Flashlights for around the house/cars for outages. Lithium rechargeable?

ameli0rate

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
53
The recent outage here in Texas made me think that the flashlights I have might not be enough. I have an old 3 or 4 D-cell Maglite with the incandescent bulb. Would that be decent if I picked up an LED 'conversion' bulb for it? I also have some generic rubberized LED flashlights that are decent. One's a 2-3 D cell one, and one is a 2 AA cell one.

I think my main concern is to buy it/them for life. Reliability, should be able to suffer the occasional drop on the garage floor, rocks outside etc. For prolonged outages, a low-mode where I could leave it on for a very long time would be nice. If there's a good and reasonably inexpensive recommendation, I might buy a few more to keep in the car.

Also, are there reputable brands of LITHIUM rechargeable batteries? My flashlights typically sit for a very long time.




1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?

This will be mail-order or Online (location doesn't matter).


2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :)

Up to $100, but there's some stretch if there's a MUCH better light for a little bit more.


3) Format:

I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).

4) Size:

SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches) and/or MEDIUM - Holster/belt ring carry. (>7 inches)
These will mostly sit on a nightstand or on the fireplace mantle for easy access. Also possibly throw one in the glove compartments of the cars (where I now have the freebie Harbor Freight lights).




5) Emitter/Light source:

LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)


6) Manufacturer:

I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.



7) What power source do you want to use?

I need more information on power sources!

My immediate plan was rechargeable lithium AA/D cells for regular flashlights. It makes for standard chargers and easy to replace if they go bad.
If there's a good reason for non-standard sizes (18650 lithiums), I'm all ears.

Since my flashlights can sit for several months without use, lithium SEEMS like a good choice.





7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option

I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge), unless there's a really good light that only comes with a cradle/stand/direct plugin etc.


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 not a happy experience).

I want to confidently walk around an unlit/unpaved rural area (60-150 lumens).
As much as my testosterone likes the idea of "landing UFO" levels of light, I live in a city, so my lights really are 95% used in the house and 5% out around the house/yard to look for the right breaker to flip, etc.



SPECIAL NOTE: Burst/Turbo mode Category - There are several lights that will run at a super bright maximum for a very limited period (usually 5-10 minutes) and then will "step-down" to a lower level for thermal control. Check here if this is acceptable.

I like this idea - or maybe its opposite, of a low-mode where I could leave the light on in the house to illuminate a hallway all night.




9) Flood vs Throw: Flood covers an area, Throw reaches out to a distance.

Wide Flood: I want a defined flood area for semi-close tasks like after-dark campsite tasks or working on a car.
Narrow Flood: I want a sharply defined flood area that will project some distance for tasks like trail walking.
Wide Throw: I want a beam with a noticeable hot-center for distance throw and a significant amount of "side-spill". Good for rough trail hiking, search and rescue, and general distance work.

Either of these would work. My use scenarios at this point are getting around the house at night during an outage, or getting around the backyard. Possibly work on/under a car on the side of the road in rural ... somewhere... during an emergency.


9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)

5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)

10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum continuous output).

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.

Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).

12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):

Any size switch will do, but I tend to prefer the tail-mounted switch.


13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.

A simple on-off with only one output level is fine for me, but 2 light levels seems handy for long runtimes.


14)Material/Finish/Coating


Any of the below three. I don't need a flashlight that can survive a nuclear apocalypse, but if it survives a drop or two in the rocks behind the house, or on the garage floor, that would be a bonus.
If regular aluminum survives that (is that what my Maglite is?) then that's adequate.

- Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today's higher end flashlights).
- Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
- Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).




15) Water resistance

IPX4 (Splash resistant)

16) Storage conditions

PRIMARILY in house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
Possibly automobile glove-box (wide temperature swings, long standby periods, critical reliability)


17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.

I like the idea of a Red filter (for preserving night vision). Certainly not a requirement, but if it's available in a recommendation that fills other criteria, that's a bonus.
 

caelyx

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
120
Have a look at the Streamlight Polytac X or the Surefire G2X. The Polytac can use a rechargeable battery, and both can use 2x CR123A. If you're looking for infrequent, emergency use, the CR123A are great as they hold a charge for years (even if they're not rechargeable).
 

Scotty321

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 13, 2021
Messages
176
IMO...

I recently purchased a bunch of lights to upgrade my flashlight options. Although I really like Li rechargeables for my defensive and daily work lights (as well as just fun lights), I decided to step everything down (lumen and fancy UI wise) for my emergency lights.

First off, I decided I wanted no electronic switch (parasitic drain) and I didn't want to unscrew/screw in the tailcap if I have to run out the door with bags, gather family members, grab the fire extinguisher, etc. I also wanted primary cell capability.

I ended up with a Streamlight Protac HL 4 (mechanical tailswitch, 18650 and CR123 compatible, and a floody spot with good spill). It has 3 different mode settings (I'm using the low, medium, high) with a 40 hour run time at 60 lumens with 4xCR123's (more with 18650's). I'm going to pair that with a Protac 2L-X, which takes 2xCR123's and 1x 18650, and lists it's high at 500 lumens for 3.25 hours with the 18650 (more with higher capacity 18650's) and 40 lumens for 30 hours.

I am also looking at upgrading some of my hardware store AA flashlights to Streamlight's 4AA Propolymer (floody 67 lumen at 155 hours), although I'm keeping my Coast Polysteel 700 with COB with the batteries out, as it was very handy for working on my car at night, although it has an electronic switch... I still keep a Nebo Big Larry clone in my car's glove compartment with some Li primary AA's.

It feels like I'm taking a couple steps back in flashlight tech, but wanted to simplify my emergency setup with certain run times, beam profiles, UI's, battery options, etc. in mind for my current situation. If I lived in a rural setting, my choices would probably change.

I'll add, that a couple decades ago I used a rechargeable Maglite which I grew fond of (owned by the office not me). A flashlight mounted on a charger by the wall is awesome for daily use. However, I don't want to keep a flashlight on a charger for emergency use only, and decided to just use my fancier flashlights for common tasks since I have to charge those batteries every few days for my work responsiblities.
 
Last edited:

ameli0rate

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
53
Thanks for your comments. The standby time of 10 years on the lithium CR123As is great. That means I could likely just replace them every 6-8 years, sort of like the annual swap in the smoke detectors at home.

I didn't think of parasitic drain in electronic switches, so that's something to keep in mind.
 

FlashKat

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Messages
2,364
Location
Anaheim, CA.
I prefer lithium rechargeable, since you can recharge them in your car if you are not around any power source. I got into buying Fenix as they have a good all around perfomance.
 

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