Elzetta Alpha review - A Layman's Perspective

AardvarkSagus

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 14, 2006
Messages
1,473
Location
Lower Left side of the Mitten
Elzetta Alpha

Elzetta has long been a go-to brand around the house to be ready for when disaster strikes. What happens though if you want a smaller, more pocketable torch in case the ensuing crapstorm occurs away from home?


Elzetta Alpha

Meat and Potatoes

Anyone who knows me outside of this blog can easily tell you about my love of Elzetta products. The ZFL-M60 that I reviewed years ago is still to this day one of my all-time favorite lights. Since then, technology had continued its inexorable march of advancement bringing more powerful and more efficient LEDs to market. Tint has shifted away from the stark, cool white that defines that early model. No light I've tested yet, however, holds a candle to the durability and reliability offered by that one torch. Elzetta has become synonymous in my mind with rugged dependability. The ZFL-M60 has long occupied the coveted position beside my bed as the one light I reach for anytime something seems amiss.

Right from the start, I began trying to plant the seed that a single cell, EDC variant should be produced alongside the existing 2 and 3 cell options. I can only assume that my voice wasn't alone in this endeavor as now the Elzetta Alpha has entered the picture. Cribbing notes from the older model, the youngster has inherited much of what made the ZFL-M60 great, while adding some new twists of its own. Since that first review, Elzetta has been steadily adding available options to their modular concept, so that now you are capable of building exactly the light you want to carry. 3 bezel options, 2 beam shapes, and several switch options exist allowing more variants than I can calculate by memory. This model is the A313, denoting Alpha body, crenellated bezel, standard focus, and a high/low clicky tailcap. While this wouldn't necessarily have been the model I choose for myself (most notably because of the pocket shredder bezel) it's still no less of an amazing performer.


Business End

Cranking 315 lumens out of its emitter, which my untrained, but experienced eye believes to be a Cree XM-L2, the Alpha technically bests the companies patriarch model in raw output. The larger diode however causes even the standard focus lens to act more floody than the old XR-E was capable of attaining. A direct comparison however does nothing but highlight how drastically improved the beam has been over the intervening years. Gone is the ringy doughnut and in it's place is a shining example of what a lens collimated beam is supposed to look like. I've been a proponent of using lensing over reflectors for a long time. It might not achieve absolute perfection, but this is honestly one of the best that I've reviewed. The high/low clicky tailcap is also one of my favorite options. This is the only way to get a second output mode from an Elzetta flashlight. Loosening the cap slightly gives you access to a 7 lumen low mode using the incredible smooth, silent, Elzetta forward clicky.

Fit and finish has not suffered during their time of growth either. The signature Elzetta matte black anodizing is as amazing as ever. I've literally never seen its equal. The closest I've found covers the offerings of ArmyTek's products, but this still feels more durable. Even after weeks of rattling around in my pocket next to some not-so-gentle EDC companions (in copper and titanium for both ends of the spectrum, no less) the exterior still looks nearly pristine. I can't say the same for the other items. Though the light does disassemble further than the old Malkoff drop-in would allow, so you have the option of changing your lensing, it still appears that it will easily be as durable as I've come to expect from the Elzetta name.


Pieces

Constructive Criticism

Lest you are concerned that my view of this light is nothing but sunshine on daisies, let me reassure you that this review is not above finding fault. Shortly after I received the Alpha, I noticed something I completely did not expect given my history with Elzetta products. Any time I had the light on low (High/low tailcap, remember?) I noticed an almost imperceptible flicker. It wasn't going dark for moments at a time, but rather it had an unusual, but regular pulse of slightly brighter light. This was flashing ever so slightly faster than once a second, and only for extremely brief moments each time. At first I thought I was seeing things, but as time passed, it either became more pronounced, or I became more aware of it. After convincing myself it wasn't, in fact, all in my head, I contacted Elzetta and shipped the light back to them to check it over. Thankfully I wasn't separated from it long before it came home wearing a note saying the tailcap had some kind of faulty electronics and everything was good now. This coincided with my own observations and it has lived in my pocket ever since. A problem existed, but thankfully the warranty repair took care of it. If I really wanted to avoid that, I could have just used my rotary tailcap and it wouldn't have been an issue.


The culprit

My other complaint is something less correctable. That was an individual flaw, this next issue is a design decision. The durability of the Elzetta Alpha comes at a price. There is simply much more metal involved in the light than you would find in other single cell EDC models. This makes for a large, heavy torch that I sometimes find myself wondering if I really want to carry it today. It really doesn't compare with many of the other options out there in terms of ease of carry. I know that Elzetta now stocks a modular clip that will help with carry options, but I think I'd rather find a quality holster and just wear it that way. I've never been much of a clip guy, and their new product looks bulky to me.

Conclusions

I like it. Oh? You could tell? Well, I genuinely think this is one of the most reliable lights available on the market today. Elzetta's products are about the only flashlights I own that I would call truly tactical, especially with the rotary style tailcap. If you want modes, colors, and blinky lights, Elzetta isn't your cup of tea. If you need dead-solid durability and light-every-time reliability, look no further.


Elzetta Alpha

Provided for review by the kind folks at Elzetta.
 

