Looking For a LED or HID Canister Dive Light?
This is a must read article for anyone who is looking to buy a canister dive light or tech light.
There are a lot of different canister dive lights out on the market and you are probably wondering which canister dive light is good for you. Before you get started, you should ask yourself why you're even shopping for a canister light. Is it because the divers around you are all using canister dive lights? Or is it because the recommendation of the dive shop? Whatever your reason is, here are a few things to consider.
Canister lights has a few benefits because they use the external battery packs. This allows the dive light to achieve two things:
1) Prolonged burn time and sometimes the ability to switch batteries underwater
2) Smaller light head and therefore mountable on the back of your hand
Disregarding what kind of light you're looking for, these are generally the two major reason why tech divers prefer a canister style dive light versus a regular hand held. The price of these lights are generally much more expensive than regular dive lights largely due to the complexity of the design, the cost of the components, and sometimes the cost of service and warranty that has to be accounted for.
Over the years the two major components of dive lights have evolved significantly. Can you guess what they are? If you answered bulbs and batteries, you can give yourself a pat on the back. Bulbs have evolved from lead acid, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion, to lithium polymer. On the other hand, bulbs have gone from halogen to halogen xenon to led and HID. The two most popular types of batteries being used is the nickel metal hydride and either the HID or LED.
While both bulbs and batteries have evolved so much over the years you can now get a much longer burn time from the same bulbs. Large canister packs and high powered HIDs still reap the benefits of a canister style light while the lower powered HIDs are now being overshadowed by high intensity LEDs.
(alright this is where we're going to make the pitch)
Nocturnal Lights offers two small SLX LED dive lights that is bright, compact, has a long burn time, and can be mounted on the back of your hands. The light head's designed to work like a canister light but without the actual cord and the canister. The battery pack is integrated so you don't have to have an additional canister just for the sake of attaching a battery. This design is considerably more attractive because there are at least three less points of contact where water can leak in, which is unfortunately pretty common for can lights. The result? A small and compact dive light that has some of the major benefits of a canister style dive light, it's less prone to flooding, bad wire connections, malfunctioning batteries or chargers, and is a fraction of the price of most canister style dive lights.
Here's a link to our dive lights: http://www.nocturnallights.com/noctu...lights_s/1.htm
Both SLXs uses AA batteries, allowing users to swap batteries out between dives and give you the option to use rechargeable or AA batteries. Most proprietary battery packs and chargers for technical dive lights are expensive and sometimes difficult to find replacements when you're on a trip. AAs are almost accessible all over the world and they never malfunction.
Now going back to the purpose and the efficiency of the canister lights. If you're going to buy a light that is extremely extremely extremely bright, go for a 35w or 50w HID canister light. Lower wattage HID dive lights will be slowly phased out by high intensity LED bulbs like the ones used in the SLX 800t LED technical dive light. LED bulbs are better, in our opinion, because they dont' need time to heat up, they are ultra stable and will not burn out on you, and they will not crack on impact whereas some of the small 10w or 14w HIDs are pretty fragile. Each time you accidentally break it you are expecting to pay $80-120 to get the bulbs replaced.
Also, when choosing the brightness look for the lumen rating. All the (Like 50w halogen or 15w led are all not very accurate. In fact, they're quite misleading sometimes. Lumen is the amount of light that is being output by the bulb at the source. Everythng from the desgin of the reflector and lenses will alter the final output, but still its' probably the most accurate rating without everyone having to convert things back and forth with no actaul standards. Wattage is also not a good measure for the brightness of the dive light because some lower wattage LEDs are actaully significantly brighter than LEDs of higher wattage.
Other things like the hand mounts, canister material, burn time, etc. are all pretty self explainatory so I'll leave that up to you guys.
Anyhow, I hope you have learned a little about canister lights, what to look for, and what to expect. This article is written to educate divers who might be misled (sometimes unintentionlaly) so they can make a better purchasing decision. This article contains information that is more or less "generalized" so we're not saying that all manufacturers and all canisters lights are like this. Perhaps you can take the information you learned here to ask more questions or do more searches online to make sure that you end up with the right dive light for you and that you'll be happy with it. If you have any questions feel free to ask us and we'll be happy to help.