Know the types of spotlights before you buy spotlights

Buying a spotlight can be a difficult decision as you have to consider many factors, but let me tell you that it all runs down to understanding what you need. Okay, now before i go on to further introduction for this post, let me ask for your forgiveness for making the last review about the Cyclops CYC-S6X Thor X 6.5 Million CandlePower Rechargeable Handheld Halogen Spotlight as long as it is. It had to be that way as i wanted to make sure, you get the best view of how i felt about it. I got tons of email asking me why i made it that long instead of just listing the Pros and Cons and a final verdict like most websites do. The reason is because i do not want to feed you with junk information that you can get on any product review page, but real information that will help you make a decision that you are never going to regret.

Having got that covered, let me move on with the topic at hand. Things to remember while making a decision to buy a spotlight – well, there are too many factors that you can choose to ponder upon, but in my opinion, in the end, it all comes down to having a view about a few factors which i will get to later in another post. For now, let us have an understanding of the types of spotlights available in the market.

In matters regarding the type, following are the basic classifications –

  1. 12 Volt
  2. Rechargeable
  3. Halogen
  4. LED

While looking at this classification you might think what sort of an idiot would classify like this, yes. Please understand that this is the basic classifications which every authority on spotlights uses. You will soon find out why. And yes, there are many products that merge the classifications here so much that any attempt to mark distinction is fruitless nowadays making your question in the first case valid.

12 Volt Spotlights

The 12 volt depicts spotlights which need to be plugged into a 12 volt supply for using them. Lately some models have come out with small batteries which allow them to be used for sometime when a power source is not so near. But still, these are limited in portability. In situations where a power source is nearby, or when the usage is atop boats, cars, trucks, ATVs or inside/outside houses/buildings, these are preferred for their inexpensiveness and usability.


  • Bright bulbs can be used as power source is not limited
  • Inexpensive to buy and maintain.
  • Lightweight as often heavy batteries are absent.


  • Limited portability.
  • Useless in emergencies as in power outages, etc.

Recommended 12Volt Spotlight Models:

  1. Cyclops CYC-S35012VR Thor 12-Volt 3-1/2 Million Candle Power Spotlight
  2. Brinkmann 800-2301-0 Q-Beam Max Million III Spotlight
  3. Coleman 12 Volt Halogen Spotlight

Rechargeable Spotlights

As the name suggests, these are rechargeable ones with enough battery backup to supply the flashlight for a few hours of decent usage.  The point to note is that as the spotlights candle power rating goes up, so does the price while its battery backup time goes down. A small power spotlight might last 2-3 hours burning on a moderate battery, while a brighter one might burn out at 30-40 minutes on the same battery.


  • Best suited for outdoor use.
  • Mobile/Portable
  • Often charges from a variety of power sources.


  • Usage limited to battery backup.
  • Difficult to charge when away from steady power sources.
  • Bulky batteries needed for longer backup time.

Recommended Rechargeable Spotlight Models:

  1. Cyclops CYC-S6X Thor X Scout 6.5 Million Candle Power Rechargeable Halogen Spotlight (Read full review here)
  2. Wagan 2504 3 Million Brite-Nite Rechargeable Spotlight LED Lantern (Rechargeable LED Spotlight)
  3. Stanley HID0109 HID Spotlight (Rechargeable High Intensity Discharge Spotlight)

Halogen Spotlights

Halogen spotlights are the famous among men who fancy spotlights, especially because these are super ultra bright considering how much they cost. The brightness these offer at their usual $30-$50 price range is unmatched by any other type for that price. I am myself a fan of halogen spotlights and got the Cyclops CYC-S6X Thor X Scout 6.5 MCP recently.


  • Very bright light.
  • Moderately priced comparing to other types.
  • In use very commonly, easy to get components.
  • Established technology.
  • Sturdy built and components, stays together for a long time.


  • Bulb gets prohibitively hot upon long use, which is a potential hazard.
  • No warm options in most products as that needs specialized circuit.

Recommended Halogen Spotlight Models:

  1. Cyclops CYC-S6X Thor X Scout 6.5 Million Candle Power Rechargeable Halogen Spotlight (Read full review here)
  2. Cyclops C18MIL-FE Thor X Colossus 18 Million Candle Power Rechargable Halogen Spotlight
  3. Wagan EZ Grip Rechargeable Halogen Spotlight

LED Spotlights

LEDs are touted to be the technology for today and tomorrow (technology of the future but i won’t say it, Long Live Halogens. :P ). It is evident from their basic construction that they are light weight, energy efficient light emitters. They run for long long times and outrun almost every other light source we know. In fact, 5 years from now, you might be replacing all the other components on your spotlight, but still maybe using the old LED. Yes, it is that good. This is the technology of the future (Okay, i lied about not ever going to say it, but the fact is IT IS).


  • Latest technology, lots of ongoing research.
  • Takes very low power to run, so runs longer on even less battery.
  • Bulb never gets heated up (unless you bring a flame to it, of course)
  • Never breaks, runs forever in most cases (If yours gets broken, then you might get an award or something. I am serious).
  • Emits a light of mediocre brightness, useful for most needs.


  • Expensive. Costs more than Halogens :P
  • Not as bright as even a mediocre quality Halogen :P

Recommended LED Spotlight Models:

  1. Stanley SL5W09 5 Watt LED Spotlight
  2. Cyclops CYC-9WS Thor-by-Sirius 9-Watt Rechargeable LED Spotlight
  3. Brinkmann 800-5000-0 Q-Beam LED Rechargeable Spotlight with Night Vision

Here in, I have listed and described the basic types. You will understand from the listing that often the recommended products/examples might be part of different sections. Today, it is not possible to distinguish or classify products into classes as this i the age of convergence. I hope that you are able to make a distinction as to what you need in your spotlight and make a decision. I will bring about a guide to buying spotlights according to some basic factors. Hope you will like it. Comment below and let me know how you like this one.

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