Buying a flashlight, headlamp, bicycle light, or spotlight can be a confusing proposition to most consumers and many retailers, but the ANSI/PLATO FL 1 2016 Standard and PLATO are two key resources that provide clarity for buyers and accountability for the industry.
The ANSI/PLATO FL1 2016 Standard, developed by PLATO and industry experts, spells out specific testing and reporting methods for portable lighting products that emit directional light.
If the ANSI FL1 icons are present on the packaging, consumers and retailers can be confident that the reported performance claims are tested to industry standards, and even more importantly, the consumer can compare “apples to apples” when evaluating different products.
Through independent, third-party testing, PLATO provides industry oversight to ensure portable lighting products meet or exceed the ANSI/PLATO FL 1 2016 Standard. PLATO informs manufacturers of any issues uncovered by the testing process and attempts to work collaboratively to resolve discrepancies between test results and product markings.
As an Accredited Standards Developer, PLATO is proud to have worked autonomously to revise the ANSI FL1 Standard to create the ANSI/PLATO FL 1 Standard, which was released in October 2016.
The ANSI/PLATO FL 1 2016 standard strengthens the portable lights industry by providing more credibility to those portable lights companies correctly using the standard and its icons.
The ANSI/PLATO FL 1 2016 Standard was developed by the PLATO Standards Committee. At the time it was approved, the PLATO Standards Committee was composed of the following members:
• ASP, Inc. Appleton, WI 54912
• Cat Eye Co., Inc. Boulder, CO 80302
• Coast Portland, OR 97218
• The Coleman Company, Inc. Wichita, KS 67219
• Dorcy International Columbus, OH 43217
• Energizer Holdings Westlake, OH 44145
• Insight 2 Design, Inc. Overland Park, KS 66221
• Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. Portland, OR 97294
• Nite Ize, Inc. Boulder, CO 80301
• Panasonic RTP, NC 27709
• Streamlight, Inc. Eagleville, PA 19403
Below arethe icons and an explanation of each specification.
Total light output measured in Lumens. Lumens have become the most commonly used unit of measure for total light output in portable lighting devices. Wattage on the other hand, is a measurement of power consumption, not light output. With today’s efficient LED technology, it’s very possible to have a lower wattage LED flashlight with a greater light output than another flashlight with a higher wattage rating. This is the reason why Lumens have become the best comparison method.
The distance, measured in meters, at which the light projects a useful amount of light, measured at 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is approximately the equivalent of light emitted from a full moon “on a clear night in an open field.”)
Tested with fresh batteries from 30 seconds after the light is turned on until the light output reaches 10% of the initial measurement. This is the total time of useable light before most consumers will change batteries.
Peak Beam Intensity
The brightest point in the beam measured in candela. Candela is the modern unit of measure for light intensity replacing the now-obsolete unit known as candlepower.
The height, measured in meters, from which the light can be dropped onto cured concrete and still work properly. This testing is completed by dropping the product (6) times using drop orientations that approximate each side of a cube. Dropped samples cannot have any visible cracks or breaks and must remain fully functional. The product must meet a minimum of (1) meter to receive this rating.
This icon indicates an IPX4 rating which means the sample is tested against water sprayed from all angles. If this test is performed, it must be done after impact resistance testing is completed to ensure water resistance under real-life conditions.
Water submersion depth rating, measured in meters. This icon indicates at least an IPX7 rating which means the sample is submerged to a minimum of 1 meter depth for 30 minutes. If this test is performed, it must be done after impact resistance testing is completed to ensure water tightness under real-life conditions.