How should a beginner spend $300?

I’ve seen the recs for things like the Q8 and such, but for a good light for a “beginner”, I can recommend a few things.

  • Boruit RJ02 headlamp — Hands-down the most useful light I have for “doing stuff”, whether it’s grubbling around in bags or a cabinet, when you don’t give much thought to holding the light with one hand and grubbling around one-handed with the other. Having both hands free is a breath of freedom you can’t appreciate until you experience it, and then you’ll NEVER want to go back. They’re <10bux each, so get 4-5 of ’em. Seriously. Built-in charger, so all you need is a usb cable and you’ll never even have to open it up.

  • Convoy S2+ tubelight — General purpose almost-do-anything light. Get some 20mm TIR lenses which’ll just drop-in and replace the reflector, no soldering or anything needed, and you’ll be able to go from spot to flood in whatever increments you want. Get a few of those to play with, a 6×7135 and the LED with the 4C tint. You’ll thank me later.

  • Convoy C8 or variant, eg, the Sofirn C8F — No collection is complete without a mini-thrower like the C8, period. All the C8 variants, that’s a thread in itself. The new Sofirn I mentioned with the side-switch kicks ass.

  • Jetbeam Jet-I, Sofirn SP10B, for AA/14500 lights — if you want a pockettable EDC light, either of these will do nicely, a twisty like the Jetbeam or side-clicky like the Sofirn. The Jetbeam automatically locks out when you untwist it (duh), and the Sofirn has an electronic lockout, or just untwist the end-cap a half-turn or so.

I happen to EDC a nice simple 1-mode ’502 (Ultrafire WF-502B), a dinosaur in today’s flashlight world, but I like drop-ins and being able to throw a new one together in one sitting if I want to. Forgot where I left off trying to use a 26mm TIR lens instead of a reflector, but that would be awesome…

Then, after all that, yeah, if you want to piss away some bux, get gee-whizzums lights like the Q8 and such. Nothing wrong with Q8s, as I got 2 of ’em, but they’re Special Purpose lights that’ll otherwise end up being shelf-queens like my L2s and such. You’re not gonna carry one around in your bag, let alone on your person, so… why?

One of my faves, ’though of course no longer available, is the Sofirn SF31W, in warrrrrrm-white. Wonnnnnnderful. Beautiful beam, great color, nice UI, quickly became my go-to light at home, especially at night.

Gimme. })

What he said…


Thanks! Good list and overlaps with some others, which is a good sign.

Interesting! I like your EDC lights. At this point photos of beams make me uncertain of what I’m going to like, but it is really helpful to see what others use after trying many different lights.


You raise an excellent point. When I start looking at each light, I’m sure I’m going to lean toward lights I can imagine actually using. But, a couple of shelf-queens…maybe just a couple. :STEVE:

Lightbringer, can you give me some more info on what the TIR lens is, and where to get it? I'm only familiar with the orange peel reflector (for the S2+) sold at Aliepxress.


A practical post just to counter everyone else on here and be a bummer:

You probably shouldn’t spend $300 on flashlights, especially since you don’t plan to do anything outdoors. Hell, a $6.50 bojuit headlamp would be fine. (Though an upgrade to the skilhunt h03 would probably be better).

HAVE to spend $300? I’d aim for variety but still not blow a ton of money.


- Charger (home): Miboxer C4-12 for speed or Folomov A4 if you want cheaper. Even liitokala 500. $20-$30ish

- Charger (portable): Liitokala 100 for ~ $2-$3

- Batteries: (2) NCR18650GA for capacity, (2) Sony VTC6 for more power (~$6/battery)

- Headlamp: Skilhunt H03 still. Not worth the extra for zebralight. $25

  • Small EDC: A zillion options here. If you are actually carrying it AA or AAA might make sense. I hate heavy things in my pockets. Zebralight is the most loved but $80ish. I’d just get something like a Lumintop Tool AAA Nichia, etc. Here’s a favorite AA thread: Manker E11 looks pretty nice. AA gets you a lot more capacity than AAA (2500 vs 900mAh).


- Handheld: Emisar D4 ($40) or BLF A6 ($25). For high power.

- Throwy: Sofirn C8T ($18) or splurge on Emisar D1S ($40)

  • Lantern: no good option right now, wait for the BLF project to be ready ($40ish)

Notice that these are nearly 18650 lights. That’s because I think in most use cases they just make a lot more sense than AA. Headlamp/hiking? The h03 is super light and AA models like the Thrunite Th20 are mere ounces lighter. Handheld for home? No reason to be small. Same for throwy. Only an EDC I’d say justifies AA or AAA if you are pocketing it.

