usa flashlights? would it really cost a lot more to make a flashlight in the usa?

bykfixer

Flashaholic
CPF Supporter
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
15,333
Location
My own little Idaho
I appreciate that Malkoff and Elzetta focus on keeping it all about the first responder while looking out for the enthusiast too. Trouble is when you build bombproof products, repeat customers can become an issue.

It's a problem for Maglite also who, like SureFire was once geared up for huge outputs from their well equipped factories. Streamlight stayed competitive with the off shore companies by doing the old "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" trick and like Pelican started outsourcing in order to keep prices down while modernizing their products quickly.
 

turbodog

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 23, 2003
Messages
5,489
Location
Southern USA
I appreciate that Malkoff and Elzetta focus on keeping it all about the first responder while looking out for the enthusiast too. Trouble is when you build bombproof products, repeat customers can become an issue.

It's a problem for Maglite also who, like SureFire was once geared up for huge outputs from their well equipped factories. Streamlight stayed competitive with the off shore companies by doing the old "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" trick and like Pelican started outsourcing in order to keep prices down while modernizing their products quickly.

pelican still builds in the US

but yeah, maglite's set up as a one trick pony... and those days are winding down
 

defloyd77

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
2,358
Location
Wisconsin
Although Inova no longer makes lights in the USA, their sister/spinoff/splinter company Inforce still makes lights in the States, but they seem to have only 1 handheld flashlight on their site, along with rifle, handgun and helmet lights.
 

beamis

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Messages
171
Location
Southern California
Good points MK
I've often wondered why Maglite has never produced a 1aa minimag style light. Or Solitaire style for that matter.
 

defloyd77

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
2,358
Location
Wisconsin
I think he meant a 1AA Solitaire...
 

Megalamuffin

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
191
Location
Oklahoma
I bought a brand new 86 VW Golf GTi and a guy I worked with gave me poop that I didn't buy an American car, like his brand new Chevy El Camino. I looked at my door jam tag, and saw that my VW was made in the US. Engine, transmission...everything. His El Camino was made in Mexico. I gave him poop for months after that.

They started making el caminos in mexico not long before they discontinued them.

It is sad that there are so few american light options, I would happily pay more just for something that was made in the states. I’m glad that we have a few great US manufacturers but I wish there were more.
 

Lawman VII XIV

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
45

would it really cost a lot more to make a flashlight in the usa?


It certainly would and that's been demonstrated by all the companies outsourcing their products to overseas manufacturing. I've read that Walmart requires many companies selling through Wally to have their products manufactured overseas. This is supposedly so Wally can offer them cheaper that any competition.

Even if we win a Super Ultra Mega Ultimate PowerBall Lottery, what Made in America stuff could buy? It's tough to "buy American" when so little as actually Made in America. It was pointed out earlier that the best you can hope for is Assembled in America. And what makes a product "Made in America" — 100% assembled in American from 100% parts made in America from 100% materials resourced in America? Good luck with that. Even Bezos would grimace at the thought of paying for that level of Made in USA products.

In my view a successful Made in America product will more often than not be niche product of superior value only because it can't be found from an overseas manufacturer or US distributor. And it won't be inexpensive.

This is why good trade agreements are important and hard to forge. All that's way above my pay grade.
 

defloyd77

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
2,358
Location
Wisconsin
I think people fail to distinguish the distinctions and requirements of being labeled made in the USA vs. made in the USA with domestic and global components vs assembled in the USA according to the FTC. Seems to me all 3 of those are self explanatory, but lets break it down.

Made in USA means all or virtually all of the product came straight from the states. Yes, even if an incandescent bulb came from elsewhere, a Maglite is still considered made in the USA;

Made in the USA with domestic and global components means while the item was made here, not all of it's parts came from here. Think if an American knife company made a knife here, but with a Japanese steel, or if a light manufacturer made the body of a light here, but the electronics came from China.

Assembled in the USA means most of the components come elsewhere, but the majority of the product is put together, quality controlled, etc. in the States.
 

xxo

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,500
Maglite is made in the USA enough to be labeled as such federally. Even with virtully everything except for some O rings, the bulbs and possibly the LED made in the US, California is stricter and sued Mag as they did Leatherman. It's ironic that Maglite's factory is in California as are most of their employees.

an interesting read on this:


 
Last edited:

woodsmith

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
24
Location
Midwest
But if a flashlight design is not what one is looking for, regardless of where all the parts are made or where it was assembled, it is going to sit on the shelf (for the most part).

