Thorfire TK4A vs Nitecore EA41 Review

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everydaysurvivalgear
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Thorfire TK4A vs Nitecore EA41 Review

Thorfire TK4A Review

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Hey folks today I am reviewing an already heavily critiqued flashlight the Thorfire TK4A. I think we have had like a million Thorfire reviews lately so why is my review different? Its not hahaha I will try and make this exciting. The TK4A was sent to me by Thorfire for review purposes so we shall review!

I am going to compare the TK4A against the Nitecore EA41 they are both fairly similar besides emitter and price. Please keep in mind the EA41 I own I bought in 2014 so its fairly used and older now. Plus I switched the LED to a Warm White XML-T6 that was all that I had even though its a downgrade from the stock U2.

I think flashlights like the Thorfire TK4A are the best lights you can buy in a sense that they are super versatile. Any flashlight that runs on standard AA battery format is handy in an emergency seeing as AA and AAA are still the most common battery types. Yes the TK4A runs on 4 standard alkaline batteries but I would highly recommend Ni-MH batteries if you are not made of cash.

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Firstly we will talk about the build quality of the TK4A the build quality is really good. The TK4A is a very consumer friendly flashlight so it doesn’t have flashlight enthusiasts in mind in a sense. Excpet for the amazing output and throw numbers. This means the TK4A is built very very good. Things like the weight and cooling have been taken into consideration. You do not want to sell to an average consumer a flashlight that may over heat because it is very likely that it will overheat and cause issues in the future. We have all been there showing of to our friends. The TK4A does have an auto step down we will talk more about that later.

So to make a well built consumer flashlight in turn will mean a some what bulky flashlight with good cooling. Cooling is number one priority for a flashlight no matter if its made for one of us or an average consumer. We are more likely to understand how much cooling plays a part in a flashlights make and build. While an average consumer may not understander that leaving a flashlight on high for an hour is not good.

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Plus a fool proof battery system is number one on these style flashlights. Thorfire like Nitecore have tackled issues by making it near impossible to make a mistake. The tail cap can only fit one way on both the flashlights. Which makes it easier to figure out. Both of these flashlights have a stickers on the inside of the battery tube. This sticker is a guide on which way to place the batteries the correct way. It would appear that both flashlights have short circuit protection I placed batteries wrong way on purpose and no blue smoke. So they don’t vape yo!

The weight of both the Thorfire TK4A and the EA41 are on the heavy side but that is price you pay for running 4 NiMH cells. The weight isn’t the worse just don’t carry them with lose fitting pants because you will dax your self like you where back at school lol. Could be worse you could get a wedgie. I was once at the movies running up the stairs and I tripped on my long pants and pulled my own pants down hahahaha! Yes I know!.

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Size wise these two flashlight are actually very similar the TK4A is just a tad shorter but the EA41 has a skinnier battery tube. Its mainly the reflector that makes the EA41 longer. Both reflector appear to be fairly similar in size and width just the EA41 is longer. The EA41 is a little bit skinnier looking This is accounted for the more curves on the EA41 compared to the more round shape of the TK4A.

The overall build quality of the TK4A is amazing Thorfire went above and beyond to the finish of the TK4A. The TK4A feels much alike the EA41 in many ways. The main differences would be the grip types the Knurling on the TK4A is more of a standard style knurling. It feels good but it could be a tad deeper for a better grip. The knurling on the EA41 is great its so big and chunky and offers a lot of grip. Sliding my hand across both flashlight the TK4A does offer more grip but if it was to get dirty or wet the EA41 would win out. They both offer there own equine looks with the different knurling patterns. I like the feel of the skinnier battery tube on the EA41 better but this is strictly personal opinion. The tail cap threads on the TK4A are very well cut and work good. It can some times be a pain to get the two prongs in and tighten the threads on other flashlights. No issue here with both lights actually.

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On the TK4A you get an extra fat o-ring to help keep the water out. Its a very large O-ring. Really had no reason to add that.
I like the fact that Thorfire put some knurling on the tail cap to help with grip when tightening up the battery tube. They know I have fat fingers.

The TK4A is made out of all the usual goodies it uses aircraft grade aluminum alloy and is using hard anodizing type 3. I have had mine for a while now and I can say the anodizing is very hard wearing. I treat my lights bad and the TK4A is holding up well the anodizing is a glossy black finish. The TK4A appears to have an AR coated lens but its not as tinted as the EA41 I do not know how much of a difference that makes.

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Both of these flashlight use an SMO reflector which is okay because it gives you a little bit of extra throw. I would have to say both beams are not centered the best. I guess it doesn’t really matter because overall throw is not the number one objective here. I think an OP style reflector would help a lot here and make the beam profile a bit prettier. They are both not noticeable when you take them outside the beam appears clean and refined. Its only close up on a wall that you will notice. This can easily be fixed by playing with the centering rings.
I would like to see a model of the TK4A that uses a OP style reflector to give more flood. Stock I think both flashlights do very well they can just about keep up with a stock C8 which is no slouch. This beam profile does give you a good mix of throw and flood.

