The Fenix-Store        
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

  1. #1
    Flashaholic Subterrestrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    The Mountains (they were calling....)
    Posts
    187

    Lightbulb Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    Hey guys. Some of you have been asking about about the new Fenix CL30R lantern and how it compares to the CL25R, so I thought I'd conduct a review, side-by-side comparison and field test for both.



    Fenix CL25R Rechargeable Lantern

    TURBO: 350 lumens, run time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
    HIGH
    : 200 lumens, run time: 5 hours
    MEDIUM: 50 lumens, run time: 23 hours, 45 minutes
    RED: 1.5 lumens, run time: 44 hours
    MOONLIGHT: 0.8 lumens, run time: 600 hours
    Impact resistance: 1m
    Water/Weather Resistance: IPX6
    Light: CREE LED (I don't have specifics)
    Power
    : 1*18650 or 2*CR123A
    Dimensions: 3.9" x 2"
    Weight: 4.5oz w/o batteries

    Notes: comes with Fenix ARB-L2-2300mAh flat-top cell, micro-USB cable and spare o-ring. Posted run times are apparently observed using the included 2300mAh cell. Using a higher capacity cell will yield higher run times and a pair of CR123A cells should yield lower run times. Your mileage may vary.




    Fenix CL30R Camping Lantern
    TURBO: 650 lumens, run time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
    HIGH
    : 350 lumens, run time: 9 hours
    MEDIUM: 100 lumens, run time: 38 hours
    LOW: 50 lumens, run time: 70 hours
    ECO: 10 lumens, run time: 300 hours
    Impact resistance: 1m
    Water/Weather Resistance: IPX7
    Light: ??? (appears to be the same or similar to CL25R)
    Power
    : 3*18650 (button-top only)
    Dimensions: 5.4" x 3.7"
    Weight: 14.5oz w/o batteries

    Notes: comes with a trio of Fenix ARB-L18-2600mAh button-top cells, micro-USB cable and spare o-ring. Posted run times are apparently observed using the included 2600mAh cells. Fenix purports run times with 3500mAh cells to be 6h, 12h, 51h, 93h and 400h, turbo through eco. Again, your mileage may vary.




    Both lanterns come with Fenix branded protected Li-ion cells. The CL25R comes with a flat-top cell and the CL30R comes with button-top cells (more on that in a moment). Like most people, I feel that Fenix should not have included their own cells and sold these at a lower price-point or at least thrown us a bone and included their higher capacity 3400mAh cells, but I believe they are trying to market these as a turn-key solution for non-flashoholics. Both lanterns feature on-board USB charging and since they include the cells and a cable, you don't really need anything else. I recall seeing an ad for the CL25R in the Outside Summer 2016 Buyer's Guide and there was no mention at all of 18650 batteries, perhaps so as to not scare off buyers by mentioning "uncommon/unfamilar" battery types? Could be worse, at least they're not using proprietary cells like the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini.




    None the less, they are good batteries. They arrived at a safe storage voltage and just needed topping off.




    The CL25R's positive terminal has a spring. Both flat-tops and button-tops work just fine. I haven't tried it with CR123As, but I can't imagine any conceivable issues.




    The CL30R's positive terminals are slightly recessed and obviously designed for use with button-tops. Fenix states that charge/discharge functions will only work with button-tops. I tried inserting a protected flat-top cell and couldn't power the lantern on at all. Fenix states that you can use CR123As, but they don't recommend it (probably because of the discharge feature). Again, I have not tested it with these cells. Looks like button-top protected cells are your only realistic option. The upside is that since they're in parallel you can run it off of 1 or 2 cells if you need to, so you can scavenge a battery or two from it in the field for other things if need be.




    Both lantern's can be charged via USB, but only the CL30R can charge other devices. The CL30R has it's USB charge and discharge ports on the lower rear. The CL25R has it's USB charge port on the top. Both lanterns have silicon plugs to protect the ports. Note how much thicker the plug is on the CL30R, which I think explains the slightly higher liquid infiltration rating.




    Both lanterns have a tripod socket on the bottom so you can set it up "street lamp-style" on a standard tripod in camp or raise it up off of your picnic table on a Gorillapod-style tripod. The CL25R also has a magnetic base, the CL30R does not.


    How are they similar?

    -Both produce an ample amount of beautiful, neutral white light. When playing around with these indoors, I was surprised at how well they lit up various rooms, even in the lower modes. Color and depth were comparable to my household lighting. Very pleasing light to work in and I'm sure they will not only come in handy camping, but at home during a power failure as well. I didn't get the "creepy" feeling I sometimes feel when I'm playing around with cooler white lights indoors and no other lighting. Plenty of light on the higher modes and not hard on the eyes, unless you look directly at them.

