Im sorry for another one of these threads



Newly Enlightened
Jan 25, 2020
Let me start with an apology. I am sorry for another annoying please recommend threads.

With that out of the way a little about me,

I am a flashlight noob. In all honesty an off the shelf flashlight from the store would probably be fine for me, with that being said, I like flashlights. I dont know all that much about them (something tells me in joining this forum I have swan dived (dove?) into the deep end of the pool with only a rudimentary understanding of swimming. However, I am tired of replacing my flashlights every few months because they stop working or just plain break.

I am a diesel mechanic at a 24/7 shop so I am looking for a flashlight that is durable, chemical/fluid resistant, bright, with a pocket clip. Any flashlight that has a zoom/focus that is pull/push vs rotate will immediately be overlooked as the flashlight lives in my pocket and its annoying as poop to have to adjust it everytime i pull it out of my pocket. Accurate color is important as miscoloring wiring would be bad.

I would also like to continue to use my 18650 batteries so a flashlight with removeable batteries is important so I can switch out batteries as needed and continue working.
I am currently using a Nitecore P12GT Tactical Flashlight. It mostly meets my needs but the durability is just not there.

1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?

____I would like to purchase the light in person from a brick and mortar store. I am located in ______________.
x ____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! :)

____I don't know yet
____Up to $25.
____Up to $50.
__X__Up to $100.
____Up to $200.
____Up to $300.
____Essentially unlimited.

3) Format:

____I am not sure, please help me decide.
x____I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).
____I want a self-contained headlamp.
____I want a headlamp with an external pack/power source.
____I want a mounted light (typically for a bicycle or vehicle)
____I want a lantern/area light.
____I want a portable spotlight (it may have an external power source).
____Other ____________________________________________

4) Size:

____MICRO - Keychain size.
____TINY - Every day carry (2-4 inches).
x____SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).
____MEDIUM - Holster/belt ring carry. (>7 inches)
____LARGE - Big enough to need its own travel case.
____I don’t know/I don't care.

5) Emitter/Light source:

x ____LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)
____Incandescent (known for superior color rendition)
____HID (known for max output, but often at the expense of size)
____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).
____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).

7) What power source do you want to use?

____I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Alkaline batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
____I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Lithium batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D and CR123 sized cells common to most stores (often a cold weather or long storage choice).
____I intend to use Rechargeable cells (NiMH or NiCD) based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
x ____I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).
____I want a light with an integrated rechargeable battery pack.
____I don't know/I need more information on power sources.

7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option
____I want a light that plugs directly into the wall (literally with prongs built into the light)
____I want a light that has a recharging adapter (your typical "wall wart")
____I want a light that snaps into a cradle (usually mounted on a wall)
_x___I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)
____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 to navigate a dark room or read a map (1-10 lumens).
__x__I want an indoor "blackout" light (15-50 lumens)
__x__I want to confidently walk around an unlit/unpaved rural area (60-150 lumens).
x____I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
____I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
____I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).

____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__All Flood: I am doing "arms length" tasks like reading and campsite cooking.
__x__Wide Flood: I want a defined flood area for semi-close tasks like after-dark campsite tasks or working on a car.
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.
____Narrow Throw: I want a beam with a very tight "hot center" and minimal "side-spill". Good for distance viewing, fog, and looking through dense undergrowth.
____Turbohead: I want a far-distance projector with a sharply focused spot of light and minimal or zero side-spill. Good for extreme distance and impressing your friends.

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)
x ____Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
x____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)
____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).

____Up to 30 minutes (I want the brightest [and potentially smallest] light for brief periods)
____30-60 minutes (I have plenty of batteries just ready to be changed)
x ____90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
x ____3 hours + (I critically need this light to run on max for extended periods in between battery changes/charges).

11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.

____Not Important (A “night-stand” light).
____Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood).
x____Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
x____Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival).
____I don’t know.

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

x ____Any size switch will do.
____I need a BIG switch (I'll be using gloves or have very large hands or coordination issues).
____I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
____I want a reverse clicky (For use with multi-mode/level lights).
____I want a momentary switch (Predominantly for use with signaling and short bursts of momentary light only).
____I want a twisty switch (Tighten the head/tailcap to activate, and the light will stay on until the head/tailcap is loosened).
____I want a body mounted switch (near the head, like on a Maglite).
____I want a tail mounted switch (found on the majority of today’s high end lights).
____I want a remote switch (usually found on high-end bicycle headlights)
x ____I don't care.
x ____I don’t know.
____Other, please specify____________________.

