5 Best Swirl Finder Light (What’s the Hype) in 2021

Paint correction can be a real pain in the butt if you miss out on those annoying swirls. And we’re unlucky because nothing else works as good as the swirl finder lights.

There are a lot of companies trying to squeeze into the market with their swirl-finding lights now. So, now it’s more confusing than ever when you’re trying to figure out which one you should buy.

Well, you’re in luck. That’s because we tested out twenty different flashlights and made a list of the top five. Hopefully, this list will help you find the best swirl finder light for you.

 

If those annoying swirls on the wall can get illuminated, it gets a whole lot easier to find them. We even added a couple of interesting points that you might want to check before making your purchase. So, let’s head into it.

1. Coast G20 Inspection Beam Penlight

At a Glance

  • Power source: Alkaline Battery powered
  • Light source: LED
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Lumens: 120
  • Weight: 2.29 oz

The first one that we have here is the G20 from the Coast. We thought this one deserved this spot. It’s the all-rounder on this list, and we’ll tell you why.

So, what’s so special about this one? Well, this is the only one that has a far reach when it comes to distance. They claim that it can illuminate an area of up to 9 meters. And we can confirm it.

I mean, you might not require a swirl finder light that can light up an entire village. But, you should be happy to know that it can do so. They boast a lot about their consistent and clear edge-to-edge brightness. We’re not going to disagree with this either.

Another thing that we liked about this one is the adjustable clip. It’s got all the gimmicky features, and they do what they say. As painters, being able to clip things onto the utility belts or pockets is a must. And this one has the capability.

I mean, we didn’t do a true durability test with this one. So, we can’t really say whether the clip will last you forever. But the overall aluminum build is decent. We might have been able to bend it through excessive force.

But we’re sure that it can handle the smaller drops and bumps.

Okay, let’s talk about battery life. They say that it would last around two and a half hours. Our testing only got it to a couple of hours, though. Fair enough.

A lot of people complain about how the lights don’t come with batteries out of the box. Well, lighten up. This one came with a AAA alkaline battery. It’s not the best battery in the world, but it works.

Another thing that we liked about this is the price. It’s the cheapest one on the list. So you can rest assured that your pockets won’t feel the pain when you’re trying to find those annoying paint swirls.

We also liked how the light doesn’t bleed as often. That’s a pretty reckless feature for some of the other lights in this range. We tried this out to find paint defects, and it did the job fine.

There is one tiny problem with this one, though. We’re not sure if it only applies to our unit or not, but we’ll talk about it. Sometimes, it took us multiple tries just to get this thing working. I think it was an issue with the button. It’s not tactile at all.

2. Adam’s Polishes Swirl Finder Flashlight

At a Glance

  • Power source: Battery powered (Lithium-ion)
  • Lumen: 170
  • Weight: 5 oz

Coming in at second place, we have one from Adams Polishes. The brand itself might give away that this one was polishing-oriented. Well, we’ll see about that.

I mean, any company can come in and claim that their penlight is highly effective when it comes to finding scratches and swirl marks. But we had to put this one to the test to find out whether it actually gets the job done.

This one has a unique trick up its sleeve. It’s the only one on the list that claims water resistance and holds true to it. We dipped it in a couple of buckets, and the light worked just fine. So credit where it is due.

Something that caught our eye was the magnetic clip that rotated. It wasn’t a revolutionary addition. But it’s functional, and we only got to see it here.

We were quite impressed by this one. I mean, it even convinced some of us here to put it into the number one spot. But I digress. It claims 170 lumens, which are tremendously bright on paper. And you might not even need that much when you’re looking for micro-scratches and swirl marks.

Testing it out was easy. I mean, we had a black car with tons of micro-scratches. And this light lit them up open wide. So we’re going to give it points for the full functionality of doing what it says.

You might be surprised as to how this one came second even though it’s specifically made for finding swirls. Well, as we said, we had quite the debate. But this one came short on a couple of occasions.

Firstly, we tried this on our white Chevrolet, and it didn’t work as well. I mean, a lot of lights struggle with white paint. But this one was formidably bad with white paint. So keep this in mind before buying.

Otherwise, this is a decent rechargeable swirl finder light. We’re not too sure if it will last over a couple of years. But, we didn’t see any durability issues. It finds the imperfections of spray-paint decently.

So if you’re someone who needs to check if you got that polishing job right, this should be a formidable tool.

We loved the magnetic clip. It’s fun and practical. To be honest, it’s no feature to write home about, but we thought about pointing it out here.

