Help a Noob Pick Some Flashlights

Hi all, first time poster here looking to replace a bunch of cheap lights with a new collection.

I’m looking to start with 3 lights in the <$30 range, but there are way too many options for a noob like myself to make a decision.

First, a tube light for indoors. I think I have narrowed it down to the Convoy S2+ and Astrolux S1/BLF A6
-Are there any others in this category I should consider?
-If not, which of these two would you recommend?
-Finally, for the Convoy S2+, do you recommend going with 6x or 8x drivers? Is the more usable (less heat) of the 6x better, or does the brighter 50% setting on the 8x make up for the hotter 100%?

Next, a thrower. I almost went out and grabbed the Clear Convoy C8 but then I saw the KDLITKER C8.2 w/ the XHP50.2 and was wondering if it was worth considering here. I know Convoy has an excellent reputation around here, especially when ordered directly through their store.
-How does Kaidomain’s reputation for reliability and customer support compare to Convoy’s? And how does the performance of that particular flashlight compare to the Convoy C8?
-Again, are there any other compelling options in this category?

Finally, something in between the two (what do you call this segment anyway?) with a combination of throw and spill. The Convoy M1 and M2 seem to fit the bill, although they are using an older diode. I currently have a Thorfire VG10S on order from Amazon, as I found a 20% coupon that was still valid and I didn’t want to miss out. But I can always send it back if I don’t like it or find a better option.

- Anything in this segment that you would recommend?

  • How do the M1 and M2 compare to the VG10S?

Oh, and on a final note: batteries. I am planning on getting a Liitokala Lii500 charger, unless somebody would recommend a different (reasonably priced) choice. But I am having a tough time figuring out battery compatibility here. Are any of these lights supposed to use protected batteries? And are there any here that can’t use protected batteries? It would be kind of annoying to get one light that needs protected batteries, and then have another light where I can’t use them. Same goes for battery performance - do any of these lights need high discharge batteries? I don’t want to have to buy something like the NCR18650GA for one light, and have them not fit in another (I think it was certain Convoy models that had issues with larger batteries).

Thanks in advance

Welcome to BLF.

For an indoor light, I’d say even a 4x7135 will be plenty. Get a warmer tint while you’re at it. The older S2+ lights that use XM-L2 LEDs are the more floody ones, and that’s probably what you want for indoors.

Can’t comment on the KDLITKER, but I do have the new C8 on the way from Simon. Can’t wait to get it. If you are willing to expand your budget, Nitecore P30 would also be worth considering.

You could also consider the new Convoy S2+ Desert Tan with XP-L HI LED and smooth reflector. I recently got one and am really impressed with its combination of throw and spill, and the new biscotti UI gives you a lot of mode options.

Look at the new Zanflare C4. HKJ just recently reviewed it.

You’re going to want at least something like 18650GA since all these lights are pushing about 3Amps or so. Actually, the A6 may push even more, not sure.

The GA should work in all of them. It’s a tight fit in my S2+, but it does fit. With that said, I mostly use unprotected Samsung 30Q cells nowadays.


Ok… Convoy’s S series are freaking confusing. Trying to figure out the differences between the S2, S2, S3, and now even the differences between S2 models. Oh, and is the Zanflare F1 worth considering? The option for plugging it into a phone charger after light use seems convenient.

Was hoping to keep each light in the <$30 range to keep the total price down. Does the P30 offer that much extra to justify nearly 3x the price of the Convoy?

That is actually the exact S2+ I linked in the tube lights. Didn’t realize that it was more throwy than the others.

Ok, thanks. Looks like it’s a little more expensive than the Liitokala, but it’s on Amazon w/ Prime shipping, which is a plus.

Ok. So there shouldn’t be any concern with compatibility w/ high discharge batteries? And none of these lights need protected cells?

No issues. In reality, even a protected GA cell isnt all that high discharge. If you want high discharge, you are going to have to go with unprotected cells like the 30Q.

If the battery can’t sustain high discharge, you are not going to get max possible light output from the flashlight.

It’s more about what you need to feel safe as opposed to what the light needs. I think most of the convoys are going to start blinking once the battery voltage gets low to warn you. Now if you are going to give the light to a child or someone that’s going to ignore the warning, then you might want a protected cell in there.

Eagle Eye X2R is an excellent and well made three mode 18650 tube light with built in charging.

My other recommendation is the Thorfire C8s from amazon, you can get it with or without battery and charger.

The Li-500 is an excellent all around charger. The only other light I would say you should plan for is the BLF Q8


Ok. I was mostly concerned with compatibility re: actually fitting in the light. I just read about issues with some lights not being able to use batteries like the 18650GA because they simply didn’t fit.

Yep. Due to its larger size, a protected cell may not fit in some lights. It fits just fine in my Convoys though, as well as all my other lights with the exception of Haikelite mt02.

Tellyawhat… Get 2 S2+es with 6×7135, in 4C tint.

You can keep one stock with the reflector, but the other, go to Amazon or wherever and grab an assortment of standard 20mm TIR lenses. 5° for throw, about 30° for in-between, and 90° for a wider flood.