Typical battery capacity/weight ratio:

3500mAH 18650 / 47g = 75mAH/g
2550mAH eneloop pro / 30g = 85mAH/g
950mAH eneloop pro / 13g = 73mAH/g

Surprisingly I thought 18650’s almost always won this battle. Looks like the eneloop pros are actually more dense. (The standard eneloops at 2000mAh are only around 66mAH/g)

Here is my list…
Emisar d4 xpl hi 6500 or 5000k tint… $58
Emisar d1s. $40
Blf q8 … maybe $50 with the discount ?
Acebeam L16… $90 ??
Fenix tk35ue. $110

and then once you spend your first 300 on some awesome lights, start saving another 300. It can get addictive lol

Portable charger…Miller ML102, or Nitecore F1, or Folomov A1 :slight_smile:

Btw, you cannot compare mAh to draw conclusion about energy density, if voltages are different —> LiIon still wins

Sometimes i spend like $900 in one day on the flashlights… lights are addictive… i am telling you… enter as your own risk. Lol.

and once you spend that on flashlights, you have to go and get more batteries. I bet my battery collection is about 1/4 to 1/3 of the cost of all of my lights. I dropped 100 at the vape shop recently on 26650’s

Really practical advice. If I had a nickel for every time I shouldn’t have spent $300…but, I get your point. I’m here for the interest/hobby/camaraderie. It looks like I can buy a cross section of the suggestions for less than $300. Thanks again for the tips!

A couple of names/models I haven’t heard elsewhere. Thanks!

battery are pretty cheap if you know how to shop… i live in US so i order battery from like illumn, or mtnelectronics… i even order 26650 from aliexpress ( liitkola authorized dealer)…

I normally buy sony vtc5a, vtc6, samsung 30q. ( all flat top and cheaper))… you could still buy samsung 25r button top for like $5 each from neal.

“Total Internal Reflection”. Little funny-looking things that mix colors much better than reflectors, avoiding “fried-egg” beams (yellow hotspot and bluish spill), and just giving an overall nice beam.

Goggle “20mm collimator lens” on Amazon, and you’ll find a bunch. They come in everything from 5° (spot) to 60° for a nice wider beam, all the way to 120° for a flood.

Tubelights just ain’t made for throw, so I kinda dedicate all my S2+es for wider floodlights. They’re great for lighting up the path in front of you when it’s icy/snowy out, or looking through cabinets, for close-in work. For throw, hey, get a different light. :smiley:

’Though narrower TIRs will give a hotspot about on par with the come-with reflector. 5°/8°/10° are all nice.

If you don’t want multiples (for multiple lights, haha), try for one-fers.

The RJ02 I mentioned also takes these 20mm drop-in TIRs for any beam you could possibly want.

Use WH instead of mAH(AH). Li = 3.7V nominal, NiMH = 1.2V.

The Li cell could drive the LED directly, but the NiMH would have triple the voltage.

So for 1A to the LED, the Li cell would draw pretty much 1A. The NiMH would have to be boosted to triple the voltage, and would draw 3A instead of 1A for the same wattage.

A lot of good advice here, acquired at the expense of both time and money. I would say to hold off on spending the whole budget and instead maybe spend half and play for a while until you get a chance to see what you actually use and what usage gaps you feel could be better filled. I am a big fan of the BLF A6 with both 18650 and 18350 tubes as the bread-and butter workhorse. I am also a fan of always having a light on me, which means a AAA in a pocket, small enough that I don’t know it’s there until I need it. A charger that handles NiMH as well as lithium prevents duplication. Whether you need a big 5000+ lumen monster at first is a matter of personality; they are really impressive but not all that practical. If you occasionally could use a practical thrower the Utorch UT02 with a 26650 cell is small enough to use and doesn’t burn your hand in 3 minutes, under $40 including one or two 26650s. Play for a while; the technology changes pretty quickly and today’s ” Oh, my God!” is next year’s old technology. Also consider Eneloops for small cell needs - their energy density compares well to 14500 and 10440 lithium cells and you don’t have to be as careful with them.

Terrific advice. Having read each of these posts as well as answers I got in my intro thread, I completely agree with you. The “wow lights” would be fun on occasion, but probably get me in trouble with the neighbors in the city. I like the AAA pocket light idea as well. I’ve used Eneloops in other applications and really like them. Eager to get my hands on these 26650s, 18650s, 18350s & 14500s and the lights that use them. Before I get a search-and-rescue light or “wow light,” I want to try out the more common-use lights. Thanks for the tips!

OK, just read some older threads on this. This is something I wasn't familiar with since getting into flashlights six months ago. Can be confusing figuring out what reflector fits/works with what light. Both my S2+ have the stock orange peel reflector which in only slightly more floody than the stock smooth reflector.