How many lumens does it take to start a fire?
There is no one answer to that question.
There is however a good estimate.
It takes around 2300 lumens of LED light to get hot enough to start a fire quickly in the right conditions.
You need to remember that lumens are not a measure of heat. So it will take different amounts of lumens to generate enough heat to create an ignition.
One type of light source can produce enough heat to start a fire at a certain lumen count, while another may need more lumens to reach the same temperature.
To better understand what goes on when you start a fire using a light source, let’s dive into the details.
In this article, we’ll talk about how fires are started, what lumens are, and how to start a fire using a flashlight and laser pointer.
- How are Fires Started?
- What are Lumens?
- How to Start a Fire Using a Flashlight?
- How to Start a Fire Using a Laser Pointer?
How are Fires Started?
Most of us know that in order for a fire to start, there are three elements that need to be present.
Those elements are fuel, oxygen, and heat.
Fuel can be anything from dry leaves or newspapers to some type of flammable liquid like gasoline.
Not only can fuel come in the form of a solid and liquid, but it can also come in the form of a gas. Like propane and methane.
Fires cannot start when there is no oxygen present. This is the element that is most abundant since the air we breathe is 21% oxygen.
Fires only need an atmosphere with 16% oxygen to burn.
Heat is the energy that increases the temperature of the fuel until it reaches its flashpoint.
The flashpoint of a material is the point at which it gives off enough vapor to ignite in the air.
The flashpoint is going to be different for different types of fuel you use.
So you now see how it is possible for a flashlight to start a fire. The flashlight just needs enough heat to reach the flashpoint of your fuel.
More powerful flashlights will have more lumens, thus producing more heat.
What are Lumens?
Lumens is a measurement of potential light output for a specific light source. This can be an LED chip or a tungsten filament.
The measurement of lumens doesn’t take into account the amount of energy used or the amount of heat a light source can produce.
However, since there is more energy when there are more lumens, naturally, heat will increase with more lumens.
How to Start a Fire Using a Flashlight?
Now that we better understand how fires are started, and what lumens are…
Let’s proceed to learn how to start a fire using an LED flashlight.
Before ever attempting to start a fire using a flashlight, you need to be warned that this is a very dangerous activity.
If you do not have any experience starting fires, or if you don’t have a safe place to perform this activity, by all means, don’t try this.
You need to also be warned that a very high-powered flashlight is going to produce a lot of heat. Keep your hands and fingers away from the lens at all times.
And lastly, never point the flashlight at your eyes or anyone else’s eyes. This could permanently damage their vision.
Step 1: Finding the Right Flashlight
If you want to buy a flashlight with enough lumens to ignite a fire, you’ll have to get yourself an LED flashlight.
You won’t see any other type of flashlight that has lumens in 4 digit numbers.
This is because other types of flashlights are not as energy efficient as LEDs. If an incandescent flashlight has over 1000 lumens, you will need an extremely powerful and bulky battery.
Not to mention, if an incandescent flashlight were to have over 1000 lumens, it would probably melt the entire flashlight construction. LED’s on the other hand have “cool light”.
This is why manufacturers only make LED flashlights in very high lumen ratings.
It’s easy to search online for LED flashlights that have lumen ratings of 2300 and above.
But you need to be careful about the quality of the flashlight. You don’t want to get a flimsy one with safety issues or one that will run into performance issues quickly.
Here’s a shortlist of our recommendations of good quality LED flashlights that have 2300 lumens and above:
- ThruNite TC15 – 2300 lumens
- EXTREME OUTPUT: Powered by a CREE XHP 35 LED the TC15 produces up to 2300 lumens with a beam...
- RECHARGEABLE: Powered by a rechargeable IMR 3100mAh 18650 cell, the TC15 features Built-In USB...
- MODES FOR EVERY SITUATION: Firefly/ Low / Medium/ High / Turbo /Strobe light modes, makes the TC15...
- AceBeam TK17 EDC – 2300 lumens
- Light sources utilize SAMSUNG LED Technology for extreme brightness in a compact size
- Utilize SAMSUNG LED produces 2300 lumens; 5310 candela; 146m beam; Max runs 120 hours
- Compact and Lightweight, it fits conveniently in your pocket 3.26” (82.8 mm) x 0.83”(21mm); 2.60...
- WOWTAC A5 – 3650 lumens
- EXTREME OUTPUT: Powered by a CREE XHP 70 LED the A5 produces up to 3650 lumens with a beam distance...
- RECHARGEABLE: Powered by a rechargeable 5000mAh 26650 cell, A5 features Built-In 2A USB charging and...
- EASY TO USE - One side button switch design provides easy one hand operation to cycle through...
- AceBeam X45 – 18000 lumens
- FLASHLIGHTS HIGH LUMENS: Utilized 4 Pieces Cree XHP70.2 6500K LEDs, Max output reaches 18000 lumens
- ULTRA-LONG DISTANCE: Max beam distance goes 583 meters.
- EASY TO USE: The side switch is controlled all functions through easy one-handed operation
Step 2: Finding the Right Fuel
Once you get the right flashlight for this activity, the next thing you will need is the right kind of fuel.
As we mentioned earlier, fuel can come in the form of a solid, a liquid and a gas. For flashlight fires, the best and safest fuel is solid fuel.
Dried twigs and leaves will work but the fastest ignition will come from using dry newspaper.
Take a newspaper and spread out the pages under the sun to dry them up. Leave them for about an hour.
This will make ignition much quicker.
Regular paper will also work well. Make sure it is very dry before attempting to start your fire.
Step 3: Lighting it Up!
So your flashlight and your fuel are ready…
…and we’re going to assume that there is air to breathe in your location (third element needed to start a fire).
Take one page from your newspaper and fold it three times. This makes it thick enough to catch a more significant flame.
Then point your flashlight at the paper. Keep a distance of about two centimeters from the newspaper.
This is so that your flashlight lens won’t get burn marks from the flames.
Then turn your flashlight on to its highest setting.
You will almost immediately see smoke rising from the newspaper. Keep it in this position for a few more seconds and the newspaper will almost burst into flames.
Once the fire is going, you can then transfer the burning newspaper onto your firewood or whatever you’re using.
Always remember that safety should be your utmost priority at all times. Especially when you are engaging in an activity that can be dangerous.
Starting fires is a dangerous activity and should always be done with extra care.
It becomes even more dangerous when you start a fire using tools that are not made for starting fires, like a flashlight.
Here are some safety reminders that you should always keep in mind when you attempt to start a fire using a flashlight:
- Before starting your fire, check your surroundings. Make sure there are no flammable items within proximity.
- Make sure to wear safety goggles and gloves at all times.
- Do this activity outdoors, but keep a distance from trees and dried leaves. The best place to do this would be in a fire pit.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or water hose close by.
How to Start a Fire Using a Laser Pointer?
Starting a fire using a laser pointer is a little different than starting a fire using a flashlight.
The first two steps, however, remain the same. We will first need to find the right laser and find the right fuel.
Step 1: Finding the Right Laser Pointer
Unlike flashlights, laser pointers are not typically measured in lumens.
They are more often measured in watts. To learn more about laser pointer ratings, read our article on The Definition of MW in Lasers.
You can start a fire using the laser pointers available in department stores or online shops. If your laser has a higher mW rating, the hotter the beam will be, and the faster you can start your fire.
The most powerful laser pointer you can get in the market to be used as a pointer is 5MW.
Here are a couple of high-quality laser pointers that can get your fires started quickly:
- 5mW Blue Beam Laser
- Hnadheld Size with Bight green light
- hand free switch button come with star patterns head cap
- Great performance on brightness at night or daylight, best for astronomy, camping, hunting etc.
- Tactical Hunting Green Pointer
Step 2: Finding the Right Fuel
The best fuel for starting a fire with a laser pointer is a combination of solid fuel and liquid fuel.
For the solid fuel, you can use anything from wood to dried leaves. You can also use a matchstick to make the ignition even quicker.
Add some gasoline or alcohol to the matchstick to help bring the flames up. The gasoline or alcohol will be your liquid fuel.
Step 3: Lighting it Up!
To begin your setup, start by placing your match stick or piece of wood in a safe place. A firepit is the safest place to do this.
Then pour a little bit of gasoline on the match stick. Don’t pour too much gasoline as this might cause a huge explosion.
Stand about three to six feet away from the gasoline-soaked match stick and point your laser at the head of the match stick.
Turn it on and wait a few seconds. In just a few moments your match stick is going to catch on fire and the gasoline is going to go up in huge flames.
Depending on the type of laser pointer you have, this can take anywhere from 2 seconds to 10 seconds.
Just like starting a fire using a flashlight, starting a fire using a laser pointer is very dangerous as well.
You will need to exercise extra caution when you’re attempting this activity.
Here are some safety reminders that you should keep in mind before attempting this activity:
- Gasoline is extremely flammable. If you use gasoline, make sure to put only a small amount and keep the container far away from your laser beam.
- Always wear laser safety glasses when using your high-powered laser.
- Find a firepit or somewhere that is safe. This is to prevent the fire from spreading.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water close by in case anything goes wrong.
There you have it! We hope that all your questions about lumens, flashlight fires, and laser pointer fires have been answered in this article.
Whenever you’re dealing with fires, especially starting fires, always keep our safety reminders in mind. Stay safe!
Last update on 2020-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.