Please note my EA41 has lost candela since I modded it. It use to throw better.

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Candela rating (Rated by manufacturer)

  • Thorefire TK4A: 11600cd at 460m throw
  • Nitecore EA41: 25000cd at 315m throw

Candela rating (Measured by me)

  • Nitecore EA41: 18544cd at 272m (Use to be better before I modded it lol)
  • Thorfire TK4A: 32752cd at 361m

Weight and dimensions ( I will add the EA41 specs so you can see the difference)

Thorfire TK4A

  • Length: 115mm
  • Width: 41mm
  • Weight: 178.5 grams (without the batteries)

Nitecore EA41

  • Length: 117mm
  • Width head: 40mm
  • Width tail: 41.8mm
  • Weight: 151 grams (without the battery)

The Thorfire TK4A offers an IPX rating of 8 so it is submersible underwater up to 2 meters which is plenty for normal flashlight use. Unless your spungebob then you may need a diving flashlight. The TK4A also offers a drop resistance of 1 meters which is on par to all the similar flashlights in this category. The EA41 does offer 1.5 meters drop resistance I doubt there is any difference in the two. I can tell you mine has had bigger falls then that and its still fine!

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Output is where both these flashlights differ greatly the TK4A offers a maximum output of 1100 lumens. Okay now I have measured mine its really imnpressive I get 1189 lumens. Some people have rated the TK4A a much higher output then this so I will leave a graph below with my finding so you can make your own judgment. Insert graph here reminder for my self!

!ChartGo!

While my EA41 only offers a max output of 960 lumens in stock form mine will be even less now because of the WW emitter. Plus going from a U2 bin to a T6 bin I am expecting to lose some output. Yea mine is shocking now coming in at 747 lumens lol.

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The TK41 uses a Cree XPL to get its outstanding performance of almost 1200 lumens on turbo mode. Not that long ago such an out put number from of the shelf batteries would not be heard of. Actually not that long ago output in any battery form would not be heard of in this price range. We have gone far in LED technology over the past few years. In 2009 I was happy with the my 200 lumen Ledlenser.

As I was saying before I started blabbering off. The TK4A uses a Cree XPL of an unknown binning but to get this output it would have to be either a V5 or V6. Which would put the output around 1150 lumens. The tint in the TK4A is on the NW side so its no where near cool white but it is not extremely warm. Its about on par with my NW XPL-HI in my X6 which would make sense they are the same emitter lol.

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So I would say maybe around 5500k so its more of a neutral white tint well on the border I guess.
This is a surprise I thought they would have gone for a cold white LED maybe that would help boost the output numbers slightly. (Not needed at all) wStock the tint looks really good on the TK4A there is only one tint option but its right in the middle. The tint is much better on the TK4A compared to my EA41 when it was stock. The Nitecore EA41 has either a cold white tint or a neutral white tint option. There is a big difference between the two tints while the TK4A sits right in the middle.

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Driver wise I can not tell you to much. It would appear the TK4A run a 4 series driver which in turn would have to be a buck driver. This is probably the best set up for a flashlight like the TK4A.
This would give the best constant output you could hope for in this style flashlight. So basically even though you only get the MAH from one battery you have about 3 extra volts floating around. You can use the extra voltage instead of the amperage from the cells to generate output. The TK4A uses a single side switch while the EA41 uses two side switches one for power and one to change modes. I can not decide what driver/ switch set up I prefer. They both have their pros and cons.

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The driver in the TK4A is very quirky it does not like having low voltage while the EA41 doesn’t mind. A few times I have gone to turn the TK4A on while the batteries are getting low and it wont turn on or it takes a few presses to turn on. I can always get it to start in moonlight mode no matter how low the voltage. (Please note this only happens with a flat cells). When the batteries are full the TK4A responds quickly and happily. The TK4A has a memory mode if you leave it in a mode for more then 3 seconds it will switch back on in that mode. I love memory functions make life so much easier.

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The driver also included safety measures like auto changing down modes after 3 minutes on turbo. The TK4A will also step down modes from high to medium after 30 minutes in high mode. This is all good for a consumer grade flashlight its a set and forget flashlight.

TK4A acceptable Battery types

  • 4 Ni-MH
  • 4 Ni-Cad
  • 4 Alkaline (Only if you must)

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The driver in the TK4A includes a battery check function which work through the side switch. The light will displaying “Green”, if the battery capacity is higher than 60%. If the battery capacity is lower than 60%, the switch will turn to “Orange”. When the capacity is less than 15%, it will changed to “Red”.
It also appears the TK4A has low voltage protection in this function which is probably not needed when using NiMH batteries.

