View Full Version : What flashlight to get?

05-22-2008, 3:26 PM
Looking to get a cheap flash yet decent flashlight. Cant decide what to get. Taking it for camping and general around the house at night stuff.




If you would like to suggest another flashlight for over $30 please keep your suggestion to yourself. I only want to know which of the 3 flashlights I should choose, or any other from DX.


05-22-2008, 5:25 PM
take a look at the surefire g2, online youcan get it for ~ $36, but I can find it for~$28 from a police supply shop locally.....I love mine, have one on my ar and another with my pistol.

05-23-2008, 6:58 AM
Hows this for a flashlight
500 limens under $90.00 and their in the US::D

05-23-2008, 9:40 AM
For camping, you definitely want to stick with LED. Any one of those look like decent flashlights for the money, depending on your needs.

Here's what I consider when looking for a new light for specific purposes:

- What light intensities do I want?

For camping, you really want multiple light levels. High output is too bright for reading, close-up work, maps, etc, but is great for cutting through the trees and getting some distance. Low levels give much more battery life and are good for task lighting. The strobe is a bit gimmicky, IMO, but it could come in handy in an emergency, so I don't discount it completely.

My preference would be for 2-3 levels, plus strobe if it's part of the package. 5-20 lumens, 40-80 lumens, and 120+ lumens covers just about everything.

- Hows the throw vs spill?

Lots of the cheap lights have a bright central spot with a strong transition between spot and fill. For distance throw, that's fine, but for task lighting, you get a spot effect that I find annoying. For a general purpose light, I like a smooth transition. Other people prefer the strong spot. If they show beamshots, you can figure that out, but if they don't you have to buy it to find out.

- What kind of batteries do I want to use?

CR123 are great for certain needs, have long runtime, and have excellent shelf life. All my emergency lights use quality CR123 batteries, because they rarely leak and have a 10 year shelf life. On the downside, they can be hard to find. AA or AAA are good because you can get them in a 7-11 or mom'n'pop store, or from other campers. A dual battery light is good, but adds to the weight and bulk.

- What form factor is good?

Small lights are good because they pack well and are light, but can be harder to handle in some situations. Still, with the modern LED lights giving 120-200 lumens from a single CR123, it's hard to go wrong with small and powerful.

- How's the user interface and software?

Many inexpensive multi-mode lights aren't very smart about cycling - they always turn on in the next mode, which means you have to cycle through all the modes to get back to the one you just turned off, and sometimes you'll come on in strobe mode when you don't want to. Smarter lights reset the modes after a few seconds of being off, so they always come up in a known state.

For controls, if you'll ever be using them with gloves, they need have the right controls for that. Some finishes are slippery, some aren't, and you won't know until you handle it some. Some have momentary on soft switches, others need a hard click to turn it on, then you can cycle through the settings, and others need a hard click to change settings. This often isn't well documented, especially at dealextreme, so you're taking a chance on this.

Most multi-purpose lights don't double well as tac lights, if that matters. Tac lights need a simple interface with a soft switch for quick bursts of light.

I bought this one a while back, and it's OK, but has some flaws - http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.5925 - $17.10 shipped
I reviewed it in this post, along with others - http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=90139
It suffers from a mediocre pocket clip that would surely fail over time, and the mode memory - it always comes on in the next mode. It's also got too much central spot for me, since it doesn't have the features that are useful as a tac light. However, it was cheap, and the battery life is good.

One of my favorites is my little Fenix P2D CE, bought used here. It's got a good range of outputs, is easy to use, has no mode memory, is small enough for pocket carry, and has been reliable so far. It's very slippery, but a few o-rings on the outside have helped me to stop dropping it. There's no pocket clip, but it has a lanyard and holster (which it won't fit with the o-rings on). The single biggest problem is no lockout. I've gone through 5-6 batteries in 2-3 months by accidentally turning it on in my pocket, which would be a serious problem out camping. It also will run on CR123s that won't power a incandescent light any more, so I've been feeding it partially discharged batteries with good success. However, it costs over $50 new, so is outside your price range. It would be a no-brainer at $25-30.

You need to decide what's most important to you, then get the light that fits the bill.

05-23-2008, 11:02 AM
FWIW- I bought an Streamlight Stinger years ago. Brightest flashlight I ever saw. Expensive but came with ac and dc charging cradles etc.

With little use, I've gone through at least 4 battery packs... which aren't cheap and they are specialized.

I don't think I'll be buying another one.

05-23-2008, 11:15 AM
I just bought a fenix tk10. I'll take some pics of it mounted on my AR later today.

05-23-2008, 11:31 AM
If you would like to suggest another flashlight for over $30 please keep your suggestion to yourself. I only want to know which of the 3 flashlights I should choose, or any other from DX.


I was going to say to go to www.candlepowerforums.com but be careful since these guys are going to go overboard and recommend something way over $30. But looks like calguns folks are worse :).

Hey guys, as much as I like the Surefire UA2 that is coming out (+$300), and my custom Mag 5761 (+1000 lumens), I am pretty sure he said UNDER $30.
I am not a big fan of dealextreme lights, but if you are going to get one, I would avoid the lights that have two CR123 in series. The few incidents of flashlights going kaboom, are the result of two lithium cells with varying states of discharge being stored in contact with each other. The dealextreme light that uses the rechargeable 18650would provide you a safer option if you get protected batteries, but by the time you have bought the 18650 batteries and chargers you have gone way over $30.

As Maxicon stated, the light needs to match the purpose. I am grossly paraphrasing someone from candlepowerforums , but there is:

1. brightness (lumens)
2. portablity (what size you are willing to carry around)
3. runtime

You only get to pick two of these 3 items.

05-23-2008, 11:42 AM
you want cheap good led flashlight? sam's club has 2 pack of 150 lumen flashlights for $28. use AAA batteries. works great, i've got 1 for the car and 1 for the house for emergencies and walking kujo at night.

05-23-2008, 11:42 AM
Guess I'm old school but my vote goes for Maglite

05-23-2008, 11:48 AM
if you are sticking with a dealextreme flashlight, get a romisen they are the better finished units; get the RC-U4 because it has three modes

i use my my five mode fenix much more than my two crazy bright Cree'ed out G2's because for most jobs you honestly wont need more than the low or medium modes and it conserves battery life

Black Majik
05-23-2008, 12:02 PM
For under $30, the only one I can think of would be the 2AA MagLED. It should handle the task of walking around the campsite well enough. Doesn't have much throw, and the beam sucks like all Maglites do, but it's a good enough flashlight for general tasks.

You ain't gonna get much for $30.

05-23-2008, 12:31 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys! I ended up going with this one: Trustfire T1 Q5 (http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.10659) that had some great reviews on candle forums. If for some reason it doesnt work out I will fork over the cash and grab a Fenix TX10 or T1.

05-23-2008, 3:38 PM
I wouldn't go with this as a primary camping light, though it would be OK for a high-output home light or tac-style light (assuming it's got a tac-style switch). The battery is a rechargable, which isn't ideal for camping IMO, and it doesn't appear to come with a charger, so you'll need one if you don't have one already. You can use CR123s in it, but you're paying extra for the rechargable.

It's a single-mode high-output light, and I find them limited in general usefulness, as socal858 says. Mine destroy my night vision quickly if I use them for bump-in-the-night investigations, and even a quick flash off of a light colored wall or door is quite dazzling. Same problem in camping - it's great for long throw through the trees, but no good for close-up tasks.
Also, they eat up batteries faster than lights with low-output modes.

Still, I believe everybody needs a blindingly bright flashlight - I've got 3-4 of them myself - and this sounds like a good bet for the money.

The Fenix TK10 is a great concept, as you've got the mid output for house use, and the high output for when you need the crazy bright light, and it's got simple operation with no surprises. I'm thinking it's an ideal replacement for my Scorpions and G2s, but it's relatively expensive. It's still not great as a task light, since it doesn't have a low-output mode. More than 2 modes overly complicates operation, I'm thinking.

Be sure to post back on your experiences with it!

05-23-2008, 3:54 PM
I have a G2 with a Cree Q5 bulb from ebay. Works great and very bright.

05-23-2008, 7:03 PM

look at the new TK-10 or the old T1
I dont have those yet, but have a P3D its smaller and gives about 215 Lumens with 2 CR123A cells. They also have a L2D that uses 2 AA batteries, puts out about 185 lumens or so..

Very Good lights, Free shipping USPS and use MP5 for 5% of CPF8 for 8% off.