Recommendations for LED flashlight

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Matt Pondel

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Hi, this is my first post on here and I'm looking to buy a new flashlight. I'd be mainly using it in a theater. I do tech for a theater and I would be using it probably a couple times a month, so it wouldn't be heavy use. I had a mini mag light but I didn't really like that you had to screw the top to turn it on, I'd prefer a push button on the back. I'd also like it to be a simply interface, I don't like lights that have 10+settings. I only need two maybe three. I'd also like it to be kind of small, I'd mainly be carrying it in my pocket or maybe a belt holster. I'd like it to be around $50-60 preferably. I've been searching for a while, I've been looking at surefire, nitecore, maglite, fenix and I don't know what to get. If anyone has any suggestions that would be very helpful. Thanks.
 
caddylover

caddylover

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check out eagletac d25a2 and fenix E11. Good lights, small, and powerful.
 
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Yamabushi

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Fenix E11 would be good but since you didn't like turning the head on the Mini Maglite, you might prefer the E12 which has 3 output levels selected with the tail switch.
 
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zeally

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Armytek Partner A2
 
UnderPar

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Would recommend the Nitecore Multitask ( MT ). There are models that run on CR123A primary and AA. With simple UI
 
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sicko

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We could probably better answer your question if we knew more about how you're going to be using the light (light up a room you're working in, just light up a hall as you walk through, light up space under a desk, or light up machinery you're working on, etc), knowing that will help let us know how much light you need. Also what type of batteries do you want, are standard AA like your mini-maglite okay or do you want to switch to something like CR123A's?

My suggestions are based on AA lights with push button operation because it sounds like your mini-maglite was working for you but you'd like something with a push button.

The three that I own that fall into that category are the EagleTac D25A2, Nitecore MT2A, and the TerraLux Lightstar 300.

The TerraLux Lightstar 300 has the easiest interface. Two modes, high and low. No strobe or anything else, it turns on in high and then a quick double click switches it to low. I don't know what emitter it uses, but I like the light beam because it's a broad beam with more fill than my light with an XP-G emitter. I really like this light, it's never given me any problems and it's very simple to use. The only downfalls I see about it are that it's the thickest and heaviest of the 2x AAA push button lights that I have, also the frame/ring around the rear push button goes all the way around. Some people like that the button is protected because it helps prevent anything form accidentally turning it on, but for me I feel it makes it slightly (very slightly) more difficult to operate. This last one isn't really an issue if you're just turning it on and using it, but it becomes a bit annoying if you're constantly turning it on and off as you use it. You don't hear much about TerraLux lights on here, but I've been very happy with mine.


The EagleTac D25A2 is a great light, but it's got like ~7 strobe/beacon/SOS modes that if you're trying to get back around to the steady-on light modes you have to scroll through. However, if you don't mind disabling the memory feature (so that it doesn't always turn on in the last mode you used), then it'll just turn on in low and you'd have to go through the low-med-high sequence twice before you get to the strobe/beacon/sos functions. Disabling the memory feature is very easy, you just turn the light on with the head tightened all the way and then loosen the head a quarter turn and tighten it again three times, then turn off the light; that'll toggle the memory mode option. Also, it also has the full ring around the click button like the TerraLux. Overall it's a great light, and it has an XM-L2 emitter which I really like (for how I use lights I prefer fill over throw).

From what you're asking, of the three lights I have that match your criteria, I think the Nitecore MT2A light would fit the bill best. It has five modes that go High -> Medium -> Low -> SOS -> Strobe and then goes back to high. It has a memory feature (which you can't disable) which will turn it on at the last setting you used the light on, so what I do is I leave mine in Medium and if I need brighter light immediately then I tighten the head to enter Turbo mode (both the Nitecore and EagleTac offer a turbo mode which you access by tightening the head all the way, the other light modes are accessed by slightly loosening the head a quarter of a turn). The push botton on this light has two raised edges on either side of it which allows it to tail stand without pushing on the button, but also makes the button easily accessible to your thumb to turn it on and off; (you can see a clear image of what I'm talking about on the MT2A product page on Nitecore's website). I haven't had mine for very long but I really like this light, and it's a great value. If they made this light with an XM-L2 emitter, I'd probably buy a few of them to have one in each car and a couple around the house. Size wise, it's longer than the EagleTac but thinner than the TerraLux. I think the light can work fine in your pocket, in fact I was one time using the light and put it in the front left pocket of the jeans I was wearing, a little bit later I was leaving the house and got in the car and drove away not realizing I still had it in my pocket. So I think it'll work fine in your pocket.

Anyways, I wanted to give you my opinion on the few lights I have that seem to meet your criteria to hopefully help you with your decision making process. I personally would recommend the Nitecore, and although i don't have it, if you were looking for a 1x AA I'd suggest the MT1A based solely off how much I like the MT2A.

Hope this helps you.
 
mcnair55

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Nip into your local Costco,plenty in there to suit your needs.
 
Poppy

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I do tech for a theater and I would be using it probably a couple times a month, so it wouldn't be heavy use. I had a mini mag light but I didn't really like that you had to screw the top to turn it on, I'd prefer a push button on the back.

We could probably better answer your question if we knew more about how you're going to be using the light (light up a room you're working in, just light up a hall as you walk through, light up space under a desk, or light up machinery you're working on, etc), knowing that will help let us know how much light you need. Also what type of batteries do you want, are standard AA like your mini-maglite okay or do you want to switch to something like CR123A's?

My suggestions are based on AA lights with push button operation because it sounds like your mini-maglite was working for you but you'd like something with a push button.

