Mar 13, 20186016 views

[Ongoing] Flashlight Discussion

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On Massdrop, whether you’re a beginner just starting out or a seasoned expert, you should always be able to find answers to your questions within the community.
FLASHLIGHTS The light on your phone isn’t always going to do the trick, so you need something that you can count on. Flashlights are an EDC essential, and they get smaller and more powerful every day. They can range in size, brightness, and how they’re powered, and that’s just the beginning.
ASK QUESTIONS • What’s the best flashlight for emergencies? • What kind of flashlight should I take when I go camping? • Which flashlight gets you the best bang for your buck?
Find your answers by asking the community. There are members here who are experts in pretty much every area you can imagine, and they can help you go from beginner to pro.
Ask your question/s by posting in the discussion below.
GIVE ANSWERS Many of you in the community have valuable information to share. We encourage you to help those who have questions or open the topic up for debate.

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Trilobites, RenNorris, and 11 others
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What are the chances of getting a group buy on the copper Prometheus Delta flashlight? Or maybe all of the Deltas and you pick your material/finish( for a price)? All of the Deltas are currently out of stock.
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DOBTruckers
Jason does copper all the time for his flashlights and pens and quick release thingies and the copper version of the Delta is on his website - it's just that all of the Deltas are sold out.
DOBTruckers
I'm all set - picked up a copper Delta on the secondary market on CPF,
I got recently Rofis R3 and Thrunite TH30. LOVE both
There are big throwers out there but I use a Jaxman M2 (2xAA), Klarus P20 (2xAAA), and a few different 1xAAA lights including the excellent Massdrop Brass. I use Eneloops (leak-proof, rechargeable NiMH) but being able to use common alkalines is nice. Quality, tint, and CRI are all much more important to me than raw lumens.
I carry a Olight S1R II in my bag at all times.
I use a flashlight for work. I have been using a tactical led with rechargeable lithium batteries. The batteries stop recharging within 1 to 2 years as do the Chargers. Whyvarenthe chargers such garbage. Would love to find a powerful light with a charging system that doesnt suck
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Marty...sorry Drop ate my first reply! Contact me at 'southcovekayak@sbcglobal.net' and put something like flashlights in your subject heading. I have plenty of lights, and there are huge numbers of good to great lights for every purpose out there...flood, spot, thrower... same w decent quality batteries and chargers...you get what you pay for! Contact me if you have interest, I can share some experiences and advice...I do not sell anything by the way...
southcove
Cool..thanks
I'm not much of a weaver, so, from where do you folks get paracord/leather lanyards? I'm interested in beads, copper, brass, and turquoise.
I think in almost all situations, a good headlamp is probably more versatile and useful.
I have been using the Nitecore TINI due to its small form factor, and the 380 lumens it pumps out! It does get very hot on turbo mode, but the second setting works just fine and you can hold it quite a while before it needs to be recharged.
I forget which model, but I use a Nitecore. It is rechargeable through usb, and has a pocket clip large enough to put on my shoulder lapel at work for hands free use (like writing notes or tickets to people 👮🏻‍♂️😬)
I'm in IT, and I used the MD/Lumintop copper AAA light as part of my EDC. I keep in the "pocket watch" pocket of my blue jeans. I use it pretty much constantly. Makes it much easier to see cables under desks, and it's small enough that if I hold it in my mouth it's not painful.
Olight IS3 in my pocket and a venerable SureFire 6P with after market stainless bezel and 1000 lumen led lamp in what ever EDC bag I happen to be carrying Love the olight for quick work during the day when I need a little more light, but love the 6P when I need something with a little more oomph.
I'm hoping massdrop will sell also the aa version of titanium flashlight. defintely buy that... but only if it support the14500 battery. and of course not that rubber button version... and i'm sold 100%
i bought the massdrop titanium version of aaa flashlight and it's one of the best money can buy!
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not bad but i still prefer the blue titanium
mdiu
Why do you say that? How many flashlights have you owned? What is your most frequent use of them?
stop bringing in products without adequate evaluation and testing. i have purchased three lights from massdrop and all three failed within a week. imolent, lumintop and a third brand i can't remember. if you can't maintain quality then stick to reputable brands.
I would like a dual 18650-powered 0.75-1" diameter; 4-5" long all-brass flashlight with a recessed tailcap (flat, still able to stand on its end), strong pocket clip, multiple modes (with memory), knurling all around, and a recessed bezel - preferably with light standouts ('glass breaker' crown)
Kilsimiv
Do you want 2 18650s or 2 LED emitters?
Tango48
I can see how that may be confusing - I would prefer a single emitter, dual stacked 18650s in the tube.
What I want: Either a AA or AAA flashlight with a recessed tail cap switch that doesn't turn on in my pocket. I've purchased several that end up activating in my pocket and draining the battery.
