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We've seen the lights and beam up four of the best torches in the business.

WHEREVER you happen to be you can't go wrong with a good reliable torch by your side. From shedding light on car breakdowns and dark DIY corners to illuminating sporting activities and camping trips, a trusty torch can be worth its weight in gold. But which type of torch suits your needs best? We put four firm favourites from Blacks Outdoor Leisure through their paces.

Mag-lite (pounds 26.00, Blacks Outdoor Leisure)

Guarantee: Limited lifetime warranty

Batteries: 2-cell D (not included)

Features: High intensity spot or flood beam; recessed pushbutton; rugged machined aluminium construction; anodised inside for improved corrosion resistance; water and shock resistant; spare krypton bulb inside tail cap.

Mag-lites are renowned for their superb powers of illumination - and this model is no exception. You can switch between a piercingly direct spotlight and a more local floodlight simply by twisting the front rim of the torch. The slim design of this torch makes it easy to carry around and the extra bulb in the tail cap certainly earns it brownie points in our book. Sturdy, hardy and water resistant, this torch won't let you down and should last for years. An excellent buy to keep in the car, take backpacking or have handy if you're working on machinery.

Rating: 8/10

Mini Mag-lite (pounds 17.00, Blacks Outdoor Leisure)

Guarantee: Limited lifetime warranty

Batteries: 2-cell AAA (included)

Features: High intensity spot or flood beam; converts to freestanding candle mode; rugged machined aluminium construction; anodised inside and out for improved corrosion resistance; water and shock resistant; spare bulb inside tail cap.

Tiny as it is, this torch gives a great light - both beam and flood - but the thing we love about it most is that you can screw off the top (which then becomes a base) and use the torch in freestanding candle mode. A great boon for campers! Pocket sized and complete with detachable belt hook, this little model withstands all the tough treatment you can subject it to - and also comes complete with an extra bulb in the tail cap in case of emergencies. Pop it in your handbag, rucksack or give it as a gift to any keen traveller. You really can't go wrong!

Rating: 9/10

Coleman 2D armour clad light (pounds 12.00, Blacks Outdoor Leisure)

Guarantee: 3 years parts and labour

Batteries: 2-cell D (included)

Features: Rubberised, cushioned outer shell over tough ABS inner casing; shockproof and water resistant; mercury-free batteries.

This is a fairly heavy torch with a krypton bulb which gives a good bright light. The easy grip handle and tough, insulated outer casing makes it an ideal choice for tradesman and DIY enthusiasts. Care must be taken when changing the batteries as the fragile bulb has to be removed before they can be inserted. A basic, no-nonsense torch which is good value for money and extremely handy to have around the house, shed or in the car.

Rating: 7/10

Wow streamlight (pounds 20.00, Blacks Outdoor Leisure)

Guarantee: 1 year parts and labour

Batteries: 2-cell AA (included)

Features: Hand held or hands free flashlight; fits heads, helmets and wrists; tough polymer construction; adjustable elastic strip.

If you're involved in any activity which requires both hands, you can't go wrong with this torch. It fits comfortably on the head via the adjustable elastic strap and provides a strong light for both close work and farther afield (ideal for sports such as caving or pot-holing). The circular swivel head means you can direct the light where it is needed and, when used as a hand-held torch, the head-band doubles up as a wristband for a secure grip. Compact and versatile, the Streamlight is excellent value for money.

Rating: 9/10
COPYRIGHT 1999 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 4, 1999
Words:618
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