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Thread: help me pick a light (practice)

  1. #1

    Default help me pick a light (practice)

    Flashlight Recommendation Checklist
    by CPFer ThomasH with edits and additions by EDCF members

    Recommend a Flashlight Checklist: (Don't worry about all the questions, just the ones you feel strongly about!) Please mark "x" inside the [ ] to indicate your choice.

    1) Short Essay Question: What do you intend to use this light for?

    Need to be rugged, small (to me, weight isn't as much of a concern as size), and ridiculously reliable (i don't want to carry any spare parts if i can help it).
    AA or AAA only; because there are more "other" devices (water purifier, battery to USB converter (for my GPS, camera, etc)) that use AA and/or AAA than cr123 (already have a very nice cr123 fenix I edc)

    2) What Region/Country/State will the light be purchased in?
    [X ] I will be mail-ordering or buying online, so this doesn't matter.
    [ ] I am in _______(country) and __________(state/providence).

    3) Price Range: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! broke
    [ ] $1-15
    [ ] $15-30
    [ ] $40-60
    [ ] $80-$120
    [X ] I have no limit! AS LONG AS IT'S RELIABLE

    4) Format:
    PART A
    [X ] I want a flashlight.
    [ ] I want a headlamp. I have a headband that can take a flashlight
    [ ] I want a lantern. any suggestions on attachements/mods that I can carry with me to turn your suggested light into a lantern (that's what i like about my fenix- it has a diffuser)
    [ ] I want a portable spotlight.

    PART B
    [ ] 1-2 inches. (Keychain sized)
    [X] 2-4 inches. (Pocket carry) preferred, but not vital
    [ ] 4-9 inches. (Holster carry)

    PART C
    [ ] I prefer a long narrow light.
    [ ] I prefer a short wide light.
    [ ] Doesn't matter.

    don't know. i guess I want a good "hot spot" but also decent flood. I think I'd rather have somewhat of a hotspot, and less flood than solid flood and no hotspot
    see 8

    PART D
    Lights of a similar size can be very different in weight and may turn the perfect sized light into a paper weight. In general a lights of the same size will stack up like this; plastic and aluminum will be your lighter choices brass, stainless steel, bronze will be heavier. I won't put numbers here because everyone has a different weight sensitivity. For the purposes of EDC specifically I'll limit the choices here to the more easily carried sizes pick 2 sizes to represent a range of weight.
    [ ] Very light, can't tell it's there.
    [ ] Light, no heavier than a few keys or a small car remote.
    [ ] Medium light, about the weight of a AAA MiniMag
    [ ] Medium, slightly heavier than a AA MiniMag
    [ ] Heavy Medium, can of Coke
    [ ] Heavy, PDA or small digital camera

    5) What kind of "bulb".
    [X ] LED - more rugged, unlikely to burn out in your lifetime, less accurate color rendition, in general less output but more efficient (longer runtimes)
    [ ] Incandescent - can be very bright, more accurate color rendition, burn out or can be damaged more easily, shorter runtimes, very noticeable dimming as batteries deplete
    [ ] HID - like new car headlights in color, very, very bright, can be had in lights as small as a Mag 2 D cell but generally larger spotlight sized lights, no dimming turns off when battery depletes
    [ ] Don't care, just want the best fit for my needs.

    Prefer LED for reliability's sake

    6) What batteries do you want to use? Alkaline batteries are easier to find and less expensive but don't pack as much stored energy and are don't work well in cold temperatures. Lithium batteries have long shelf life (10+ years, great for stored emergency lights) and are not as affected by cold but must be kept dry and are more expensive. Rechargeable start expensive, but if used frequently pay off quickly.
    [X ] I want common Alkaline batteries. (AA, AAA, C, D)
    [ ] I want lithium batteries. (coin cells, CR123, AAA, AA...)
    [ ] I want a rechargeable system. (an investment, but best for everyday use)

    7) How much light do you want? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is impossible).
    [ ] I want to read a map, find a light switch/keyhole, or get around the house at w/o disturbing anyone. (5-10 lumens)
    [ ] I want to walk around a generally paved area. (15-20 lumens)
    [X] I want to walk unpaved trails. (40 lumens)
    [XX ] I want to do Caving or Search & Rescue operations. (60+ lumens)
    [X ] I want to light an entire campground or dazzle an intruder. (100+ lumens)

    8) Throw vs Flood: Which do you prefer, lights that flood an area with a wide beam, or lights that "throw" with a tightly focused beam? Place an “X” on the line below. Sometimes a flood is better particularly closer up or indoors. You won't have to "sweep" the light back and forth to see what you need to see. You can also just set it down pointing the general direction rather having to point it right at that which you are working.

