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Help choose my EDC torch

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by musicman13, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. musicman13

    musicman13 Loaded Pockets

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    Flashlight Recommendation Checklistby 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 and please delete the options that you are not at all interested in.

    1) Short Essay Question: What do you intend to use this light for?
    Basic EDC uses for finding my way around in the dark, and occasionally at work.

    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
    [x] $15-30
    [ ] $40-60
    [ ] $80-$120
    [ ] I have no limit!

    4) Format:
    PART A
    [x] I want a flashlight.
    [ ] I want a headlamp.
    [ ] I want a lantern.
    [ ] I want a portable spotlight.

    PART B
    Length:
    [ ] 1-2 inches. (Keychain sized)
    [x] 2-4 inches. (Pocket carry)
    [ ] 4-9 inches. (Holster carry)

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

    PART D
    Weight:
    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.
    [x] 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.

    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)
    [x] I want to walk around a generally paved area. (15-20 lumens)
    [ ] I want to walk unpaved trails. (40 lumens)
    [ ] I want to do Caving or Search & Rescue operations. (60+ lumens)
    [ ] 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. ;)
    [ ] 20 min. (I want the brightest light for brief periods)
    [x] 60-240 min. (1-2 hours)
    [ ] 240-360 min. (4-6 hours)
    [ ] 360+ min. (More than 6 hours)

    10) Durability: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.
    [ ] Not Important (A “night-stand” light.)
    [x] Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood.)
    [ ] Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box.)
    [ ] Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Self-defense, Survival.)

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

    12) Switch Location:
    [ ] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a push or sliding switch on the body near the head.
    [x] 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.
    [x] A simple on-off is fine for me.
    [ ] I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
    [ ] I want multiple light levels. (some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
    [ ] I want a strobe mode. (blinks to show location.)
    [ ] I want a tactical strobe. (Flashes rapidly to disorient an opponent.)
    [ ] I want S.O.S. flashing

    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.
    [x] I don't care.
    [ ] I want a metal-bodied light.
    [ ] I want a plastic/composite light.

    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, _________)
    [ ] Waterproof – how deep: _____________
    [x] 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
    [ ] Holster
    [ ] Wrist/Neck Lanyard
    [ ] Kuboton/self defense features
    [ ] Non-sparking Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments
     
  2. Racer

    Racer Loaded Pockets

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    Not a lot of lights that fit your criteria in that price range.

    You could pick up a Jetbeam BA10 (AA) for about $35
    Streamlight Microstream (AAA) is about $20. I think this might be the light you are looking for.

    Or, you could go the super cheap route with a UniqueFire S10 (if you like throw) or UltraFire K10 (if you like flood) for about 10$-$15. I give a lot of these away as gifts. They are cheap but powerful and rugged, and make great starter EDCs.

    There's some great EDC AA twisties out there as well: Thrunite T10, Fenix E11, Olight I2...
     
  3. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    E series Fenix from the forum store... lots of different flavors in cheap, tiny, AA/AAAs
     
  4. grndslm

    grndslm Loaded Pockets

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    For $30...

    Buy 3 or 4 of these...

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/small-sun-zy-a29-cree-q3-wc-3-mode-150-lumen-white-zoom-convex-lens-led-flashlight-1-x-aa-90635

    I have bought a few DX lights before, and what's strange is that this is the cheapest, yet it's the MOST mission critical of them all. It's plenty bright for me.

    I bought the TrustFire red flame 14500 lithium ion batteries (also on DX), which definitely increases the light output for something that's only the size to hold and actually does run off of AA batteries.

    The SkyRay S-A1 ... and .. UniqueFire G10 both have their good sides, too... but have yet to be as "failproof" as the Small Sun flashlight I linked to. If the first two were good "enough" to work for carrying, then I'd use them... but even after using NyoGel, they have to stay at home or in the car. :)

    P.S. -- you also need an Lithium-Ion charger, and I'd recommend the XTAR WP2.

    You're actually capable of getting the light, charger, and 2 li-ion batteries for around $30 if you look around. Think I got the charger on ebay??
     
  5. D50boy

    D50boy Loaded Pockets

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    Preon1 with a Preon2 tail switch. It would be in the next price category though.
     
  6. Flash Owl

    Flash Owl Loaded Pockets

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    i heard great things about the photon freedom...
    unfortunately mine broke in about a week on my keys... not exactly broke, but most of the time the switch didnt respond.

    streamlight has a AAA light with a tailswitch, 1-mode, and inexpensive.

    couple days ago i was researching simple single AA lights... came across fenix E11, and rofis ER12.
    ICON also makes some inexpensive single AA lights.
     
  7. Flash Owl

    Flash Owl Loaded Pockets

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    ack, double post.
    sorry
     
  8. musicman13

    musicman13 Loaded Pockets

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  9. sungame

    sungame Loaded Pockets

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    I have
    Yes, I have tried it (although not owned one myself), and it seems like a rugged, dependable little light for a very reasonable price. It is not the brightest light out there, but it is probably the best light you'll ever get for $15, and at least as good as many lights at twice that price.

    If you want something brighter, take a look at Lumapower's EDC LM-21. It actually a bit smaller than the Microstream, but gives you three modes, up to 100 lumen and up to 1500 hours of runtime (on the lowest setting), all for just shy of $30. Nitrofein has a great review of it over in this thread.
     
    musicman13 likes this.
  10. Racer

    Racer Loaded Pockets

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    It's a great little light. There's lots of decent reviews floating around, including mine. Most people gripe that the switch is a little stiff (though you can take the rubber boot off) and mine wears the anodizing off the threads, which doesn't affect the functionality for me because I don't use the tail cap lockout. Lots of reviewers claim theirs has been through the wash/dry cycle. It's pretty much bulletproof and idiot proof. I've had mine for a year, and it has held up well. I like the double clip because you can clip it on your pocket normally for deep carry, or reverse clip it onto a ball cap for use as a head lamp. It's got pretty good throw too because of the smooth reflector and the XP-C emitter it uses. People claim that it can take a 10440, but my blue Trustfires won't power the light on. It loves Eneloops, though...

    Edit: There's also the Pelican 1910, which is a very similar light to the Microstream.
     
    Last edited by Racer, Jul 29, 2012