I would also welcome a small keychain-style light that doesn't crap out if you look at it wrong (NiteCore, I'm looking at you here -- I bought 6 of those little buggers and they all failed within a couple months).
There are different reasons to use flashlights, so which is the best value will depend in part on how you use them.
My best advice to someone who wants to start carrying a flashlight as part of an EDC is to determine how you will use the flashlight (what tasks and situations) and what you like/dislike (some sporting goods stores let you try different flashlights). Once you know what *you* want and need, look for the most durable flashlights that check those boxes. Choose a good quality flashlight, but one that you can afford to lose. Buy a flashlight based on your lighting needs, which vary depending on your job, living situation, hobbies, etc.
In the glove box of my vehicle are a couple of chemical glow sticks. No flashlights. Temperature changes cause condensation that corrodes batteries. Glow sticks can be hooked under the hood or tossed on the ground or taped/tied down as 'disabled vehicle' markers, and used in rain or snow, without worrying that they might get damaged.
For 'EDC', I like the Massdrop brass cree AAA battery (with USB rechargeable battery). It's bright, and with the addition of a jump ring and small s-clip, attaches to a lanyard or bag handle (or just about anything else). It is durable and bright with good water resistance, can stand on it's tailcap on a flat surface, and lasts a long time on one battery charge. It is too bright to give to a child in a power outage (if you value your retinas), it costs more than I am willing to spend for "emergency" flashlights, and the beam isn't designed for task lighting. Despite those points, it's the best daily use and abuse flashlight I've owned.
The Nextorch UL360 has a diffused light, built-in adjustable angle magnetic stand, elastic wrist lanyard/hanging band, and good water resistance. It is small, lightweight, pretty durable, and runs well on the USB rechargeable AA battery I put in it. It lets me draw and write in places with poor lighting. It's a fantastic task light or tent light, but not so good for night walks or finding the contact lens that you dropped on the floor.
When power lines were down for a week, the dynamo light that seemed like a great idea was impractical. We used solar and battery powered lights, and only went through 3 batteries in a week. I wish I hadn't bought the dynamo light. We used d.light S3 solar desk lights that we liked so much we still use them, even when we have power. They cost about $15 each. They're lightweight and not too bulky, so they're good task lights. Not as compact as the Nextorch UL360, but still great for camping or travel or home.
Anything that sits around, unused, with batteries in it will eventually corrode and become unusable. Don't store batteries in a flashlight. If it will not be used regularly, put it in a zip baggie with a couple sets of batteries. You can buy reliable flashlights for $5 or less that are ideal for tossing in an emergency kit. Save your money for the one(s) you will use all the time. The flashlight in your emergency kit is a back up for your EDC flashlight. It needs to function, but doesn't have to be fabulous. Make sure you test emergency kit contents routinely. Put fresh batteries in the baggies, and use the batteries that have been in your emergency kits. If your batteries are dead when you need them, the flashlight is useless.
IMO, flashlights that take common battery sizes are the best choice. If your USB flashlight doesn't have a full charge when the power goes out, you will need a power brick to charge it. If your flashlight takes an unusual size of battery, stores may only carry a couple at any given time. They may become more expensive or stores may stop carrying them because they don't sell enough to make it profitable. You might have to order them online and wait. If your flashlight takes AA or AAA batteries, you can keep a few on hand, you can use (USB) rechargeable batteries, buy alkalines at most gas stations, 'borrow' them from most people's junk drawer, or take them from your tv remote. It is unlikely that they'll stop producing them any time soon. Sure, if there's ever a shortage, you'll have to compete for them, but in the meantime, you'll have options.
Beware of marketing buzzwords. If you are worried about protecting yourself, you'll get more benefit from a $100 self-defense class than a $100 tactical flashlight.
Nice looking gear is great, but can make you a target for theft, or make you less willing to use the flashlight in a situation where it might get damaged. A flashlight that you don't have because someone took it (or won't use for fear of damage or loss) is useless, no matter how cool it is. If you want a pretty flashlight, get one, but don't EDC something that you're unwilling to use or can't afford to replace.
Big fan of the Fenix E12 for edc use. Water/bomb proof, SMALL. Common battery. Best beam ever. 3 stage Backed up by Fenix Fully regulated Just perfect. (about 25 bucks) Fenix E01 for my backup
2 is 1...1 is none =P US Marine MOS 0317 logic
Semper Fi Gunny
*I have other bigger lights for special use and in my bug out bags Just got a Fenix CL30R (LOVE it)
I keep an E12 in my EDC bat-belt =P ,even have room for 4 spare batts (Costco AA) http://ibandsling.com/
On the stock questions:
Best flashlight for emergencies? One with lithium batteries. The batteries longer in storage and they keep most of their brightness until near their end. Alternatively, and for home use, a rechargeable that can be kept plugged in. I dumped all my AA and AAA flashlights LONG ago. Too many times reaching for one only to find it dead. My EDC is an Olight M20SX. Forget super high lumens. Most of the time I use my primary flashlight on low. On low, with the diffuser on, and pointed straight up at the ceiling, you can easily illuminate the (entire) average room with a soft light. Whatever you get for emergency use, make sure it’s tough and sealed from water & moisture.