The wide-angle ones have some artifacts that I mentioned elsewhere, but throw such a nice flood of positively beautiful color-temperature light that you’ll be hooked. No throw, just a nice even flood of light.

They’re easy to pop in and out, so you can change ’em as you see fit, or outfit both S2+es with TIRs, one narrow for throw and one wide for flood.

That also takes care of option 3, the “in-between” light. You can get the whole spectrum of flood to throw by just swapping out TIRs.

For max throw, a C8 with an XP-L HI or hot XP-G/-G2/-G3 will give you the smallest tightest hotspot to really “reach”.

An XM-L/-L2 or bigger may put out more raw lumens, but with the bigger hotspot, the beam is more spread out or “diluted”, so won’t reach as far. It’s more useful for medium-range snooping.

You can get an S2+ for about half your 30buk per-light budget, so go crazy.

For an indoor light, if you don’t mind a somewhat greenish beam (bugs me, but apparently not all that many others) the F1 is a great little light with built-in recharging. That’s another possibility, ~20bux w/ coupon or code from GB. Goes from moonlight to turbo in nice evenly-spaced steps.

Batteries? Unless you’ve got something that pulls quite many amps (a triple/quad, FET driver, etc.), I still recommend panny-Bs. Lots of people like to have lights that put out 1200lm or so, but realistically, how long will you need that level of daylighting? Most people will use medium or lower for most stuff. Hell, I get dogpiled on for grexing about AAA-lights not having hours of runtime…

So unless you want lights just to impress your friends how you can fool birds into thinking it’s time to get up in the middle of the night, you’ll want a practical light, and most practical lights won’t need 2000lm and active-cooling.

Now watch me get dogpiled on again for saying that… :smiley:

Sounds interesting. Of course I already have the Thorfire VG10s on it’s way (Amazon Prime is a helluva drug). Which S2+ would you recommend for this? The old XM-L2 model w/ orange peel reflector, or the new tan or clear models with the XP-L and smooth reflector?

Also, which lenses would you recommend? On Amazon, I only see packs of one angle, no assortments.

Rick James highly recommends it.

I just grab whatever’s on sale, to use pretty much as a host. I roll my own as far as emitters and drivers… and now TIRs. :smiley:

’Though I gotta say, I’m really liking the CT/tint of the 4C through a TIR on wide-flood. Pretty pretty light…

Just get whatever case/host/tube/whatever you find nicest-looking, unless you’re adamantly dead-set against modding it, and using it bone-stock.

If the latter, 6×7135 and 4C. You’ll thank me later.

(The 3/5 modes UI just plain pisses me off, so the driver makes zero difference to me, as it’s getting pulled regardless.)

Goggle “collimator lens”… maybe “20mm collimator”… forgot. Once you find even one, pick 2 keywords to find the rest.

ledworld and uxcell! are the 2 most common suppliers.

Oh, now I get what you mean. Yeah, 10-pack or 20-pack of the same angle.

Trust me, once you get bit by the TIR bug, you’ll be needing the other 19.

To follow Lightbringer’s suggestion, if you buy the Convoy S2+ from Convoy AliExpress Store, check the TIR lenses from there! You’ll have 5 or 6 different ones, with different angles, and they will surely fit as they are appropriate to the S2+!
Quality from Convoy store is assured!

He sells them on the Convoy site? Hmm, kewl!

If he’s got any ellipticals, I’ll buy ’em, like, now

I am very happy with my Thorfire lights. The VG15s is a great tube light that has a real moonlight mode, and it steps down from High after three minutes, so it doesn’t get as hot as the S2+.

The Thorfire C8s is also a very nice light - superb quality for that kind of price (from what I can tell as a layperson).

The downside is that you don’t get the nice neutral and warm tints of the Convoy lights.

I recently bought the Convoy BD06 for a friend. It’s a bit bigger than the 1*18650 tube lights, but the shape means you can easily slip it into a coat pocket. Although it isn’t driven very hard and the output could be higher, the 26650 battery will give you a very good runtime and it is the only light mentioned that you can run continuously in high mode without it even getting warm, and it has got a built-in charging option.

He does, at least some types!

10/25/45/60degree LED lens ,strip led lens for CREE XML XML2 LED
(from AliExpress Android)

You can also take a look at these stores, I bought mine there:
(from AliExpress Android)
(from AliExpress Android)

@ Delta_V
For indoor use, a pebbled TIR lens with XML2 T6-4C is quite good!

Will do. But these will only work on the XM-L2 variants, not the new ones with the XP-L hi, correct?

Same footprint, shouldn’t matter much.

I don’t mean XM vs XP footprint, but square vs “bead” type (with the 2 leads sticking out the sides).

Hmm, thinking about it, the size of the inner hole on the TIR might be big for an XP (-G/-L/-E), but as long as centered, it shouldn’t matter.

Hmm, only the “beehive” type.

Damn, just noticed the shorty tubes in all colors. Need to get some… :smiley:

In the short time I’ve been doing this, I have already discovered that website is dangerous…