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Thread: What "level" would you consider makers?

  1. #1

    Default What "level" would you consider makers?

    I'm new looking for a few flashlights to get me started and SO MUCH information. I've been reading and watching YouTube for a few days but feel the need to pull the trigger pretty soon. I'm so amazed by all the companies I had no idea about. I was always under the assumption that Surefire was the end all be all of flashlights (I'm coming from a shooting background, so maybe that's why).

    So could you guys give me a kind of breakdown on where manufacturers/makers rank in quality levels (lower, mid-level, high end)?

    Thanks,
    Hawk

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?



    Here are a few of the most recognized manufacturers on CPF:

    Fenix (long established quality)
    4sevens (now FourSevens and affiliated to Olight. They have a good variety of products)
    Zebra Light (one of the most loved interfaces, most compact lights and great output for single battery)
    Sunwayman (seems like they are the fastest growing company at the moment and the quality is there)


    Brands to avoid: anything that ends with -fire (except of course SureFire)

    With just these names you have more to explore than your wallet can handle. I suggest you start by looking at what they have and then look for reviews or discussions on a particular light you're interested in. If you still can't find the answers you're looking for, people around here will definitely help you out. And, I'm sure, more suggestions will follow my post...
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    Flashaholic* TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Totally agree with Cataracts list, but there's a few omissions that really make me want to add to this list.
    - Foursevens (formally 4sevens). Like Zebralight they have good runtimes and many of their models can be lego-ed together.
    - Eagletac also makes great lights at very good prices. The D25 clicky series is a really nice starting point for anyone.
    - Jetbeam/Nitecore/Niteye all seem to be owned by the same company. Jetbeam is definitely marketed as the highest out of those 3.

    It's very difficult to rank them in order of quality because none of them seem to consistently have the "best light", while all of them have some great lights.
    I personally value ZebraLight, Sunwayman and Jetbeam quite high. Out of all of them, Sunwayman has remarkably good machining and anodizing.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    ThruNite and Nitecore seem to be rapidly expanding as well, with new products announced every few months or so. Olight makes lights with killer throw, if you don't mind the price (well, if Surefire was your background, I guess you don't).

    Edit: d'oh, sniped.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* egrep's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Just be aware that same as with washing machines there are just a few people and companies at the top. The brands are just to build the appearance of a competitive marketplace. When you chart the relationships and people you can see this clearly. So, the trick seems to be to watch all the players to catch the.new thing.

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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Zebralights are genius designs especially the headlamps which is half the product line

    McGizmo won't hype his own lights, he lets the product itself do the talking. Freaking CernLab quality lights though,
    every last molecule of the light, from front to back, is extremely well thought out. Nothing is by chance in his lights.
    posted by jh333233
    Dont cheat me, im expert in using crap light

  7. #7

    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    HDS Systems (formally Ra, grew away from Novatac) is pretty well liked around here. Currently pretty limited to CR123a's with basically one format of a light. Known for their durability/customization and great customer service (save the "Delay Period"). Henry of HDS Systems is well respected here. You can shoot WITH and AT these lights (no joke).
    My Lights: Arc Flashlight Arc6 http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?336795-Arc6-Upgrades-Mods-Thread!-Post-your-thoughts-and-mods-here!]You do it like this[/url], Ultrafire C3, Nextorch K1

  8. #8

    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    I would say Malkoff/Oveready/Torchlabs drop-ins and flashlights are top notch. Awesome.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cerealand View Post
    I would say Malkoff/Oveready/Torchlabs drop-ins and flashlights are top notch. Awesome.
    I'll second the Malkoff vote. After much additional research here at CPF, I picked up a Malkoff MD2 M61 High/Low turn-key light directly from Gene at Malkoff Devices (Great folks to deal with, by the way!). I've been EDC'ing it for a couple weeks now and its perfect for me. In fact I like it so much, I ordered another Malkoff MD2 in Camo with an M61 Nichia 219 and the High/Low switch from Craig at Illumination Supply (who happily answered my noob questions and built my light with the Camo body for me) within 72 hours of getting the original Malkoff.

    I totally agree on the HDS lights as well. I love my HDS E120 backup light. Small, tough, bright, and everything I want in a compact pocket light! The E120's are currently available from Battery Station, and won't break the bank. I come from a shooting background as well, and I would have no problem mounting either the MD2 or HDS on my Rem 870 and firing 3" magnum slugs!

    I can add, if you are searching for a pure weapons light, you may be interested in Elzetta. Check out he video on their site. It speaks for itself. The only reason I don't have one, is I use RCR123 and 18650 batteries (Primary 123s as backup only) and I didn't want to get into another rechargeable battery size.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    I knew it wouldn't be long before the others compensates for my short memory. I'll back what Torchaddict said about HDS, but they are currently backlogged by monthS so you'll want to look at the rest if you're impatient.

