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Thread: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

  1. #1

    Default Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Hello, I was recently trying to find a good quality flashlight and was burned by DX. Little did I know that Romisen was a "Budget brand light", as opposed to a "closer to the manufacturer = lower price" type. So, I've upgraded my expectations a little.

    I'm looking for a light that has good durability and will last for quite some time. With the cheap $2 checkout lights, I noticed that the light started flickering a lot after some use and it seemed like the switch was at fault. But, even when it was working, its light output kind of sucked.

    With an "upgraded" $17 light off of harbor freight, it had a forward clicky and the performance was amazing compared to the previous type. Unfortunately, it only lasted for about 10 minutes.

    So, now I'm looking to upgrade even further. What gets me is that a maglite from walmart costs something like $17 and those are pretty much guaranteed to last quite a while. Is there no equivalent in the sub-$30 category?

    I realize I may be asking the "too right" crowd as I'm guessing most here are afficianodos and appreciate the best of the best. Such is the case at the electric vehicle forum that I usually hang out at, however, I'm looking for something that *works* rather than pricy performers. I'm thinking that it shouldn't take 3 times the price upgrade to get, at a minimum, maglite reliability and decent output.

    So, are there any good light out there will last a while and will stand the occassional 4 foot drop on concrete for under $30? I really don't want to spend $100+, and $50 for the fenix tk20 seems to be pushing it a little. However, I could be a little ignorant of the state of things, so feel free to correct my n00b perspective.

    My only requirements are -

    -Forward clicky or spin type(Don't care, I just hate having to push a button all the way in and *click* to get it to turn on.).
    -Last a good while, like 5 years.
    -Can withstand a small drop
    -I'd prefer more lumen output as opposed to runtime.
    -Double AA's

    Niceties

    -Weatherproof
    -Let's me see things a mile away
    -So bright, it can let me see through walls. That'd be handy.
    Last edited by swbluto; 03-19-2010 at 08:46 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    I'm not really sure what you could get for around $30 that will meet those expectations. I have only one piece of advice for you:

    If you buy it cheap, you buy it twice.

    For the price of a few cheap lights that go kaput after very little use, you could buy something like a Surefire G2. It's not gonna run on AAs, but it's a great light for the price. They're always popping up on the marketplace pretty cheap.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    I think you need to spend double what you want to get what you want.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Is there any particular point that needs to be "brought down" because it increases the expense too much? If so, what is it?

    My absolute requirements is...

    -Lasts a good while.
    -Takes double AAs.
    -Can survive a small 3ft drop. Are the SMD components in modern flashlights really that delicate(I would think this would be a given)?

    Is that too much to ask for 30?

    I'm pretty sure anything you all could recommend has "decent output" from my viewpoint, so mentioning "decent output" would probably be needless confusion. I'm thinking something around 80 lumen and above would do it.
    Last edited by swbluto; 03-19-2010 at 09:11 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    I just dont know of any quality lights that will last 5 years, withstand drops, run on AA's, and has a forward clicky for 30 bucks...let alone seeing things a mile away or thru walls.

    The only thing I can think of is taking a look ITP...you may find some single AA keychain lights for around 30 maybe less. But that kinda light just didnt seem like what you were looking for and to be honest I am not too familiar with ITP...Ive just heard good things

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Quote Originally Posted by joshth09 View Post
    let alone seeing things a mile away or thru walls.
    That was a joke but, it would be really nice.

    I thought one of the advantages of LEDs were that they lasted a super-long time. Is that longevity not realized in flashlight applications? What kind of parts would I need to periodically replace, if there's a "usual failure mode"?

    I'm thinking this flashlight would be something I would use maybe once a week, so about 52 times a year. 5 years brings out about 250 uses: they'd really have to suck if they didn't last that long.

    During a typical night out, I might click the button 20 times, with "forward clicky momentary on" of about 50 times.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Quote Originally Posted by swbluto View Post
    That was a joke but, it would be really nice.

    I thought one of the advantages of LEDs were that they lasted a super-long time. Is that longevity not realized in flashlight applications? What kind of parts would I need to periodically replace, if there's a "usual failure mode"?
    I dont know that there is a usual failure mode. And LED lights last longer than incandescent flashlights.

    Im tellin you man, I just think what your lookin for is in the 50-70 dollar range. If you tell me the size your lookin for and the applications you would employ the light with I can give you some recommendations.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Size: Double AA's.
    Application: For walking at night, when I like to use a light when crossing streets to make myself visible to motorists, and for looking at something of interest (Like that cat that thinks it's really hidden by jumping on the tree branch. I was so going to prove it wrong! But my flashlight boobed up.). Also, sometimes when I take a 3 minute walk through a forested area.
    Last edited by swbluto; 03-19-2010 at 09:51 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Very reasonably priced 2XAA light(and my favorite brand)

    http://www.batteryjunction.com/lumap...connexion.html


    Very cool lookin newer light(I think). Im not too familiar with this company. But I think I have heard good things.

    http://www.batteryjunction.com/rogue2.html

    another

    http://www.batteryjunction.com/olight-i25.html

    another

    http://www.4sevens.com/product_info....oducts_id=1620

    I would be proud to own any of these lights. They are definately an upgrade from the walmart lights.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    I'd recommend that the OP take a look at the reviews posted by Selfbuilt. His reviews are excellent and I've really appreciated his knowledge and the level of detail he provides.

