Skip to content Skip to footer

How To Pick A Good Dive Light? – An Easy Guide

Carrying a dive light may seem strange to new divers. But when you consider the fact that there’s not much light underwater, especially when exploring overhead environments like wrecks and caves. And there’s an obvious need for dive lights when scuba diving at night.

But dive lights do more than just improve your visibility underwater as you can use them to signal nearby divers or surface boats in case of an emergency. And this makes dive lights essential safety tools.

Requirements for dive lights aren’t elaborate as they just have to be able to withstand the high pressures underwater, have a strong bright light, and be durable.

With this, choosing a dive light should be easy but there are so many options available on the market that one has to separate subpar products from quality ones. It is in light of this that I wrote this article discussing the factors to consider when choosing a dive light. So, here we go.

How To Choose Your Dive Light?


While smaller-size dive lights are easier to pack, you’ll do well to go for larger-size lights as a beginner. The reason for this is to minimize the chances of misplacing the light as it will be easier to hold on to it. But regardless of the dive light, you go for, you should always have a backup light in case your primary light fails.

The backup light will obviously have to be a small light to make it convenient to tuck in your BCD‘s pocket.


Materials used to manufacture dive lights include aluminum and composite plastic, both of which are very rubbed and resistant to corrosion. Aluminum dive lights are generally lighter while those of composite plastic usually require less maintenance and show less visible wear and tear over time.

However, you can’t get it wrong here as long as you go for a high-quality product.

Depth Rating

Water absorbs light as you go deeper underwear and depth rating tells the capability of dive lights underwater and how deep in the water you can use them. This is why it’s important you choose a dive light that’s compatible with your dive depth. Else, the dive light can crack under pressure or malfunction.

Most recreational divers rarely go beyond 90 ft underwater and you should choose a dive light that’s rated for this depth if you won’t be going past it.


The brightness of the light is measured in lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light will be. Super dark underwater environments like caves require high lumens, up to 1000 lumens, while simply diving at night will require less brightness.

The idea here is to choose a dive light with different brightness options so you can use the same light for different situations.

Light / Brightness Modes

Typically, dive lights come in three different modes of varying brightness. This allows you to use the mode most appropriate to your environment and save battery if you don’t need the full brightness. It’s also common to see dive lights having other modes like SOS and strobe that can help signal nearby divers and vessels on the surface in case of an emergency.

Light Beam / Beam Angle

The beam angle of a dive light tells you how the beam light interacts with the environment. A dive light with a wide beam angle will shine a light on all the particles around it giving you the widest field of view. On the other hand, a small beam of light concentrates the at the smaller point and is useful for looking at crevasses.

When cave diving, your dive light beam angle should range from 7 to 12 degrees because the narrower the light beam, the brighter it will be in the caves and caverns where you have limited visibility.

Light Type

The bulb used in dive lights could be LED, Xenon, or HID. LEDs have the advantage of being very bright and energy efficient thereby extending battery life. High-intensity discharge (HID) also used to be popular and has been surpassed by LEDs. Xenon makes a softer more natural dive light and is more suitable for underwater photography.


You have to consider the battery type when choosing a dive light and go for ones with a good battery to get full brightness. Traditional alkaline batteries are inexpensive, found almost anywhere, but are not long-lasting.

Lithium batteries offer better performance than alkaline batteries but are more expensive.

Rechargeable batteries are better for people that dive frequently, although you will need a source of power.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! These are the best dive lights you can find today – bright, durable, and easy to use. A scuba flashlight is always good to have and it is important to choose one that is reliable. With the help of this guide, you can now make an informed decision on what light to get for yourself for comfortable and safe scuba diving!.

Leave a Comment