Glo-Toob, retail $39.95 (
Manufactured by (
Last updated 10-02-03


The Glo-Toob is an innovative new lighting device, born and raised in South Africa. It is composed of an aluminum core surrounded by a tough, clear epoxy compound; and features 3 bright blue LEDs in the base that shine upwards to illuminate the entire tube (or, "toob", as they like to call it). :-)

Glo-Toobs are designed not to be a flashlight, but rather as a replacement for chemical lightsticks. They're powered by a tiny little 12-volt cigarette lighter battery, and shine for approximately 30 hours on a single battery.


Glo-Toobs are easy to use. Just turn the small ring on the tailpiece clockwise to light them up, and turn it counterclockwise to turn them off. Add the clip of your choice, and dangle them from anything you want. You can use them rain or shine, and even take them diving with you if that's what turns your crank.

Changing the battery is easy enough: hold the Glo-Toob in one hand, and unscrew the knurled black thing at the end with the other. Drop in a 12 volt A23 cigarette lighter battery, button-end (+) first, and screw the tailpiece back on. Tighten it to firm finger-tightness, and dispose of the old battery properly.

The battery type is a bit odd, but certainly nothing hard to find. The A23 12 volt alkaline battery is used in cigarette lighters, dog collars, remote controls, and serveral other products. You should be able to find these in any large department or grocery store, at camera stores, and at Radio Shack. Expect to pay anywhere from $1.80 to $3.00 apiece, and remember the Glo-Toob only needs one. I've only bought these at Radio Shack, and they were $2.79 apiece. Expect to pay perhaps a bit less if you have a Wall-Mart, Target, or similar store accessible to you.

Glo-Toobs are made of thick aluminum and a clear (slightly tinted) epoxy resin. They're about as tough as anything can get. There have been reports of a Glo-Toob being run over by a city bus, and it worked just fine afterward. I just now smacked mine against a steel table leg several times hoping to take a chunk out of it, and there's not so much as a mark, not even on the corner where there should be. Best guess is that the only damage you'll ever see might be a very tiny dent or ding on the edge of the base if it were to fall onto concrete from a significant height. I don't think you'll ever actually damage one of these things to the point of failure or diminished light output unless you stick the poor thing in a sandblaster and let the machine run for awhile.

The epoxy itself is tinted to show the LED color, so you don't have to turn the Glo-Toob on to know what color it will glow.

I had some initial concern with the switching mechanism, in that the Glo-Toob might come on unintentionally, or go out while being used - but if you turn the ring until it stops (either when turning it on or turning it off), it does sort of lock into place, meaning the Glo-Toob will stay on when you want it on, and stay off when you want it off. So I don't anticipate any problems cropping up with this kind of misbehavior. The switching mechanism is a large bolt that pistons in and out as you screw & unscrew the tail ring. There are stops at each end, so you can't accidentally loosen & remove the bolt, nor can you overtighten it and punch right through the battery.

The Glo-Toob is depth rated to 300 feet; though they've been successfully tested at depths of 11,500 feet! That would crush almost any other light out there, including most metal-bodied lights. But not the Glo-Toob. So don't be afraid to hook them to your scuba gear, take them on boat trips, or take them hiking & camping. And if it falls in the tub, just rinse it off and it'll be good as new! The only water-related advisories given are to not try to change the battery underwater, and to rinse the Glo-Toob with fresh water after an outing in seawater. You should also be careful when turning Glo-Toobs on underwater, that you turn the ring and not the knurled tailpiece. A pair of nitrile O-rings keeps water, mud, snow, slush, pee, and other nasties outside where they belong.

The LEDs are driven at less than 20 milliamps, so that 100,000 hour rating you so often hear will probably hold true for the Glo-Toob, as it does not in any way overdrive its LEDs.

Beam photo. Glo-Toob was stood upright on target and camera was positioned directly above it to show the 360 radiation field.

The epoxy used for making the Glo-Toob has an abundance of champagne-like bubbles in it; it's these bubbles that help all those little blue photons of light spread and be free. It's also very pretty to look at when lit up. The aluminum "core" in the center of the Glo-Toob tapers off at the bottom, and a lot of the light that comes out comes from this tapered area. The LEDs are aimed upwards at this cone-shaped area, and the light reflects off and to the sides. As the beam photo above shows, this results in a true 360 radiation pattern along the horizontal axis; the way the product is designed also gives good visibility when viewing the unit from above or below. Only if you look straight down on top of a Glo-Toob that's standing upright will you no longer see its light directly; though whatever surface you stood it up on will glow around the vicinity of the Glo-Toob.

They come in four colors: red, amber, green, and blue. I'm testing the blue version.

This picture shows the Glo-Toob all lit up nice and pretty. :)

And this one gives you a visual size comparison, between an Arc-AAA and a CMG Infinity Ultra. (The Ultra is the same size as a regular Infinity). The Arc uses a single AAA cell; and the Infinity uses a single "AA" cell. So all three of these are pretty small little guys.

TEST NOTES: Sample of Glo-Toob was provided by, and was received 08-19-02.

UPDATE: 09-18-02
Retail price for the Glo-Toob is now $39.95. Make a note of it.

UPDATE: 07-17-03
These are now available with a controller IC that allows for 7 different patterns. Please visit the Glo Toob website and click on "FX" to see this new version.

UPDATE: 10-02-03
There have been scattered reports that Glo-Toobs can leak at ordinary diving depths. The manufacturer has identified a bad batch of tailcaps that went out with some Glo-Toobs - so if yours leaks, you ought to be able to send it back and get it fixed at no charge. This issue does not affect the rating I gave it.

Very unique product.
Virtually indestructible.
Waterproof and submersible to no less than 300 feet.
Battery isn't that expensive or hard to find, and lasts 30 hours.
Radiates all around, so you don't have to "aim" it.
Drives its LEDs gently, so they'll last a very long time.

Small enough that you could lose it if you're careless.
It is possible the battery might not be available *everywhere*.
A bit pricey, so try not to lose it. :)

    PRODUCT TYPE: Marker light
    No. OF LAMPS: 3 to 5, depending on color
    BEAM TYPE: True 360 soft illumination
    SWITCH TYPE: Twist tail ring on/off
    BEZEL: N/A
    BATTERY: 1x A23 12 volt lighter battery
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: 17-20mA on new battery
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, rated 300', tested to 11,500'
    ACCESSORIES: Battery, small split ring
    WARRANTY: Unknown


    Star RatingStar Rating


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