Flashlight Basics and Features

Welcome to the homepage of the “flashlights reviewed” website. Since you’re here we can safely assume you have a desire to learn about the top flashlights and make a buying decision. We’ll make that easy for you with articles and posts that will make your learning experience productive and, hopefully, lots of fun.

Take it slow at this point since there is much to learn. We are featuring content for different types of users so it’s best to soak up a bit of knowledge before making a decision. So what exactly do we mean by different user groups? For simplicity you could say there are people who just need a good flashlight for personal use and the occasional emergency like a power failure. On the other hand, there are persons in the professional world who rely on their flashlights for performance of their duties. These folks include police and fire personnel to name just a few.

Within each of these groups, there are many different subgroups for the civilian and professional flashlight user. Both of these groups have one thing in common; A good quality flashlight with the right set of features. There are lots of quality manufacturers and lots of features that are available. In order to make the right choice, you’ll need to understand a little bit about different options that are available.

Flashlight Product Features

Case and Lens Cover

The case and lens cover are important for a durable flashlight. The lens cover should be manufactured with a highly scratch resistant lens that provides an even light dispersion. This is similar to the crystal on a watch where a single scratch will ruin the visibility of the face. A scratched lens on your flashlight will be equally destructive to its ability to project light efficiently. The lens may be designed to throw the light over a wide area or adjust to a tight spotlight. Some have a variable lens that will be able to adjust from a spotlight to a broad throw for maximum light coverage.

The case should be constructed to withstand impact and also to provide a waterproof seal for the internal parts of the flashlight. A plastic case is really not an option due to its loss of structural integrity over the long term. That leaves a metal case as the best option. Either a stainless steel or powder coated steel case will perform adequately, but there is extra weight involved when compared to a hardened aluminum case. The top flashlights will be constructed of a military grade anodized aluminum case for ultimate hardness and durability. Unless you have a specific need to utilize the flashlight as a baton, then consider going with the aluminum case.

Lumens (Brightness)

The light output of your flashlight is measured in Lumens. Lumens are a unit of measure that describe the light intensity of the visible light output. Many flashlights will be equipped with dual output settings, high and low, and others are simply designed for one or the other. The choice is yours and should be considered before making a purchase. Usually a dual output setting is preferred for the extra versatility. The low setting is commonly used to read maps or other mundane tasks when an intense light is more distracting than helpful. The low setting also helps to conserve battery life which could be critical for survival in the wilderness when every resource must be conserved over several days. The high setting is used for throwing the maximum light to provide a brightly lit room using a broad throw lens or a tight spotlight for a weapon mounted flashlight. The uses are as varied as the person using the flashlight.

Batteries

A good battery will greatly enhance the performance of your flashlight. Our preference is the CR123 battery that has been designed to perform at top output throughout its battery charge. These specialized batteries were designed for high out devices and also feature a 10-year shelf life. You will commonly hear flashlights described as one cell or three cells, etc.… This is simply a reference to the number of batteries housed inside the flashlight case. The price of the CR123 batteries is the only drawback, but they can be purchased at a reasonable price in bulk when shopping online. Expect to pay about two dollars apiece when bought in quantity. Other flashlights are equipped with traditional “flashlight batteries” and these will also work fairly well, although you will notice these batteries will become dimmer and dimmer as they reach the end of their charge.

Many models are rechargeable. This is a great option for having a flashlight at the ready in an emergency. The debate runs hot and heavy over using CR123 batteries or traditional batteries in either the NiCad or lithium sunsets. Lithium batteries great for high output tasks but will tend to lose some storage capacity over time when compared to their NiCad brothers. CR123 are lithium batteries and can be equipped in either a standard or rechargeable flashlight.

LED Flashlight Bulbs

There is no substitute for an LED bulb. This feature alone is what sets the modern flashlight apart from its predecessors. The LED bulb will put out more light with less energy consumed. this translates to the best efficiency and should be included in any flashlight purchased whether for civilian or professional use. The technology has evolved to a point where there is no reason to consider and other choice in a flashlight bulb.

Specialized Flashlight Features

There are a number of additional extra features available for specialized users. For instance, a law enforcement officer may desire a strobe function to distract and disorient an opponent at close range. A weapon mounted flashlights have become popular since Surefire introduced the category in the not so distant past. Weapon mounts can be used in either tactical situations are for recreational use. Other “hands free” mounting options are important for search and rescue or hiking. Top this off with several different styles of on/off tail cap switches and I think you’ll agree that a feature comparison is helpful before making a purchase.

Top Flashlight Manufacturers

There are several good manufacturers of top best tactical flashlights and these will be featured on this website. By studying various reviews you will discover some differences in the features and some surprising values. Of course, the best tactical grade flashlights will be more expensive than their more modest cousins, so you will have a tough decision to make before deciding on a purchase. Some of the imports have reached a level of quality making them difficult to ignore.

tac-flash-04Please browse through the content to find useful tips and information. Leave your comments concerning your own experiences and tell us about any flashlights that you currently own. Thanks for visiting and we’ll look forward to hearing from you.

The Surefire E2D LED Defender fits in the palm of your hand

SureFire E2D LED Defender Tactical Flashlight Review

The Surefire E2D Defender LED Tactical Flashlight is a compact sized, dual output torch for self defense and illumination uses. It provides an extremely rugged energy controlled LED emitter along with a highly polished and scratch resistant lens. The click to activate tail cap switch allows you switch the torch and choose the output mode: you will click for the high setting of 200 lumens, which is more than adequate to disorient an aggressor’s night vision. You would then release the switch or simply click to the off position and click once more for the 5-lumen ultra extended time low setting that’s appropriate for moving inside a dark space or outside area. The crenellated crown and scalloped end are perfect for other self defense options if needed.

This is a category leader in the compact flashlight class. With the Surefire quality that comes standard with every flashlight, you will never have to worry about the performance of the torch in a critical situation. This size and weight provide a very portable style of flashlight and can easily be carried on the belt or inside a pocket.

SureFire-E2D-LED-Defender-Dual-Output-LED

 

Compact tactical flashlight with dual output modes and scalloped crown for self defense options.

Surefire E2D LED Defender – A Woman’s Perspective

Get a woman’s perspective as the top features of the Surefire E2D LED Defender are discussed in this video review. It is interesting to break free of the macho mold of swat teams swinging down ropes from hovering helicopters. Think more in terms of your wife or mother looking for their car in the parking garage. It’s a completely different perspective and highlights just why a top tactical flashlight can be used for more than a man toy.

The Next Generation of Surefire Tactical Flashlights

Watch here to learn more about Surefire’s next generation of tactical flashlights. There are many different options in body styles, materials, and tactical features between various models. A police officer describes the features in detail and graphically displays why some of the features are important. Don’t buy a tactical flashlight without learning more about the top features.

The Next Generation of Surefire Tactical Flashlights

Surefire G2X Pro Video Review

Learn more about the Surefire G2X Pro in this video review.

The Surefire G2X has all the great features you have come to expect from a Surefire tactical flashlight at a rock bottom price. You still get the rugged dependability of a Surefire with a flashlight that will survive just about anything. The G2X comes with several different feature sets so shop around a little bit before deciding which one is best for your needs. There is a tactical version designed to go straight into tactical mode with a single switch or you might opt for the versatility of a dual output mode for camping and all-purpose use.

Surefire G2X Pro Video Review

Surefire G2X Pro Tactical Flashlight Review

The Surefire G2X Pro is a high efficiency LED flashlight in the compact category. It is almost fail proof because the rugged LED emitter won’t break down. There are dual output settings: a bright white, 320 lumen mode, and a 15 lumen low output mode for extended use without significant battery power loss. This is important when you are without a power source and miles from anywhere.

“…Get this flashlight if you need a powerful beam and the convenience of a compact flashlight…”

Switching Options

The first time you press the tail cap it will switch to the momentary on mode at the low power setting. After pressing again the unit switches to the constant on mode. To turn off the unit, simply press the tail cap switch again and it shuts down. If you press the tail cap switch again in the first two seconds it will turn on the high beam mode. There is also a single output model of this flashlight that also has a tactical tail cap switch for advanced users.

Top Features

Surefire makes this model in both an aluminum and polymer body. The choice is a matter of preference. The polymer version is designed with a textured finish for an easier gripping surface, but it’s tough to beat an anodized aluminum body for it’s light weight.

Attention to detail and fine craftsmanship are apparent in the poly carbonate reflector. It is designed for a smooth throw and is tuned for a tight focus in your field of view. At the high setting the field of view provided by the light allows you to easily see your surrounding over a wide area. The field of view for the G2X Pro is somewhat wider than other models made by Surefire.

Specifications

Durable LED flashlight designed for maximum efficiency and extended battery life
Dual output 320 lumens at high and a low setting for long battery life
Precision manufactured polished reflector for a smooth throw and optimized field of vision
Rugged polycarbonate lens window is impact and scratch resistant
Rugged polymer (or aluminum) body and anodized aluminum bezel piece for light weight and long life
Dual-switch tailcap for momentary low light mode, then constant low light mode, off then click for high setting
A weatherproof O-ring, gasket sealed case for reliability
All Surefire flashlights come standard and equipped with CR 123A batteries having a 10 year shelf life

Recommendation

The Surefire G2X Pro should be considered for it’s combination of light weight, compact size and powerful beam. This is a professional grade flashlight suitable for a variety of users based on its long battery life and switching options. With a high setting of 320 lumens, you will light up the night. Get this flashlight if you need a powerful beam and the convenience of a compact flashlight.

G2X-Pro-Dual-Output-LED

Surefire G2X-Pro Dual Output LED Tactical Flashlight

Surefire P2X Fury Review

The Surefire P2X Fury is another great offering from Surefire. It’s their first compact model with a 500 lumen light output. The LED bulb is CREE XM-L LED. The flashlight has two output settings. The low always comes on first and the high output is switchable to 500 lumens. The flashlight is powered by 2 CR123 batteries. This video review features a side by side nighttime demo with the Surefire 6PX.

This little bad boy is a brilliant light that is made to carry in your pocket. With an impressive 500 lumens you will completely illuminate your surroundings. Check out the video below to get a good look at just how powerful and compact this unit really is.

Streamlight Microstream LED Flashlight Review

Looking for a great little flashlight? The Streamlight Microstream is a tough little flashlight to carry in your pocket. It will be there when you need every time  A very versatile flashlight for any user. It only weighs one ounce and that is with the battery. With a fresh battery it will last almost 4 hours. This is well in excess of the rated duration and this is using a single triple A battery. It is built tough and will last for years.

This is a great utility flashlight perfect for utility users who need a reliable and durable flashlight in a small package. The single AAA battery is an inexpensive alternative to many other battery/flashlight combinations. The momentary on/off feature adds to the ease of use and will save the battery life and also extend the life of the switch if used frequently. Give this a try and you will be happy with the value received in an inexpensive package.

Fenix TK21 Flashlight Review

The Fenix TK21 flashlight comes in a nice carry case, with some spare accessories like an extra o-ring. The cost is around $90 to $100. It can be closely compared to the Surefire P2x for about two thirds the price. It uses two CR123 batteries. The low switch is five lumens which runs for two hundred plus hours. There is a medium mode at about 58 lumens which runs for about sixteen hours and a high switch at 189 lumens rated at about five hours. There is a turbo mode which runs at 468 lumens for just under two hours. The Fury also has a strobe mode used for self defense. The unit switched on with the on/off tail cap and the different modes are activated by the side switch. the unit always starts in low and you can switch it to brighter modes sequentially from the lowest setting to turbo.

Features:
  • Digitally regulated output – maintains constant brightness
  • Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
  • Push button switch with momentary-on function
  • Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
  • Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
Operating Modes:
  • Low: 5 Lumens constant (220-hour battery life)
  • Mid: 58 Lumens constant (16-hour battery life)
  • High: 180 Lumens constant (5-hour, 10-minute battery life)
  • Turbo: 468 Lumens constant (1-hour, 50-minute battery life)
Specifications:
  • Cree XM-L (U2) LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours
  • Uses two 3V CR123A batteries (Lithium) or one 18650 rechargeable battery (Li-ion)
  • Dimensions: 6 inches long by 1 inch in diameter; 1.7-inch head diameter
  • Weight (excluding batteries): 152.6 grams

Surefire E2L-AA LED Flashlight Review

The Surefire E2L-AA LED flashlight features 60 on high and 3 lumens on low in an ultra compact design. It runs on two AA batteries (included in package) and provides sixty hours of run time at the low setting. The unit has a belt clip or it can be carried easily in the pocket. The unit cycles between the high and low setting by clicking the tail cap switch.

Features

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize output and run time
  • Two output levels; high for maximum light and low for extended run time
  • TIR lens produces tight beam with enough surround light for peripheral vision
  • Coated tempered window resists impact, maximizes light
  • High-strength aerospace aluminum body, Mil-Spec hard-anodized for extreme durability
  • Dual-output tailcap click switch; press for momentary-on low, click for constant-on low, return to off then press or click again to select high
  • Steel clip provides multiple carry options
  • Weatherproof O-ring and gasket sealing
  • Includes high-energy CR123A batteries with ten-year shelf life

Specifications

  • Runs for six hours on 60-lumen high setting
  • Runs for 100 hours on three-lumen low setting
  • 5.4-inch length
  • One-inch bezel diameter
  • 3.7-ounce weight with batteries
  • Runs on two CR123A batteries (included)

Surefire 6PX Tactical Flashlight Review

The Surefire 6PX Tactical Flashlight is built to last using the highest quality construction. SureFire’s 6PX tactical flashlight features a delivers about 200 lumens output in an indestructible case.

The tail cap features a safety preventing accidental on/off. Just twist the cap for a fully on beam when the tal cap is pressed. The Surefire 6PX was designed for law enforcement and for personal defense.