What to Look for in a Dive Light
What to Look for in a Dive Light

These tools are crucial for getting the most out of your diving trip. Here’s how to pick the best dive light.

Dive lights and dive torches can greatly enhance your diving experience. The number one reason that they are staples for divers is that they allow you to see where you’re swimming and diving even in dark water. You can also use them to explore further and see hidden gems and exciting sights.

With so many dive lights and dive torches available on the market, it can seem like a challenge to pick the best one that will suit your needs. Today, we’re going to look at the key features to look for in a quality dive light or dive torch.

The Types of Dive Lights

The biggest consideration you should have when shopping for dive lights are the different types available. Each different variety of dive lights or dive torches serve different purposes and are made for different types of diving situation. Here are the most popular:

Primary Dive Lights

A primary dive light is best suited for both daytime and nighttime dive trips. They are generally on the larger side of the spectrum in terms of size and include a large battery pack which keeps them powered up for the entire trip. They are durable and can handle the bumps and bruises you might encounter during your dives.

They typically come in two different form factors: a pistol grip or a lantern. Both of these are much more comfortable to use for extended period of time compared to other stick formats. In regards to the actual light that the lantern shines, typically you want more power since the more power the light has, the brighter it will be. The brightest beam should be in the center of the lamp for more direct and clearer light.

Secondary Dive Lights

Divers choose secondary dive lights as their backup should their primary dive light fail them. These types of dive lights or most needed during nighttime dives when light is a necessity. They are compact, lightweight, and often have a narrow beam that doesn’t shine as widely as primary dive lights.

You’ll find that pretty much all secondary and back up lights are small, and can easily fit in a pocket. They can come in handy when you want to explore tiny spaces such as a crack, under a ledge, or a reef.

Underwater Video and Photography Lights

The third type of light is primarily for underwater photographers and videographers. After all, to capture a perfect still image or video underwater, you’re going to need light for the camera’s sensor. These lights generally cast a wide, bright light beam to highlight all of the subjects in the image or video. This type of broad beam is perfect for your wide-angle action cameras so you can capture everything under the surface in vivid detail. Many of the underwater video and photography lights feature different power settings so you can adjust the brightness of the light easily while under the water.

What is your situation?

When it comes to choosing the best dive light, you need to consider your personal needs and the conditions of your dive. Depending on your personal needs, you’ll most likely affect the following factors:

Beam angle

The angle that you choose will greatly depend on the type of diving that you plan to do. For example, a tight, bright spot is great when you need to do spot in a cave, crevice, or when trying to cut through the murky water. A wide flood beam, on the other hand, would be best if the water is clear and you just need a little extra visibility.


The general rule of thumb for underwater dive lights is that the brighter the light is, the better. When diving at night especially, you’ll want a bright light with a wide beam to illuminate the area around you.

Diving in the Daytime

If you plan to do a majority of your diving during the daytime, you’ll most likely need to carry an additional secondary dive light. The water can start to look gray and murky at just 30 feet below the surface, and these compact lights can be incredibly useful to cut through that fog. They also do a fantastic job of highlighting the wonderful colors of things under the water.

Diving at Night

If you are adventurous and plan to do some diving after dark, you’ll definitely need to carry not only a primary light but also a secondary light. Without any source of light, you could end up in big trouble underwater, plus diving isn’t as much fun if you can’t see anything. You’ll want to select a primary light with a wide, bright beam to achieve maximum visibility.

Diving in Low Visibility

If you know that you’ll be entering murky waters, you’ll need a powerful light without any peripheral light. The peripheral light from your dive light could have negative effects on your vision and could bounce back off of the water and blind you. Make sure that you choose a light specially designed for murky waters and you shouldn’t have any problems.