I think there's something to this...I would like to purchase a domestically produced and durable flashlight but as yet I've not found the design for which I'm looking.

Curious, to the original question: are there any US manufacturers (or any other "Western" country for that matter) producing direct analogs to the major Chinese brands? Or vice versa. If there is even one good product match-up, similar in features, build quality, etc., it would be an interesting way to get an idea of how much more it actually does cost to make a flashlight domestically. I don't have experience with enough different models to come up with a relevant comparison. Or there just isn't one.
 

turbodog

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 23, 2003
Messages
5,489
Location
Southern USA

idleprocess

Flashaholic
Joined
Feb 29, 2004
Messages
6,192
Location
dfw.tx.us
WM doesn't care where stuff is made so long as it sells.
Price is king at the likes of Wal-Mart - and its not-so-distant cousin Target. Some of their shoppers might pay a slight premium for prominent Made in the USA durables that they'll use or see ~daily, but probably won't for lower-prominence goods.
 

orbital

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
3,054
Location
WI
+

Profit margin is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, factor on what's on the shelves of big stores.

= stores stock what they want you to buy & you really have nothing to say about it =
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
CPF Supporter
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
15,333
Location
My own little Idaho
Back in around '96 I saw a Maglite 2aa called the minimag for the first time. I forget if it was $9.99 or $19.99. It had an American flag on the package and said "made in America" or something similar. Nearby there were very similar lights for $4.99 that had made in China or something. I chose the Maglite product.

Sometime in 2015 I went to upgrade that light to an LED light and saw LED minimag's for $19.99. And it still had the American flag with made in USA or similar. Frankly I was surprised they too had not gone overseas production.

As a rule I wear mostly American made clothing. It's not that I insist on it. But I do enjoy the fact that in most cases they're more durable. So it's not a thing of where it was made but more of an investment in something that will last longer for just a few more coins.

I'm certainly not a tree hugging environmentalist, but I do believe in protecting the only viable planet for human occupancy in the known universe. And since American manufacturers are largely held to higher standards regarding pollution that is another reason I prefer domestically made, or Canadian when practical.

I avoid some brands for two reasons. First, now that their products are made overseas they still charge like the product is made domestically. And next because the places they are made have lax environmental AND human rights standards.

My first job was in a factory. It sucked!! And that's in America. Factories in some parts of the world are ridiculous so I do not support companies who make their products at places that don't pay or treat the workers well.
 

KITROBASKIN

Flashlight Enthusiast
CPF Supporter
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
Messages
3,736
Location
New Mexico, USA
Americans for the most part, like to pay less. Asia has (in effect) raised the standard of living for the United States of Walmart; bottom line. Most people don't consider all the other ways we are paying for that behavior, well into the future.

Flashlights are a shining example of cutting edge, decent value products crossing the Pacific to our nation and the world.
 

Lawman VII XIV

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
45
WM doesn't care where stuff is made so long as it sells.
Not true. Wally does care because "where stuff is made" affects the price they can sell and sustain a profit. Approximately 70-80% of what Wally sells is made overseas and they want their suppliers to move manufacturing overseas because it will be made cheaper and they can then sell it cheaper, and cheap prices maximizes its sales and eliminates competition, especially smaller local stores. So yeah, Wally does care.

For years Wally has engaged in predatory pricing, allowing it to pressure suppliers to move overseas. They've made a show of bringing back some jobs to the US, but only in areas where they can prevent unionizing. Wally does care were stuff it made.





 

Hemicrusher

Newly Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Apr 4, 2021
Messages
83
They started making el caminos in mexico not long before they discontinued them.

It is sad that there are so few american light options, I would happily pay more just for something that was made in the states. I’m glad that we have a few great US manufacturers but I wish there were more.
I have owned a few Harley Davidsons, mostly older bikes like the 1968 FLH that I had when I bought my first new one, a 94 FXR, Low Rider Custom. I was annoyed as I leaned the electronics, carb, rear shocks and front suspension were Japanese. Also, some of the chrome was foreign sourced. All of those parts had US made equivalents, yet HD choose to source them overseas to increase profitability.
 

turbodog

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 23, 2003
Messages
5,489
Location
Southern USA
.... Wally does care were stuff it made.
...

I mean, all else equal, they (nor anyone else) don't have a fundamental principle to buy from overseas.

If you think that any US business wants to deal with language barriers, time zone barriers, exchange rate issues, having the delay to ship via water/containers, etc when they don't have to, then you are fooling yourself.

Not many people want to work in a factory anymore... especially making cheap consumer items.
 
Top