    As to the DX experience, some get lucky, some don't. Sounds like your experience wasn't so good. I've never bought from them, but I do have a couple of Romisen lights and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed so far. I've only had them for a few months, so I don't know how they'll hold up in the long term. I did purchase my Romisens and ITP's from Bryan at Shiningbeam, a few bucks more than DX, but upgraded emitters, excellent customer service, and fast shipping made this a no-brainer for me.

    As others have mentioned, ITP might be a good option for you. I've got the C8R and really like it, I think I paid ~$30. The C8T might be more to your liking as it has the forward clicky. The ITP's are 'less expensive' lights that seem to offer pretty good quality and options. But of course there are many options out there and you're only limited by your budget...

    Good luck in your search.

  11. #11
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Hi,
    a bit under 40 bucks you can get a Quark MiNi AA which has pretty much been the subject of rave reviews. I carry my MiNi alongside my $500 custom Ti light so I think that alone speaks for how good it is. It is a twisty and offers three output levels. Definitely the best value of the lights I mention here. It is shipped for free, and there is an 8% coupon code CPF8 at the manufacturer site, 4sevens.com

    40 bucks can also net you an ICON Rogue 2 at Radioshack and Fry's, which is bright, tough, and designed by the same guy who designs SureFire lights. It has a clicky and two modes.

    For the same price you can also snag the Inova X2 at Target, another solid performer, a twisty and one mode. Tank-like build quality.

    You can also get a Maglite XL100, which offers a lot of different functionality (gimmicky) but in the end is still a decent light. These should appear at Fry's, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc, reasonably soon if they haven't already.

    There's also the Maratac AA, made for CountyComm by ITP, at $34, but you pay shipping. I hear it's nice, though.

    E: The problem is, when you look at sub $30 lights you are really stretching where the money goes. An LED is about $5 alone, then you've got the aluminum tubing that has to be machined and reflectors that have to be electroplated, the finished light is anodized, and don't forget the regulator circuitry that is necessary for any decent LED light. It all adds up, and then you have to add the markup that allows a manufacturer, and a dealer to make a living...
    Last edited by carrot; 03-19-2010 at 10:45 AM.
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  12. #12
    Flashaholic* pwatcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    This might meet OP's requirements perfectly!

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Armor-Max-60-Lumens-LED-1AA-Flashlight/12429494

    I bought several from Amazon a few weeks ago, and it's a good value!


    Brinkmann Armor Max 60 Lumens LED 1AA Flashlight


    • Cree XP-E LED produces up to 60 lumens
    • BASF reinforced nylon casing for the ultimate in durability
    • Heavy duty molded grips for maximum grip and sure handling
    • Corrosion and water resistant
    • Tactical tail cap switch is simple to operate for momentary on/off
    • Strong enough to drive over
    • Requires 1 AA battery (included)
    • Model#: 809-1095-0

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* yalskey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    This seems like it would fit the requirements quite nicely. If you use coupon code CPF8 it will come out to just under $35 with free worldwide shipping.

    http://www.4sevens.com/product_info....roducts_id=498

    Well known / mostly loved brand with a good warranty.
    Good output and takes 2xAA batteries.
    Pretty sure this has a forward clicky... it says "momentary on".
    Will last you 5 years, easily. (You'll need to change the batteries however)
    Can flood or focus adjust, which is neat.

    Hope this helps.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* ti-force's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    This is what I started out EDCing. It's an Akoray K-106 and sells for $13.06 shipped (although, you might get it in 2 weeks or 2 months, it just depends). It doesn't have a forward tailcap and some of the other features that you seek, but for the money these are really good budget flashlights. It takes 1 AA and if you ever decide to step up to Li-ions, it's extremely bright on a 14500. Heck, you can almost buy 3 of these for what your original budget price is. I have about 4 of these and probably 2 or 3 of the K-109's.

    But, now that I've said that, let me say this. I purchased a Quark 123-2 R2 Tactical about 6 to 8 months ago and I haven't even touched my other lights for EDC since, in fact, I now own 2 Quark 123x2's (one for EDC and the other for a future mod). IMO, the Quark series lights are excellent, quality pieces that perform in every department. The reason I went with the 123 sized light, is because they really aren't much larger in diameter or weight that I can notice, and I think you've got a bettery battery selection with those lights. A great review of the Quarks right here.