    -The light distribution from both lanterns is excellent. Unlike most lanterns in the "traditional" design in which most of the light is projected outward, these Fenix lanterns also project a lot of light both up and down with barely perceptible dead spots directly above and below. I tried hanging them from the ceiling indoors and you get a lot of light down towards the floor, as well as tons of ceiling bounce which should make them handy in an emergency. For camping, you probably couldn't go wrong almost anywhere you place them; on the table, hanging from a tree or inside your shade structure, etc. In the case of the CL25R, you can even affix it to a metal object, such as a bear box.

    -Both run on 18650 protected cells, which we all have at least a few of right? Both can be charged via USB from your vehicle, a power pack, your laptop (if it's an emergency), etc.

    -Both have a socket for a standard tripod, adding to your placement options. Both have a folding wire bail for hanging as well.

    -Both are compact in size and comparitively light for their output.

    -Both feature a "cold-resistant" battery compartment. Not sure how this works, but I suppose it has to do with the batteries being in the center of the lanterns, near or surrounded by the emitters and the heavy metal caps for the battery compartments? I will say that the threads were a bit dry and could have stood a touch of grease from the factory.

    -Both have a battery status indicator and low voltage warning.

    -Both have a versatile and intuitive UI. Hold the power button for 0.8 seconds to turn on or off. Tap the power button to cycle through modes from lowest to highest. Flashing modes are accesed in a similar fashion:

    CL25R: While on, double tap the power button to access the red mode. Single tap to toggle between steady and flashing. Double tap to switch back to white mode.

    CL30R: While on, double tap the power button to access the flash mode. Single tap to return to steady mode.

    How do they differ?

    -While in turbo, the CL25R will ramp down to high after 10 minutes. The CL30R does not have a timed operating limit on turbo, which I feel is a terrible design flaw. I was curious about this and asked our forum mate Anders in the CL30R discussion thread, who very kindly conducted a test of this with the following results:

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders View Post
    I did some tests.
    The light was set on Turbo Mode.
    Surrounding temperature was 26 degree Celsius.
    Measured with Ir on top of the Lantern.
    43°C after half an hour.
    51°C after one hour.
    55°C after one and a half hour and the same after two hours.
    I then quit the test because I didn’t want to stress the cells to much.
    The temperature on the cells was 57°C and the volts was 3.63. Before I started I charged the Lantern with a cord directly from a charger to see how much they was charged to and they stopped at 4.165 V.

    Edit: 3944 mAh charged to full, this time 4.167 V in the lantern.
    It took 4,07h and it started at 1.14 A

    So you have to charge it twice as long time in this test.
    FYI, 57 celsius = 134.6 fahrenheit! On high, 350 lumens should be more than enough in many situations, but I don't like that you can just run it on turbo for that long without much in the way of heat protection. Probably wouldn't be nearly as much of an issue if the cells were in series, but it's just too much of a load on the individual cells in parallel. Seems like Fenix should have focused more on either high output or high runtime, instead of trying to capture the best of both worlds.

    -CL25R can be run realistically on flat-top or button-top 18650 cells or CR123A cells. It's not well publicized, but you can technically run it on 16340 cells and even LiFePo4 cells as well. Fenix does discourage this, because if you try to charge them in the lantern there will be problems. At any rate, you have a lot of power options this lanterns, where as the CL30R can only be run on button-top 18650 cells.

    -CL30R can be run up to medium mode while charging, CL25R cannot.

    -Mode spacing is good for both, but CL30R lacks both the moonlight and red modes of the CL25R. 10 lumens is fine by me, but might be too much as a tent light for some.

    Now let's look at some beam shots:


    CL25R moonlight



    CL25R medium



    CL25R high



    CL25R turbo



    CL25R red


    CL25R magnetic base in action. Note the detail observed on the ground. I love this NW light!



    CL30R eco



    CL30R low



    CL30R medium



    CL30R high



    CL30R turbo; note that the railing above the retaining wall on the upper left is illuminated. This lantern is bright!



    Daytime shot for general reference.


    Conclusion: Despite some flaws, I really like both of these lanterns. Either may be a bit too pricey for some, but I stand by the adage that you get what you pay for. If you're the type to do your own mods, you can probably do the same or better for less with a cheaper lantern. However, for turn key solutions and fans of Fenix these lanterns are where it's at. So which one is best for you?

    CL25R: If you prize light weight, portability, power and "duel-fuel" options then this is your lantern. It should make a great backpacking lantern for all but the most fussy ULer.

    CL30R: If monstrous run times, a charging station, an excuse to have extra batteries on hand "just in case" and the occasional period of high intensity output is your thing, then this is your lantern. It definitely a car camping lantern and quite adequate I feel. The question has been asked before that wouldn't be more practical to just have two CL25Rs on hand? It depends on your needs. Two CL25Rs cost more than a single CL30R and you will have less run time, plus you may find the 650 lumen mode to be handy. Just don't run it on this mode for too long!