The three that I own that fall into that category are the EagleTac D25A2, Nitecore MT2A, and the TerraLux Lightstar 300.
<snip>.

mcnair55 is right, as is his standard reply, you can just nip on over to just about any store and find flashlights to buy, and try. However sicko makes a much better point in that if you can give us a clearer picture of how you intend to use your light, we may be able to narrow down recommendations that will make your ultimate buying and using experience much more fulfilling. His recommendations of different 2xAA tail clicky lights might work well for you. OTOH, if you typically wear a baseball cap, you may be better served with a single AA light with a reverse clip so that you can clip it to the brim of your cap, and have both hands free. Maybe a single AAA light wrapped in rubber electrical tape so that you can hold it in your mouth/between your teeth would work for you.

Maybe a headlamp would be best.

Sooo. Matt,
Please tell us, how you have used your mag, how you felt about the brightness, and it's overall usefullness, and how you would like to have your new light be an improvement and we might be able to be specific.
 
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Matt Pondel

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I would mainly be using it to look under a desk or to look around the stage either during a show or for rehearsal. I won't be using it heavily so it doesn't need to be something really expensive. And about brightness, I won't need it to be super bright. I'll probably be using it on low or medium most of the time anyways. I don't really mind the batteries. AA's are very accessible, we have tons in our theater. But I was researching that cr123's last longer an give you a better output but since I'll be useing it on low most of the time AA's would probably be best.
 
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Matt Pondel

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And I would mainly be holding it I'm my mouth or just in my hand because ld be doing something with my hands while lighting I up. So preferable something with a thin diameter. And I was thinking about getting something like the fenix head band that you can attach a handheld flashlight to to use as a head lamp.
 
Poppy

Poppy

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For single cell AA lights the EagleTac D25A clicky is often recommended as well as a number of the Quarks. Unfortunately, I am a bit out of my realm when it comes to recommending AA or AAA lights. The fenix headband is a good idea.

Also there are many who would recommend a Zebralight. With its' head at 90 degrees, you might clip it to your pocket and still use it. They also make headbands.

Lastly, you might consider a AAA light. For me the smaller the better, and I keep one attached to my keychain. It has 3-5 and 60 lumens with a neutral tint that I really like. If you are working in/on a darkened stage you may find that 3 lumens is enough to get your job done, but not so much as to disturb the audience.

I carry the
DQG AAA IV CREE XP-G2 R5 4A NW Stainless Steel EDC Flashlight

In one of my emergency kits, I had a thrunite Ti wrapped with minted waxed dental floss. It gave it that fresh clean taste, and the floss is good for cordage.
 
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Matt Pondel

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So went ahead and ordered the nitecore mt2a and I just received it today. But the memory feature on the user defined mode doesn't work. Help anyone?
 
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Matt Pondel

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Or maybe I've just been mistaken on how it's suppose to work. When it's turned a quarter turn in user defined mode, you half press the button to cycle through the modes. But then when you full click it, isn't it suppose to always be at that setting until you half click it again?
 
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sicko

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Or maybe I've just been mistaken on how it's suppose to work. When it's turned a quarter turn in user defined mode, you half press the button to cycle through the modes. But then when you full click it, isn't it suppose to always be at that setting until you half click it again?


If I had to guess, you're probably clicking the light on too soon after turning it off, so the light thinks you're trying to get to the next setting.

I usually don't select the setting by half clicking, instead I turn it off and do a quick double click to get to the next mode. That way when I find the mode I want, I'm already in there and can just start doing whatever I needed the light for. Then when I turn it off, as long as I wait two seconds, it turns on in the same level I turned it off in. Try doing the full click/double click to select the level you want, then turn off the light for at least two seconds and see if it'll turn on in the level you selected.


For me and how I use my light, I keep it in medium mode. That way if I need less light, it's just a quick double click to the low setting, and if I know i"m going to need more light then I just twist it onto turbo mode before turning on the light.

^^^So I told you that, so I could tell you this. I noticed mine was having trouble getting into Turbo mode when I first got it. Sometimes it'd work fine, sometimes it's just flutter the light a little bit, sometimes it'd just do nothing when I twisted the head. Turbo mode works by having the top edge of the battery tube make contact with the gold ring inside the head of the light. Unscrew the head of the light and look in it so you see where it says SYSMAX. You'll see where the batter makes contact with the head (the gold colored circle in the center), the reverse polarity protection (the two gold colored bars at angles), and you'll see a gold colored ring that goes around all of it. When you fully tighten the head, the very top edge of the battery tube makes contact with that gold colored ring, and that's what tells the light to go into Turbo mode.

Like I said, I was having trouble getting Turbo mode to work, but I noticed that there was more grease on the thread of the battery tube then on my other lights. So I figured that some grease might be covering the top edge of the light, preventing it from making good contact with the gold ring around the inside of the head. So I just took my finger and wiped down the very top edge of the battery tube above the threads, to clean off the part that would make contact with the gold ring inside the head. Sure enough, that fixed my issue and turbo mode worked fine after that.

I just wanted to tell you that last part in case you have the same issue with yours.

Overall, I'm very happy with my Nitecore MT2A and think it's a great "bang for your buck" when compared to some of my other lights that cost almost twice as much. I feel the quality has been excellent, the machining is great, and in fact it has some of the smoothest threads of any of my lights. I hope everything works out with your Nitecore so that you can hopefully enjoy your light as much as I enjoy mine.
 
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sicko

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One thing I forgot to mention. Technically the light doesn't know the difference between a half click or a full click. All the head realizes is that it's getting power. Hence if you do a full click too soon after selecting the level you want by half clicks, the light will go to the next level. Because the head didn't know the first few were half clicks and the last one was a full click. It just saw Power, No-Power, Power, No-Power, Power, and not enough time between them for it to go to the last mode in memory when turning on, so it goes to the next user defined setting thinking you're still trying to select a power level.

Hopefully that makes sense.
 
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