Primary Dive Lights
Canister vs Handheld Lights
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher (about 500 BC), wrote "Nothing endures but change."
A new class of lower cost technical dive light has supplanted the corded light head and battery canister form factor of the past. LED technology has advanced to the point where inexpensive backup lights are as bright or brighter than previous generation primary lights. With reliability and energy capacity advancements in rechargeable battery technology even the form factor of the large canister is being questioned. Today this means the main operational difference between a backup and primary light is the burn time, with many divers including penetration divers forgoing the traditional canister primary and two handheld backups in favor of three modern handhelds that can each serve as primary. The multiple handheld primary approach is much lower cost with better reliability and redundancy. However, for extreme environments that demand the maximum burn time with maximum lumen output the newest generation canister lights seem to still be the preferred choice of exploration divers.