(Review) Thorfire TK15S

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Tahts-a-dats-ago
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Location: NJ
(Review) Thorfire TK15S

Generally speaking, when talk of a $25 flashlight comes up there will be two groups of thought. One group will consist of people who believe that it is impossible to buy a good flashlight for such a low sum of money. The second group will be comprised of people who are convinced that no flashlight is worth that much money and that their (name a lower price) flashlight will do the same job as that fancy, expensive, $25 flashlight.

What if both groups are wrong?

What if it is possible to buy a $25 flashlight that is very high in quality and has the performance to absolutely make a mockery of lesser flashlights?

Having read numerous reviews of the various Thorfire models, I decided the risk was quite small and ordered the Thorfire TK15S for myself.

Amazon provided their usual quick service and I had my latest flashlight in my hands a couple of days after taking the plunge. The packaging itself is sufficient, but certainly not an example of marketing genius. A couple of stickers plastered on a plain cardboard box was it – no fine graphics, no features highlighted, nothing but the bare minimum.

I wasn’t disappointed though, because I knew Thorfire had to lower their costs somehow, and a quality product in a drab package is just fine with me. Having worked with major brands that spend incredible gobs of money on marketing, I know that such luxuries add a significant amount to the end cost of an item.

Inside the package were just the basics: the TK15S, spare O-ring, a clip, and an owner’s manual (all comfortably resting on some foam padding). No battery, no holster, no lanyard.

With my curiosity completely piqued, I began looking the TK15S over. The anodized aluminum body shows no rough areas; everything is evenly coated in a manner that is reminiscent of much more costly flashlights. There are no sharp edges to catch (or tear) your pockets or your hand. The body section is covered with cross-hatched grooves and provides excellent grip. The tail-cap is likewise covered (middle section of the tail-cap) in the same cross-hatching. On the end of the tail-cap is the ON/OFF tail-switch; it is covered in a rubber cap. The tail-switch sits just slightly below the two extended sides (of the tail-cap) – allowing the TK15S to tail-stand without issue. On opposing sides of the tail-cap are two cut-outs for easy access to the tail-switch. On one of the extended sides are two small holes for use with a lanyard – a nice feature as it allows the use of a lanyard while still maintaining the ability to tail-stand.

The head can be detached as well, and has much deeper cut for cooling purposes (as well as grip). The mode switch is located on the head of the flashlight and is a metal switch that is just barely taller than the surrounding area. The side-switch is located on a flattened area of the head, and is actually quite easy to locate simply by feel. I also position the clip so it is exactly opposite of the side-switch – helping to make it even easier to find the side-switch by touch alone.

Stout springs are found at both ends (head and tail-cap) of the flashlight – helping to protect the flashlight from bumps and/or drops. The clip is attached on the very end of the body tube (next to the tail-cap) and is also quite stout. It can be removed, but isn’t likely to come off by accident. The spring section (of the clip) is very well done – stout enough to hold, but not a nail-breaker.

The reflector is smooth and roughly ¾ of an inch deep – giving the TK15S some ability to throw at a decent level. I believe the reflector is glass. The lens is coated glass.

Specs

Length – 5.2 inches
Diameter – .9 inches
Weight – 2.7 ounces (battery not included)

Uses 1 18650 battery (not included)

1050 Lumens (maximum output)

120 meters (maximum distance)

LED – Cree XPL-2 VP6

Features

6 modes (2 are hidden)

ON/OFF Tail Switch

Mode Side Switch

Mode Memory

IPX8 Waterproof (2 meters)
Drop Resistant to 1 meter

Reverse Polarity Protection
High Voltage Protection
Low Voltage Protection

Modes

As listed in the owner’s manual

Moonlight – 1 Lumen, will run for up to 360 hours

Low Mode – 100 Lumens, will run for up to 5 hours

Medium Mode – 500 Lumens, will run for up to 1 hour and 45 minutes

High Mode – 1050 Lumens, will run for up to 50 minutes

Strobe Mode – 1050 Lumens, will run for up to 45 minutes

Bike Mode – 500 Lumens, will run for up to 2 hours and 25 minutes

User Interface

Tail Switch is ON/Off. Half-press tail-switch for momentary on. Full press tail-switch for ON/OFF.

Side-switch changes modes. The four regular modes run in a cycle – moonlight, low, medium, high, medium, low, moonlight.

Strobe mode is activated by double clicking the side-switch (while flashlight is on). Press/release the side-switch to return to the previous mode.

Bike Mode is activated by pressing/holding the side-switch (about 1 second). Press/release the side-switch to return to the previous mode.

Mode memory applies to all 6 modes (including strobe and bike mode) – just click the tail-switch to shut the flashlight off. When next turned on, the flashlight will be in the last mode used.

Beam

The TK15S has a definite hot-spot in the center of the beam. It transitions into smooth spill nicely and the overall beam provides a very useful field of view. A marriage between throw and flood, the beam of the TK15S is slightly biased toward throwing ability.

The light temperature is on the cool side of neutral; not blue, but definitely not a warm orange either. It does a very good job of cutting through the darkness and giving the user good visual clarity in what would normally be a poor visibility situation.

Conclusions

While I’d much prefer a larger diameter side-switch, I do find that the side-switch is responsive and gives the user ample feedback. It has a good feel to it, but a slightly larger switch would improve an already excellent flashlight.

Thorfire scratched a lot of itches with their TK15S – if fits well in just about any pocket, the build quality is excellent, and the user-interface is intuitive. I love the fact that a moonlight mode is included and the mode memory function is a very useful feature. I’m also very happy that the disco modes are hidden.

The separation between the Thorfire TK15S and its more expensive competitors is largely a matter of packaging and the lack of a charging port on the TK15S: neither of which is a concern as the TK15S does what a flashlight is supposed to do, and it does it very well. The average flashlight user would be extremely pleased with this flashlight, and more than a few flashlight aficionados would be pleased as well.

I think the Thorfire TK15S warrants 5 stars out of 5 because it exceeds expectations and it does so inexpensively.

I bought my Thorfire TK15S here.

Jaded
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Very similar to the Sofirn SP31. No doubt the Thorfire TK15S does not disappoint. Thanks for the review.

FPV
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Very nice light! thanks for reviewing it.