Best lighted cane
Our circles of older adults have had a number of discussions in which a walking cane with a light surfaced as a good idea. Our Explorers thought a highly visible cane, with a light to help avoid hazards, could help make getting out at night safer.
Together, we found some interesting looking lighted canes online, purchased a few that looked especially good, tried them out, and decided on one which was "the best". This is a summary of what we learned.
Why we want a cane with a light
A number of the background discussions that underly this investigation are attached to this page and you can listen there to the discussions.
There were several disparate threads that led to a desire for a lighted cane.
- Some Explorers worried when going out at night about tripping over the poorly maintained sidewalks near their house, or other obstacles, and liked the idea of a light to help guide their progress.
- Others told us they were reluctant to venture out at night for fear of being mugged and thought the idea of some type of warning siren or other way of drawing attention to themselves would be useful.
- A recurring concern was the danger of crossing the busy streets of San Francisco at night. There have been several recent reports of pedestrians being run over on cross walks. Our Explorers thought it would be useful if they could have some means of increasing their visibility, such as a walking cane that flashed a light or otherwise glowed.
- Even in the house, some commented that it might help to have a light on a walking cane for getting around. Although most members felt that in their own house this was unnecessary as they had good lighting. But maybe on visits to the homes of others or to hotels.
- Finally, for those who use a cane anyway, how convenient if it was more than a walking cane and came with accompanying flashlight to help with tasks like finding the keyhole on the front door, or finding one's car keys after they are dropped.
Note: We have no financial interest in any of these products.
The best lighted cane
Of the products we tested, this walking cane was viewed as by far the best by our Explorers. It has a bright light which can easily be adjusted in direction. It has a flashing red light you can turn on to become more visible at night. And it has a siren that you can turn on to attract attention in case of emergency.
The LED flashlight was universally considered good, as was the flashing red light. Some thought the siren a bit quiet and some thought the siren a bit of a gimmick. But many of the Explorers rather liked the idea of the siren, even in its current form.
Particularly important was the design of the controls, which was simple and intuitive. People said things like:
"It is nice to see a simple, cleanly designed, easy-to-use product!"
The walking cane itself was adjustable in height (considered very important by our members, and not a feature shared by all the canes we tested). It had a fairly comfortable molded plastic handle. And the light was powered by a couple of AAA batteries easily inserted into the handle. The cane has a loop attached that allows you to hang it on your wrist, or on the back of a chair.
You can learn more about this "cane with light" (and buy if you want) on Amazon here. [affiliate link]
And here is one of our members taking it for a test drive.
Lighted cane in action
Other lighted canes we tested
Our research into lighted canes was not exhaustive. Instead, we went online, did some Googling, and identified three that looked different and useful, and decided to test those. It is possible there are other good examples of walking canes with lights out there, and we would love suggestions and feedback below (comments) if you have tried one.
We tested three products. The best was the cane described above. In addition we tested two promising canes as follow.
Hiking stick with light
There are quite a few products like this on Amazon and we suspect we might have just made a poor choice. Maybe there are other brands that work better.
The good thing about this product concept is that it looks like an outdoor accessory and not like some type of "old folks" aid. This is definitely a plus. It is adjustable in length, and has a bright light.
However we found that the adjustment in length was quite difficult to master. Either the joints slipped when you put weight on the cane, or it locked up and was impossible to adjust further. After playing with it a bit, we ended up with a cane that could no longer be length adjusted.
The handle was small and our explorers all pronounced it as "uncomfortable".
The light was adjustable in direction, and bright. However it used a rotation of the light to turn it on, which was very finicky and not at all intutive.
Overall, our explorers thought the concept behind this cane was a good one, but the execution was rather poor.
Our advice: stay away from this exact product, but there may be better versions of this concept available.
If you want to check it out further, here it is on Amazon. [affiliate link]
This product was rather promising, and before we bought it we all thought it would be a very interesting choice. However once we got our hands on it, we found some quite significant flaws in the design as implemented.
First, this product is not at all adjustable in length. This seemed to our explorers to be a major weakness.
Second, our members worried the light was a bit dim. The idea of a lighted section of the cane seemed really attractive. But we were not convinced this was bright enough to be visible to others when crossing the road. Although it would probably work quite well to illuminate a path.
The light, by design, is not adjustable in direction. That may not matter much as far as lighting the path is concerned. However, you can't easily use it for things like lighting the key hole on the front door when you get home.
Several explorers found the handle uncomfortable, although others were happy with it.
Changing the battery in the light requires one to screw off the entire lower section of the cane. We worried that after a few dis-assemblies of the cane the threads would get damaged. So we felt the life of this product might be a bit short.
Finally, the lower section of the cane is made from a plastic tube to allow the light to come out. It did not seem terribly sturdy, and again we worried that over time this section would break.
View the Path-finder cane on Amazon to learn more about it. [affiliate link]
Our advice: If the concept seems desirable to you, and you aren't worried by the issues mentioned above, this could also be a good choice. But noone liked it as much as the "best choice" winner. We notice there are other similar concepts available on Amazon from other manufacturers. Maybe one of those has designed around the flaws mentioned above. if you find such a product please tell us in the comments.