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LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 5:40 AM

Are there any LED flashlights with switches that don't go bad within about a year? Every one I bought over the past few years has developed switch problems. I bought cheap "impulse buy" flashlights at various stores, Amazon "military technology" flashlights, battery store "good" flashlights and a Kobalt flashlight from Lowes. Most appear to have very good mechanical construction. All have very poor switches that must be hit against something to make them work after about a year.

I even researched Mag Lights. They seem to have fallen to the greed gods too. I have read that their expensive flashlights not only have bad switches after time but the springs that maintain good battery contact don't do their job.

It seems like someone ought to make a flashlight that works for a reasonable price. I remember "in the good old days" you could buy things that actually worked. Anyone know of a LED flashlight that keeps working?

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#1

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 7:59 AM

Good question.

It seems to be the battery contacts that always go on the ones I buy, but, I'm always dredging along the bottom of the market (buy several and throw them away when they fail: I'm likely to lose or break a good one).

This looks like the absolute best at ~$50 it should be (reviews seem to confirm the 6000 lumen rating).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lumitact-Rechargeable-Flashlight-Waterproof-Emergency/dp/B09CKZWMB3/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

I can't find it on Amazon.com: it doesn't help that we call them torches.

One problem with lots of reviews is that most are done within the first few months of a product release, so it's difficult to capture reliability.

Would a can of contact cleaner help?

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#2

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 8:09 AM

I have an older MagLite that I have replaced the regular lamp with the LED mod. 20+ years old and still running like a champ.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 9:43 AM

I have seen the conversion kits and have considered doing this with the 2 or 3 old MagLites I have around. In my experience an old MagLite is usually good until the rubber covering the switch goes bad at somewhere near the higher end of 10-20 years.

Reworking old MagLites doesn't give a "new" option.

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 9:52 AM

The switch area seems to be permanently sealed on most of them. I suspect most of the LED flashlights actually have the switch as in input to a LED controller IC. This may not have been true in the early days but it probably is now.

Most new LED flashlights have all sorts of slow flash, rapid flash and other flash modes that most of us hate because it is now necessary to turn the flashlight on and off several times until you find the "on" mode. I guess I'm old fashioned because I wish the flashlight would interpret me pressing the "on" switch as me wanting it "on".

My guess is that there is one factory in China making the switching and flashing module for most all of the worlds flashlights. They make them dirt cheap, turn out tens of millions a year and ignore complaints as they get rich on endless replacement sales.

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#5

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 10:18 AM
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#6
In reply to #1

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 10:48 AM

Definitely want to coat contacts with this stuff, any sign of corrosion, this erases it....yes it's expensive, but a little goes a long way...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SPJN9W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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#7

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 1:23 PM

Energizer flashlight. Waterproof, has both a flashlight and built-in "lantern" mode if you stand it up as shown in the picture. I bought a couple of these about 8 years ago and loved them so much, I put one in every vehicle I own, in my tool bag and gave them to my kids as gifts for their cars. Takes four AA cells.

And then they stopped selling them.

Still in use today. No problem with the switch. If you can find them somewhere, buy one or two or all of them.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0EZWEE

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#8

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 10:43 PM

We only use Coast (Portland)

We have more than 40, maybe more than 60, at work.

Of all those, over eight years, one switch went bad. After battery corrosion.

Hey look!!! Lifetime warranty. But, not for battery corrosion. They swapped it anyway.

And they don't all have the goofy eight-function switch issues.

Bright and small - XP9R rechargeable lithium

Mega Bright and bigger - but has a goofy strobe feature - TX14R

Headlight we all like a lot - Coast FL75 $20 at home depot right now. White LED on one switch and Red LED on the other switch. Not rechargeable.

Careful - their knives are not very good.

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 11:05 PM

As with the recent screwdriver handle issue here on CR4, I think the main problem is your climate, and possibly salt in your air.

I don't recall a single problem with any flashlight switches. My problem is forgetting where I left one the last time I used it. If I were to do a thorough search, I'd probably find 20 LED flashlights of various kinds and sizes around the house and cars, but every once in a while, I have to search to find one...

My pet peeve with LED flashlights is that when the batteries get weak, they don't go dim, they just quit!

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#10

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/01/2021 11:19 PM

I've got a Kel-Lite from my cop days in the late 70's. 3 D cells, solid as a Russian tractor, almost as pretty and still works. I converted it to an LED bulb about ten years ago and wish I still had the other one I swapped for a set of handcuffs.