It’s also comparatively cheap. This comes second on the list in terms of affordability too. So if you’re looking for a light explicitly built to fine swirls and you can afford to spend a couple of more bucks, this is a good buy.

3. Astro Pneumatic Tool 50SLMAX Sunlight

At a Glance

  • Power source: Lithium-ion battery powered
  • Lumens: 500
  • Weight: 20.48 oz. 

In third place, we have this “sunlight” from Astro Pneumatic Tool. We were skeptical about this one since it came with a high price tag. But we were pleasantly surprised for the most part. Let’s talk about it.

That said, this one looks odd. Well, in a good way it’s odd. You might not see another light with the same form factor.

But what makes this unique is the peak brightness. This is the only one on the list that hits the 500-lumen mark. So if you’re a professional car detailer who can spend the big bucks for similar tools, this is a solid option.

Just like the other options on the list, this comes with gimmicks. In this case, they include multicolor lighting. I mean, I’m not too sure why you would need that. But it’s there, and it serves its purpose as a gimmick.

What we liked about this are the functional dual-color temperatures. They even advise you to change the color temperatures based on the color of paint you’re checking.

It’s commendable how easy it is to switch from warm to cool. They recommend using 4500K for the lighter colored paints. For darker paints, they advise you to use the 6000K.

We adhered to their advice, and we were successful. Another thing that caught our eye was that the cool temperature wasn’t blue. Most lights struggle with this and just output a completely bluish hue at 6000K. Well, this one held its ground firmly, coloring us impressed.

But then again, you’re paying almost seven times more for this one when you’re comparing this to the one on top.

When it comes to maintenance, it’s complicated. You can remove the lens and clean it. But it’s more complex, and you might want to leave it in there.

They say that it’s impact-resistant. But the fact that we already had a dent on our unit after a chest-height-drop wasn’t a good sign. We’re not saying that yours will get a dent from a small drop too. But you never know.

There’s a rotating hook that rotates 360 degrees. Well, this also serves its purpose as a gimmick along with the others. We’re going to be nitpicking since it’s on the expensive side.

Our team liked it, we’re I mean, they probably had to. That’s because the price is way too high if you ask me. This is the only reason why this light isn’t anywhere near the top of the list.

If this one was affordable, we might have had to give it a second thought when deciding the rankings. But that’s not to be today.

4. RUPES LL150 LED Penlight

At a Glance

  • Power source: Battery powered (AAA)
  • Light source: LED
  • Lumens: 140
  • Weight: 4 oz.

We have an LED penlight from RUPES here in fourth place. You’re probably surprised to see it here. Well, we’ll talk about how this one is almost near the end of the list.

And, what do you think we liked about this one? 

It’s got to be the switch with a push-button mechanism. Although you can use all the lights here with a single hand, this is the most compact on the list.

The Italians usually make some gorgeous products. And this one is no different. You might mistake this for a Fountain pen at first. But we’re not giving out points for looks, are we?

We did not like the price one bit. I mean, it’s not as expensive as the previous one on the list. But it’s right up there as the second most expensive deal. And, we honestly don’t think that you should spend this much just for the brand name.

Functionality-wise, this came second last. If you’re working under bright sunlight, this is going to struggle. You will have a hard time trying to figure out whether there are swirls or not.

But there’s an adjustable beam with this one. You might come at me and argue that almost any LED light would help with detailing. And I would put in the counter-argument that this adjustable beam hits the home run.

You can use this feature and focus the light onto the paint job. If you’re working as a detailer, you would know the difference between a normal odd LED light and this one.

Some of us here said that the price was justified. But I couldn’t get my head around it. If there weren’t any cheaper options available, maybe I would’ve recommended this one instead of everything else.

But that’s the problem. There are cheaper options that do 99% of the job almost as decently.

Don’t get me wrong. You can find the imperfections of paint jobs using this flashlight. Some might even argue that this is the best on the list. But I would continue to fight them, saying that you shouldn’t spend this much on a swirl finder light.

But credit where due. We didn’t notice any odd eye strain while using this. Some of the cheaper options will cause severe eye strain while working for prolonged periods. 

This one, however, is quite easy on the eyes. So you can work longer while continuing to look for pain imperfections.

All in all, we saw the scratches, imperfections, and swirls clearly. If you’re working as a professional detailer who has a ton of money to spend on a detailing light, go right ahead. But if you’re looking for the budget option, this isn’t it, chief.

5. Chemical Guys EQP401 Inspection Light

At a Glance

  • Power source: Rechargeable battery
  • Light source: LED
  • Lumens: 130 and 150
  • Weight: 3.2 oz.

