About the ANSI/NEMA FN-1 standard

Why Create Standards?
Recently, a need for a standard performance platform for the flashlight industry was recognized. The absence of a consistent performance standard has made it difficult to provide comparable product claims and effectively communicate features and benefits, which consumers use to select the right flashlight for their specific needs.  Our research indicates a consistent performance platform would be quite beneficial to help users make the right selection when choosing a flashlight.

In addition, the category is changing rapidly as new companies and products enter the market. Flashlight technology has radically changed and consumers are eager to learn more about these new disruptive technologies.

Current agencies, such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories), do not provide performance standards for flashlights, so major retailer’s that employ testing firms are requesting guidance.

Flashlight Standardso respond to this need, 14 famous flashlight companies collaborated to write a standard.  They included the following products: hand-held/portable flashlights, spotlights, and headlamps.

The ANSI/NEMA FL 1 Standard has been ratified and includes six measures. Each measure is defined, has a test procedure specified, and has an associated icon to use for claims. Standard ratification included voters representing three groups:  1) manufacturers, 2) users, and 3) general interests – one group cannot represent more than 50% of the total ratifying vote.

Here is information that is known from public sources. Performance of flashlights is measured using new batteries included with the light when purchased or, if no batteries are included, the batteries recommended by the packaging. There are six criteria used:


Light Output


  • Reported in lumens.
  • Total projected light output.
  • Must use the same new and unused batteries as packed with the light.
  • Measured in an integrating sphere.


  • Reported in hours and/or minutes.
  • The continuous time lapsed from the initial light output to when the light output is at 10% of the initial light output.
  • Must use the same new and unused batteries as packed with the light.
  • Measured in an integrating sphere or with a lux meter.

Beam Distance

  • Reported in meters.
  • Distance light will project to 0.25 lux.
  • Must use the same new and unused batteries as packed with the light.
  • Measured with a lux meter.

Peak Beam Intensity

  • Reported in candela.
  • Maximum light intensity that does not vary with distance.
  • Measured with a lux meter.

Enclosure Protection Against Water Penetration Ratings

  • 3 levels based on the ANSI/IEC 60529 IPXX ingress protection standard:
  • Water resistant – IPX4:  splashed from all directions.
  • Water proof – IPX7:  submersed in 1 meter for 30 minutes.
  • Submersible – IPX8:  submersed deeper than 1 meter (manufacturer specified depth) for 4 hours.

Impact Resistance

  • Reported in meters.
  • Drop tested onto concrete.
  • Dropped with batteries in the light.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
These standards are accredited by ANSI, which is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards so American products can be used globally.