    Now you have a good idea what the yard looks like (and probably a few more names to come) go hog wild as you please.
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  11. #11
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Pelican makes good lights. Energizer, Rayovac, and Coleman make acceptable budget ones.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

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    Flashaholic borealis's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Quote Originally Posted by TweakMDS View Post
    ...Out of all of them, Sunwayman has remarkably good machining...
    except for Titanium, like the disappointing Ti+ and Ti^2, right?
    -- || --

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    Flashaholic* egrep's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    I've heard jetbeam's Ti lights like the TCR2 have had swell machining. SWM's quality has grown decidedly less pleasing to be sure. My Ti^2 are both just fine as it goes, the pair of Ti+ I have are merely donors for their heads, bodies to be replaced by those from original Ti runs which in turn have been replaced with Steve Ku 18500 and 18650 bodies. But if you want the best, go custom.

    You could ask to get on Jeff Hanko's list and ask him to turn and bore your body. (oooh, that sounds nasty. Sorry). They look mighty fine at that point and with a matching extender you can run 18500 IMR LiMN. *swoon*

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    I got my first nice lights from reading on arf.com, this was ten years ago, so it was all streamlight and Surefire. I quickly fell in love with the Surefire lights, but have since come to enjoy HDS, Malkoff, and 4sevens lights. I'm not sure that I would group 4sevens with Surefire, Malkoff and HDS but I haven't had any problems with mine. My only issue is I like the HCRI and warm tints which aren't as easy to find.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* RobertM's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Quote Originally Posted by hawk45 View Post
    I'm new looking for a few flashlights to get me started and SO MUCH information. I've been reading and watching YouTube for a few days but feel the need to pull the trigger pretty soon. I'm so amazed by all the companies I had no idea about. I was always under the assumption that Surefire was the end all be all of flashlights (I'm coming from a shooting background, so maybe that's why).

    So could you guys give me a kind of breakdown on where manufacturers/makers rank in quality levels (lower, mid-level, high end)?

    Thanks,
    Hawk


    In addition to the brands that others have mentioned, you should check out this thread, here on CPF:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...r-vote!-PART-2
    Last edited by RobertM; 07-17-2012 at 07:24 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Thanks for all the replies everyone.

    Robert, great thread.. thanks!

  17. #17

    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    high end - cool fall, mcgizmo. mac customs, HDS, malikoff dark sucks.
    middle or high end made in china fenix and others mentioned above
    low end as said ending in fire

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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evltcat View Post
    I can add, if you are searching for a pure weapons light, you may be interested in Elzetta. Check out he video on their site. It speaks for itself. The only reason I don't have one, is I use RCR123 and 18650 batteries (Primary 123s as backup only) and I didn't want to get into another rechargeable battery size.
    I'm not sure why you call it a "pure weapons light" or why you think it takes a different size battery. I EDC my Elzetta; it carries a Malkoff MC-E module fed by 2 AW RCR123 batteries. Beautiful combination that's the size of a 6P (maybe a touch smaller.)

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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    From what I am currently experiencing, I am fast losing faith in Sysmax Industries as a company and any of their products (JETBeam/Nitecore) as well.

  20. #20

    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMechanic View Post
    I'm not sure why you call it a "pure weapons light" or why you think it takes a different size battery. I EDC my Elzetta; it carries a Malkoff MC-E module fed by 2 AW RCR123 batteries. Beautiful combination that's the size of a 6P (maybe a touch smaller.)
    From what I read at their site (Elzetta's About Us page), this is what they had in mind when the designed the light.
    Personal preference on the batteries. I don't use multiple rechargeables in my lights, and from what I've read in the CPF forums, the only larger single rechargeable cell that fits a 2 cell Elzetta is an R17670. R18650's are too large to fit.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Quote Originally Posted by borealis View Post
    except for Titanium, like the disappointing Ti+ and Ti^2, right?
    I've never held the Ti ones, but their regular models are top notch. The Ti possibly use another machining process that they outsource or simply haven't perfected...

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* egrep's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    Quote Originally Posted by borealis View Post
    except for Titanium, like the disappointing Ti+ and Ti^2, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by TweakMDS View Post
    I've never held the Ti ones, but their regular models are top notch. The Ti possibly use another machining process that they outsource or simply haven't perfected...
    Specifically the Ti^2 had some ghastly issues and the Ti+ version has decreased quality. The first and second run were just fine, though they look a lot better after they've been to Illinois.

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    Flashaholic* egrep's Avatar
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    Default Re: What "level" would you consider makers?

    ghastly quoting error, removed.

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