power outage 18650 or 21700 light for a starter

Poppy

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I have a friend/newbie who wants lights for her condo in the event of a power outage. I recommended multiple auto emergency power outage lights, but would let her know what I'll recommend, after I gave it some thought, and spoke to you.

In the past I would recommend some Convoy s2+ lights, a charger, and some 18650 batteries.

Now I wonder would a 21700 recommendation be better?
She'll only get a few lights.
Should she get one with an integrated charger, or buy a separate charger?

I'd appreciate your thoughts, and any recommendations.
I'll see her again on Tuesday. Hopefully with a specific recommendation.
As a side note: she is quite capable.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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A 21700 light will give you longer runtimes, especially if you have 5 amp batteries for them. I personally like the Nitecore MH10 v.2 for emergencies. Has a good spread of brightness settings that cover most needs (1, 50, 300, 1200 lumens) and it tailstands for ceiling bounce lighting. I suggest investing in some spare 5 amp batteries as it comes with a 4 amp one. (the spares can be cheap unprotected flat top cells you can find for $6-8 each for good ones). If you want protected cells, Orbtronic makes good relatively cheap 5 amp ones. Has built in usb-c charging. Costs $65.

Another good thing to have is the Nitecore magnetic lantern kit. It has a 5 amp 21700 battery, a 80 lumen magnetic high c.r.i. lantern, and a battery charger/usb charger. Costs $35. Gives you a light, a cell phone charger, and a spare 21700 battery for another flashlight. It's a good lightweight kit to have in an emergency. Might even want more than one as it's one of the cheapest 21700 lights on the market.

For power outages, what will actually be most useful are large 4 and 8 D lanterns with long runtimes that will light up a room well and headlights. If your friend is on a budget and with the supply chain how it is, you might want to start purchases locally instead of waiting online. Walmart sells a Energizer 18650/ 2 123a headlight for $35. Maybe start there. Then get some good lanterns. I like the Enbrighten 800 lumen 8 D lantern from Costco. The 1000 lumen Duracell ones are okay and cheap. If you can find the 650 lumen Enbrighten version with built in lithium ion battery, usb charge port, and 3 D battery backup, get it. That is the best lantern I have found and it is not that expensive. It was $20 at Costco when they had it. You can find it at Amazon and other places for maybe $40.

Here's the Enbrighten rechargeable lantern on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RYZRZP8/?tag=cpf0b6-20
 

Poppy

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@Hooked on Fenix
Thanks for your thoughts.
Neither she, nor I am a big fan of lanterns. I do agree however, and love the LONG run times of 3D cell lanterns, especially when their output is less than 300 lumens. That Enbrighten, dual power, li-ion/D cell is interesting.

Thanks for mentioning the need for a headlight.

She says that she has a portable generator, so she shouldn't need extremely long run times.

It appears to me that you are leaning towards 'in light' recharging capability. I am leaning in that direction too.

Is there a consensus on which battery format will be more easily obtainable in the future? 18650, or 21700?
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Right now, in the brick and mortar stores (Walmart for example) they have started to go big on 18650 and a usb rechargeable lithium ion battery that is interchangeable with 3 aaa for headlights. Unfortunately, most of the 18650 lights have built in batteries and have lower capacities like 1800 mAh. The 1000 lumen Energizer headlight for $35 is an exception. Take a look at Walmart's offerings. Especially the LitezAll brand. 1000 lumen 18650 light with built in charging for $15. Then you see it's all plastic. (They have better lights there that cost a bit more) The brick and mortar stores have lagged behind by years for what is best though. But if you're looking for something entry level (cheap) the new rechargeable offerings at Walmart look very tempting. I think the future is 21700, but right now, stores are investing in the older technology (18650) because there are plenty of cells to go around and they're cheap. For someone new, it'll come down to how much do they want to spend. For $10-$20 you can get a cheap 18650 light with built in charging, but the battery will be built in too. That becomes a problem in a blackout when time in the dark exceeds runtime of the light and you can't change batteries. I'd be looking for a light that takes an 18650 or 2 123A or the 3aaa with usb rechargeable lithium ion battery (if I were to go with the store's offerings). Get something with a backup option in case the rechargeable isn't enough, or at least be able to replace it with another rechargeable. I like my Nitecore MH10 v2. If I run out of 21700 batteries, I can use 18650s. If I run out of 18650s, I can use 16650s. If I run out of 16650s, I can use 2 123As. And it will run 1500 hours on the lowest setting on a 5 amp battery.
 

Poppy

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I've been to Walmart and bought two of those $10 rechargeable Rayovacs. I gave one to a friend with a Fenix traffic wand diffuser. The concern is that the battery is not removeable, and is probably only 2000 mah.

