Your family's safety in your own home should always be of high priority. When buying an emergency light, you should take the time to make sure that you get one that is perfect for your family's lifestyle and security needs.
Types of emergency lights
There are three major types of emergency lights: halogen lamps, fluorescent lamps, and LED lamps.
Halogen lamps are an extremely bright light source. However, you'll have to keep in mind that they take up a lot of power, so use rechargeable batteries with very high capacity to keep the lamps running for a long enough time until the electricity is restored. They can also be very fragile, so they should be installed in places where they won't be easily reached by kids, to prevent their getting damaged. Be careful with these lamps too: their intense brightness can cause temporary blindness if you look at them directly.
Twin-tube fluorescent lamps are the old kind of emergency lights you see in public locations such as malls and terminals. They are safer to the eyes because the light they emit is diffused, so you won't get blinded by the brightness. They are also less draining on batteries and are much more durable than halogen lamps, so they are safe for homes with children.
LED (light-emitting diode) lamps are the newest kinds of emergency lights, slowly replacing twin-tube fluorescent lamps. LED technology allows these lights to use up even less power than their fluorescent counterparts, so the batteries installed in them last longer. Also, unlike fluorescent lamps, they need only one LED bulb to produce the required light, and so the designs of these LED lamps are usually more streamlined and sleek, which will be a better aesthetic fit for your home.
LED lamps are the most-recommended type of emergency lights for your home. They may be more expensive than fluorescent lamps upon the purchase of the unit, but they will prove to be cheaper in the long run because they are sturdier and consume less energy to provide equal or greater illumination.
Alternative power sources
Most emergency lights use rechargeable batteries. However, it's better if you can get emergency lights with alternative power sources, in case your rechargeable batteries run out before the power comes back on.
Some emergency lights can be plugged into a small generator to get power. This feature is especially helpful if you already own a small generator and is ideal for long periods of blackouts.
Some emergency lights also offer the old school way of charging them up-with a hand crank. Some models even feature a power source using the hand crank alone, which is ideal if you need only a small amount of light to brighten up your home during emergencies.
Then there are emergency lights that use solar power instead of electricity for charging batteries. They are more expensive, but since they get their energy from the sun, they won't add to your electricity bill. Obviously, this is a good choice for those who live where there is plenty of sunlight.
Some models have additional features that can prove very helpful in emergencies besides blackouts.
Built-in radios let you tune in to the news to find out what time to expect the power to come back on, and to know what's going on.
Built-in mobile phone chargers allow you to keep in touch with loved ones that are not with you and to make sure that they are safe.
In certain models, the light's brightness can be adjusted from normal to extra bright. This will come in handy if you'll be using the emergency light to power a wide area, or to illuminate an object in a faraway area and then dialing the brightness back down when you need light in a nearby area.
While these additional features are all very helpful, remember that the more you use them, the faster your batteries drain; so make sure you have enough power stored in the unit.
The three types of emergency lights are halogen lamps, twin-tube fluorescent lamps, and LED lamps.
Halogen lamps offer the most light but can get easily damaged and also drain up their batteries faster.
Fluorescent lamps are more durable and safer than halogen lamps, and use up less energy but also give out less light.
LED lamps give good illumination using little energy and is a good alternative to fluorescent lamps, although their units are more expensive.
Emergency lights can have alternative power sources, such as generators, hand cranks, and solar panels, which will be very useful in case of long blackouts.
Additional features such as a radio, a mobile phone charger, and a brightness control are helpful, but they will drain your batteries quicker.