What kind of flashlight to take camping? Depends on priorities, I suppose, but most people want to keep weight to a minimum (unless base camp or car camping). My preference would be a good quality polymer lithium flashlight or a headlamp. As a practical matter, a headlamp (I like Black Diamond) is easier to use in most camping circumstances. Again, forget super high lumens. You want a range that lets you select the dimmest usable level that preserves your night vision.
Best bang for the buck? A seriously loaded question! Having purchased too many inexpensive flashlights only to have them fail, I suggest buying the best you can afford, especially if you’re going with an LED/lithium light with features and brightness ranges. It buys you a better LED, housing and lens, quality reflector, decent switch, good electronics, and good sealing. It’s cheaper to get bang for the buck in a conventional (alkaline/incandescent) flashlight, but at the expense of having to keep an eye on batteries all the time and perhaps keeping an extra bulb on hand (handier if the flashlight stores one). For some that’s a worthwhile trade-off as you can buy very well-made AA lights for very little, for example.
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AAA and more so AA are in every store ,country wide Also easy and cheap to stock up on, COSTCO/BJ 40-48 for 10 bucks ish 7/11 where you get gas, ALL over Go to ant store and try not to see AA batteries =P
I agree that AA/AAA batteries have more passive drain than lithium.
Flashlight batteries get swapped out once a year in our house, even the lithium, so we've not had the issue of batteries being dead when we need them. I don't like to leave things to chance if I can avoid it.
For all 3 questions, it's going to be headlamp, headlamp, and headlamp. Especially something that's rechargeable w/ Micro USB, USB-C or uses rechargeable batteries like an 18650, AA, or AAA.
Headlamps are useful because you can do work with both hands while illuminating your work area. They're useful for navigation because your light is moving along with where you're looking. And due to the saturated market, you're going to find great ones for under $50 everywhere. Because of the construction and the parts, they're generally going to be lightweight and will hardly ever break the bank. Another great thing? You can get them from any sporting goods store across the nation and even Amazon.
It'll always be hit and miss with Fenix, SureFire, NiteCore, and all the other fancy brands. But you can be rest assured you'll find a headlamp somewhere.
But if you need a spotlight, then something handheld is best. And of course, common batteries are king. Unfortunately this means AA, AAA, or 18650. It would be great if someone made a 2x or 4x D-Cell NIMH light though. Easily charged with the same AA or AAA Chargers, but also w/ the capacity you need to maintain usability.
Q: Which flashlight gets you the best bang for your buck? A: Someone mentioned the Convoy S2 and S2+ already ($15-$20 on alixpress) with around 1000 lumens and different emitter and tint options it's a great starting point. But I'm also going to throw in the BLF A6 or Astrolux S1 (both the same thing). It's similar shape and size to the Convoy S2 but is good for 1600 lumen and great UI.
Q: What kind of flashlight should I take when I go camping? A: When camping you want a light that has a more focussed beam. It doesn't need to be a full thrower like the BLF GT but you want to be able to see far away but have good flood as well. In this case I'm going to say a BLF Q8 is a great option. It's a beast! 5700 lumens and super bright. Great ramping UI so you can have it shining 1 lumen or the full turbo 5700 lumens. It's also the best light you'll ever get for under $50. RRP is around $80 but it's easy to get your hands on the sale coupon price of $48.

Q: What’s the best flashlight for emergencies? A: In this case you will want something that is efficient and easy to use rather than super powerful. Something that can shine enough light to see where you are going, yet easy to charge. For me I bought my wife and kids all a Nitecore tip to put on their keyrings. It has around 350 lumens and is simple to use and looks pretty cool too. Another option is the Astrolux S42 as it comes with a screw in window puncher on the tip. I have one in my car and my wifes car in case we ever get into a situation that requires us to break a window or use in self defense.
Funny that I don't even realize I love flashlights until I stop and think how many I've purchased (this is just the small stuff)... My purse light is probably still my favorite: maratac copper AAA latest revision. I do have the Prometheus copper QR on my keys but often forget it's there. The quick release and nichia LED of the Prometheus are the best attributes, but I dislike having to use rechargeable batteries. I bought the MD brass AAA when it was released but wasn't a fan of the button on such a small light. The Maratac copper in my purse never comes on by accident and the glow silicone head cover is a welcome addition. The Spalinger trit lantern is the best keychain item ever to find my keys in the depths of a dark purse.