Finally, we have this little guy from Chemical Guys. Don’t underestimate it just because it came in last. We like to think that this light beat the others on the list.

What we liked about this is that they provide options. You get the standard edition and the extra-large edition. Mind you. This isn’t your order of fries. But the bigger size might cater to some people for a few more bucks.

Other than that, there are as many pros as there are cons. They claim that you get flawless polishing from this one. But that wasn’t the practical case since this ended up at last place.

I mean, you can see the swirl marks and micro-scratches just fine. This even lights up the hidden ones well enough. But I wouldn’t say that this one does the job perfectly as they advertised.

They also claim that you can light up the crevices and dark cracks with this one. But I mean, you can do that with almost any flashlight, right? Okay, we’re being a bit too harsh here. But we hope you get our point.

It’s labeled “ultra-bright.” But when it comes to the luminous flux, this ranks third on the list. So it isn’t “ultra” at all.

Another exciting thing about this one is that you get two options of brightness. There’s the 150 lumens rated LED strip. You can use this to light up the broader spaces.

Then, there is the 130 Lumen rated single LED bulb for a more focused light ray. I guess another positive about this one is that you don’t get any yellowish tints.

The light is clear white. We tested this one with our white BMW and tried to find the swirls. I mean, testing these lights with the lighter colors is the ultimate test, right?

Well, this one seemed to struggle a bit with the white color. When we moved on to our black Mazda, the issue wasn’t there. This means this did not struggle as much with the darker colors.

This isn’t the best swirl finder light in the world. But you can give it a shot if you like the options. I mean, no one else gives you two sizes, at least on this list.

Why Does Lighting Matter?

best swirl finder light

In this section, we’ll be talking about how lighting is vital for car detailing. Whether you just want to find the annoying swirls or scratches, the lighting is important.

Although the entirety of the subject is only discussed casually, we thought it deserved to be talked about a bit more. Whether you’re done with the detailing job or in the process, it’s crucial to have one of these tools available in your utility belt.

If you’re a professional detailer, you might know this already. But if you’re just starting out, well, you need to know this. Not every light will help you spot imperfections.

Some flashlights only work as “flashlights.” So no matter how much you’re trying to look for the swirls, those lights would only fail. Detailers need the perfect swirl finder lights to look for the marks on the new paint jobs. 

The Characteristics You Need to Measure

Now let’s talk about a few of the characteristics of light that’ll help you decide whether your purchase will be flawed or not.

Color Temperature

This is technically known as the perceived color. We measure this in the Kelvin scale. Don’t worry. We won’t be getting too nerdy here. We’ll only let you know about the basics in the simplest of ways.

There’s a broad spectrum when it comes to temperature. You might have heard about this when you’re taking photos. The spectrum ranges from deep red to bright blue.

You will usually see the terms “cool” and “warm” being used. If the count is lower, it’s called warm. And, it’s called cool when the number on the Kelvin scale is higher.

Luminous Flux: Lumen Count

We think this one needs a bit more attention. This is a measure of the amount of light that’s coming out from a light source. The higher the number of lumens, the more intense the light is.

So you can probably imagine that the penlight that has a higher lumen rating will have a brighter light.

All About “Daylight”

Now, this is a term worth learning. When professionals are talking about the “normal daylight,” they are usually referring to the midday. This is when the sun is shining brighter than an oily forehead.

In this daylight condition, the temperature you’ll get is around 5578K. You don’t need to remember the numbers at all. Just remember that this is in the cool range.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Are these the same as detaining lights?

Answer: At some places, swirl finder lights are also called detailing lights. Both of them are designed to dig out scratches and paint imperfections from the paint jobs.

Question: Are 150 Lumens enough for swirl-finding lights?

Answer: If you’re only going to be using this for finding swirls on car paint jobs, then 150 lumens should be more than enough. Even though it might not look like much on paper, 150 lumens is enough to blind you temporarily.

Question: What is the recommended Luminous flux for detailing works?

Answer: Any focused light source with a rated lumen of over 100 should be good enough. That’s right, you don’t need the absolutely bright 500 Lumen lights. But they definitely get brighter, so you should think about it.

Conclusion

That’s about it on our part. Read through the reviews and figure out which of the features cater to you the most.

You might not want to burn a hole in your pocket while picking a swirl-finding- light. So always keep an eye on whether you’re exceeding your budget or not.

All the lights featured on this list have unique aspects. So we’re hoping that the list will help you find the best swirl finder light for you. Compare the features carefully and check whether you really want them.

Finally, go through all the points before making your purchase. We hope that you can hunt those annoying swirls down. Good luck!

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