spreads out a light that ranges between 390 and 395 nanometers in wavelength. Useful for everything from checking for accidents while training pets to more professional applications, this is a popular light for good reason.

If you are planning to use a UV light casually, the Niuta UV Black Light Flashlight is a tool worth keeping around. The incredibly compact design lets you store it easily in a pocket or backpack. Ideal for checking out the cleanliness of a hotel room or rental vehicle, the light uses LED bulbs to ensure reliable, lasting performance. The 12 LED bulbs are capable of illuminating for over 100,000 hours, so running out of energy isn’t a risk. The lights shine at the expected wavelength of 395 nanometers, revealing the fluorescence of biological material. In addition to the utility value, the waterproof flashlight is durable against impact and rust. Paired with a rubber grip for easy handling, this is a great option to have on hand.

If you like to be prepared for anything, then a UV flashlight is definitely something you need to include in your gear. However, if you aren’t going to be using it daily, you won’t need a really heavy-duty selection — just one that works. The Lighting Ever Small UV Blacklight Flashlight meets all these criteria. It’s a pocket-sized flashlight that balances the compact design with the necessary functional benefits. It includes multiple LED bulbs that emit a light wavelength of 395 nanometers. Running on a trio of replaceable triple-A batteries, it is easy to control through the single button located at the back of the flashlight. Crafted using high-grade aluminum material, this light is ideal for assessing new surroundings on the fly.

Need something that provides a truly heavy-duty capability and is sure to last? If that’s the case, then the uvBeast Black Light UV Flashlight is a terrific option. It is designed for professional use with 100 independent LED bulbs. With a high amount of lumens, it can shine a wide light beam well into the distance, letting users spot a stain or biohazard from as far away as 50 feet. The light spans between 385 and 395 nanometers, letting you thoroughly assess your surroundings. On top of its high functionality, the flashlight comes encased in high-grade metal that is resistant to environmental damage. Thanks to the strong design and lasting performance, this UV light can work in any kind of situation.

Want a way to balance the intensity of larger UV light models with the portability of a compact model? Take a look at the Loftek Black Light UV Flashlight for its strong yet petite structure and powerful light beam. Despite the small size, it touts an impressive 51 LED bulbs, each of which can shine for over 100,000 hours. The tool itself is easy to operate, with a single-button control located at the back of the device. It twists off and opens up to the battery housing which accepts three double-A batteries. This makes it easy to place and remove the power source. Once closed, it seals well, ensuring an entirely waterproof design. Coupled with the slip-resistant handle, this UV flashlight is both user-friendly and highly durable.

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Why should you trust us

Backed by five years as a dedicated product reviewer, preceded by several years as a news correspondent, I offer honest reviews on important products. My main focus is on tactical supplies, outdoors gear, and survival products. You can find my recent work on Narcity Media, Car Bibles, and The Drive.  I use my sciences education and personal experience to provide Task and Purpose readers with objective assessments on things like tactical gloves, hydration packs, bug-out backpacks

How We Chose Our Top Picks

To pin down the best UV flashlights available, we started with the history of the tech — back to when UV radiation was discovered in 1801. Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, we looked into the uses of UV rays in forensics, security, and biology. We then tracked down products with all the features necessary to function in any of these roles. Considering the lighting technology, power source, and structure, we whittled down the results even further. We chose the products on this list due to their balance of budget and function, in addition to their overall versatility.

Types of UV flashlights 

While all UV flashlights have a lot in common, there are a few different types from which to choose. It all comes down to how you plan to use the light. Professional applications rely on an intense beam that is powerful and reliable. Typically, preferred models for work have a large metal structure with a prominent handle. Generally, these will have closer to 100 individual LED bulbs. Conversely, UV flashlights for personal use tend to be more compact, often coming in a pocket-sized design. While both types rely on beams of the same wavelengths, those used personally tend to have far fewer individual LED bulbs. 

UV flashlight key features

  • Bulbs: Modern UV flashlights rely mainly on LED technology. These powerful bulbs, when used for blacklight applications, emit a wavelength of approximately 395 nanometers. This causes the searched-for fluids to fluoresce, making them visible to the naked eye. 
  • Batteries: Because of the portable nature of the devices, UV flashlights are battery-operated. In most cases, the lights require replaceable batteries which are usually double-A. Generally, the batteries are located in the handle. With a twist-off design, the power supply is easy to access, making it easy to change the batteries. 
  • Sturdiness: Another important feature of a UV flashlight is the strength of the design. High-quality UV flashlights may come in all sizes, but the material needs to be hardy regardless. The most common metal used is aluminum alloy, a naturally rust and corrosion-resistant material. Many are also waterproof thanks to the tight seal.  These tend to be more durable than their non-waterproof counterparts. 
  • Controls: In order to activate the functions of the UV flashlight, it needs to have an on/off button. The placement and design of this control differ depending on the flashlight’s structure. Larger models tend to use a sliding switch located on the shaft of the flashlight. More compact, pocket-sized models usually have a button at the back of the handle, giving you single-handed controls. 

Benefits of UV flashlights

There are a lot of reasons to keep a UV flashlight close at hand, whether for professional or personal applications. If you are using it for work, the light beam can provide forensic evidence and assess the validity of identification. Recreationally speaking, you can use a UV flashlight to investigate minerals in your surroundings since certain elements illuminate under this wavelength. Another key advantage is the ability to assess the health and safety of your environment. When you get a new hotel room, rent a car, or purchase a secondhand item, the UV light will apprise you of any biohazards on the material. 

UV flashlight pricing 

For its high utility value, you might be surprised to learn that you can find a quality UV flashlight for less than $15. Professional models with more LED bulbs and a stronger design will cost a little bit more, but usually not by much. Generally, if you are paying more, it is because the flashlight has additional features like waterproof abilities or longer-lasting battery life. Thankfully, there is a UV flashlight out there for any budget and for every activity. So, take a look at the options on this list and find the right fit for your needs, whether they be work-related or just for planning ahead. 

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