Hello, I'm James, and I could use some suggestions.


Aardvark Spleen

Newly Enlightened
Sep 26, 2014
I hate joining a forum and immediately asking for help, but here it goes anyway. I hope I'll be able to give back to the community here at some point, but for now I've got nothing.

I'm a maintenance mechanic at a rail car repair facility. Most of what I'll be using the flashlight for will be closer work, not looking for massive throw. But I do want it to be bright, with different modes.

As far as size goes, the StreamLight Stinger I have is on the small side. I have the older, non LED one. The biggest I'd be willing to go to would be a 2d Maglite, but that'd be a little uncomfortable, so it'd have to be an amazing light for me to be happy. There's guys who I work with who have the Dorcy 41-4299, and it's size is nice. I've been looking at something like the Olight M22, but from review videos it looks like it'd be so short it'd get lost in my coverall pocket. There's a deeper, narrow pocket in our company's coveralls on the leg that I carry my light in.

So here's the questionnaire:

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! :)

__x__Up to $200 - that will be including batteries and charger.

3) Format:

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

4) Size:


5) Emitter/Light source:

__x__I don't know.

6) Manufacturer:

__x__I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
__x__I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).
__X__I am interested in assembling my own components. (for example a “host” or flashlight body from one manufacturer, and a “drop-in” emitter from another source).

Any of the above - Assembling my own sounds very interesting. I did not even know that was an option.

7) What power source do you want to use?

__x__I don't know/I need more information on power sources.

7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option

__x__I don't care

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).

__x__I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens). - I don't need that much, but want it, with the ability to dim.
__x__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.

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

__x__Narrow Flood: I want a sharply defined flood area that will project some distance for tasks like trail walking.
__x__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.

9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)
__x__Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
_____Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
_____5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)
__x__30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)
_____50-150 yards/meters (I live in a very rural area/farm with wide open spaces)
__x__150+ yards (I am searching from a helicopter)

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).

__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__Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival). - Nobody's going to die or anything, but I don't want to have to replace it constantly. My Streamlight has been awesome.

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

__x__Any size switch will do.
__x__I want a tail mounted switch (found on the majority of today’s high end lights).

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

__x__I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
__x__I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")


__x__I don’t care.

15) Water resistance

__x__IPX4 (Splash resistant)

16) Storage conditions

__x__In house (temperature/climate controlled environment) - Shop environment, will be sheltered from rain, but not temperature controlled. Some dust.

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


Well there you have it. Any and all comments/suggestions appreciated. Thank you.



Flashlight Enthusiast
Nov 8, 2008
The preon p2 is a great mechanics light. Fits any pocket, and wont get lost in the deepest ones.

Hamilton Felix

Jan 2, 2010
Marblemount, WA, USA
I am a Hydroelectric Operator. Flashlights are a necessity, whether it's inspecting inside a turbine scrollcase or because the plant is blacked out and you are two floors below ground and tasked with restoring it.

For some time now, I've been carrying a FourSevens Preon 2 (actually gave Preon 2's to two other Operators and my wife). It's very handy. I carry a separate "big" light. That has gone from a SureFire G2X to a Nitecore EA4W to a Thrunite TN12 when the Nitecore malfunctioned. Actually, my Preon2 acted up, too, but my wife lent me hers.

The "big/little" approach works for me. The 2AAA Preon 2 is great for most inspections, but if I'm switching at night and really need to check the blades of a 240,000 volt disconnect way up anove me, it's time for a big light with some throw.

The Nitecore EA4W running on 4AA NiMH Eneloops worked well with its 860 lumen highest setting. But the Thrunite TN12 2014 edition claims 1050 lumens on a fresh 18650 or two CR123 lithiums. I could almost talk myself into the TN12 for everything, due to its"moonlight" setting. But the little Preon 2 is just so handy. It's the same size as the Streamlight Stylus Pro that quit on me, but it's a lot more light. It spends time held in my teeth.

Try the big & little two light approach.


Flashlight Enthusiast
Oct 27, 2009
North Wales UK
I sell lights to the automotive trade for a living as part of my portfolio of consumable products and of course i know this part of the market quite well.Most of the lights we sell are made for us in the Scandinavian part of the world and are sold only via the trade.I suggest you have a look on the many tool vans that visit your place of work which Snap On and Mac Tools i presume will be the most popular and also take a look at the mechanics favourite the Led Lenser range.

I have just loaned my Fenix PD32 to a Land Rover customer who has a larger interest in Led lights with a view for him buying something different.

Bob Damon

Apr 20, 2014
For a small close up light, you csn check Armytek wizard and Zebralight headlamps. These are detachable right-
angle lights that have floody, diffused beams, not a bright hotspot. You can use them like a headlamp, or hold them in hand. They have the same output as the M22. For a larger light, check out Malkoff Devices, they are a small company making well engineered lights designed for professional use. A wildcat or hound dog model might work for you.


Mar 21, 2008
Cincinnati, OH, USA
I like the Streamlight knucklehead flashlight. It has a nice floody beam, magnetic clip, hanging hook, and a swivel head. Can be purchased with a rechargeable battery or just use AA batteries. There is also a spot version if you need more throw. Cost about 80 USD, but watch the stores for sales.

Good luck.

Similar threads