Now, the best you can do is either a Maglite or if you want to spend the money, a Streamlight. Some overuse of it as a baton led to several lawsuits, and the competition was happy to market anything that didn't start with Kel. I believe Streamlight gobbled up what was left of Kel-Lite, but that would have been the 80s. Memory fades with time.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 1:05 AM
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#12

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 5:04 AM

I have a small flashlight branded, Goreit XML-L2 a small lithium cell torch made to mount on a rifle barrel with the clamps that came with it. So far it is 3 years old and still going strong after being used hand held and mounted to a barrel. It comes with 2 lithium batteries, 1 in one spare as well as a carrier for 3 AA batteries. Good solid Aluminium case with a rear switch and a focus adjustment for the light from the single cree led.

But then it was made 3 years ago so maybe the newer quality has slipped. All up I bought 4 for the shooters in my family and have not had one fail yet. I have had the same problem with the Maggi light springs as you have had but found that some of the rechargeable batteries I had were insulated around the edge and that stopped the spring making contact properly. A redefining of the spring shape has stopped all those problems.

Good luck with your hunt.

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#13

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 5:10 AM

I have been using Ledlenser flashlights for inspection work for a while now and found them to be very good.

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#14
In reply to #8

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 6:30 AM

XP9R 1000Lumen $47

XP11R 2100 Lumen $55

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#15

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 6:30 AM

Here is my 2 cents worth.

I have had this one for over two years:

https://nebo.acgbrands.com/en_US/slyde-king-2nd-gen.html

2000 lumen flashlight,500 lumen work light (with C.O.B leds).

It has been dropped,run over,abused and mis-used but it keeps on shining.

It has a magnetic base,can be used as a flood light,spot light or red signal light,red warning light.

2000 lumen flashlight,adjustable focus(4X)

Excellent for maintenance work.

Not cheap,but you usually get what you pay for.

It is USB rechargeable.

YMMV,but I would buy it again if I ever needed another one.

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#16
In reply to #4

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 7:35 AM

I refer back to an old thread about planned obsolescence. In addition we are now in a "throw away" society where the majority of people just buy a new one. Prices range a lot so the old adage of "you get what you pay for" usually ring true on these as well. There are exceptions of course as there are in just about everything.

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#17
In reply to #5

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 12:28 PM

The top one looks like what is currently going bad. It is a different manufacturer so I'll try one.

The bottom one looks a bit like the green-strap unit an MP gave me a year or two ago. Somehow it is hard to take seriously a head mounted flashlight with a mode for flashing red and flashing blue lights. It seems like I should get some MatchBox cars out and play on the kitchen floor.

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#18
In reply to #7

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 12:33 PM

Current status:

That is what always happens to good things.

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#19
In reply to #8

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 12:36 PM

A company that still puts quality in anything with their name on it. I like it. Thank you.

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#20
In reply to #10

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 12:40 PM

Thank you.

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#21
In reply to #15

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 12:42 PM

Thank you.

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#22

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 12:44 PM

We have used these for many years on our local volunteer fire dept. We have never had one fail that I am aware of.

I retired from the dept. a few years ago so things might have changed.

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#23
In reply to #18

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 1:12 PM

Yeah, I know. I would like to find more because mine are starting to get pretty beat up or I've had to clean out the potassium hydroxide salts from leaky cells but no problems with the switches.

And these sold for less than $20 to boot.

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#24
In reply to #2

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 1:19 PM

I have several three-cell Maglites that I would like to re-lamp with LED bulbs. Do you have a recommendation for a kit that does this?

Several years ago, I did some research on available kits at the time, but the reviews were all over the map in terms of beam patterns, reliability, etc., so I never pulled the trigger on any of them.

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 2:05 PM

I'd be interested in LED replacements for the little 2-AA cell Maglights, as well.

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#26
In reply to #17

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 3:56 PM

I retrofitted an old military flashlight with COB leds.I had to buy another light to salvage the LEDs from,but it works great.It is hard to find a genuine 1950's surplus military flashlight with all of the filters.These old units were nearly indestructible and super reliable.Must have been too good.

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#27

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/02/2021 5:16 PM

This is an interesting and important question. I have noticed in the last 10 years that many consumer products seem to use poor quality components. As a very simple example, it is very difficult to buy a clock - digital or analogue - that is not connected to a wireless time source and keeps time. What is going on? Is there a larger worry, for example, for car parts that might affect safety?

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#28
In reply to #17

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/03/2021 1:46 AM

I think the head lamps are really good, they free the hands up, they automatically point exactly where you are looking, are adjustable in both angle and brightness...they just work...

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#29
In reply to #15

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/03/2021 6:48 PM

+1 on the Nebo. $32 seemed OK, so I bought a couple more for the vehicles.

The older model Slyde I have abused at work for 4 years. I have some of their smaller models, and they all seem to be a reasonable value.

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#30
In reply to #4

Re: LED Flashlight Recommendations?

11/04/2021 7:04 AM

It was my birthday after your first post and in a fit of unusual high spirits I decided to buy one of the Lumitact units above. I see that they've gone up from £33 (about $45) to £36 (about $49) in the mean time. I've got to say it's incredible:-

wide beam