Archives for posts with tag: Flashlight

Ultra Fire Flashlight Review • WCXC

I got this UltraFire XML-T6 LED flashlight as a Christmas gift last year. At first I wasn’t sure where to place it in the product pantheon. The branding looked Chinese and a bit knock-offy. The aluminum body, while not top quality, felt rugged and substantial. The flashlight’s lens could be pulled in and out to focus from a wide beam to a tight, bright square pattern.

A little more research revealed that they are basically knock-offs of the SureFire brand of flashlights that run in the $100 to $400 range. The branding is a bit fluid. There’s UltraFire, SuperFire, and others. That said, it doesn’t seem like a cheap knock off. It performs well. It has a high-quality Cree bulb and throws a REALLY bright beam. And here’s the kicker. It comes with two batteries and a charger, and it’s only $14.

When I first got it, I only charged one battery because that’s all that slid out of the tube. The light stayed lit for maybe an hour before it started to blink and signal that it was dying. Once I figure out that it runs on two batteries, and charged both, it’s been running fine.

The button on the back will cycle through the following modes with each half-press of the button: high beam, medium beam, low beam, strobe, SOS.

I haven’t don’t any waterproof testing. The rear cap is fitted with an o-ring but the front lens housing unscrews to reveal no o-ring. At that price I don’t care though. I don’t expect it to perform as well as a $400 flashlight. And I don’t know that I believe the 1600 lumen rating. That said, the beam is very bright and the flashlight certainly performs many times better than it’s $14 dollar price tag suggests it should.

So, yes, a Chinese knock-off, but one that so far delivers quite a bit of light-up-the-night bang for your buck.

Update 4/7/2014:
The specs for the Cree XM-L T6 LED is 280–300 lumens at 700mA, according to

Amazon: UltraFire XML-T6 Flashlight

Ultra Fire, company site

Flashlight Wiki: UltraFire

Flashlight Wiki: Cree XM-L LED Bulb Specs

I bought this 12V Ridgid Compact Cordless Drill kit a couple of months ago. It’s a two-speed, reversible drill with a 3/8″ chuck and 300 in-lbs. of torque, which seems like plenty for a drill this size. It feels well balanced and weighted. An LED at the front of the drill lights up when the trigger is pulled to light your work. The 18-setting torque clutch snaps from setting to setting with an easy twist and satisfying click.

The kit also includes a charger which tops up batteries in about half an hour. Instead of leaving the charged battery to languish in the bag, Ridgid included a nice, bright, single-LED flashlight. I haven’t done any formal testing, but using the flashlight doesn’t seem to drain that much power from the battery, so you can still put it in the drill when the drill’s battery runs out.

I was looking for a space-saving drill kit for the boat and I’ve been really happy with it.

I found this on Cool Tools the other day. It’s a Fenix headband mount for your favorite 18–22mm-diameter flashlight. If you pair it with a Fenix E11 flashlight, you’ll have a 105 lumen, side-mounted headlamp that runs on a single AA battery for about $50. The waterproof container on the other side of the headband holds two spare batteries (CR123, AA, or AAA), which will come in handy as the E11 has a max run time of 8 hours and 23 minutes on low power and 1 hour 50 minutes on high power.

If you carry your spare batteries somewhere else, you can install the other included flashlight holder in place of the battery container, and run two flashlights simultaneously. Using a pair of 4Sevens MiniX 123 lights, for example, will give you a whopping 420 lumens of light. If you do, carry a few spare CR123 batteries. Each light will burn through one an hour pumping out that much light. Run them at the low 1.2 lumen setting and they’ll  last for 100 hours or 6.5 hours on 45-lumen, medium setting.

As a comparison, my Petzl Tikka XP 2 headlamp puts out 80 lumens and will run 70 hours at that rate on 3 AAA batteries.

The mounted flashlight can rotate any direction, even straight up, handy when paired with the 4Sevens MiniX’s SOS beacon function.

I haven’t had any personal experience with this system but the headband and both flashlights get high marks on Amazon.

It looks like a versatile system. You can utilize your favorite mini flashlight without having to buy a separate, dedicated headlamp. You can also load this system up with a lot of lighting power, which seems to be its main strength.

The downside is, of course, run time. The Petzl Tikka has comparable power to a single Fenix E11 but lasts over 38 times longer on a battery load.