Best Scuba Diving Light Guide

Scuba Dive Lights

We’re not going to bore you here with lumens, wattages or other technical data but we’ll provide you some basic information to help you to select the right dive light for your needs.

Types of Scuba Dive Lights


This type if dive lights usually comes with xenon or halogen bulbs and some old models have incandescent bulbs (they are great as backups).

Conventional scuba diving lights are the cheapest on the market but the price shouldn’t be deciding factor here. Halogen and xenon bulbs need a lot of battery power so you could pay small amount of money for the scuba light itself, but over the long haul you’ll give more money on batteries. The light of conventional scuba light is “yellowish” which is not perfect in the undersea world. You should also know that some older models produce a lot of heat so they should only be turned on in the water or else they can burn out.

Another disadvantage of conventional scuba lights is that bulbs can be break if thrown around but they are easy to replace. Also because they use a bulb there can be a black spot or ring around the center of the light beam.

New models have some improvements but their purpose still should be only as backup light.

HID Lights

HID or High Intensity Discharge lights are based on pure performance and they are the best choice for scuba diving.

But they are also the most expensive, unfortunately. Another disadvantage are their bulbs because they can break and sometimes it’s very hard to change them on some models. HID scuba dive lights provide great light and are great on batteries. This will save money over time.

LED Lights

LED diving lights are cheaper than HID lights, use a fraction of the battery power and more durable.

But not all of them are made the same. Some LED lights throw of a bluer light and because the way they work it wouldn’t be easy to find one that can penetrate the water.

There are many debates online what is the better, HID or LED and just with anything else it depends on who you ask. The fact is that a LED scuba light combines a good price, great battery life and they are almost indestructible what makes it a optimal choice as a primary scuba dive light. If money is not problem for you and you want absolute the best, HID lights would probably be the best choice for you.

As the technology goes forward the choice will get harder because the gap between HID and LED price and quality gets smaller and smaller.

Types of Grips

Torch Grip

Torch grip is the traditional type of flashlight grip. It’s usually a back up light.

Goodman Handle

This style basically represents a strap and a mount for fixing a torch style flashlight to the back of a diver’s hand. This way your hands are free to use but you’re still able to point the light. And tou easily detach the light if it’s necessary.

Goodman handles are used a lot by wreck and cave divers in situations when following and holding a guideline is necessary.

Pistol Grip

This is the most common grip style with dive lights. It looks like the handle of a pistol that is the reason of its name, of course. The pistol grip is very comfortable and easy to use.

Things to Consider Before Buying Dive Lights

Primary Light

The primary scuba diving light should be a model with a bright, width beam. Note that the bigger is not always the better so find the size comfortable to use providing enough light.

Back up Light

Back up light is usually a smaller light that can clip into a BCD or harness. Many divers buy cheap back up models that break or flood easily. Do not make this mistake! The back up light is as important as the primary one. Buy a durable and quality light. As with other piece of your equipment always check it before a dive and be sure it works.

A medium sized or smaller large size light will suit 99% of recreational divers.

Battery life

This is one of the most important considerations. A light can’t operate without batteries! The rule you should follow is to carry a primary diving light that has twice the battery life as your planned dive time.


A quality flashlight is also durable (in most cases) which is another desired characteristic of a dive light. You don’t want your light to break when it hits the underwater rock or just to stop working without any particular reason.


You should be sure that your light has a lanyard or any other method to secure and prevent loosing or dropping it. A carabiner is a good idea to clip it to your BCD when you are not using it.

Illumination for Photography and Video

This section needs special attention and it’s out of the scope of this general scuba diving light guide. We’ll create another one describing lights for underworld video and photography.

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