ANSI / PLATO Information

ANSI/PLATO FL 1 - Flashlight Basic Performance Standards

The Portable Lights American Trade Organization (PLATO) is responsible for creating and publishing the ANSI/PLATO FL 1-2019 Flashlight Basic Performance Standards, and Powertac’s chief engineer is a voting member of the organization’s board. These standards help compare performances across flashlight devices, making it easier to choose the device(s) that best suit your needs. 

ANSI/PLATO FL 1 was the first worldwide flashlight standard and introduced industry definitions and testing methods for basic flashlight performance. At Powertac, we know this information continues to inform and help customers across a variety of industries and interests, including those who work as firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement, military, security, agriculture experts, and mining employees.

About Plato

Starting in May 2010, members from numerous portable lighting businesses started discussing the need for an industry-wide trade organization. By September of that year, PLATO was officially incorporated as a 501c6 in the State of Delaware and held its first board meeting that December. Powertac joined PLATO in 2012.

PLATO celebrated a major achievement in 2016 when it unveiled the revised ANSI/PLATO FL 1 2016 Standard, which was set to improve portable lighting quality and packaging design. In late 2019, PLATO met with stakeholders to further update the Standard. The revised ANSI/PLATO FL 1 2019 Standard now includes area lights and works as the technical roadmap for manufacturers who remain dedicated to aligning accurate product claims with realistic performance metrics. 

Developing ANSI/PLATO FL 1

Before the ANSI/PLATO FL1 standard was created, it was much more difficult to tell how a light would perform before testing it yourself. That was unnecessarily costly for consumers and challenging for manufacturers like Powertac, who work hard to develop quality lighting tools.

That’s what inspired Powertac to join PLATO in 2012 and continue to show support of this organization of industry experts, with the skills and experience to develop standardized tests and a comprehensive rating system. Created with the guidance of the American National Standards Institute, PLATO, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and representatives from 14 companies in the portable lighting industry set these standards help consumers and experts rate and compare the most important features of personal lighting devices.

Why Is The ANSI/PLATO FL 1 2019 Standard Important?

Purchasing a flashlight, helmet light, bicycle light, or spotlight can be a confusing situation to consumers and retailers alike, but the ANSI/PLATO FL 1 2019 Standard and PLATO are essential resources that offer clarity for buyers and accountability for industry members.

The comprehensive ANSI/PLATO FL1 2019 Standard, developed by PLATO, industry leaders, and stakeholders, spells out specific testing and reporting methods for portable lighting products that produce directional light. Crucially, the ANSI/PLATO FL1 standard focuses on directional lighting, not lanterns or area lighting.

If the ANSI FL1 icons are present on the packaging, consumers and retailers can both rest assured that the lighting tools work as described instead of relying on just a company’s brand or a given tool’s word-of-mouth credibility. ANSI FL1 approved products feature reported performance claims that are tested to industry standards. With the standard’s icons displayed, consumers can more easily and accurately compare “apples to apples” when evaluating different products for their lighting needs.

ANSI/PLATO Standards

ANSI/PLATO FL 1 delivers a uniform way of defining, measuring, and rating basic flashlight performance. The clearly defined test methods and rating rules help retailers and consumers gain a clearer understanding of a given product’s performance.

It’s important to recognize that following these standards is strictly voluntary and that all participating flashlight companies conduct their own evaluations, adhering to rigorous and reliable guidelines.

The following list contains features that are covered by ANSI/PLATO FL 1 Standards, along with the icon that represents each feature:

ANSI/PLATO Peak Beam Intensity Icon

Peak Beam Intensity:

The maximum luminous intensity typically along the central axis of a cone of light. This measures the brightest part of the beam. The value is reported in candela.
    ANSI/PLATO Beam Distance Icon

    Beam Distance:

    The distance from the device at which the light beam is 0.25 lux. Results are reported in meters.

    ANSI/PLATO Impact Resistance Icon

    Impact Resistance:

    The degree to which a portable light resists damage when dropped on a solid surface. Dropped samples must not exhibit any cracks or breaks, and they must remain fully functional in order to pass the test.

    ANSI/PLATO Run Time Icon

    Run Time:

    The duration of time from the initial light output value (30 seconds after the light is turned on with fresh batteries) until the light output drops to 10% of the initial value.

    ANSI/PLATO Light Output Icon

    Light Output:

    A measurement of the total quantity of emitted overall light energy. The value is reported in lumens.

    ANSI/PLATO Water Resistance Icon

    Water Resistance:

    There are three tests that measure water resistance:

    • Resistance to Temporary Immersion in Water
    • Resistance to Continuous Immersion in Water
    • Resistance to Splashing Water