    As always, I paid for these lanterns with my own "walkin' 'round town money". I was neither given these lanterns for the purpose of nor asked to do this review. I do these reviews out of personal interest as part of my hobby. I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed preparing for and writing it. Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    US of A
    Posts
    1,655

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterrestrial View Post
    -Both feature a "cold-resistant" battery compartment. Not sure how this works, but I suppose it has to do with the batteries being in the center of the lanterns, near or surrounded by the emitters and the heavy metal caps for the battery compartments? I will say that the threads were a bit dry and could have stood a touch of grease from the factory.
    I don't have a CL30R, but I do have a CL25R. It seems like they've put the battery in the middle of the heatsink that the LEDs are using. That seems like a good idea when it's cold, but I'm not so sure about when it's hot. I suppose it's possible that's not really what's going on, since I haven't take the lantern apart to confirm, but otherwise I don't see why the central battery holder is metal.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic Subterrestrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    The Mountains (they were calling....)
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    I don't have a CL30R, but I do have a CL25R. It seems like they've put the battery in the middle of the heatsink that the LEDs are using. That seems like a good idea when it's cold, but I'm not so sure about when it's hot. I suppose it's possible that's not really what's going on, since I haven't take the lantern apart to confirm, but otherwise I don't see why the central battery holder is metal.
    I wonder if they made them metal for thermal conductivity? Also, in the case of the CL25R it doubles as the magnetic base since unlike the CL20 (also magnetic) there isn't a lot of space on the base to place it.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    US of A
    Posts
    1,655

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    Did you do any runtime test? I was a little surprised to find the voltage of the 18650 that comes with the CL25R was at 2.52V after a runtime test. The lantern was still on and flashing the red low battery indicator when I turned it off, so I'm not sure how much lower it might have discharged the cell before totally turning it off.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic Subterrestrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    The Mountains (they were calling....)
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    I did not conduct a run time test. 2.52v is a little on the low side. It does have built-in over-discharge protection so if it was flashing red it was probably about to shut off anyway.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterrestrial View Post
    I did not conduct a run time test. 2.52v is a little on the low side. It does have built-in over-discharge protection so if it was flashing red it was probably about to shut off anyway.
    What runtime did you get from the 30? Im getting 1/5th what they claim. Maybe 13hrs on 100 lumen setting and fenix claims 51hrs. I have upgraded batteries too.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    What were your runtimes on the 30?

  8. #8
    A&Q Moderator
    Woods Walker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    New England woods.
    Posts
    5,422

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    Thanks for taking the time to do this. Yes the Goal Zero Light house was dead to me cuz of that ridicules proprietary battery. No point other than to drum up future sales for items which will most likely discontinued before the battery is shot leaving the buyer with useless gear. I think they use the battery for something else as well which I won't buy either. Glad Fenix and Nitecore didn't try that with their lanterns.
    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic Subterrestrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    The Mountains (they were calling....)
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaysrebellion View Post
    What runtime did you get from the 30? Im getting 1/5th what they claim. Maybe 13hrs on 100 lumen setting and fenix claims 51hrs. I have upgraded batteries too.
    You might get more traction on this issue if you bring it up in the Fenix forum?


    Quote Originally Posted by Woods Walker View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to do this. Yes the Goal Zero Light house was dead to me cuz of that ridicules proprietary battery. No point other than to drum up future sales for items which will most likely discontinued before the battery is shot leaving the buyer with useless gear. I think they use the battery for something else as well which I won't buy either. Glad Fenix and Nitecore didn't try that with their lanterns.
    No prob! Funny thing is GZ actually discontinued the battery before the lantern! Looks like they may be closing out the lantern now as well. We theorized in another thread that you could probably use any "proprietary" 18650 cell with both poles on one end (Olight makes a few of them).

  10. #10
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    322

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    Thanks for the review! Now the CL25R is on my shortlist. This just might replace my Energizer Fusion 2-in-1 as my travel lantern/night light.
    Though I really wish it had a low mode that's in the maybe 3-10 lumen range.

    You mentioned that the CL25R is warmer than cool white. Would you consider it neutral? I'm weaning off cool white for my lanterns.
    Last edited by BloodLust; 03-07-2017 at 10:55 PM.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic Subterrestrial's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    The Mountains (they were calling....)
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    No problem man. Definitely neutral. I'd honestly put it at 4000-4500k by my estimation. It's on the warmer side of neutral.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    wow i always thought 18650s had way more runtime then ds
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterrestrial View Post
    Now let's look at some beam shots:


    CL25R moonlight



    CL25R medium



    CL25R high



    CL25R turbo



    CL25R red
    I was looking at the light, from low to medium, from medium to high, brighter and brighter, from high and then turbocharge advancing to turbo, getting stronger and stronger, and then next level up... low batt(red light). Oh well.

    Pun intended.
    Last edited by LED_Power_Forums; 03-17-2017 at 09:04 AM.

  14. #14

    Question Re: Fenix CL25R & CL30R comparison review

    thanks for the review. I am trying to decide on a new car camping lantern. Any ideas if this will be updated soon?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •