Better Flashlights

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Had this 4-cell Radio Shack flashlight that I used every day. The reflector was brittle plastic and it took only one short drop onto *carpet* to crack the bulb housing. Useless, now.
Can anyone recommend a *good* cheap flashlight that's more durable? Something you could buy four or five of to keep in several places throughout the house.
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The freebies at HF work for me. I have them stashed everywhere. I have about 12 of them now. Every time I go buy something I get one. If you're gonna let it sit for awhile, I'd swap out the cheap batteries for something a little better but I haven't had any issues with them yet. Here's a coupon to get you started http://tinypic.com/r/almg5w/5
HTH
Matt
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AZ Nomad wrote:

Well, lessee, last time I counted, I had 9 of those little LED flashlights from Harbor Freight, free with a coupon. Not great, but at the price.... (Not real bright to work by, but plenty bright to navigate with in the dark, inside the house. I'm gonna keep collecting them till they throw me out, or until I have one for each car, coat, bedroom, and tool box, whichever comes first.)
My real flashlight is a 4-D MagLite, but damned if I know where it is at the moment. Hope it turns up when I happen to clear the right pile of junk off some horizontal surface around here. They aren't as good as the used to be, but they are also a lot cheaper than they used to be.
I'd just go to Harbor Freight, BigLots, or local cheap junk store, and see what they have. The gray ray-o-vac branded ones are pretty good- I have a couple of those- but I haven't seen them in stores lately. Buy one, take it out to the car and take it apart and see just how cheap it is, and if it looks okay, go back in and buy 4 more. Avoid blow-molded ones like the old gray tube/red cap ones like Rat Shack used to give away. I had 2-3 of those years ago, and the cap ring shattered on every one. Look for LED or krypton bulbs- traditional flashlight bulbs are useless at this point.
--
aem sends...

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DemoDisk wrote:

I used to find surplus Navy flashlights cheap and durable. Now I prefer LED headband lights. They may cost more than $10 but appear to last indefinitely.
There's not much battery weight to cause damage if it's dropped. The feel of the band makes it easy to find in a dark drawer, or you can hang it. To take it with you, you can wear it around your neck so it won't be dropped or misplaced.
You can see with both hands free. The kind with lithium buttons would have a shelf life in years, while AAA NiMH cells (with three spares in your pocket) would would be thrifty for extensive use.
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I have two smaller aluminum body LED flashlights that I consider better bargains. One is the Dorcy 1-AA 3-LED one, available at some hardware stores and maybe some drug stores and the like. The other is a 3-AAA 3-LED one that I got at Dollar Tree. ($1 for the light without batteries)
The Dorcy one has actual electronics in it, but I still consider it to be a good reliable flashlight.
The $1 one from Dollar Tree is simpler without actual electronics.
Both work usably from batteries too pooped out to get an incandescent bulb to glow brighter than a cigarette.
Both are good at surviving falls onto hard surfaces, especially the Dorcy.
I decided as a result of this thread to torture-test these two lights. My test was to toss both of them 25-30 feet into the air over a parking lot, 10 times with switch off and 10 times with switch on.
The $1 one survived the first couple tosses. Somewhere between the 2nd and 9th this torture testing ruined it. After the 7th, the clear plastic "lens" over the LEDs-and-reflector was no longer there. I tried the switch after the 9th, and found it not to work. I opened it up after the 9th, and found the battery carriage to be broken into many pieces. This light may have survived as little as two of these tosses. However, I consider this light to be able to survive a much larger number of mere drops onto hard surfaces. I consider this $1 light to be a good bargain unless you use it enough to run into three AAA cells being a lot less economical than a single AA cell.
The Dorcy one survived this testing through the 15th toss. After the 15th toss with falling 25-30 feet onto a parking lot, the switch worked very irregularly and barely usably. I discontinued the torture testing of the Dorcy after the 15th toss because the light barely survived this much torture testing.
It appears to me that the $1 3-AAA 3-LED one can probably be run over by a car a few times, and the Dorcy 1-AA-cell 3-LED one can be run over by a full concrete mixer truck a few times.
Beware of the $3 or so 9-LED flashlight. Someone I know got one, and the switch started not working very well after a few months of moderate though likely-above-average use.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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There used to be a cheapo brand called K-something (K-lite?) that's dirt cheap, and fairly reliable. $1 ea fer dbl AAs. Beware though, you get what you pay for. My current go-to flashlight is an older 2 D-cell Garrity. Waterproof and rubber armored. They're very reasonably priced for how good they are. My recommended brand.
Whatever you do, stay away from Maglites. I've owned at least 2 doz over the years. Overpriced crap. I've yet to own one that didn't eventually fail, usually sooner than later. You couldn't give me one (and they used to)!
nb
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I have about a 15yr old Maglite that works just fine.
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Lets see. You didn't like the crap maglite, so you bought 23 more of them? Why do I have a hard time believing you?
I've had good luck with Maglite brand. Mine tend to be well made. The last Mini-Mag I got from walmrt, the threads were very loose. Might just be the walmart ones, I don't know.
--
Christopher A. Young
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Probably cuz you don't have much trust in your fellow man. Sounds like a personal problem.
I've only ever bought two, a 5 cell and a 2 cell (D). The rest were promotional items or gifts. I used to get mini-mags free with a 2-paks of Camel cigarettes. Every single one of them eventually quit working. The D cell switches failed and the minis all would get poor connectivity from their small two pronged light bulbs. All it took was removing the reflector and moving the bulb pins in and out a couple times to get 'em working again. but that's still after they stopped working. Not my definition of reliable. I tossed 'em all.
My mom just ask me fix her 3 D cell maglite that didn't work. I replaced the batteries and the connectivity is intermittent. Screw the bottom cap in part way and it works. Screw the bottom cap all the way and it doesn't. Another failure in my book and I'm not gonna hassle trying to figure out why and fix it.
No other brand of flashlight has consistently failed like maglites. Even the cheapest Chinese plastic junkers are more reliable. I'm talking 100% failure, here. If you like them, keep giving them your money. They'll get no more of mine. If you still think I'm not telling the truth, that's your privilege. I couldn't care less. ;)
nb
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Stormin Mormon wrote the following:

Re-read his last sentence slowly..

I've had a three cell Maglite for about 20 years. I also have 2 of the mini maglites. I wouldn't buy any other brand.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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My fav flashlight is a 1W 2AA LED made by Rayovac,bought at WalMart for 18.00USD. It's very bright,heavy anodized aluminum body,tailcap button for momentary-ON,screw in the cap for full-ON.
Next is a 2 AAA River Rock 0.5W LED penlight from Target for $10USD.
then there's my mini-Maglite with 3 LED conversion and tailcap from Nite- ize.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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I, however, possessed with intelligence, have not bought 23 more mini mags after deciding that my first one was crap.
--
Christopher A. Young
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...but, apparently are too stupid to realize not one participant in this thread has claimed to have "bought 23 more mini-mags".
nb
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And, you aren't the brightest flashlight in the basket, having failed to notice that you're making a false accusation.
--
Christopher A. Young
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The one time I remember destroying a mag lite, was a 4D. I used it underwater in the swimming pool. Turned it on and off zillion times. The next day it was full of water, and the switch stopped working. I sent it to the mag people. They wrote back that they replaced the switch and for two bucks postage they would send it back. Of course, this was in about 1975, and postage has gone up. The light served me well, for many years. Until Canadian Customs searched my van, and the Mag wasn't there when they finished.
--
Christopher A. Young
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DemoDisk wrote:

I have friends and customers who have little boys who often think I'm a jungle gym and want me to toss them around and hang them upside down, etc. The critters are also good at testing the durability of just about any product. I will often get several industrial flashlights for the little guys at the supply house, it keeps them occupied for hours. Oh yea, I get extra batteries for them too. Little boys love the real live contractor flashlights, especially those with the magnets.
(Amazon.com product link shortened) />/
http://www.rayovac.com/flashlight/i2d-b.shtml
TDD
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Those flash lights look good. Sturdy, and should be enough light to be useful. Glad the kids are high energy, and playful. Too many kids now days are video addicts.
--
Christopher A. Young
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On 03/09/2010 04:26 PM, DemoDisk wrote:

Not uber-cheap, but the $30 Lowe's "Task Force" 2x C-cell 3W LED flashlight is impressive enough that I have four of them - one to leave by the front door in case the power goes out, one as a sometime work light, sometime bike light, and two to carry in vehicles. Kicks my old Mag-Lite's ass at less than half the size and weight.
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
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Check out the ones at Sam's Club. It's the same "Luxeon" 3-watt LED and you get a couple for the same price.

--
Nonny


Luxury cars now offer a great seating option for politicians.
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