Long-Life Flashlight

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clemrick
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Long-Life Flashlight

Post by clemrick »

I am looking for a flashlight that will live for several years. I don't need a flashlight very often, but when I do, I find them dead or dieing and putting new batteries in doesn't seem to help. Maybe I have been buying very cheap flashlights.

I am now prepared to spend money on one or two flashlights that will actually work when I need them.

Any suggestions?

Thank you.
Swansea
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Swansea »

I have two 4 battery Mag Lights which seldom need new batteries.
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Will do good
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Will do good »

These are my cheap backup flashlights I keep in the garage and basement. 1 D battery will last 50+ hours. My day to day use LED Tactical Flashlight is ~$25@.

https://www.amazon.com/Eveready-EVM5511 ... 5149aa9081
tibbitts
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by tibbitts »

clemrick wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:23 pm I am looking for a flashlight that will live for several years. I don't need a flashlight very often, but when I do, I find them dead or dieing and putting new batteries in doesn't seem to help. Maybe I have been buying very cheap flashlights.

I am now prepared to spend money on one or two flashlights that will actually work when I need them.

Any suggestions?

Thank you.
I suggest you might want to say what flashlights and batteries you've been using, since the dead flashlight problem mostly went away years ago. Not that it never happens but even the $10 flashlights do pretty well these days.

My experience is you need more than "one or two" flashlights if you want to be able to find one when you need it, but maybe that's just me.

I will say that you have to use flashlights regularly, if only to test them. Batteries don't last forever, especially conventional ones (alkaline, for example), and if the flashlight has cramped quarters for the batteries, they can swell to the point of not being able to remove them.
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David Jay
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by David Jay »

Name brand alkaline batteries really do last longer (calendar time). Energizer or Duracell should give you 3-5 years.

My wife likes to buy discount batteries, often they leak within a couple of years and destroy the device.
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BIGal
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by BIGal »

By far the absolute best that I have found. In fact,when I did experience a problem after several years, I sent it in and they refurbished it for NO cost. I have a few Maglights but I can't say they are even in the same league as the Streamlight.

https://www.streamlight.com/products/de ... olymer-led

If you are in the market for an excellent lantern, I recommend this one:

https://www.goalzero.com/shop/lights/li ... power-hub/

Like most quality things, you get what you pay for. Good Luck!!
dpt486
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by dpt486 »

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to flashlights, if you are looking for an all around good light I’d go with a Surefire G2 or a Streamlight Stylus Pro. Both should last the rest if your life.
Geronkas
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Geronkas »

I have a McGizmo Haiku flashlight. I really like it. A bit more expensive but should last a lifetime. I must admit it is not the most Boglehead flashlight 🔦
bhsince87
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by bhsince87 »

I've had good luck with fenix brand. They have a lifetime warranty (does NOT cover battery leakage though).

I had one go bad after about 5 years and they replaced it. I have 4-5 others that I've had no problems with.

https://www.fenixlighting.com/
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Sconie
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Sconie »

Streamlight fan here.
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prd1982
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by prd1982 »

I have a Ryobi 18V One+ LED flashlight. Since I use the 18V batteries with multiple tools, I have plenty of charged batteries. I keep one of the small amp-hour batteries that came with a tool in the flashlight. With this flashlight I think I'm prepared to be without power for a couple of days.
SubPar
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by SubPar »

Add me to the Streamlight tally. Olight also has solid options.
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TexasPE
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by TexasPE »

My experience is if you insert a spacer of plastic or nonconductive material between the battery and the contact of a seldom-used flashlight, the batteries do not discharge during storage. Of course you have to remove this plastic to use the flashlight.

Often a new battery powered device (shipped with batteries already installed) will come with a pull tab that removes this nonconductive material before the device is first used. YMMV
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Kenkat
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Kenkat »

I’d get an LED flashlight that uses a rechargeable Li-ion battery - something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Tactical-F ... ght-pcr-20

These types of batteries discharge negligibly over time and LED lights are incredibly bright for their size.
statman
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by statman »

To get longer life in any flashlight, use lithium batteries, now available in all standard sizes; in particular, lithium batteries have a very long shelf life, e.g., in a seldom-used flashlight.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by jabberwockOG »

Pay a little more and buy a super high quality flashlight that uses lithium ion batteries. 123A and 18650 batteries have a 10 year shelf life and used in a high quality flash light produce powerful illumination. You can also buy rechargeable versions of these batteries. At their very brightest settings they they can be used at night as a form of self defense by temporarily blinding/stunning an attacker.

I recommend Fenix or Streamlight. Example -

https://www.amazon.com/Streamlight-8806 ... 84&sr=8-10

https://www.amazon.com/Fenix-Flashlight ... 22&sr=8-14
Candor
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Candor »

Fenix. Have used them virtually every day for years without fail.

https://www.fenix-store.com/?gclid=EAIa ... gLkgvD_BwE

*Edited to add I own several but my most used is an LD22 which I have dropped onto concrete 20+ times without effect.*
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LittleMaggieMae
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

I'm got a couple of "Shake LIghts" - you shake them and you get some reasonable light for up to 40 minutes. They always work (after a 30 second to couple minute shake. ) If the power goes out during a storm - the shake light is my first go to.

I also bought a 9 pack (maybe 10) of little LED flashlights that run on AAA batteries. I keep one in the car, and the rest around my house (as I can never find a flashlight when I need one. ) I use one of these if I need a task light - under the kitchen sink or if I'm in the attic.
I have to put a new sticker on my license plate every fall - when I do that I check/replace batteries in the car flashlight.
Last edited by LittleMaggieMae on Sun Nov 08, 2020 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
iamlucky13
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by iamlucky13 »

Clemrick, for long term standby use, your light should have a mechanical switch that fully disconnects the battery when not in use. This usually means a tailswitch, but there are exceptions, like some of the Maglites. Some lights instead use an electronic momentary switch that tells a microchip when to turn on or off. These are easier to press, quieter, and can allow some really sophisticated controls, but the microchip will very slowly drain the battery over time.

Very few of the cheap 3xAAA battery lights are worth having. First of all, they are usually sold with the "heavy duty" carbon zinc batteries that are even more prone than alkalines to leak and ruin the light. Secondly, their switches are not consistently reliable even when brand new, and a few years of corrosion can certainly cause the problems you are describing.

Some people recommended CR123A batteries, which hold a lot of energy, and have a long shelf life. However, the batteries are relatively expensive, and not as common. I don't think you need rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for your use, which do not have the claimed 10 year shelf life unless they are kept half charged. I recommend sticking with AA or AAA size, but spending the extra money on Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries. They are cheaper than CR123A, have many of the same benefits, but you can still use easily available alkalines in a pinch.

For specific light recommendations:

The Streamlight Stylus or Protac are good quality, simple lights. While not my personal favorite, I mention them for simplicity: they have just a high and a low mode. A quick half press after turning on changes which brightness level.

The Lumintop Tool and IYP lights are similar in price, and have 3 levels.

The Thrunite Archer 2A has 4 modes. The tailswitch turns it on to the same level it was at when turned off. A side button changes the level. This is one of my personal favorites, in part because it has a "moonlight" mode that won't ruin night vision in situations like camping.
flyingaway
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by flyingaway »

Take the battery out when you don't use it. LED light will last for a long time.
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willthrill81
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by willthrill81 »

Another great flashlight brand is Coast. I have several Coast HP1 flashlights, which take a single AA battery, and they have no draw on the battery when not in use. Put an Energizer lithium or an Eneloop battery in there, and they'll never leak. They throw off a surprising amount of light and only cost $10. Everyone I've bought them for loves them.

I also have a Coast headlamp that takes AA batteries rather than the far more common AAA batteries driven headlamps. I really like it too.

Regardless, it's important to either (1) get a light with a hard switch that actually breaks the connection with the battery when the light isn't on or (2) remove the battery when you aren't using the light.
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AussieDad
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by AussieDad »

I bought a wowtac A7 on Amazon recently. They are 25% off $29.99 right now if you clip the coupon. I like it a lot for the money. I also have an olight warrior I like, but it was much more expensive.
tibbitts
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by tibbitts »

flyingaway wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 10:19 pm Take the battery out when you don't use it. LED light will last for a long time.
But there's never a time when you won't use a flashlight, and nobody is going to load batteries every time they need one, so that's not practical. The only thing you can do is maybe use a date label so it's easier to see how old the batteries are.
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Nicolas
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Nicolas »

For those who’ve replied in this thread that they can never find a flashlight, or a working flashlight, when they need one, I have a solution.

That is to carry a small LED flashlight with with you always. I’ve been doing this since 2013. They call this “everyday carry”, or EDC.

I bought several cheap Chinese LED flashlights that are each powered by a single AA battery. Here’s the current price on Amazon, they may be purchased on eBay for even less. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009N ... UTF8&psc=1. Here’s an example from eBay (no affiliation): https://www.ebay.com/itm/6PCS-Mini-CREE ... 890.l49292

They are bright and use an aspheric lens that can be focused. They easily fit in my front pants pocket and I surprise myself by how often I use it. I would not be without one now.

I actually don’t use the AAs, instead I use rechargeable lithium ion 14500 batteries which are the same size but pack more punch at 3.7V instead of the AA rating of 1.5V, this produces more lumens.

The flashlights only cost a couple of bucks each on eBay or Amazon (you may have to buy multiples to get this price). I’ve been using these lights since 2013 and never had one fail.

The batteries are now $9-$10 each, but with this flashlight you only need one, and I’ve recharged my batteries many times so there’s no need to keep buying them. I bought multiples to save money and to always have a freshly charged battery available.

I bought the batteries and a Nitecore charger on Orbtronic.com (no affiliation). On Black Friday there are sales on the batteries.
Last edited by Nicolas on Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:59 pm, edited 5 times in total.
mortfree
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by mortfree »

My phone has a flashlight.

It’s bright.
whomever
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by whomever »

This is a battery problem, not a flashlight problem. Replace your alkaline batteries with Eneloops, which don't leak.

Streamlight is a good brand, as are Nitecore, Fenex, ... pretty much, if you aren't buying it at the Dollar Store it will be fine.

For power outages - indeed, for most uses - I prefer a headlamp, because it leaves your hands free and automagically lights up wherever you are looking. My current one is a Thrunite TH20, but as with flashlights, most of them are fine.
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shmidds
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by shmidds »

I recommend the Olight iR 2 EOS rechargeable flashlight for $17.95. 150 lumens, micro-usb, smaller than your pinky finger. All my friends are candlepower forum nerds and they all have this flashlight. This is all I need now, all the other lights are in the drawer.
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nisiprius
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by nisiprius »

In my opinion, nowadays just about any old flashlight--to keep in a drawer or a car glove compartment for use when needed is long-life as long as it a) has single-use alkaline batteries (not rechargeable) and b) you somehow remember to replace the batteries from time to time. It doesn't have to be every year, but five years is probably too long.

If I were more disciplined I would have a list of every flashlight I owned, and replace the batteries every election year.

The problem is not that anything wears out. Batteries, when not in use, easily last for years. If the package has a "good until" year on it, that year is probably realistic. The problem is that alkaline batteries eventually leak, and the problem has gotten worse with mercury-free batteries.

Because life is what it is, I suspect that it is better to have several cheap flashlights instead of one wonderful king-of-all-flashlights.

In Ye Old Days flashlights would start to get yellow and flickery due to slightly corroded contacts, but that seems much less common nowadays, probably because LEDs need so much less current. When a battery leaks, I don't know what happens but you get outright failure, and you don't seem to be able to fix it by cleaning or scraping the contacts.

(It is worthwhile making sure that the switch is guarded in some day, as pushbutton switches do have an amazing ability to get pressed by accident, e.g. when the flashlight is deep in a glove compartment and you shove other things on top of it.)

(Cheap flashlights that are used frequently, like the headlamp I use when taking walks in the evening, have a problem with the on-off switches failing--but there is usually some warning before they fail completely.)
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MP173
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by MP173 »

Here is my purchasing plan for flashlights.

One of my hobbies is astronomy, which requires a red light for viewing at night so the eyes will not revert to light vision (as opposed to "night vision"). I take small flashlights and add translucent red decal material to the lens of the flashlight and have a red light for my hobby. Typically I use the small flashlights which use either a couple of AA or AAA batteries.

Another of our hobbies is estate and garage sales. Estate sales will typically have flashlights for sale...cheap, often you can pickup the small ones for 25 cents or bundle with other stuff for a dollar. Also there will be very good flashlights at these sales...again at a price less than a dollar.

I will only purchase those flashlights with batteries that work...thus I get a working flashlight which can be converted to a night light or simply place in the car, garage or strategically located in the house. Probably picked up 10 such flashlights this summer, several were brand new still in the original packaging with batteries. Two were the crank type that do not have batteries. ONe was a nice Craftsman 9 volt.

We have a lifetime supply of both hobby night lights and working flashlights.

I have been put on flashlight purchasing probation by DW

Ed
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CardinalRule
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by CardinalRule »

willthrill81 wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 10:21 pm Another great flashlight brand is Coast. I have several Coast HP1 flashlights, which take a single AA battery, and they have no draw on the battery when not in use. Put an Energizer lithium or an Eneloop battery in there, and they'll never leak. They throw off a surprising amount of light and only cost $10. Everyone I've bought them for loves them.
That is good to know. Home Depot had this brand featured in its Sunday newspaper sale insert today. This one is on sale, for example:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Coast-Polys ... /313083867

I am happy with my rechargeable high-lumens LED Anker light but am thinking of getting another one.
BuddyJet
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by BuddyJet »

jabberwockOG wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 7:15 pm Pay a little more and buy a super high quality flashlight that uses lithium ion batteries. 123A and 18650 batteries have a 10 year shelf life and used in a high quality flash light produce powerful illumination. You can also buy rechargeable versions of these batteries. At their very brightest settings they they can be used at night as a form of self defense by temporarily blinding/stunning an attacker.

I recommend Fenix or Streamlight. Example -

https://www.amazon.com/Streamlight-8806 ... 84&sr=8-10

https://www.amazon.com/Fenix-Flashlight ... 22&sr=8-14
+1 on the 123a, not rechargeable. Since the main issue is shelf life, the higher battery cost is amortized over a 10+ year life expectancy. The battery is commonly available since it is used in many wireless cameras and alarm sensors.
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iamlucky13
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by iamlucky13 »

BuddyJet wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:02 am
jabberwockOG wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 7:15 pm Pay a little more and buy a super high quality flashlight that uses lithium ion batteries. 123A and 18650 batteries have a 10 year shelf life and used in a high quality flash light produce powerful illumination. You can also buy rechargeable versions of these batteries. At their very brightest settings they they can be used at night as a form of self defense by temporarily blinding/stunning an attacker.

I recommend Fenix or Streamlight. Example -

https://www.amazon.com/Streamlight-8806 ... 84&sr=8-10

https://www.amazon.com/Fenix-Flashlight ... 22&sr=8-14
+1 on the 123a, not rechargeable. Since the main issue is shelf life, the higher battery cost is amortized over a 10+ year life expectancy. The battery is commonly available since it is used in many wireless cameras and alarm sensors.
FYI, lithium primary (non-rechargeable) AA batteries (eg - Energizer Ultimate Lithium) are $8 for a 4 pack. This works out to $0.38 per Watt-hour. If needed, you can still use very widely available alkalines as a backup (but I recommend removing alkalines from your lights after use, as most flashlights are a relatively high load on alkaline batteries, which increases the chance of leaking). If with a more reliable flashlight you find yourself using it more frequently, you can switch to NiMH rechargeables.

CR123A batteries can be found for $5 a 2 pack. This works out to $0.58 per Watt-hour, and there is no commonly available alternative. Shelf lives are similar between these two types.

The above is based on home improvement store pricing. Expect to pay worse prices at grocery or drug stores.

For the indicated use, I don't see a high value in spending the money on the higher end Streamlights or Fenix's like those linked. A Streamlight Protac 2AA or Fenix E20 will still be brighter and higher quality of a light than most people have ever used, at half the price.
Last edited by iamlucky13 on Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
iamlucky13
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by iamlucky13 »

Geronkas wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 4:03 pm I have a McGizmo Haiku flashlight. I really like it. A bit more expensive but should last a lifetime. I must admit it is not the most Boglehead flashlight 🔦
Awesome piece of functional art, but probably a little outside the OP's price range. I doubt I'll ever talk myself into buying one.
ncbill
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by ncbill »

iamlucky13 wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:38 am
BuddyJet wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:02 am
jabberwockOG wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 7:15 pm Pay a little more and buy a super high quality flashlight that uses lithium ion batteries. 123A and 18650 batteries have a 10 year shelf life and used in a high quality flash light produce powerful illumination. You can also buy rechargeable versions of these batteries. At their very brightest settings they they can be used at night as a form of self defense by temporarily blinding/stunning an attacker.

I recommend Fenix or Streamlight. Example -

https://www.amazon.com/Streamlight-8806 ... 84&sr=8-10

https://www.amazon.com/Fenix-Flashlight ... 22&sr=8-14
+1 on the 123a, not rechargeable. Since the main issue is shelf life, the higher battery cost is amortized over a 10+ year life expectancy. The battery is commonly available since it is used in many wireless cameras and alarm sensors.
FYI, lithium primary (non-rechargeable) AA batteries (eg - Energizer Ultimate Lithium) are $8 for a 4 pack. This works out to $0.38 per Watt-hour. If needed, you can still use very widely available alkalines as a backup (but I recommend removing alkalines from your lights after use, as most flashlights are a relatively high load on alkaline batteries, which increases the chance of leaking. If with a more reliable flashlight you find yourself using it more frequently, you can switch to NiMH rechargeables.

CR123A batteries can be found for $5 a 2 pack. This works out to $0.58 per Watt-hour, and there is no commonly available alternative. Shelf lives are similar between these two types.

The above is based on home improvement store pricing. Expect to pay worse prices at grocery or drug stores.

For the indicated use, I don't see a high value in spending the money on the higher end Streamlights or Fenix's like those linked. A Streamlight Protac 2AA or Fenix E20 will still be brighter and higher quality of a light than most people have ever used, at half the price.
+1

Something that can take AA lithium primary (Energizer Lithium) batteries.

CR123 was popular but is now obsolete for high-performance, daily-use flashlights given 18650 rechargeable lithium batteries.

But rechargeable isn't needed for flashlights that don't get much use but must remain functional after long periods of storage.

I have AA lithium batteries that are fine after literally 20 years in storage (original package)

And to be fair to the Streamlight lovers I also have one Tekna-branded (probably made by Panasonic) 123 battery that still works 35+ years after purchase...it came with the Mono-Lith flashlight I ordered in the early 80s direct from Tekna...remember, back then the designation was 123 or 123A, not CR123 or CR123A.
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galawdawg
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by galawdawg »

I've got Maglites that are forty or so years old and still working as good as new. Just needs a new set of batteries now and then. I may have had to replace a bulb once or twice but back when I bought them (around 1981-1982) they came with a spare bulb.
Kobra
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Kobra »

I really like Surefire flashlights. They are indestructible and they have LED lights that offer high lumens and most take the lithium cr123 that offer long life and no worries of batteries leaking. Surefire makes there own batteries that have a 10 year shelf light.


Mark
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dratkinson
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by dratkinson »

Dumb switches. For long storage life, avoid lights with smart/active switches... they are always drawing power.
Returned a Maglite 50XL after new batteries died within 30 days in glovebox.

The suggestion to unscrew tailcap or remove batteries between uses is an attempt to shift problem solution to buyer. A better solution is to buy a light with a dumb switch.


For a little immediate light, I've used, liked, and given these 1AAA keychain lights as gifts: Fenix E01, Titanium Innovations Illuminati CA1.

There are smaller keychain lights, but coin/button batteries are harder to find/replace. However, these smaller lights work well clipped to a zipper (jacket, purse,...) to find keyhole or contents.


For hands-free light (vehicle trouble, home power outage,...), I was given a Petzl Tikkina, and like it. Newer model is even better.


You'll use 10-50 lumen more often than 250-1000 lumen, and less powerful lights are cheaper and run longer.

But a bright 3D flashlight in the vehicle is useful for finding addresses, cows across a field, and social work. Recall HF has a ~500 lumen light for ~$20, less with 20% coupon.

Because of the way our eyes work, 750-1000 lumen doesn't appear to be that much brighter than 500 lumen.


AA and AAA cells can be found almost everywhere.


Lithium primary cells are reported to last a long time in storage, and to not leak.

But can use alkaline cells for immediate use if that's all that's available.


So decide what lights you need---zipper, keychain, flashlight, headlamp, lantern---buy it with a dumb switch, put lithium primary cells in it, and it should work when you need it 10-yrs from now.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
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Watty
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Watty »

Just for background what is going on is that around ten(?) years ago they took mercury out of alkaline batteries because the mercury is bad for the environment, which is understandable.

The problem is that the mercury was in the batteries to prevent them from swelling and leaking, like was a common problem up until maybe the 1970s.

I probably went 40 years without having a battery leak but in the last ten years since they took mercury out of batteries I have had three or four batteries leak. I have even had them leak before their "good till" date. At least in my experience the Costco Kirkland brand batteries have had more problems with this which is a shame since I used those all the time.

Some of the other types of batteries that people mentioned might work but I mainly just try to not let batteries get too old before I replace them.
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by iamlucky13 »

dratkinson wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 3:55 pmFor a little immediate light, I've used, liked, and given these 1AAA keychain lights as gifts: Fenix E01, Titanium Innovations Illuminati CA1.
Both those are out of production.

A clone of the Fenix E01 exists, and not merely a cheap knockoff, but actually similar build quality, and a higher quality LED (high CRI, floody beam that is better for indoor use, although not as much range) that didn't exist when Fenix designed the E01, and it's cheaper to boot. Look for the Sofirn C01 if you're interested, only available from the manufacturer's China-based website. They're probably only going to offer it for a limited time.

Other options that can be found on Amazon and have higher output (and consequently shorter runtime) are the Thrunite Ti3, Olight i3e, and Skilhunt e3a.

If you want something similar in size, really bright, and USB rechargeable, there is also the Rovyvon Aurora series, and the Nitecore Tini.

There are smaller keychain lights, but coin/button batteries are harder to find/replace. However, these smaller lights work well clipped to a zipper (jacket, purse,...) to find keyhole or contents.
dratkinson wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 3:55 pmYou'll use 10-50 lumen more often than 250-1000 lumen, and less powerful lights are cheaper and run longer.
I agree with this. I have lights capable of 3,000-4,000 lumens (although only briefly, due to heat). I occasionally use them at that level, but the overwhelming majority of the time, it's at 100 lumens or less. I can find my way safely around my house, even with the kids leaving toys scattered around, with less than 1 lumen if I give my eyes a moment to adjust.

That's just my experience, though. "Lumen creep" is a thing just like lifestyle creep. People get used to having a lot of lumens available, and start to use higher outputs regularly. Getting a light with limited output is actually a good way to control the temptation to creep your expectations upward.
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Quirkz
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Quirkz »

I hesitate to mention it because I'm not sure you can find them anymore, but the best flashlight I ever bought was an impulse buy from a discount rack at the front of an Ace Hardware. It was an LED light, sort of stick-shaped, with a row of 4 LED lights along the stick. It's got the physical switch on the back side, which sounds like it might be important for battery life + LED means it lasts forever. I don't use it constantly, but between camping, closet diving, etc, it gets several hours a month, and I think I've changed the batteries once in 7 years.

Anyway, if you can't time travel (they have a new rechargeable one that has horrible reviews) take a chance on cheap LED sets with physical switches and see if you luck into a good one.

Alternately, it may be a refurbishing issue. If you've already got the 2x year schedule for replacing fire alarm batteries, maybe add in 1x year for refreshing flashlights, probably in the fall, because you can think "it's going to get dark soon, need more light." See if that helps keep them replenished.
Ykcor
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Ykcor »

galawdawg wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:07 pm I've got Maglites that are forty or so years old and still working as good as new. Just needs a new set of batteries now and then. I may have had to replace a bulb once or twice but back when I bought them (around 1981-1982) they came with a spare bulb.
I have a long heavy mag lite. Sometimes I think of it as a Billy club if I get mugged at night. I'm wondering if could convert from incandescent bulb to LED as it drains battery quickly when in use.
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clemrick
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by clemrick »

Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions.
iamlucky13
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by iamlucky13 »

Ykcor wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:15 pm
galawdawg wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:07 pm I've got Maglites that are forty or so years old and still working as good as new. Just needs a new set of batteries now and then. I may have had to replace a bulb once or twice but back when I bought them (around 1981-1982) they came with a spare bulb.
I have a long heavy mag lite. Sometimes I think of it as a Billy club if I get mugged at night. I'm wondering if could convert from incandescent bulb to LED as it drains battery quickly when in use.
Yes. Do a search for Maglite LED conversion. They vary in quality and complexity. The simplest are just a drop-in replacement for the bulb and limited by the ability of such a small module to handle heat, but I've seen some that basically gut the light and turn it into a lithium-ion powered monster.

Personally, I'm keeping my old Maglites in their incandescent glory to be able to show my kids what flashlights used to be like.
Baker1357
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Baker1357 »

Fenix, without a doubt, more expensive up front, but super quality, very bright, rechargeable, long battery life. I have 2 models and very happy with them.
tm3
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by tm3 »

The boglehead forum of the flashlight world is candlepower.com.

In my experience, Fenix is a little cut above cheap WalMart lights but not great quality and poor customer service.

Streamlight is a much better choice.

The creme de la creme is Surefire, but you may not want to pay the price of admission.
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by tibbitts »

galawdawg wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:07 pm I've got Maglites that are forty or so years old and still working as good as new. Just needs a new set of batteries now and then. I may have had to replace a bulb once or twice but back when I bought them (around 1981-1982) they came with a spare bulb.
I believe everyone but you has converted their Maglites to LEDs, with... well, maybe limited success.
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by Sandtrap »

LED MagLight type by each entry/exit door. LED rechargeables on nightstands, handy places.
Rechargeable, AA, and/or D battery powered.

DW is the "flashlight lady". For some reason can never have enough of them around, everywhere.

The solution: get a lot of them for each type of use and handy wherever you happen to be.

Get lantern or desktop lamp types for power outages.

j :happy
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dknightd
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by dknightd »

Interesting discussion. I like to have a flash light available. Which means I might have more flashlights than is reasonable. The nice thing about having multiple flashlights is likely you can always find one that works. The downside is you have more lights that might go bad. More than once I've had to use one flashlight to help fix another flashlight ;)
I agree, this is usually a battery problem. I think I might start looking at batteries. Probably should shift from alkaline to lithium.
When I camped a lot, and used flashlights a lot, I used rechargeable batteries. Now, I mostly use flashlights for emergency and task lighting.
You also have to think about how you are going to use your flashlight. I find I have 3 general uses - area lighting - task lighting - and headlamp. I suppose task lighting and headlamp could be one category, but I separate them.
I've had good experience with tikka headlamps. I like the ones with a separate red LED. I buy them when they go on sale and give them to people who need a headlamp. I keep one in every backpack, car, truck, coat.
I have some old Rayovac 6v lamps, with an adjustable base so you can aim them at your task.
For general area lighting I'm trying out some cheap led lanterns - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NP ... UTF8&psc=1 Too early to tell if they will stand the test of time. And if they do, they will likely have been superseded by something that may, or may not, be better.
I have very limited use for high quality hand held flashlight. So if that is what you are looking for, I can't help :(
And, if you are looking for a single flashlight that will serve all your needs, again, I can't help :( sorry
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whomever
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by whomever »

"The creme de la creme is Surefire,"

They're OK for a mass market light :-), but I give you... malkoffdevices.com

There are other boutique places as well if you want a titanium bodied custom light to go with the Rolex :-)

In truth, there are a large number of perfectly serviceable makers ... Nitecore, Thrunite, Zebralight, Olight, Fenix, Streamlight, Surefire, ...I'm probably missing some. LED lights are all such a monumental improvement on incandescent that it is fairly hard to go wrong with any of those.
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Re: Long-Life Flashlight

Post by iamlucky13 »

dknightd wrote: Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:22 amThe downside is you have more lights that might go bad. More than once I've had to use one flashlight to help fix another flashlight
....
I have very limited use for high quality hand held flashlight.
It sounds to me like having a better quality flashlight or two around to be your go-to light for most uses would actually be a regular benefit for you. Keep the cheap lights stashed in useful places for unexpected needs, but $20-30 can get you a pretty decent light that should provide reliable service for many years.

I suppose I should add that unfortunately, this is one of those categories where it is a terrible shopping technique to simply do a search on Amazon for "flashlight." A few decent lights show up in the first couple pages of hits, but the majority are the low quality lights with exaggerated specs, almost inevitably describing themselves as "tactical" and sometimes even outright lying about being used by the military.

Several good brands have been mentioned by myself and a couple others, which span a range of prices. The light recommended by The Wirecutter is from one of those brands. I've got an earlier version of it and have been using it regularly for 4 years or so.
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