Cheap flashlights to compare tints


I’m looking for a flashlight that comes in many tints (CW, NW, WW, HiCRI, etc), just to compare.

I don’t care about size, battery, build quality, etc.
Just something cheap so I can finally figure out which tint I like most.

The light must be identical besides the LED. Reason being, I like lights with a long runtime.
I want to compare the runtime and output of the lights. I can’t really do that between different flashlights as different drivers likely have different efficiency levels, so I can’t know the shorter runtime is due to the driver or LED tint.

Try the cheapo light usually at 99 cents, dollar tree, harbor freight, walmart, etc….

I have lights in NW, CW from those lights.

Are those all the same lights, besides the tint?

What I did was buy two Convoy S2+ models (6500K and 4000K), and a BLF A6 (5000K).

This told me everything I needed to know.
Compare the two convoys, and it is obvious the 6500k washes out natural colours like green and brown and tints whites blueish, wheras the 4000K shows natural colours quite well but makes whites orange/yellow and neglects blue.

Now put the two together, and the combination is vastly superior to either.
The 5000K BLF A6 by itself looks as bright and as good in every way as the two convoys together. Instant winner in my book.

This is just my opinion though, there are many whose preferences veer to either side of mine. I think I am about at the middle of the bell curve though.
CRI is another factor, but my opinion is that CCT preference should be established first, then high CRI is a nice-to-have on top of that. Again, other opinions vary.

Age seems to be a factor as well, it seems the older you are the lower your CCT preference is likely to be.

Yeah, I know about the color rendering. Well in theorie from pictures. I do have flashlights with different tints but somehow I think it’s not a good thing to compare different lights as differences in brightness also skew judgement.
I also want to measure efficiency differences.

Another things is that I want to verify the claim that some colors show more detail.
I like good color rendering but it’s no more than a welcome bonus.
I’m looking for a tint that gives me maximum detail at the same current measured at the tail.


Efficiency differences can be looked up in datasheets as output bins, at least relative to each other, output bins should get you the information you are looking for.

While I’m not saying you are wrong; but it’s hard to look up specs if I don’t know what LED is in the light.
Mmm, that makes may search even more impossible because it means I have to buy 30 test lights.
Plus my guess is that the cheap ones don’t have any specs besides ‘very bright’

Fireflies E07 has this on their website:

7x Nichia 219B R9080 CRI98 3800 lumens Turbo brightness
7x SST20 4000K NW CRI95 3800 lumens Turbo
7x SST20 5000K NW 4800 lumens Turbo brightness
7x CREE XPL HI V3 CW 6500K 6900 lumens Turbo brightness
7x CREE XPL HI V3 3A NW 5000K 6900 lumens Turbo brightness
7x CREE XPL HI V2 5A NW 4000K 6200 lumens Turbo brightness

May I assume those lumens are with the current? If so this list would be a good start for me.

It can be useful to buy a S2+ and a couple of emitters from kaidoman om a 16mm mcpcb in several tints.
Swap them yourself, nice to see and learn. You only need to solder 2 wires and a little dot of thermal paste.
When you are happy, you got a nice light as well instead of something crap you will throw away anyway.

I would buy at least 2 hosts, as otherwise you cannot compare directly.

The convoy photo series as per the above posts in my opinion does not show much difference between 4000/4500/5000K and makes it look like 5000k shows the white wall (assuming it is white) tinted yellow/orangish, which is not right. There is a huge difference between 5000K and 4000K. I doubt if you could even put those 3 photos in the right order if given them randomly they show so little difference. Also they only really show green and white background, the nicest way to appreciate good colour is to see the richness of various shades of wood grain.

@ZoomieFan, for easy comparison:

Convoy S2+ 219C 4000k
Convoy S2+ SST-20 4000k
Convoy S2+ XP-L HI 4000k
Convoy S2+ XM-L2 4000k

You will then see the difference in beam and tint.

One of the best ways to learn about Tint and CRI is to compare the Sofirn C01 3200k High CRI, Sofirn C01 5600k High CRI, and the Fenix E01 6200k Low CRI

Hotspot overexposes part of the pic, and the Low CRI makes reds look brown:

Floody even beam, in a Daylight Color Temperature:

Gotta Love the Warm Yuji when its time to get mellow with a FireLight Color Temperature:

You cant really tell differences in brightness without a light meter.
And you cant really tell differences in CRI by looking at green plants, you need red things.

Here is a test of CRI for the layperson
Rare photo of man being alive and dead at the same time (High cri vs early gen LED flashlight)

Low cri cool white is more efficient that High CRI warm white, but, efficiency is overrated. Spare batteries eliminate my concerns about efficiency, so I can enjoy the Color Temperature and CRI I prefer.

Tint and cri is a totally different conversation . you may have 100% cri and a tint that makes you want to puke .

The trick is try lots of tints and figure out what offends your sensibilities and which ones you like ...tyhen buy up the ones you like before they disappear . Even tints from the same bin aren't exactly the same and if compared side by side you'll know which one you like better . I find that knowing what you hate is easier then knowing what you like or can tolerate ..//I hate green and dislike dull beige /

Cri gets better depending on how hard they are run. cri being lower on low and better with more current being run thru them .

Emitters of different manufacturers will each have a different characteristic like more or less throw / more flood and also be more efficient or less etc .

So being to anal about numbers or trying to be too specific about runtimes or efficiencies probably just won't work . better cri and warmer tints will always be a lower bin and less lumens per watt so there's always a trade off for higher cri.

Lots of noobs who have no experience have only an output number as a basis of reference so they grab onto brightest as being the best. that would be like buying a car just by horsepower numbers and nothing else .

I'd go try newer high cri emitters in multiple tints and see which ones you like and then buy a handful of those emitters till you find another one you like … truth is we generally like or dislike tints .. not low or hi cri //everyone likes hi cri / people just have a tendency to tie the two together .

I agree

however, to the OP, Tint means CCT and CRI…

Maybe you can help educate him
with specific examples

A few years ago, when I was trying to learn about tint; I did like Zulumoose did. I bought three Convoy S2+’s.

  • S2+ color / LED / Bin / Tint / CCT (visual observation)
  • Red / XM-L2 / T4 / 7A / 3125K (very warm)
  • Green / XM-L2 / T6 / 3B / 5175K (fairly neutral)
  • Blue / XM-L2 / U2 / 1A / 6700K (very cool)

Then I bought some LED’s with different tints & swapped them around.

I came to the conclusion I like the tint from 2D (5700K) to 3A (5000K) the best in most instances. As far as High CRI goes, I can take it or leave it. Tint & beam quality are more important ’to me’.

Yeah, most likely I need a lot of education on Tint and CRI.
A lot!
I’m mostly looking for visibility.
Post #11 has some perfect examples to explain what I mean

The 3 flashlights:
The two flashlights on the left are best because I see structure in the wall. The one on the left has no such detail.
The light on the far right has a hot spot that washes out a lot.
In this situation the light on the left I certainly wouldn’t buy.
From the other lights I would pick the middle one purely based on the hotspot.
Winner Sofirn C01 5600 High CRI

On the colored sheet.
I would reject the Fenix E01 based on the hotspot regardless of the color rendering. The washed out hotspot, while very bright, hides all detail.

The other two are equally good for me. Good detail in both.

The skin is also equally good for me. Well perhaps the red is better because it might have more detail. But that depends on what the skin really looks like.

Back to the sheet.
I most certainly see a difference between the second and third picture.
What would I pick?
The answer to that leads me to the other part of my original post. Efficiency.
If efficiency was equal I would pick the light that looks most like daylight. But…I could be very wrong again, when reading specs it always CW with the highest lumen output. I’ve seen lights in with the high CRI version only outputs half the lumens compared to the 6500K version of the same light.
Why is that?
Is it because high CRI lights have half the efficiency of 6500K lights?
Is it because high CRI lights can handle less power.
To restate the same questions: Which led gives higest lumen/watt.

I prefer ‘real daylight color’, but not if it costs me half the runtime or half the brightness. But I might if it costs me 20%. But I haven’t really figured that number out for myself.

Contrast is a word that should have been in the above post.
I want to be able to read the label on a paint can. The text on those metal tags on an old rusty boiler in a basement.
Those things are more important for me that exact color.

How about a p60 host and 3 or 4 p60 drop-ins? They got them cheap nowadays.


1. You will not easily notice a 40% difference in brightness.

You will usually get a 20-30% difference of brightness with same color temperature and 90CRI vs 70CRI, and that is hard to notice.

2. High levels of CRI is very important for color rendition and contrast.

So, for an inexpensive light, I would recommend the Convoy S2+ SST-20 4000k for absolute best color rendition.

that is a great suggestion!


The 5600k Yuji LED in the Sofirn C01 is more efficient (brighter) than the 3200k LED\
The 5600k has better CRI, and is closest to daylight.

I hope you enjoy it.

I think the 3200k is worth getting also, so you can form your own opinions about the differences.

I also think a set of convoys could be good,
for my taste, they would have to be High CRI, preferably 219b

I agree with your observations that High CRI is generally Less Lumens. You will want to form some opinions about what lumen levels you find practical for your needs. Indoors we use much lower levels, Im mostly indoors. The Sofirn C01 is an indoor, close range, light.

The Convoy is more capable at higher brightness levels, and outdoors where larger distance may be involved, its also bigger and heavier.

Always trade offs… which is why I have more than one light… each has something I like, none is perfect

I tend to group my lights by battery size…
AAA… Sofirn fits here
16340… Olight fits here
18650… Convoy fits here, there is also a short body option for 16340 size

Im personally not inclined to use 18650… its a great option, but a bit bigger than I choose to carry
I have a lot of AAA, I stopped using them when I dove into 16340 lights… Its my happy place at the moment.

which brings up another suggestion

1. Klarus Mi1C Cool White Aspheric, cool white low cri option only
2. Klarus Mi1C Cool White Ti and Copper reflector beam cool white low cri option only
3. Klarus Mi1C High CRI reflector beam

the third one is the best pick of the litter for my High CRI bias
but its a 4000k 219c, and will look a bit warm, or yellow, during the day… maybe not ideal… but, lights are full of compromises.

the first 2 Klarus are not High CRI, so for me, would only be acceptable as modding projects


regarding reading lettering on a plaque of label, an aspheric lens makes a more useful reading light than one with a hotspot

the Sofirn C01 produces a nice even beam, like an aspheric lens, its just not very bright… you will be able to read the label, but you will need to be within a few inches…

lights with hotspots have other strengths… you will probably discover that Get Both, is the Better answer :slight_smile:

True not in visibility. But I guess I would notice it in the time a cell lasts.

That means the 90CRI is 20-30% less efficient. Right?
I think I can best explain this with an example. Set a flashlight with ramping at the exactly the minimum brightness needed to see. While perhaps only possible in theory and a totally useless test I think it means the 90 CRI uses 20-30% more power to reach that minimum visibility level. A 20-30% shorter runtime?
Is that correct?

Contrast. That’s a very important thing for me.

I have a S2+, somewhere….
Not sure it’s exactly that one, but I usually buy NW.