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What is the Best UV Flashlight for Minerals? (No bias, no clickbait - just the facts)

UV pass, visible blocking filtered flashlight
UVA/B/C flashlights MUST have a filter

Longwave, shortwave, midwave flashlights are all the rage lately. 365nm, 255nm, 310nm - some amazing fluorescent minerals are being revealed using them. A very common question posted on our Facebook groups (Fluorescent Minerals and the Fluorescent Mineral Mart) are from new members asking which one is the best. To answer this question properly some other questions need to be answered first:

  • What kind of rocks are you looking for?

  • What's your budget?

  • Is a flashlight really what you need?

Once you determine your needs you can decide what's best for you. This blog post will list the current manufacturers of UV flashlights, along with links to info on tube based fluorescent mineral lights in case you decide that type of light is more suitable for your needs. No attempt is made to qualify the "best". But the list will only include lights I am very familiar with and come with great recommendations from the hobby community. I have not tested/evaluated them all but am intimately familiar with their designs. As always, Nature's Rainbows remains non-commercial and earns no money from these links/recommendations. This is an honest, unbiased list.

New to the hobby? Check these posts out first for some basics on UV lights -

Also, there are several blog posts about flashlights in the equipment section:

What kind of rocks are you looking for?

Probably the most important question you should first answer...

Fluorescent Sodalite? Many people new to the hobby have heard about fluorescent sodalite (aka "Yooperlites") found in the Great Lakes areas. Sodalite is usually brightly fluorescent under LW UV (longwave 365nm), and that's all you need - a good 365nm flashlight. But be forewarned, if the FLM hobby really bites, you'll soon be upgrading to a SW or MW light.

Rocks from the Franklin NJ mines? If you've seen the brightly colored fluorescent rocks from Franklin NJ, probably the most widely recognized fluorescent minerals, you'll need a SW UV light (shortwave 255nm). You also should consider a tube fluorescent mineral field light, as it covers a wider area compared to a SW flashlight (

Visiting Greenland, Sweden, or other far off locales? If so, you're probably pretty serious about this hobby. I would bring all three wavelengths (SW, MW, and LW) and a tube based SW light.

Silver pick? Browsing dealer inventories at shows for undiscovered wonders is one of my favorite pastimes if I can't get out in the field to collect. Here a flashlight is invaluable - all three wavelengths (SW, MW, LW).

Casual collecting - roadcuts, mine tailings, etc? Start out with LW, grow into SW. Get MW if you can afford it. A tube light also well advised for this style of collecting.

What's your budget?

This will be a big part of your decision. LW 365nm flashlights can be found for $15 to over $100 (useless 395nm lights can be found for under $10 - ignore them). SW and MW flashlights will run from $100 to $400, similar in cost to tube based lights. Anyone who has adopted this hobby as a serious part of their life owns a least one SW light and one LW light. MW lights will soon also be a necessary tool in your toolchest. And don't forget, a filtered light is a requirement - ignore those which do not have filters.

Is a flashlight really what you need?

There are two types of mineral lights for field collecting:

  • Battery operated flashlights, self contained and very handy to carry. The LW types are high powered, excellent for hunting sodalite around the Great Lakes. SW flashlights are also high power but have a very tight spot, only lighting up a small area at a time.

  • Tube based fluorescent mineral lights are usually powered by an external battery pack. Larger and more cumbersome than a flashlight, but allows you to cover more area,

Given the state of the art today, for field collecting I would probably go for a tube based SW light which can flood a larger area with light. If the Great Lakes sodalite were my specialty I would start with a 365nm LW flashlight.

Who Makes Them? Where can I get them?

Manufacturers who offer Flashlights (some also sell tube lights):

Manufacturers of Tube based Fluorescent Mineral Lights:

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