I like my Inova's best due to its Hard coating and manufacturing quality and of course the nice beam they can project. I like the UK 4AA light for underwater use. SL TL-3 for throw and SL Luxeon Jr. for flood. How nice if there is ONE light that has it all. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
Will it have a purpose in my collection of lights. Some people merely collect lights as a hobby, I use mine as a tool in every day life. Mostly to run my dogs, walk through the wooded trails or go out to the wood pile to grab another chunk of fir to throw on the fire on those cold nights. Runtime is important along with output whether it be in the form of flood or throw cause I use them both... Size in itself is unimportant to me because I rarely EDC. My definition of EDC is throwing my TT-3C in the Van...
Whether it ships by USPS or UPS. I can sneak a new light into the house much easier by going to the mailbox rather than having that pesky UPS man ruin things for me. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
Hrmm... Well, generally I'm drawn to the idea of a fairly small, fairly bright light with at least decent flood capability. Hopefully not too expensive and hopefully flashlightreviews.com has given at least a decent review too.
This is assuming I can't handle or play with the light before ordering one.
Then price in conjunction with (in no particular order) brightness, beam type and beam quality, workmanship, run time etc.
I like small, fairly bright lights. Anything running on C and D cells is too large for me. I do not consider any lights running on those or in this size (say, Mag 2C or larger). And I want to keep the number of battery types down. I have now equipment running on CR123, AA and AAA (both alkalines and NiMH), and that's what I will buy. Any other battery type I consider exotics (I'm willing to negotiate on rechargeables).
The next thing is price, but this depends on the other factors (I buy a lot of lights even if I don't really need them). The cheaper the light, the more willing I am to make compromises in any of the other points. Example: I do not consider the Streamlight 2L right now. It's just too expensive IMHO for just having HAII (I believe) and having the wrong switch mode. A two-stage light should go first in the low mode.
Where do I start? Most of my lights only cost $20 to $30 dollars. I'M still somewhat of a newbie and haven't spent thousands of dollars (yet). First I want good quality (factoring in the price) and reliable meaning that it works like it is supposed to. I also want them to be at least reasonably rugged so they won't fail under somewhat rough use. I prefer AA and AAA lights then cr123. I like lights that are compact, with decent output for their size. I always look to see if a light is waterproof or at least appears to be very water resistant. I also like them to have some kind of lanyard loop and will not easily roll on a flat surface. I noticed a lot of other people seem to like the candle mode. I found that the ones which easily stand up appear to be easily knocked over. So what works for me is to just lean the light against something pointing upwards, or even to lay it down sideways pointing away.
I too am a newbie in terms of collecting/buying flashlight. I guess I am not yet a full-fledged flashaholic--and most of the lights I owned are somewhat practical(except a bunch of PM6, solitaire and Minimag which I am kinda collecting/planning to mod)
For myself, when I shop for lights, I look for brighness/usefulness of light, reliability(easy to malfunction is worse than poor performing light), build(small and durable body), 'feel', and price.
'Feel'(material, finish, touch, balance, shape, etc) is important to me--I won't go so far as saying all my lights have personalities...but some lights I just 'get along' better than the others.
To be completely honest I go by the "ooooh shiny!" principle [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
For me this has simply become a hobby. My work doesn't require me to have an EDC that can save my life. I EDC a QIII and sometimes my L4 just in case I may need it. Right now it's winter time in Sweden and that means darkness, and lots of it, so it does come in handy from time to time.
I guess for me, there's a little of the WOW factor involved. It should be something that will be truly useful (although that's not always necessary). It should be durable, bright and/or have long battery life, and it almost always has to be made in USA.