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

____A simple on-off with only one output level is fine for me.
x____I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
x ____I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
____I want a programmable light.
____I want a selector ring.
_x___I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")
____I want SOS mode. (blinks in ...---... emergency pattern)
____I want a beacon mode. (Regular flashes at full power to show location.)
x____I don’t care.
____I don’t know.


____Plastic/composite body (this may limit your choices significantly).
x ____Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today’s higher end flashlights).
x____Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
____Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
____I don’t care.
____I don’t know.
____Other, please specify____________.

15) Water resistance
____None needed
____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
x____IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
_x___IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)

16) Storage conditions
_x___In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
____Emergency kit (long standby periods)
____Automobile glove-box (wide temperature swings, long standby periods, critical reliability)
____Other_________________________________________ ____

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

____Red filter (for preserving night vision).
____Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________).
____Dedicated R/G/B secondary LEDs.
____“Hybrid” light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
_x___Pocket/belt clip
____Wrist/Neck Lanyard
__x__Crenulated bezel
____Non-sparking, Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments

TL:DR durable flashlight that uses 18650 batteries, with several brightness settings (some for upclose reading/wiring work, some for distances up to a couple hundred feet) natural/true color, chemical resistant, glass lens as plastic is too easily destroyed. I think thats it.



Newly Enlightened
Nov 26, 2005
Cerritos, California
Check out the Lumintop FW1A or FW3A - satisfies most of your checkmarks above. I have the FW1A and liked it so much I bought another. The FW3A has 3 emitters and will give you a lot of flood lighting versus throw with the FW1A.

Be forewarned - this hobby is addictive and your bank account/wallet will never be the same again. However, you will be much brighter after buying lots of flashlights!



Flashlight Enthusiast
May 28, 2012
Maybe the Zebralight SC64 W or SC64C LE. Small, strong pocket clip, edc, durable, great run times.

CPF \ BLF USER Bobmcbob was putting in NICHIA 4500k HI CRI LEDS in this light for a fairly reasonable price. This particular led is one of the best color rendering LEDs ever. Good luck!

Edit: If you look up SC64 NICHIA in a Google search you will find bobmcbobs sales thread on another forum.
Last edited:


Flashlight Enthusiast
Jan 28, 2007
You can get a used malkoff for about that much. The drop-ins on some models have low high strobe but i have to do some digging for the exact setup.


Newly Enlightened
Jan 25, 2020
I'm judging you harshly for your light based pun. Thanks for the recommendation!
Check out the Lumintop FW1A or FW3A - satisfies most of your checkmarks above. I have the FW1A and liked it so much I bought another. The FW3A has 3 emitters and will give you a lot of flood lighting versus throw with the FW1A.

Be forewarned - this hobby is addictive and your bank account/wallet will never be the same again. However, you will be much brighter after buying lots of flashlights!



Newly Enlightened
Jan 25, 2020
I use a headlamp when I work on my car lights up where I am looking all the time.

Yeah I'm not a headlamp kind of guy. I have tried several, between being uncomfortable and things are only lit up when you're looking at them, it just doesn't work for me


Jun 7, 2017
I'd second the SC64 recommendation; my SC64c is with me just about every day. I like the tint, tiny size, potted electronics, and efficiency. Caution--not every single 18650 will fit in this light (I think some protected are too long). Another way to go would be something like the Convoy S2+, which I believe has a glass lens. There isn't anything that makes it particularly durable, except that it is pretty dead-simple, and cheap enough to buy 2 or 3 of them for the price of one SC64, even with an LED with your chosen tint and CRI. The other way to go would be an HDS rotary with an 18650 tube and clip--will last a lifetime, but at over $400. Will it last 10x as long as a Convoy for 10x the price? Maybe...

I'd caution against the FW3A--tailcap is too finicky for my taste if it is going to get used hard and have a lot of cell changes (unscrewing the tailcap makes for a stupid-long switch re-assembly process on my light). I think that the EDC18 has been reported to have fixed some of the reliability issues, and it is possible to put a glass lens on it: