[Review] ThorFire TK15 and TK15S

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Virisenox_
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[Review] ThorFire TK15 and TK15S

ThorFire TK15 and TK15S

TK15 MSRP: $27
TK15S MSRP: $29

TK15 Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/ThorFire-Flashlight-Powered-Compact-Included/dp/B...
TK15S Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/ThorFire-Flashlight-Emergency-Rechargeable-Included/dp/B07331GXT2/

There are coupon codes at the bottom!

Reddit link

Imgur album

I recieved a deep discount on these lights on the condition that I reviewed them, but, as always, I've tried to be as unbiased as possible.



TL;DR

These are both well built lights that would be great for a new user, and the low prices make them especially appealing. I love the inclusion of a moonlight mode. The UIs could be better though, as could the beam. The two lights are pretty different and neither is objectively better than the other, so don't think the TK15S version is better just because of the S.



Packaging

The packaging is the same for both the TK15 and the TK15S. They are packaged in thin cardboard boxes sealed with stickers printed with the name of the flashlight and a photo of it along with ThorFire's website, their email address, and a QR code that takes you to their website. It's simple, but I'm fine with it. I'm sure simpler packaging helps cut down on costs.

Contents

In the box sandwiched between two pieces of foam, you'll find...

  • A ThorFire TK15(S) flashlight in a bubble wrap bag
  • Two spare o-rings in a resealable plastic baggie
  • A manual

The manuals are comprehensive. They have detailed information on the modes, run times, UI, maintenance, and warranty. The manual for the TK15S has some minor typos, but both manuals are very easy to understand. Both lights come with a 2 year warranty, but that's voided if you disassemble the head. One thing I did notice is that the manuals say CR123A batteries are "banned", when the Amazon page says the lights can take up to 8.4V. More about that in the "Battery" section.

Build

The first flashlight I ever reviewed was a ThorFire VG15S and I was impressed with the build quality considering how cheap it was. The TK15 and TK15S are equally impressive.

The anodizingis smooth and even and hides the machine marks very well; the machine marks are finer on the TK15 and the TK15S than they are on a Convoy light. The knurling is just right: aggressive enough to be useful, but not to the point where it eats through your pockets.

The silk screening is okay; the logos on my lights are both a bit fuzzy. 

The TK15 and TK15S both have thick square threads that screw together very smoothly. They also have big, beefy o-rings on the body tubes. Strangely, the threads came lubed, but the o-rings didn't. It doesn't bother me much at all, but o-rings need lubricant more than threads do. If ThorFire is going to take the time to lube the threads, they should lube the o-rings too.
The body tubes of both of the lights can be removed, but the lengths of the threaded sections is different, so they can't be reversed. This makes clipping the lights with the head facing up impossible. The isn't a big deal either; the length of the head would make head-up carry difficult.

Quick observations:

  • Both lights have a metal capped electronic switch on their head. It seems to be held in by a press-fit ring. It's a good switch. When you fully depress it you can feel the little click that it makes.

  • Both lights had small scuffs in the anodizing in the battery tube.

  • Both lights have two long, thick, gold plated springs that contact the battery. This allows the TK15 and TK15S to use both flat tops and button tops.

  • Both lights have AR coated glass lenses.
  • Both lights' emitters are a little bit off center, but the beam is so floody you won't notice it.

  • Both lights have fins around the button. The TK15S' fins are a bit deeper.

  • Both lights are around average when it comes to length.

TK15 vs Convoy S6

Build Observations Specific to the ThorFire TK15

The TK15 has a crenulated steel bezel. It doesn't have any sort of thread locker on it, and can be unscrewed with the palm of your hand. There is an o-ring between the bezel, the lens, and the reflector, but not between the bezel and the body of the light, which makes that a potential entry point for water.


The tailcap of the TK15 has a big lanyard hole in it. Not big enough for 550 paracord, but big enough that fitting a lanyard string through it would be easy to do. The tailcap doesn't have a button on it, and it's flat on the bottom, which allows the light to tailstand easily.

Build Observations Specific to the ThorFire TK15S

The TK15S' head doesn't have a screw-in bezel and is probably more waterproof as a result. The tailcap has two double-hole lanyard loops in it. They aren't big enough for 550 paracord, but fitting a lanyard into them should be no problem at all. They make a ridge around the tailswitch, but they aren't very wide, and the tailswitch extends just as far as they do. Because of this, the TK15S can tail stand, but it's a bit wobbly.

Clip


These lights have excellent clips. They're thick and stiff, but they're very easy to clip onto your pocket or your belt or whatever; there's nothing for your pocket to get stuck on. It's not easy to get the clips off of these lights, which is great unless you want to take them off. I think the easiest way to do it is to use your thumbs to push the two sides of the clip apart. They're shiny, and the edges aren't sharp. 10/10 clip.

Beam and tint

The TK15 and TK15S have the same beam. 1050 lumens, 11200cd (120m throw) of neutralish white light coming out of an XP-L2 emitter and bouncing off of a smooth reflector. To be honest, I'm not sure what color temperature they are. This is mainly due to the huge amounts of tint shift going on in the beams. My camera isn't great, so I've tried to color correct this photo as much as I could, and I'll try to describe what's going on with this beam. The center of the hotspot is on the cooler side of neutral white, around 5500K, with no noticeable green or violet. Immediately outside of the hotspot is an ugly yellow-green ring that gets dimmer and more neutral as it goes out, until a third ring appears. The outer ring is slightly brighter than most of the yellow/green zone, and it's cold. Not cool, cold. I don't have a reference point, but it's at least 7000K, probably more. It's blue-violet, and I hate it.


The ThorFire VG15S (beam shown above) has a similar issue. The beam is very ringy, and there is significant tint shift. The TK series lights aren't nearly as ringy, but the tint shift is still a problem. All I know is that it's caused by either the reflector or the emitter. The way I described the beams of these lights makes them sound bad, and they are, but it's worth noting that I've become very snobby about these things and that the ringyness and tint shift aren't very noticeable unless you're shining the lights at a white wall.

UI and Modes

The TK15 and TK15S have different mode spacing and very different UIs, so I'll describe them separately.

TK15

Low(50LM)
Mid(200LM)
High(600LM)
Turbo(1050LM)
hidden strobe(1050LM) for self defense, emergency
hidden moonlight (0.5LM)mode for medical service, baby care and protect you night vision

The TK15 has 6 modes: moonlight, low, medium, high, turbo, and strobe. The mode spacing is good. An extra mode between moonlight (0.5 lm) and low (50 lm) would have been good, but it isn't a huge step up. You press the side button once to turn the light on, press to change modes, and press and hold to turn the light off. The rotation goes Low>Mid>High>Turbo. Double press in any mode to go to strobe, and single press from strobe to go back to the last used mode. Press and hold from off to access moonlight, and press from moonlight to turn the light off. The TK15 does have mode memory, but it doesn't remember moonlight or strobe.
This UI isn't awful, but it isn't great. There isn't any way to get to the main mode rotation from moonlight without turning the light off and back on, and the same applies to going from the main mode rotation to moonlight. I'm also not a fan of pressing and holding to turn the light off. The mode memory doesn't bother me that much, but it would be nice if there was a way to turn that off.
The runtimes aren't great. Most 1000 lumen 1x18650 lights can do around 1000 lumens for over an hour (I know they don't stay at 1000 the whole time, but that's what it says on the table), but the TK15 can only do 1050 for 45 minutes.

TK15S

Moonlight(1LM)
Low(100LM)
Mid(500LM)
High(1050LM)
Hidden Strobe(1050LM)
Hidden Bike Blink(200LM)

The Amazon page says the bike light is 200 lumens, but the manual says 500. It looks like 500 to me.

The TK15S also has 6 modes, but they're different from the TK15. It has a moonlight mode, low, medium, high, strobe, and "bike light". Click the tailswitch once to turn the light on and again to turn it off. When it's on, press the side button to go along the mode rotation, double press the side button to go to strobe and press and hold to go to "bike light" mode (on, but flickers at regular intervals). The mode rotation goes moonlight>low>medium>high>medium>low>moonlight. It loops around like that: up and down and up and down. I've never used a light with a mode rotation like this before, and it definitely takes some getting used to. It isn't bad, but I don't see the advantage of a mode rotation like this over the traditional Low>Med>High>Turbo order. The only shortcuts in this UI are to strobe and bike light mode. I think there should be a shortcut to moonlight as well (Maybe press and hold for moonlight, and double tap from strobe to go to bike light mode?).
It also has mode memory. It doesn't remember the strobe or bike light modes, but it does remember moonlight since it's in the main mode rotation. The TK15S has a forward clicky tailswitch, which might be the only thing I like about the light's UI.
The mode spacing on the TK15S isn't as good. The moonlight mode is 1 lumen, which is a bit high, but isn't awful. What is awful is the jump from moonlight to low, 1 lumen to 100 lumens. A hundredfold increase in lumens from one mode to the next is insane. The next mode up is 500 lumens, which is a much more reasonable fivefold increase. Medium to high is also poorly spaced. The TK15S' high is 1050 lumens, only twice as many as the mode before it. Because of the way the human eye perceives brightness, you can hardly see the difference between medium and high.
Like the TK15, the TK15S doesn't have great run times, but they are strangely different.

  • The moonlight mode on the TK15 (no S) is 0.5 lumens, and the moonlight mode on the TK15S is 1 lumen, but the runtimes are both listed as 360 hours.
  • The TK15's 1050 lumen mode can run for 45 minutes, but the TK15S' 1050 lumen mode can run for 50 minutes.
  • The strobe modes on both lights are also 1050 lumens. The TK15's strobe runs 10 minutes longer than the constant 1050 lumen mode, but the TK15S' strobe runs 5 minutes shorter than its constant 1050 lumen mode.

Battery

The ThorFire TK15 and TK15S are both very versatile when it comes to batteries. The manual says they can only take 18650s, but on their Amazon pages, ThorFire says the driver can handle a maximum of 8.4V, and that if the voltage is above that, over-voltage protection will kick in. I've never heard of a light having over-voltage protection, so I think that's pretty cool. The high maximum voltage and the long springs mean that these lights can take 1x18650, 2xCR123A, 2x16340, and maybe even 2x18350. Unfortunately, I don't have any CR123As, 16340s, or 18350s to test the light with. Fortunately, it's a Saturday night (or it was when I wrote this) and I'm super bored. I can confirm that both lights work when supplied with 8.4V.

Modding

Disclaimer: Do this stuff a your own risk. If you mess up and break something, that's on you. Oh, and this will totally void your warranty.

Thanks to the non-thread-locked bezel, the TK15 would be an excellent candidate for an emitter swap. The XP sized gasket means a Nichia 219 emitter would fit perfectly. An emitter swap on the TK15S is probably possible too, but I didn't have any luck getting the head off with my strap wrenches. If I had access to a heat gun I'm sure I could get it off.

I totally marred this ring before I figured out it was reverse threaded.

The retaining rings are reverse threaded! Don't make my mistake. A driver swap might not be possible. These lights both have electronic side switches, and from what I can tell the drivers have a funky two-part PCB that that button sits on.



Bottom Line

TK15 Pros

  • Good bang for your buck
  • Solid build quality
  • Shortcut to moonlight
  • Can take many types of batteries
  • Excellent clip

TK15 Cons

  • Possible waterproofing problems
  • Bad tint shift
  • Can't go from moonlight to the main mode rotation, or the other way around

TK15S Pros

  • Good bang for your buck
  • Solid build quality
  • Forward clicky tailswitch
  • Can take many types of batteries
  • Excellent clip

TK15S Cons

  • Bad UI
  • Awful mode spacing
  • Bad tint shift


Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about the light I would be more than happy to answer them.

Coupon codes!

ThorFire was kind enough to give me 20% off codes for the TK15 and TK15S. These will work when you buy the lights linked to in the Amazon links at the top of the review.

20% off code for TK15: VDZN5SKU

20% off code for TK15S: 343BVDCN

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stephenk
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Thanks for the review. My TK15S for review from Banggood arrived today, and I’m looking forward to opening it up. I would assume the tint shift would be due to the XP-L2 phosphor if it is anything like the XP-G3?

firedome
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Nice review, thanks! Big Smile

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light --- Plato

bsonn17
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Thanks for the comprehensive review and the nice detailed pictures!

Thorfire
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Thanks for the review. Yeah, the TK15S is not the upgraded version of TK15. They are just two different versions.

ThorFire is looking for dealers/retailers/distributors from Europe countries and other countries around the world. If you are interested, PM me!