    Throw (distance)----------------X------|----------------------Flood/close-up

    9) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims (like some LED lights). but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries. Understand that runtime is a function of brightness and capacity of your batteries. If you want 6 hours you'll either have big batteries or dimmer light, they haven't made a setup yet that lights up like the sun, runs all night, and fits in your watch pocket. wink
    [ ] 20 min. (I want the brightest light for brief periods)
    [ ] 60-240 min. (1-2 hours)
    [X ] 240-360 min. (4-6 hours)
    [ ] 360+ min. (More than 6 hours)

    Carrying spare batteries isn't an issue, and 4 hours of light is enough for me to hike around for a while, set up camp (again, a (diy, or aftermarket) lantern/diffuser tip would be helpful here, but not critical), do some writing, and scare away the boogey-man

    10) Durability: 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, Self-defense, Survival .)

    11) Switch Type:
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] sliding switch (Stays on until slid back.)
    [ ] clickie switch. (Stays on until pressed again.)
    [ ] momentary switch. (Only stays on while held down.)
    [ ] rotating switch

    NOT momentary

    12) Switch Location:
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a push or sliding switch on the body near the head.
    [ ] I want a push switch on the back end of the body.
    [ ] I want a rotating head switch.
    [ ] I want a rotating end-cap switch.
    [ ] I want a remote control.

    13) Operational Modes: Check all that apply.
    [ ] A simple on-off 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 guess a high/temporary mode (for 'extreme' measures), a medium (for hours of hiking without the body being overheated), and low (for survival/battery conservation)
    [ ] I want a strobe mode. (blinks to show location.)
    [ ] I want a tactical strobe. (Flashes rapidly to disorient an opponent.)
    [X] I want S.O.S. flashing Not critical, since I can just activate/deactive the switching mechanism (if it's durable and easy to work), but I would prefer it since I don't know SOS :-X

    14) Is it important whether the body is metal or plastic/composite? In this case "plastic" and it's variants does not mean "cheap" or poorly made. In many applications a plastic bodied light is preferable, hard use and water resistance comes to mind; think caving or lights that get dropped or abused.
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a metal-bodied light.
    [ ] I want a plastic/composite light.

    don't know

    15) Special Needs: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Circle any below or write in your own comment(s).
    [ ] Red (night vision preserving) filter
    [ ] Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________)
    [ X ] Waterproof – how deep: Water resistant after a fall during a stream crossing
    [ ] Non-reflective/dark finish (stealthy/hard to find)
    [ ] Polished silver or brightly colored finish (for easy locating)
    [ ] Corrosion resistant or hard-anodized finish
    [ ] “Hybrid” light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
    [ ] Built-in second (or spare) lamp or filament
    [X] Belt/Jacket clip
    [X] Holster
    [X ] Wrist/Neck Lanyard

    atleast one of the above three, preferably a belt clip or holster, but i'll settle for lanyard

    [ ] Kuboton/self defense features
    [ ] Non-sparking Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments

    I was going to go for a fenix LD10,
    but it's out of stock.
    so while i wait for it to be in stock, I may as well shop around. don't let in/out of stock stop you from suggesting a light- I can wait for something worth waiting for

  2. #2

    Default Re: help me pick a light (practice)

    why did this get moved to an off topic forum?

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Mjolnir's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: help me pick a light (practice)

    I'm not sure why this ended up in this forum...
    You should take a look at the Eagletac P100A2. It has 2 modes, which are approximately medium and high. I'm not sure how long it will last on alkaline AA's, but with 2000 Mah eneloops (Nimh rechargeables), it lasts just over an hour on high, and over 6 hours on "low" (really more of a medium). It has a forward clicky switch, which means you have momentary on (for things like signalling), as well as full on (by pressing the switch down all the way). It changes modes by loosening the bezel. Unfortunately, there is no low mode for conserving battery life. It has pretty high output and good throw for a 2 AA light.
    It is a little over 6 inches though, so it might be a little too long for you. However, it should fit in a reasonably sized pocket.
    It has no SOS, but on the off chance that you need SOS, you can use the switch to signal (SOS in morse code is ...---... by the way, which is pretty easy to remember).
    It is only around 40 dollars, but apparently has very high quality.
    Eagletac T10L, 3D maglite with Malkoff 3-6D XP-G Dropin, Stanley 35 watt HID, Gerber LX 3.0, L-mini II Q3-5C, 2D ROP w/ LiMnNi 26650, Eagletac P100A2, Quark Mini AA XP-G S2

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