Latest purchase is the newest olight s1 baton mini (cree for brightness vs nichia). I was truly surprised how tiny and how bright it is, plus how useful the magnet tail can be. Plus charging it thru the micro USB port in the battery itself is convenient. Time will tell how long that kind of battery can last since any USB port can wear out.
If I need serious light output, I'm usually on my ATV. I put a pair of Rigid industries D2 driving lights on the front rack (the cheapo $20 led pods on Amazon are NOT worth even that when you have experienced the quality of Rigid or Baja designs is another good one ) Turns night into day and makes night riding a hell of a lot of fun! I did replace my 4runner headlights w LEDs and now I'm in the process of replacing all the interiors as well. Love LED over halogen but aftermarket LEDs for cars just aren't quite there yet to keep up with the clean light and throw of my previous car's stock xenon lamps.
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Thanks so much.
I'm right with you on the Lumintop. I bought the copper version as well and it's patina-ing up nicely. Actually better than the Maratac, which suprises me!
I'm a big fan of AAA flashlights, preferably made of copper or brass. These are my 4 lights that I use regularly, the rest is in the drawer. I`ve ordered the Reylight AAA Pineapple in copper too! Thanks Massdrop!!
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Teletin
Would like to see it alongside the other four that you have. 👍🏼
glennac
The other flashlights are the same only in their original packaging. Mass Drop Brass, Mass Drop Copper and Maratac AAA Copper. I am looking forward to the Reylight Pineapple Copper and my wish list still has a Prometheus and a Peak:-)
Hey folks. We have a winner of the Nextorch TA15. Congrats to @PrimeSol! The giveaway has concluded, but if you have any questions (or answers), keep them coming. Thanks y'all.
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We “little people” who helped you rise to power congratulate you. 👏🏼👏🏼 👏🏼 😜
glennac
Haha, none of it exists without the community, for sure. Thank you, for both the congratulations and for being a voice in the conversation!
Well, I couldn’t resist. Had to order the Brass one to add to the Copper and Titanium models that I already had. 🤗
These are gorgeous little lights. I’m not crazy about patina, so I occasionally dip these, my spinners, and tops, in Tarn-X, followed by a rinse, and they remain as bright as the day they arrived.
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I find the AAA lights too small to feel good in my hand on a night hike, and the ones that have 3 AAA in a ring too fat to fit comfortably in my pocket. A single AA size with a pocket clip is in the Goldilocks zone. It feels just right and is comfortable to wear all day long. I haven't tried an 18650, but with kids running around always borrowing my lights I have stuck with budget torches. I picked up a batch of cheap zoomable UltraFire AA lights (came with bike handle clips for just a few dollars) because of this. I much prefer the smooth feel of the OLED that has the same form factor and zoom slider. With an Li Battery it has been my EDC, but the clip broke and now it is missing (kids?). I keep a thinner non-zooming Trustfire S-A2 in another pocket as a backup -- hardly notice it's there and it's also a perfect size and length for the hand.
The BLF-A6-XPL recommended a few times below looks like the ideal torch, but I wonder if I would miss the zoom feature. The only other thing that would be nice to have is a pocketable hat brim clip light so that I can go hands-free in an instant (without having to wrap a strap around my head) - with a long-lasting rechargable battery (no button batteries!).
inventbot
Whats you go lithium ion you will never go back. It can be done on budget as well.
inventbot
Well, the Lumintop/Massdrop Tools with their reversible clips would work very well there. Lumintop has also just come out with a AA version of the Tool if that is your preference. The Streamlight Microstream/Stylus Pro lights have the two-way clip and are very dependable lights as well.
My new Blue Titanium MassDrop/Lumintop colab AAA light is definitely a part of my EDC rotation.
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glennac
I HAVE THAT VERY ONE! I LOVE IT!!!!
Wow! I had no idea that flashlights were so popular!! I 'spose I should have something much better and more dependable, but I just use the light on my phone..:(
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"Also it's cheaper to drop a flashlight (than) to lose/break one's cellphone."
Oh yes! Also smarter to burn cellphone juice on phone calls, rather than lighting up whatever. I'm more comfortable lending my light to someone than parting with my phone, too
I have always felt that using one's cellphone as a flashlight was very foolish. As an emergency look-for-where-I-dropped-it it will work, but to waste battery capacity using a phone as a light just means that it is that much more likely that when you need to use the phone as a phone, there will be little if any power left to let you do so. There are so many keychain lights like the Nitecore Tube and Tip, the Lumintop Tool in its several iterations, the Streamlight Microstream and others that are in the sub-$30 range that there is no excuse for not carrying one.
Led lenser p5r, i keeo it my glovecompartment. Usb charging and beltholster.
Best flashlight as a gift to older person? One with charging dock would be perfect.
flmatter
For that price I'd go for a convoy instead.