I have a huge flashlight fetish. They are all over my house. They vary in size and power and battery size. Ever since I was a kid and my dad gave me this cool looking metal flashlight, silver in color with a switch on the side that had a button that I could press to create light – I was hooked.
Nowadays – LED rules that day. Most of my flashlights run on AA, AAA, or CR123 batteries. Technology continues to produce brighter flashlights that run longer on smaller batteries.
Someone sent me an email and recommended one of these super cheap Chinese-made LED flashlights that are available on Amazon. There are several variations of the same similar light for as low as $5.00 with FREE SHIPPING. Yeah – FREE SHIPPING and some of them are getting shipped from Hong Kong. Many of these lights will accept the use of a regular AA battery or a special higher voltage battery.
Pretty apprehensive – I decided to go ahead and buy a 400 lumen model that was shipping from within the United States. After placing the order it arrived within a few days. Initial impression was pretty positive. The flashlight had a nice finish to it. I had figured it would be made out of super thin aluminum but in fact it had a good “feel” to it. The belt clip is strong and secure on the flashlight. I pressed the orange on-off button on the rear of the light and it went “click” with a clear indication as to whether it was pressed or not.
Overall – for less than $9.00 total – looking good.
I was anxious to try the 400 Lumen Mini-Flashlight out. I installed an AA alkaline battery, turned the light on and lit up a wall. I was not overly impressed. I mean – it was bright for a $9.00 light but it did not look like 400 lumens to me. I adjusted the beam down to maximum focus and what I saw was extremely odd – I could see the outline of the LED element. It was decently bright but strange to see as I am used to a round spot rather than a squarish illumination.
I grabbed another of my lights that runs at 130 lumens and took both outside. Shining both on the side of the house I found that the 400 Lumen Mini-Flashlight was indeed brighter. Not 200-300 lumens brighter – but brighter regardless.
Not bad at all for $9.00.
More than meets the eye…..
I have not tried out any lithium AA batteries but understand the tremendous benefit they offer – at a cost. I bought a pack of lithium-ion AA batteries and decided to try one in the 400 Lumen Mini-Flashlight. After installation – I found that the flashlight was indeed brighter than with the alkaline.
Regardless – it was much brighter and remembering this light was under $9.00 – impressed. Now – the lithium battery and alkaline have the same voltage so this did not make much sense. I went and opened a fresh pack of alkaline and found that apparently when I grabbed the initial AA alkaline battery – it was either used or old.
Why not 400 lumens?
Wondering if the 400 lumen claim is just a crock or what – I looked into the flashlight more. I found this light will work with both AA 1.5 volt batteries as well as special 18650 3.7 volt lithium batteries. Well – doing a little math using an assumption that the lights output will be 400 lumens at 3.7 volts tells me that with a fresh 1.5 volt alkaline will provide 162 lumens.
Hey – for around $8.85 I will take 162 lumens!!
Overall – I am really impressed with this light. I have used it almost daily for the past few weeks with no issues. I have a set of rechargeable 18650 batteries on order and am really looking forward to seeing how the light will perform at full voltage.
I will provide an update once I receive them.
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