A homeowner without a flashlight ends up at the mercy of the darkness. But there's help on the way—from the latest high-tech torches outfitted with LEDs (light-emitting diodes). The tiny semiconductors work with a fraction of the power an incandescent requires, so batteries can be smaller and still produce light for up to 20 hours. The diodes pump out about five times the light an old-style flashlight bulb could produce. And because they have no delicate filaments, LEDs are virtually indestructible; you could operate one for nearly six years—nonstop—before it blinked out. But here's the downside: When a diode fails, it can't be replaced—you'll need to buy a new flashlight.
Shown: For hands-free lighting, the three legs on the 3-in-1 Tripod pop out with a push of a button. Aim each of its three pivoting heads where you need light or pull any of them out as an individual flashlight. 20 lumens each, 6 AA batteries, about $30;