Looking for good general <$50

tmanXX

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Apr 15, 2014
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I am looking for a great, generalized flashlight. One that I can just use around the house if needed, as well as walks around the neighboorhood at night, and then even more functionality if out hiking / camping at night.
Will also be picking a second one up as a gift for my dad.


1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?
__X__This will be mail-order or Online (location doesn't matter).
Doesn't matter to me where it's purchased from.

2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :)
__X__Up to $50'ish and I can spend extra for the batteries if needed.

3) Format:
__X__I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).

4) Size:
__X__SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches) or smaller.

5) Emitter/Light source:
__X__LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)

6) Manufacturer:
__X__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?
__X__I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500, 18650 Li-Ion or RCR123).
From what I've read on the site, it looks like 18650 is the best all around choice for rechargable but would not restrict my choice on which battery. What about a device that uses 2x the batteries?

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 to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens) or brighter :)

__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__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.
Is my best guess of what I want for a general purpose light. Will go far if needed and will also side spill for a semi flood.

9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)
____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__I don't know.

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).
____30-60 minutes (I have plenty of batteries just ready to be changed)
____90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
____3 hours + (I critically need this light to run on max for extended periods in between battery changes/charges).
I am not really sure on what is realistic. Who wouldnt like 3+ hours of use, but if my budget and other needs dictate 60-90min, then so be it.

11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase "you get what you pay for" is very accurate for flashlights.
__X__Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
I am just tired of intermittent, non-working cheap flashlights. I want one that will hold up over time.

12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):
__X__Any size switch will do.

13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.
__X__I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
I guess. Other modes might be nice, but not necessary.

14)Material/Finish/Coating
__X__I don't care.

15) Water resistance
__X__None needed
But would always be a nice thing to have.

16) Storage conditions
__X__In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
Although, I could see the future of going into a glove box a possibility when I get a second light.

17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.
NONE needed, but I suppose a red filter would be nice.

If a single light would not fit well into my "general" category, then I would be happy to consider two lights that will give me the desired functionality, as long as they both can be had for the $50'ish price.

Many thanks in advance! :)
 

m4a1usr

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May 4, 2013
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884
Location
Washington State
From your input I would say a SolarForce L2T or similar light would do what you seek. You can find a SF L2T with 3 mode drop in for right about the $30 mark. For another $20 you can find an adequate 18650 cell w/charger so your $50 mark is not too tough to find. It would have multi modes so on low you could get hours (plural) out of your 18650 and still have plenty of output on high.
 

880arm

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Wildlands of Western Kentucky
SureFire G2X Pro is a nice choice for $49. It doesn't have as much rechargeable support as some others but it can use LFP123 cells and 16650 lithium ion cells.
 

Poppy

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Dec 20, 2012
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Northern New Jersey
TmanXX,
You did a nice job explaining what you are looking for.

Of the SolarForce bodies, I like the L2N ... that really doesn't matter, they are interchangeable.
I'd probably spend a few extra dollars and get an XM-L2 bulb for it.

I'd like to suggest two different lights for you.
The first, a Convoy S2 for your general around the house, power failure, and general camping light. Good for out to oh... 150 feet, maybe 200 feet.
Next for a low cost, not too large, thrower to be a back-up light, and to reach out farther when you need a larger light and want one that will reach out farther.
The Convoy C8

First the S2 *I* would get it in a more neutral tint. It won't be as bright as the cool white tint, but you'll be using this light for more, up-close tasks, and the neutral tint is easier on the eyes.

Convoy S2 Cree XM-L U2-1B 1400ma 2-Group 3/5-Mode EDC LED Flashlight Cool white tint
Convoy S2 Cree XM-L T5-5C 2-Group 3/5-Mode EDC LED Flashlight For a more warm/neutral tint


To switch mode group: switch to low mode and wait for 5 seconds.
As soon as you notice a quick blink, half press the power switch
and mode group is then toggled.

Group 1 (5-Mode): Lo (5%) > Mid (40%) > Hi (100%) > Strobe > SOS;
Group 2 (3-Mode): Lo (5%) > Mid (40%) > Hi (100%)

From a 3400 mAh battery one might expect:

low: 30-35 lumen: 40 hours.
mid: 150-200 lumen: 6 hours.
max: 400-450 lumen: 2.5 hours

OK so I made some notes:
the S2 is 124 mm long, and it takes unprotected and protected batteries, both button top and flat top.

-----------------------------------------------------
The C8 Convoy is a little longer and has a larger head.
I would get it pushed a little harder to get more distance and overall output. I'd get it at 2800ma which will get you a little more than an hour at max, but about 700-800 lumens.
I might get two them, one for me and one for my dad.
One with a smooth reflector with a T6 C3 tint, and one with a U2-1B
 

Bosun52

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Apr 16, 2014
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I paid just $57.49 for my Nitecore MH2C on amazon.... Cannot beat that deal.
 

tmanXX

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Apr 15, 2014
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Thank you VERY much for the recommendations! :grin2: I've been looking over those listed and trying to compare them.

Two lights will probably serve my needs better than the single universal.

Through many forum searches, I also came across a TangsFire C8 and a Fenix E35 Ultimate Edition that might be worth considering as well. I really had no idea on the fan base of LED flashlights. Its amazing and awesome! I can see myself getting hooked and start my own small collection.

