Crank it up baby: a look at 10 eco-friendly wind up flashlights

by EcoStreet on June 7, 2010

in EcoEnergy, EcoGadgets, EcoReview, Shop Green


This is a guest post by D. Salmons over at TestFreaks, where you can find everything from laptop rankings to hd camcorder reviews.

Remember the good old days, when you went out on an adventure and took along extra batteries (if you were thinking ahead) just so you wouldn’t run out of lighting. Well, not only did those batteries cost money and added bulk, they also ended up in a landfill, creating pollution.

But today you will find that a wind up flashlight in place of a battery powered light makes great sense… and the technology just keeps getting better. In fact, getting 30 minutes or more of illumination after only 1 minute of winding is almost commonplace. You could hardly hunt down the batteries and change them in that time.

So, let’s take a quick look at 10 of our favorite eco-friendly wind up lights. If the want hits, you can find these lights at Nigel’s Eco Store and other green retailers.

1. Woodpecker Shake Light

While technically not a wind up flashlight (you shake it), the concept is so close that we wanted to include it in our collection. The Woodpecker incorporates a double generator to grab all the power it can from a repeated simple up and down gesture. An ultra bright LED provides the illumination.

The light weighs in at 183g, and shaking for 1 minute gives 20 minutes of constant light or optionally 30 minutes of flashing operation. The woodpecker is waterproof down to 2 meters, so you can use it pratically anywhere outdoors, camping, or at the beach. It will even survive a rainstorm in case you get caught out in it – and you won’t have a dead battery.

2. Puma Windup Light

The Puma wind up flashlight is small in size but tough in performance. One minute of winding will give you 20 minutes at standard brightness (1 LED) and 10 minutes at maximum brightness (3 LED). There is also a three LED flashing mode so you can use the light as a signal. With a measurement of 47 x 35 x 76 mm you will find that the Puma fits in most pockets without a problem.

3. Dolphin Caribina Light

The Dolphin wind up light sports a unique design in that it can be clipped onto almost anything thanks to its integrated Caribina clip. Not only is the Dolphin a handy light, but it it can even power your phone thanks to a built in charger outlet and included cable. One minute of cranking gives you 30 minutes of light or up to eight minutes of phone time.

The Dolphin weighs 250gm and is 15cm in overall length. The included cable is for Nokia phones, but other adapters are available. The illumination is provided by three ultra bright LEDs, assuring that you will not be out of battery, bulb, or even a dead phone when you need it.

4. Owl Wind Up Lantern

Sometimes it’s just handy to have a lantern instead of a flashlight, and that is where the Powerplus Owl comes into play. The Owl is a rugged camping lantern (just like you remember), but it winds up. Six LEDs provide the light, and one minute of charging gives 25 minutes. You can fully charge the unit and have 100 minutes of steady illumination.

The Owl is encased in a tough rubber outer shell, which makes it a perfect camping companion on those less than perfect excursions. You know, the ones we all tend to have at some point in our camping experiences.

5. Barracuda Wind Up And Solar Light

The Powerplus Barracuda combines two forms of green power to keep you illuminated – wind up and solar. The tough rubber protected light is waterproof down to five meters, making it durable enough to handle the outdoors as well as the vehicle’s trunk. 3 LEDs provide the light, and you can select one, three, or flashing LEDs as needed

How well does it charge up? One minute of winding gives an impressive 80 minutes on 1 LED, 60 minutes on 3. As for the solar side of things, an hour basking in the sun gives you light for 120 minutes on 1 LED, 90 minutes on 3. This would make the Barracuda a great device to have soaking up the rays during the day and working at night.

6. Bat Wind Up Head Lamp

When you are working and have both hands in the mix, then it is nice to have a light that is head mounted. The Powerplus Bat is exactly that, a head mounted wind up light that leaves your hands free for uses other than holding a flashlight. The Bat allows you to change the angle of shine, and a comfortable headband keeps the light firmly yet comfortably in place.

The Bat gives up to 90 minutes of light for 1 minute of crank time (40 minutes on all three LEDS), and if needed the unit can even be mounted on a bicycle thanks to the included bicycle clip.

7. Freeplay Indigo Wind Up Lantern

Similar to the OWL above, the Freeplay lantern is great for camp outs and table usage. The Freeplay boasts a great three hours of light (at the lowest setting) for a single one minute winding charge. Better yet, fully charge it for three hours of continuous light at the brightest setting. There is also a small directional light, great for reading, that will last 40 hours on a fully winded charge.

8. Penguin Wind Up and Shake Light

Don’t forget about the little campers when you go on your next adventure. The delightful Penguin wind up light is perfect for the 5 and up adventurer, and it gives a lot of fun while remaining eco friendly. In fact, the LED light works with either a quick wind up or they can just shake it for more light.

9. Blue X-Ray Wind Up Light

The Blue X-Ray wind up light is a great light to have with you in the dark. A quick 30 second wind gives you about 20 minutes of light, and you can choose between ultra-bright and normal light mode. The colorful Blue X-Ray weighs in at 370g, and measures 55 x 60 x 160 mm.

10. Shark Wind Up Light

We wanted to end our look at eco friendly wind up lights on a powerful note, and so the choice is obvious – the Shark. The Shark is a waterproof wind up light that has two light settings – 5mm LEDs for normal use, and a powerful 1W LED for those times you really need something bright. The 1W LED is rated to be visible for up to 10 km.

What time you are not blinding your enemies with the Shark, you can also use it to charge your phone – a Nokia cable is included, but other adapters are available. You won’t spend all your time winding it either, since a one minute wind up gives 60 minutes of shine in regular mode or 20 minutes on full brightness.

With any of these 10 eco friendly lights I am sure you would find them welcome tools on your next outing (or emergency). The good news is that you will never be out of battery power, and the LEDs are going to continue to shine, well after you need the light.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Fair Trade Products June 7, 2010 at 10:52 am

I was hoping you’d tell me which one you thought was best!

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Street Furniture June 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm

I have had bad luck with wind up flashlights. They all were very weak and are pretty worthless. However, none of the ones that I tried are on your list so I may have to give one of these a try.

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