need want a EDC flashlight. I have an old Digilight 1000XB, but it eats CR123 batteries like they are candy, doesn’t have any way to attach a lanyard or other retention device, and the bulbs are very susceptible to heat shock. Since CR123 batteries give little warning before discharging fully, and because I have to carry around replacement bulbs in case I accidentally hit the on/off button an extra time when turning it on, I’d prefer something else.
I bought a Fenix E21 a few months ago, knowing that it was slightly large for practical everyday carry, buy the price was right and the reviews were good. Despite the reviews, I was less than impressed. When it works, it is awesome. It has the known deficiencies that I knew going in – a bit large to carry around constantly, and the adjustment from really fucking bright to almost as bright never seemed to work (a common complaint). However, I’m not getting the life out of my NiMH batteries that I expected based on the experience of other users. I’m running some experiments to verify whether it is the light or the batteries that is the problem, so I won’t malign the light until I know for sure. Regardless, it really is too big for everyday carry.
I’ve also tried some cheapie options. The $3.77 Rayovac model from WallyWorld is housed in what appears to be an impressively durable case that might actually be strong enough to knock a car window out or put dents in a BG’s skull. However, it only puts out just enough light to be visible three inches away in complete darkness on a full battery. I used it last night when I stopped by the house, and I almost tripped walking around to the front steps from not being able to see the ground.
The Energizer keyring light that utilizes multiple button batteries (almost a disqualification there) puts out slightly more light, but is still severely lacking, and only has a momentary pushbutton switch. I lost the fucking thing a couple weeks ago, and didn’t like it enough to buy another to replace it.
I want something sized so that that I can carry in my pants pocket or on a carabiner attached to my belt loop along with my keys. Five inch overall length would be about the max I’d be comfortable with, and length is more important than girth. In other words short and fat better than long and skinny. I strongly prefer something that uses AAA or AA batteries, so I can use rechargeable batteries, but I will consider a model that uses button or CR123 batteries if I must. I don’t need to signal airplanes with it, but I would like to be able to comfortably change a tire by the light it puts out, and not completely drain the batteries in the process. It needs to be durable enough that is is not likely to go tits up the first time I gravity check it. I’d like to limit the price to $50-75, while less would obviously be better.
I’d prefer that it not utilize Cree LEDs. First of all, I used to work for them and they fired me for no good reason. Mostly, though, I’ve owned six lights that used their LEDs, and five of them had reliability or functionality issues. Four either blinked when shook or did not work at all from the beginning, or stopped working after very minimal shock – only one survived until a battery leaked and destroyed it. I also blame the inoperable low/high adjustment on the Fenix E21 on Cree, and I don’t really give a shit whether it is their fault or not.
I know that the technology is available within my preferred price range. I just hate to keep throwing $25-75 out for lights that suck for me for one reason or another until I finally find one that suits me. Any suggestions?