I had also come across some that are pure USB rechargeable, such as the Fenix UC40 Ultimate Edition that I think might be perfect as the gift for my Dad. It would be so much easier than him having to charge batteries separate. Even though its pricier than what I want, it appears to be a decent light for what it is. Oh, and that Nitecore that Bosun mentioned is one as well. Sweet!!!
 
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Poppy

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Personally I'd stay away from any XXXFire lights except SureFire. I don't know anything about TangFire, maybe it's good, *I* have not heard of it.

Convoy on the other hand has a good reputation especially for a lower cost light.

There are dozen's of lights that might work for you. One problem is... the more you look, the more undecided you may become.
 

cland72

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Nov 23, 2009
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Check out the FourSevens lineup. They have a few models in the $50 range that run on one or two AA and CR123. Different switching, tailcap types, and outputs.

I'll also second the suggestion of a Surefire G2X Pro.
 

mcnair55

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You are giving the impression to me of wanting something better than a budget light but still want to pay budget prices and pose off to the neighbours big style.

Fenix PD32 or PD35 would suit you i think but take a look at the LD41 as well,that is proving to be very useful due to the shape.
 

voicemaster

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Mar 25, 2014
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I just bought Nitecore MH2C for $57 and I highly recommend it to anyone who just starting in using 18650 battery. This flashlight comes with Nitecore 2300mah 18650 battery and can directly be charged via USB port on the flashlight using USB cable (android USB cable). The neat thing is this flashlight can also be charged using backup battery that you normally use for charging your smartphone or tablet which is pretty damn cool. I got a Zero Lemon 18600mah battery that I carry to charge my phone or tablet in case I can't find a power outlet or I am on the move. So, if you use android smartphone, you don't need separate charger = less spending.
 

Poppy

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You are giving the impression to me of wanting something better than a budget light but still want to pay budget prices .
Come on man, I think you are being a bit unfair. Who doesn't want to get a good deal, or the best bang for the buck? Those xxFire lights can sure look enticing the to uninformed.

The other lights he is looking at are brand name lights and are anywhere in the $35 to $85 range. OTOH, the lights I recommended are in the $15-$22 range.
 

mcnair55

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Come on man, I think you are being a bit unfair. Who doesn't want to get a good deal, or the best bang for the buck? Those xxFire lights can sure look enticing the to uninformed.

The other lights he is looking at are brand name lights and are anywhere in the $35 to $85 range. OTOH, the lights I recommended are in the $15-$22 range.

Mr Poppy,
That is my observation and as it differs from yours we will have to disagree with each other.You know that my stock answer to many similar requests is a visit to a big box store but on this occasion i am trying to think more what would be a good light for his budget.As soon as i see requests for high lumens 300-700 as on the op form i much prefer to steer members away from word endings like extreme and fire come to mind which quite easily could give the op the wow factor and oops as well depending which light hits his doorstep.

In closing my choice of light imo would suit as all three serve me well.

The above is intended only as representative of my opinion not others opinion,
nor is it meant as an entreatment to invite any response by any other
regarding subject matter, content or anything associated by any other.
 

tmanXX

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Apr 15, 2014
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[
You are giving the impression to me of wanting something better than a budget light but still want to pay budget prices and pose off to the neighbours big style.

Wow! Where did that come from? As someone who is new to this scene, I am just looking for a great first light. Still trying to figure out the differences between the LEDs themselves. And who isn't looking for a better than budget light for a budget price? But I sure as hell am not trying to pose to anyone. I have no need to show off…
As Poppy said, the more I look, the more undecided I become. Every time I look at something new, I find a new feature or function that seems really useful. Hell, I didn't know they made USB chargeable lights. Since I mentioned that I was going to purchase a light as a gift, I think the USB option is the smartest way to go for that. For myself, the two lights just might best meet my needs and I appreciate that option.

Thank you!
 

mcnair55

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Oct 27, 2009
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North Wales UK
[

Wow! Where did that come from? As someone who is new to this scene, I am just looking for a great first light. Still trying to figure out the differences between the LEDs themselves. And who isn't looking for a better than budget light for a budget price? But I sure as hell am not trying to pose to anyone. I have no need to show off…
As Poppy said, the more I look, the more undecided I become. Every time I look at something new, I find a new feature or function that seems really useful. Hell, I didn't know they made USB chargeable lights. Since I mentioned that I was going to purchase a light as a gift, I think the USB option is the smartest way to go for that. For myself, the two lights just might best meet my needs and I appreciate that option.

Thank you!

Where did that come from? North Wales born and bred chap.As a UK person our humour is different to folk from the US&A for example.I have been reading these requests for years and i advise with just what my observation is which often differs from others.

Can i advise that in the mobile phone field many repairs are needed with this industry standard usb/micro charging as in breakages.Am i right to think i phone use a different system?

Would like to hear on the long term use of charging via usb
 

ven

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Oct 17, 2013
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Manchester UK
Some lights here,f8 which is cool white/m2 which is warm 4c tint/s8 a neutral white/x2 3c tint so a creamy white(as poppy describes well)


All well made,various modes(like in poppy post on convoys m2 and s8)
All 18650(the f8 of mine will only fit unprotected cell which is no issue)others all fit protected but may vary dependent on retailer.
Those 4 lights together would cost around the $80-$90
They meet pretty much the same build standard as more well know brands.
most expensive there iirc is the convoy m2 4c tint at £16 or about $26,rest cheaper........

Just some good value lights,so getting 2 good lights for $50 is quite easy imho
Check fasttech and banggood
 
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