    Now, this is what I think you should do. The Quark has already been mentioned, as well as, the CPF8 discount that 4sevens offers, and the fact that shipping is figured into the price, but what hasn't been mentioned is the fact that the R2 lights are on sale right now (out with the old, in with the new) and they come with a Prism kit to boot. This is my thinking: Currently, a Quark AA2 Tactical R2 is priced at $50.15 w/shipping. $50.15 x .08 (CPF8 code) = $4.012 so $50.15 - $4.012 = $46.14 shipped. Now, the Prism kit sells for $20.00 shipped, but it's included with any R2 purchase. So, let's say you can sell the Prism kit on the marketplace for $15.00. $46.14 - $15.00 = $31.14 which is only $1.14 away from your $30 price and you get a great, high quality light that's durable and will last for years to come. I'm not sure if the Prism kit will sell for $15; I haven't been watching them, but you could look into it, and it's food for thought anyway. Good luck with your search. Oh yeah, the Quark AA2 R2 light is right here.

    Casey
    Last edited by ti-force; 03-19-2010 at 08:03 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    From cheaper to more expensive:

    - Romisen RC-N3 from Shiningbeam
    - Fenix E20
    - ITP SA2 or Eagletac P100A2
    - Fenix TK20

    All of them use 2xAA and are in the throwy side.

    I dont know what Romisen you tried, but the RC-N3 have a good reputation here in CPF. If you use the CPF08 code in 4sevens you can get the TK20 at a great price and that light is as rough as you can get in 2xAA form factor (unless you want some custom body). Dont forget to check if you like the UI.

    A bit more money and you enter the realm of Quarks 2xAA, Fenix LD20, Nitecore D20...

    Are the SMD components in modern flashlights really that delicate(I would think this would be a given)?
    That's one of the differences between cheap-death flashlights and "premiun" ones.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Jash's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Fenix E20, has to be one of the best value lights around.

    Bomb proof construction, fool proof usability, and just fits so nicely in your hands, which it shouldn't slip out of as it comes with a lanyard. Spare O-rings and switch boot.

    Should suit all what you have asked for.
    There can never be too much honey to lick off your fingers.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Thanks everyone! I should be receiving a Fenix E20 in a week or so.

    About that quote "Buy cheap, buy twice", it seems I am already buying twice and,my thinking is that it's not just "buy cheap, buy twice", but "buy cheap, and then pay as much as you would to begin with if purchased right the first time". (I don't tend to buy cheap products over and over again, knowing that there's a high likelihood they'll mess up again within an undesirable time frame; I'll end up buying the same quality product in the end.)

    The only thing I regret is not looking for experienced opinions from this site before buying from deal extreme. And, gee, I just realized that deal extreme's pricing on the fenix e20 is higher than quite a few places online including cpf with the coupon code and it takes longer to receive it and to service it, if need be, to boot. So, they aren't "cheaper" just because they're physically closer to the manufacturer; their price reflects the "inherent price"/quality of the product and I guess $17 doesn't cut the mustard for a good flashlight.
    Last edited by swbluto; 03-19-2010 at 11:18 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?


  19. #19

    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Thanks everyone!

    I got the flashlight today and I love it! It's so nice, bright and focused and it *feels* like mechanical quality whereas the romisen NC-3 that I got from deal extreme "looked" like quality but it didn't feel like it.


  20. #20

    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    So, as I was riding down the street on my scooter holding the flashlight in my hand, the light just went out suddenly. That's great.

    So, back at home, I found out that the light would turn on when I skipped the button switch altogether. I then used my ohm-meter to measure the resistance of the button switch, and when "off" it was infinitely resistant, and when "on", it was .889 kOhms or 889 ohms. Let's see... 3volts / 1k = 3 mA. I think my light uses much more current than that! So it appears that the button cap has developed significant resistance in the switch itself. What can I do about this? Is it possible to replace it with a "spin" cap? I think that should be more durable in my application.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic vickers214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    Oh dear!

    The E20 was what i was going to recommend, or this one,

    http://www.pts-flashlights.com/produ...d=152-153-6605

    You have a Fenix so a replacement switch will be no issue, i have heard of them needing them before but its more of an exeption than a rule, and i think you have been unfortunate, just get in touch with them and im sure they will resolve the issue quickly. And when yu get your new switch i cant see anymore problems coming your way unless you are Mr Unlucky.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Can anyone recommend a flashlight?

    I'm new here but I will give my 2 cents, a little late I see you already bought a light, so I guess it will be my 1 cent.
    If you want a light that will last get a surefire, about $66 for a 6P LED.
    I have had a few Surefire for years and they all still works fine.
    That being said what I carry all day every day is a ITP AAA.
    I just got a JetBeam Jet-I V3.0, this is a great little light, you can get it for around $60.
    There are many reviews here that one can learn alot about lights.

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