Howdy from Texas & TF-Z3

I'm John and I'm rather new to CREE flashlights.

About 6 months ago, I was at a local hardware store and saw a Redline 200LM Zoom at the checkout counter and was impressed enough with it that I bought it. I have always tried to have the best flashlights - my most recent, before the Redline, being a huge HID flashlight. That 200LM Redline, though not as bright, made up for the lack of brightness, in size. I kept telling myself that I was going to go out on the net and do some research and see what else was available, but just never got around to it.

However, my wife is traveling for a while and I gave her the Redline flashlight, to take with her. I never really realized how much I used it. This inspired me to start doing some research and I ended up here.

FYI, my background is EE.

I'm now looking for a small (pocket-sized, like the Redline), single CREE, zoomable, 1-LI or 3-AAA, in the 1000 to 1600 LM range. If I get a LI light, I will need to get a charger, too. I would prefer to get a light that will give me the option of using either LI or AAA batteries. Having the option of AAA batteries means that regardless of where I am, I will always be able to get batteries if I run out of rechargeable batteries.

I found a supplier that provides a Trustfire Z3 (requires 1 18650 or 3 AAA), with two 18650 3000mAh batteries included, a dual charger with both AC and auto adapters, and an adapter to allows the use of 3 AAA batteries, for emergencies. I have seen the Z3 elsewhere, but not with the variety of accessories.

So now, I'm here to research the TF-Z3 and to see if there is anything better. Most of the Z3s on the net are around $33, but the one with all the accessories is about $37. The $33 versions are available from US suppliers, while the $37 version is from a supplier in China, via eBay. The fact that several US suppliers have chosen to sell the Z3 is one of the reasons why I think it might be a worthwhile product.

Maybe there's something better, for my stated needs. Maybe not. That's why I'm here... to find out. I'm also here to find out if I can get such a complete package from a US distributor for anywhere close to the same price.

FYI, throw at max zoom is more important than flood, to me. Battery life is only moderately important, since I can carry more batteries. Besides, I tend to only use the light for a few minutes at a time (usually less than 20 min). Blinky and SOS are not terribly important to me. But I do think that the blinky is a good security feature, in the event of facing a burglar or assailant who has a gun. The strobe in the eyes will disorient the perp more than a steady bright light, while allowing me to still see my aim point. But for ease of use, in emergency situations, I think that the strobe should be the first click, instead of the fourth.

I welcome any suggestions.

Welcome to BLF!

Welcome to BLF!

I have the Redline you speak of. I like it for an around the house light. Suggest you post a link on the Z3 package your are referring to, I'm sure you'll get several suggestion on alternatives.

Edit: Here's a discussion thread on the Z3.

Welcome to BLF!

I am a zoomie flashlight guy myself and I think that package you mention sounds like great value acutally. Sure the shipping time is probably 4 weeks but if you dont need it right now then... Oh well.

Be warned though that reading on this foum can be very expensive. The reviews especially get my paypal to flex.

BetweenRides, you suggested that I post a link to the Z3 package I'm talking about, so here it is.

Hi John!


I like the idea of zoom lights - but I've yet to find the one I've not destroyed or given away. There must be a decent one out there. I've not yet found it...

But it is fun looking for it.

If you want serious throw - zoomies are not the place to look - think of things with reflectors the size of footballs.

Don, I can highly recommend the Redline 200LM light. It has a twist focus that doesn't quite twist to the maximum zoom. But you can overcome that limitation by slightly unscrewing the lens bezel to reach that max. It comes with a 3-AAA battery holder.

As for throw, if I want tremendous throw, I have an HID light that is the size of a football. I'm just looking for the best throw that I can get in a pocket-sized light (1 Li-ion, not 2 or a 3 AAA pack), with no huge reflector. I'm looking for something about the size of the Z3, with the longest throw possible. I know that the size limitation probably limits me to about 1000 - 1200LM.

BTW, it looks like the Z3 may be about the same size as the Redline 200LM.

Don, One more thing that I forgot to mention about the Redline is that the bottom (around the switch) is magnetic. It's not a terribly strong magnet. But it will help it stand on end on a level or even close to level surface. It will hang from a perfectly level steel surface, but just barely. However, if you happen to have any other flat magnet, you can attach it to just about anything.

The only way that you should be able to destroy it is if you emerge it in water. It's water resistant, but not water proof.

I'm hoping that someone can tell me more about the Z3, to make me feel as good about it, as I feel about the Redline.