ChrisGarrett

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 2, 2012
Messages
5,725
Location
Miami, Florida
Ezetta is known for being reliable, so no relevation there, but how long have you actually had/used this light, to make the specific claim?

No offense, but you had to send it back for repairs right out of the box.

I have lights that have been in my pocket for 2.5 years and they're still working fine and are pretty reliable in my mind. I've also had one that stopped working on primaries and couldn't be fixed, but I was taken care of. Most of my lights listed below, have been flawless in operation.

Chris
 

kj2

Flashaholic
Joined
May 22, 2010
Messages
8,082
Location
The Netherlands
Thanks for the review. From what I've read they make great products, but indeed, it's quite expensive. If I take the set-up you reviewed, add shipping-cost and customs-fees, the total price is around €180 ($227). That's just nuts! for what you get. Getting it from a Elzetta dealer in Germany isn't a option, since they haven't anything in stock.
 

Tapis

Enlightened
Joined
Nov 21, 2012
Messages
254
Location
Montreal, Canada
Thanks for a review. How does the rotary tailcap actually work? Does it gradually change the luminosity? I checked Elzetta's website and all it says is this: "Rotary Tailcap - Momentary activation is achieved by pressing the pushbutton. Constant On is achieved by rotating the Tailcap fully clockwise." What about if I rotate the tailcap only half way?
 

RI Chevy

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
Messages
3,600
Location
Ocean State
It works like a standard Surefire twisty/rotary type of cap. It does not have a high/low feature. It is either on or off.
 

DAN92

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
510
Location
France
Thank's for the review.

Thanks for the review. From what I've read they make great products, but indeed, it's quite expensive. If I take the set-up you reviewed, add shipping-cost and customs-fees, the total price is around €180 ($227). That's just nuts! for what you get. Getting it from a Elzetta dealer in Germany isn't a option, since they haven't anything in stock.
I get my Elzetta without customs charges.
 

yoyoman

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 15, 2012
Messages
2,345
Location
Switzerland/Scarsdale
I would never ask a vendor to lie on a customs form. If they're willing to lie on a customs form, what else are they lying about. But there are some outstanding vendors who put reasonable values on the customs form. One of these outstanding vendors sells bored Elzetta lights.
 

mega_lumens

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
310
Can Ezetta 2 cell lights support 18650 too? The only reason I'm not interested in this brand is I never hear descriptions of cr123 plus 18650 option. For me any light today has to have dual primary and rechargeable support. And 3 cell + lights must have rechargeable fuel.
 

RI Chevy

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
Messages
3,600
Location
Ocean State
They can, but not in stock form. They must be bored out to accept 18650 cells.

This thread is about the single cell Alpha light.
 

AardvarkSagus

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 14, 2006
Messages
1,473
Location
Lower Left side of the Mitten
Ezetta is known for being reliable, so no relevation there, but how long have you actually had/used this light, to make the specific claim?

No offense, but you had to send it back for repairs right out of the box.

I have lights that have been in my pocket for 2.5 years and they're still working fine and are pretty reliable in my mind. I've also had one that stopped working on primaries and couldn't be fixed, but I was taken care of. Most of my lights listed below, have been flawless in operation.

Chris
Good question. I've been using the Alpha for around a Month now with its associated drops and bangs. Also, the issue I had to send it back for was a minor one strictly regarding the electronics in the tailcap. If I hadn't had a problem with that slight flicker on low only, I'm convinced I could have carried it for years with no additional concerns. Also, switching to the electronics-free rotary tailcap completely alleviated the issue. I thought about going that route, but figured everyone needs to know all the information.

In terms of longevity, my ZFL-M60 has seen regular bedside use and occasional carry since 2009. It's still in pristine functional condition and only a few character marks. I world carry it more often but I usually have a review sample in toting around. I feel confident though talking about its reliability.
 

ven

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 17, 2013
Messages
22,533
Location
Manchester UK
Thanks for the perspective:) i would love to own and elzetta...........love the form factor,presume aimed at a police back up light.

Either way i like a lot,i have searched but can not find if it will accept 16340 cells,does anyone know please?(unless i have missed it)

Regards ven:)
 

scout24

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 23, 2008
Messages
8,869
Location
Penn's Woods
It will function on them (Officially supported or not), be quite a bit brighter, but runtime is comically short... :) Best to stick with primaries for this one, IMHO
 

556hollowtip

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
14
Can Ezetta 2 cell lights support 18650 too? The only reason I'm not interested in this brand is I never hear descriptions of cr123 plus 18650 option. For me any light today has to have dual primary and rechargeable support. And 3 cell + lights must have rechargeable fuel.

I have wanted to buy a Elzetta for a while now, But the price is not very appealing.
Plus, if I remember right, I read on a firearms forum where the rep said using anything other than primaries would void the warranty, and as stated below, you would have to bore out the body. Kind of a deal breaker for me....
 

ForrestChump

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 20, 2014
Messages
3,097
Excellent as always layman, we appreciate your work. :twothumbs

Just wanted to toss this out there, make sure you buy from an authorized dealer or better yet Elzetta website. Pay the extra few bucks its worth it, trust me.
 

Kaban

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 29, 2012
Messages
180
Excellent and honest review.

I don't own this Elzetta but have three other ones and they are awesome lights.
 
Top