How To get started doing flashlight reviews?

I hope im posting this in the right section. I have some questions for the flashlight pro’s here. How do you get started doing flashlight reviews? i see lots of people here doing flashlight reviews for sellers and manufactures and I would enjoy doing this as well.

Start making reviews on what you already have. Just find a format that works well for you and get to it! Once you have a good library of work, then you can contact the manufacturers about reviewing their new and upcoming models.


  1. Buy a flashlight.
  2. Test it to destruction.
  3. Take good pictures and document your experience accurately. (VERY important)
  4. Write well.
  5. Offer the result to the vendor.
  6. Repeat

After you get the hang of it, ask all the vendors you can find for review samples and a place to post your review (most already have such a place). You’ll probably still have to pay for stuff, but every now and then you’ll get a freebie.

Good luck!

Why not put your question in the thread title?

I just bought a new flashlight tonight so i will start there then. thank you for the info.

Click bait 8-|

Sorry very tired and wasn’t thinking, click bait wasn’t intended.

I think that you can go back and edit the title, I have had to a couple of times.

Yep… do a few reviews of lights you have then go and ask manufacturers. Expect manufacturers and retailers to say no, or not respond sometimes. If you do good work people will notice. It’s hard work, with little incentive and the hours you spend on a review may not be worth the cost.

I think some reviewers, such as selfbuilt, get all their samples for free. I’m not sure if he has to send them back, but apparently from his retesting, he gets to keep at least some.

However, he doesn’t have a large number of views on youtube, so I presume it’s his presence in other areas, along with great reviews of course, that gives him enough cred to get stuff for free.

So yeah, it seems just like you have to do a lot of great reviews, and then point to that when you ask for samples. Of course, if you get tens of thousands of hits on youtube, that would probably be enough just by itself.

I’d bet your freebies would dry up if you gave a few negative reviews, though. So, if you want to claim your reviews are 100% unbiased, you shouldn’t ask for freebies.

Selfbuilt gets samples because manufacturers know he influences a huge number of flashlight buyers’ decisions. He is basically a demi-god on CPF.

I’m not totally sure why, but he is.

I did a few honest reviews of lights that I got for free from Banggood two years ago, and they stopped offering me more review samples. Which was ok with me because they did not really have any more interesting new flashlights at the time that were not reviewed well by others already.

I know I made one particular manufacturer mad for making some (what I thought were) innocuous comments about a user interface. Then there was another one, who thought my reviews on their lights weren’t done in the proper outdoor environment.

And off on a tangent. I don’t necessarily thing one needs to have “negative” reviews to be legitimate. I like to report data as I see it… and try to stay away from too many personal. For example, what I think is nice, someone else doesn’t necessarily agree with me. Especially tints. As I’ve gained subscribers I now understand that not everyone is in love with warm or even neutral tints. Or user interfaces. I hate Zebralights quick click to turbo- but many many people love it. I don’t understand this personally. If I were to call it stupid or terrible, then it wouldn’t make me a better reviewer and many people would disagree. I figure if I throw it out there, people can decide for themselves. That’s what comment sections are for after reviews. If someone WANTS my opinion on what I think of the user interface, I’ll give it to them straight.

I don’t look for personal opinions in a negative review. I look for factual statements about things like output, UI, tint, build quality, run time, etc. I think Selfbuilt does a pretty good job of stating facts, without stating opinions. I guess this is why manufacturers keep sending him free stuff to test. I do wish he would cover things like tint, but given tint variation between samples perhaps that’s too random. I wish he would test things like impact resistance, but I guess he wants to keep the free stuff for personal use without damaging it.

Honestly mhanlen it was your review of the Noctigon M43 Meteor that inspired me. It was the very first flashlight review i ran across on youtube and i watched it several times. To me you hit all the right points of a product review.

Yes, now. But s/he only got that relationship by (essentially) going through the process so many times that the vendors & manufacturers had plenty of evidence that they could trust his/her opinions this much.

Not picking on you personally, and I’m sorry to be a wet blanket here; but in the category of ‘Useful Information’ youtube has turned into (always was?) complete, unadulterated bullsnot. To be fair, it’s not just youtube. I have a few ‘Gunsmithing Training’ tapes and DVDs, which cost as much $$ (nevermind the time) as the guns they allegedly “cover”, that are widely believed to be “the best”; and yet from the standpoint of conveying useful information to the human mind they are mind-numbingly useless. An equal or greater amount of information could be more-efficiently and more-accurately obtained from a standard machinist’s drawing and a concise page of factual text. Moving pictures still the mind. If you don’t believe me, catch your best friend in the middle of his/her favorite TV show (notice their eyes, face & body language?) & try to engage them in an unrelated, intellectual conversation. See? When the show is over, quiz them on important factual details from the show. (Time period, place and climate? How many times does that same green Ford Pinto appear in the background of the chase scenes?, etc.) See? And TV is “entertaining”. It creates a sense of excitement which should improve memory retention. Most youtube videos are not even in focus!! Try pausing any video (not just stupid Shockwave Flash) to zoom in on critical details. See?