*Out and modes TK4A *( This test is based on alkaline cells)

  • Moonlight mode: 1 lumen at 720 hours
  • Low mode: 30 lumen at 48 hours
  • Medium mode: 200 lumen at 3h 45mins
  • High mode: 600 lumen at 1h 25min
  • Turbo mode: 1100 lumen at 45 min
  • Strobe mode: 600 lumen at 75 min

Output measured by me on Turbo

  • TK4A: 1400 lumens at start up
  • TK4A: 1189 after 30 seconds

If you are using Eneloops or other NiMH cells expect run times to be up to double these figures. Average capacity of an alkaline AA at 3 amp current draw is around 800mah compared to 2450Mah for an eneloop pro. Current draw is less then 3amps but once the batteries start to wear down you will notice the difference.

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The mode spacing and the UI is super good on the TK4A you can not fault Thorfire here at all. This would have to be the best mode spacing I have seen in a long time. High mode is 600 lumens how good is that. Its right in the sweet spot I would say!
The UI is super easy one quick tap to turn the TK4A on and then a quick tap again to change modes up. From off push and hold to turn the TK4A on in moonlight mode (yes moonlight is hidden like it should be). Double tap from on or off to access strobe mode. Then you simply push and hold to turn the TK4A off. Easy peasy UI right?

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Overall Thorfire done a great job on the TK4A it stand up well against more expensive flashlights like the Nitecore EA41. The TK4A comes out well and on par with its more expensive competition. The EA41 did cost me about 60-70 USD when I bought it years ago and they still retail for around that price now. Throfire offer the TK4A at a much more competitive price of around 40 USD without any coupons or discount. How can you possibly beat that? The TK4A is so well built and is so well finished even with its little quirks it still rocks! Plus 1200 odd lumens how can you possibly say no!

All these photos are taken at ISO800

Moonlight mode 1 lumen
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Low mode 30 lumens
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Medium mode 200 lumens
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High mode 600 lumens
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Turbo mode 1200 lumens
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Turbo mode at 100m
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TK4A on the left and EA41 on the right
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EA41 at 100m
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EA41 by its self
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TK4A on the left and TR20 on the right
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TK4A on the left and Convoy S2+ on the right
!S2+!

Thanks for taking the time to read!

Regards Chris

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:48
MRsDNF
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Thanks Chris. What game are you playing with the chairs?

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

The Miller
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heheh MRsDNF Big Smile

nice review! thanks

SoCalTiger
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Nice review and comparison! I thought that the beam pattern on the TK4A was already good but I agree that it would be nice to have a choice of an OP reflector for people that prefer more spill.

Ragsy
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Thanks for the review
Expecting mine to arrive this week
I was tossing up between the TK4A or the Lumintop SD4A (which seems the better of the two) but chose the TK4A purely on price

Interesting, that fall you took all those years ago still seems to be bothering you ….do you want to talk about it?

Oh We're From Tigerland.....YELLOW AND BLACK!!!

everydaysurvivalgear
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Thanks lads this light sure has good output.

My niece and nephew play with the chairs they also like digging holes in my yard where I walk lol.

I can’t believe what happen to Nicky Hayden sad day for motogp first death in the open class since Marco Simoncelli.

everydaysurvivalgear
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I added a video with heaps of beam shots at the end. The TK4A can keep up with my BLF A6.

Dusty
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Nice review. I have the Sofirn version of this light, the SF11. It appears identical to the Thorfire. I have a question you might have addressed in the video (my sound is Fubar). The Sofirn manual says a half turn of the tailcap will provide lockout. Mine doesn’t, and was curious if the Thorfire does, or has it mentioned in their manual.
That’s really about the only thing I don’t care for on this light. I plan to give it a good workout in the woods, this weekend

Brianbug

everydaysurvivalgear
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Dusty wrote:
Nice review. I have the Sofirn version of this light, the SF11. It appears identical to the Thorfire. I have a question you might have addressed in the video (my sound is Fubar). The Sofirn manual says a half turn of the tailcap will provide lockout. Mine doesn’t, and was curious if the Thorfire does, or has it mentioned in their manual. That’s really about the only thing I don’t care for on this light. I plan to give it a good workout in the woods, this weekend

Hey mate the contact points are long so its a bit harder to tail lock. You would have to undo the tail cap about half way to lose contact.

Yea it is about half way on mine probably easier to just take a cell out? On a plus side the button is fairly well protected from being pushed on.

Rufusbduck
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MRsDNF wrote:
Thanks Chris. What game are you playing with the chairs?

Him play sitting horse. Pass pipe Kemo Sabe.

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott