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The $5 Underwater Flashlight: Too Good to be True?

Bottom Line: Sold by dozens of eBay retailers and frequently labeled "Shallow Light," how does this $5 US flashlight hold up under real diving conditions? We tested it out against our beloved UK Aqualite-S 20°. Good to 90 feet, you'll find the illumination produced by Shallow Light to be marginal; its finicky switch sometimes misbehaves. If you're a diver operating without a flashlight, this can be a first step in illuminating your underwater world during casual dives when lighting is optional.

Comparison of the $5 "Shallow Light" and UK Aqualite-S 20°

Scuba can be an expensive sport, but that doesn’t mean divers are opposed to finding a good deal, but sometimes deals seem too good to be true.


If you have ever check out scuba gear on eBay, you might have run across a slew of “underwater dive lights” selling for $5 or less, shipping included. We had to check it out. (Click here for a direct link to this eBay search criteria.)


For this test, we purchased two identical flashlights  for under $5 each. On a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, the light accompanied us on a dozen dives to a maximum depth of 90 feet (27 meters).

With a light stamped “Shallow Light,” expectations were not high about it surviving nearly three atmospheres of pressure, but the light did not leak.

During the dives, we did a side-by-side comparison in dark crevices and caverns against our beloved and often-used dive light, the $170 US Underwater Kinetics Aqualite-S 20° with a rated output of 500 lumen on high setting. Compare the light output from both flashlights for yourself in the attached video and image.

Durability may be an issue with the so-called “Shallow Light." Something happened with the switch on one of our flashlights and it no longer works, but the LED assembly works fine in the other flashlight we purchased.

If you are a diver who has yet to purchase a dive light, the “Shallow Light” is a so-so, low-cost option to illuminating the nooks and crannies of our underwater world.

Off-brand dive torches are nothing more than a novelty item. Only use a $5 dive light when illuminating the way is for fun, never when lighting is required for your safety. 

The $5 Unerwaer Flashlight
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