I'm thinking of recommending:
Dr. Prepare LED Work Light with Magnetic Base, 400-Lumen Rechargeable Flashlight, 4000mah COB Inspection Work Light with Built-in Power Bank,
It has two 2000 mah removeable 18650 batteries.
Here is Lynx_Arc's review of it

And for a head lamp:
Rechargeable Headlamp, Sofirn D25L 1000 Lumen with Dual LED 5000K 90 High CRI, Super Bright USB Headlamp Flashlight

Both units have 'in light' charging, and the batteries can be removed.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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The battery in the Rayovac might actually only be 1800 mAh. That's what everything else in that price range is using. Still, not a bad starter light. Should work okay for frequent short term blackouts, but anything longer than a few hours on high and it's a paperweight. Need to plan for contingencies during emergencies like if the blackout lasts longer than the battery does and you can't charge it (even if you can, you need a light during the time it's charging). The headlights with the usb rechargeable lithium ion cell to replace 3AAA have close to the same capacity as the 18650 in the Rayovac, but if that battery dies you can still use AAAs. The 1000 lumen Energizer 18650 headlight is usb rechargeable (I think charging might be in the battery), but you can still use 2 123As if the battery dies.

The Sofirn headlight looks like a decent reasonably priced light with some good features, especially color temp. of l.e.d.. Personally, I do not use a lithium ion light on my head with cheap unprotected cells. (I'd use the batteries in a handheld light and replace with protected cells from Nitecore, Fenix, Klarus, Surefire, or Orbtronic). If it won't accept protected cells, I'd stay away from it. If the light is that close to my brain, I want assurances that it's not going to blow. That's my personal choice. It's your call on that one. Other than that, I'll say it looks good on paper. One other thing to look for in a product for emergencies is does it have a track record? Look for something that's been around for awhile and has endured and maybe been improved over the years and you'll know it'll last. That will however, cost more as you'll be getting into more quality products, not entry level. A Nitecore HC60 v.2 is going to cost more than a Sofirn, but I bet it will last way longer. People tend to go cheap for emergency preparedness. I think when that last piece of gear is the difference between life or death, it's worth spending a little extra to make sure it doesn't fail you. When you're trying to help others, I can understand trying to get them started with something that isn't total garbage in their budget until they realize they need to invest in something better.
 

Poppy

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Regarding those Rayovacs, I agree a good starter, or better yet a good give-away light. Assuming that you have an always HOT USB port in your car, you can recharge it at any time. During one outage, I offered a flashlight to a friend, and she refused it... she was using her cell phone. At any rate, if I decided to depend upon that Rayovac, I'd have a few of them, and not use them all at once. I'd treat each as a spare relatively low capacity battery.

I also agree... one should have multiple sources of lights. If one goes out you still need light from another source to replace the battery.

Personally, I really dislike 3 AAA lights. Their capacity is only 800-1200 mah.

Regarding replaceable batteries, my wife bought a Rayovac triple LED 2D cell flashlight that had decent run times. I would have balked at the idea, but she bought it without consulting me. We never had a discussion about it but I would have been humbled a bit if we did. On low demand a D cell is equivalent to an 18650.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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I'm not a big fan of 3aaa lights either. But when they start coming out with a carbon copy of a Petzl Core or Nitecore UT27 battery pack in lights by Ozark Trail, Coast, and Bushnell for $25+ it gives entry level users a step up from AAAs to get them used to the benefits of lithium ions with the option to use alkalines if the rechargeable doesn't have enough runtime. Some users don't want a large 18650 or 21700 on their head. Those usb rechargeable battery packs give them lighter options with better capacity than alkalines.

Personally, I got tired of giving alkaline AAAs to family members for lights. Cost too much and sometimes had to replace their lights when the batteries leaked. Not anymore. Adults all have lithium ion flashlights (usb rechargeable 18650- Fenix 2600 mAh cells cost about $12, now $14 ) and headlights (Nitecore NU20). For my niece and nephew, I took 550 lumen Duracell 3aaa headlights from Costco ($5 each) and I shaved out the plastic molding in the case that fit AAAs flat. Then I crammed in a Nitecore UT27 battery pack (cost me $8 each on sale). They now have usb-c rechargeable 550 lumen headlights that cost $13 each. I haven't been asked for AAAs once since they got the headlights.
 
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Poppy

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Yesterday, I gave her one of those $10 Rayovac's, and loaned her a DrPrepare 2 cell cob light/ power-bank to try out. This way if she likes it, she can determine if she needs one or two.

I did visit Walmart and they did have a couple of packages of combinations of lights, but most of the headlights were of the 3 AAA variety. They work, but as discussed, I am not a fan. Some were rechargeable, others were not. Honestly, I didn't spend much time inspecting them.

@Hooked on Fenix , thanks for participating in the discussion.
 

3_gun

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For a non prepper prep I'd stick to lights than will run AA/14500 batteries. Energizer Ultimate batteries have a great shelf life & run times & an AA based light is much more likely to be kept close at hand, ex: purse or key chain. Who says you'll be at home when a blackout starts? Plus many well made lights can be had for the cost or less of Walmart junks 18650 lights. And many AA lights will tail stand, can be clip to a cap, have a magnetic cap or all 3.
 
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