The test procedure
It would be straightforward to compare the inspection lamps and headtorches based on their specifications. Data concerning lumens output (brightness of the light produced), how long a battery lasts and how long it takes to recharge could easily determine the best products. Add the retail price into the mix and the winners and losers would be easy to spot, but there’s one major point missing: usage.
So we visited our local garage and handed over all the inspection lamps to an MOT tester. We gave all the headtorches to a couple of mechanics and left them to complete a variety of jobs inside engine bays, underneath vehicles and inside wheelarches. Their real-life comments were invaluable because they brought up issues we hadn’t considered, such as the ease of switching a light on and off when wearing oilcovered gloves (especially important with a headtorch). They found that some lights dimmed after an hour, despite the specification quoting several hours of battery life.
Magnetic backs and bases on the inspection lamps were put to the test with some interesting results, questioning whether some of the products had ever been tested on a vehicle before being launched.