I see your point about “owing”, although it implies dishonorable vendors. It’s simply not feasible for independent reviewers to buy everything they review, or a different kind of bias creeps in. This is where an absolute, unyielding (even somewhat “arrogant”) commitment to honor, accuracy, integrity, and of course readability come in.

I ‘made’ about $1-2 an hour on my last few reviews when you take the amount of time spent making a review and the value of the sample flashlight. It is a lot of work. Thankfully I genuinely enjoy most of the testing process. I think I mentioned before that it reminds me somewhat of chemistry class (which I loved) with the recording of values and making observations.

Sure, for a lot of stuff on there. However, my point was that manufacturers don’t really care if your video is thorough and well-researched, they only care if you have
(1) Lots of hits, and
(2) Give a good recommendation.

If you can do the above, you’ll get lots of free stuff. Because, you’re giving them advertising.

The other way is to do all the hard work, and hopefully eventually prove that you’re good and reliable.

But you can never claim 100% independence, if you rely on getting free stuff. When you give certain manufacturers bad reviews, they’ll stop sending you free stuff.

Depending on the light and whether or not I have to get it back, I will do impact testing. I killed my T20 on video for this, and had to repair it.

I really try to make them watchable. Like Dimbo said below, it’s difficult to make a good video. Pacing it well, giving enough information without seeming too boring, and please the people who watch your stuff. My videos don’t please everyone, in fact some people absolutely hate them. Which is not my problem- but you have to understand you won’t please everyone. You need to accept valid criticism and improve your stuff based upon it. For example: I’ve added more data to my reviews, to help address the criticism they were basically just entertainment. I’ve also improved technical aspects of my reviews… better cameras… better sound… no music, etc.

And the reason why I’ve migrated over to Youtube entirely for reviews is simple. I do it for the ad sense money, and it helps to offset all the time and money I pour into my reviews. My review model is predicated on people liking my videos and subscribing to my channel. If people think I make crap, they don’t watch, then I don’t get subscribers. Now you might think it’s a bit shrewd. But unless you do these reviews often, then you don’t know how much time is spent on them. That pie-in-the-sky dream reviewer, who reviews for no monetary gain, and buys everything themselves doesn’t exist. Reviewing things costs money and time, even if it is a hobby. That and I need to pay for my camera gear somehow. I am still way in the hole, if you figure in my cameras and equipment- not even counting the time involved. That said, I don’t have near enough subscribers to make my channel profitable yet. Budget Light Forum, has been a great resource and community for starting this though. I learn stuff, get feedback, etc.

I spend about 20 hours or so on every flashlight review I do. Sometimes more and sometimes less. I sometimes pay for lights and other times I often don’t. I make that pretty clear in my reviews and I don’t think there’s much of a difference between the ones I pay for and ones I don’t. Imagine those people who do a great a bit more reviews than I do? It basically becomes a full time job. If reviewing flashlights or gear takes up most of your time, you have to get money from somewhere.

I don’t know- I’m just being transparent about the whole process.

I know a lot of people would like to do reviews for “stuff”, just to get it free. It used to be easy, but many dealers have wised up a little. First, you need a rep. If you are “known, or well known” in a forum or forums, then you might get started and dealers will usually start off with something cheap, because they want to see your results, before they send you expensive stuff.

If you want to continue getting free stuff, you need to make knowledgeable reviews about the products, but also, totally positive reviews about the products. Don’t show any faults and talk it up as a great product. This is what they want, because you are basically selling the product for them. It is the reason they sent it to you. Don’t take it any other way. You are basically selling for them and getting the free stuff as payment, instead of money.
I don’t hardly do reviews any more, because most of the dealers and Mfgs., know I am too critical of lights that they send me, so they have stopped. That’s fine with me. I don’t like lying about something, just to get free stuff, that I don’t want. Most always, the lights went into giveaways.

If you have a certain item you want to review, it’s probably best to just go buy it and review it. Then you can say what you feel about it, without worrying about dealer issues, if it’s negative. If you want to get free lights, then just lie and say it’s all good, but people will figure that out after a while too. Usually a dealer will want a review done in BLF and CPF, as well as their own website.