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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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 ( email@example.com)
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)!
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.
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. ;)
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-
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.
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
(Amazon.com product link shortened) />/
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.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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