I've been poking on around here and the web a bit, but thought I might prevail upon the forums expertise here using the very handy checklist. I've marked them as (X) for "check", (R) for required or (O) for optional but would be nice.
2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :-)
Ideally Less than $50.
Versatile. Something that can be used as a flashlight and has magnets or a clip or something to be used as a small worklight for computers, cars, etc.
4) Flashlight-specific format/size:
Preferred: Every day carry small (2-4 inches).
Ok: Every day carry medium (4-7 inches).
5) Emitter/Light source:
(R) LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)
6) Manufacturer: (either, though if I could just buy something that's easier of course, though I do have the skills and tools for the latter)
(X) I want to buy a light from a traditional mass producing manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
(X) I would consider getting a light that is pieced together (for example a “host” or flashlight body from one manufacturer, and a “drop-in” emitter from another source). Under the right circumstances, this path can provide more options to the consumer to meet specific needs, and can often be easily upgradeable as technology improves.
7) What battery type do you want to use?
Primarily either NiMH or Li-Ion/Li-Po; preferably, but negotiably in AA or AAA size and voltage regulated so I can use alkalines if desired.
8) How much genuine out the front (OTF) light do you want/need? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is impossible).
(R) I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (0-10 lumens).
(R) I want to walk around an unlit rural area (50-150 lumens).
(O) I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
9) Throw vs. Flood: At what distance will you be most likely to use this light? Select all that apply.
(R) Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
(R) Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
(R) 5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)
(O) 30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)
(O) 50-150 yards/meters (I live in a very rural area/farm with wide open spaces)
(O) 150+ yards (I want maximum throw possible)
10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum output).
The more the merrier within the size limits above
(X) 90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.
(X) Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood).
(X) Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
12) Switch Type and location (choose all that apply):
Clicky of some sort preffered, though not required, at least for on off
13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.
(R) I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
(O) I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
(O) I want a strobe mode. (Blinks to show location.)
(O) I want SOS mode.
(O) I want a beacon mode.
Not critical, but in order of preference:
1 Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
2 Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today’s flashlights).
3 Plastic/composite body (this may limit your choices significantly).
3 Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
15) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any below.
(O) Red filter or LED
Interested to see if the perfect light (for me) exists out there, especially in the given budget. Thanks!