As Seen on TV: Does this water-powered flashlight really work?

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - When the power goes out, the first thing we reach for is a flashlight. But if you're out of batteries, you're out of luck. Consumer expert Amy Davis is testing a flashlight that doesn't need batteries.

The HydraLight Flashlight runs on water. Whether it's from a lake, the ocean or rainwater, one dip and the manufacturer said you have light for up to 100 hours. That's more than four days.

Davis filled a vase with tap water and dunked the HydraLight fuel cell in the water for about 10 seconds. She then loaded it into the HydraLight.

The light turned on right away. 

The Hydralight commercial claims the flashlight "can run up to 100 continuous hours on a single water dip." 

To test that claim, Davis turned the flashlight on Saturday at 6:47 p.m. She left the light powered on in her kitchen. And Sunday morning, more than 12 hours later, the flashlight was shining steady, until Monday at about 7:30 a.m.

It was a long run, but far shy of the 100 hours promised in the commercial.

She dunked the fuel cell in water again and asked Channel 2 photographer John Treadgold his thoughts on the light that doubles as a hands-free lantern.

"So in a dark room, if the lights went out, it would easily be good enough to get around a room," Treadgold said. 

The Hydralight is $19.99 on Amazon.

"I might buy that. I buy any kind of new flashlight 'cause I don't ever want to be in the dark," Treadgold said.

However, it was also Amazon that Treadgold noticed some low ratings from customers who claim they got just three charges out of the fuel cell before it stopped working.

We checked. New ones will cost you $26.95 for a package of two.

If you can remember to always have batteries on hand for your flashlights, that option may be more cost-effective than the HydraLight.

However, if you're not running it continuously, you could get a lot of use out of it.

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