I'm new to all this

Hello. I’m new to all of this, and probably got here from a bit different route than most of you.

I vape a high end “electronic cigarette” (not really a cigarette, not really smoking), and it uses 18650 batteries. So I’m regularly charging one, using another, keeping a couple extras around as a spare.

And I’d heard that the 18650 batteries were commonly used for flashlights. So I ordered a cheap WF502B flashlight just to check it out. Less than $7, including shipping, from China. I’ll link the one I got.


I was blown away. I’ve never had a flashlight like that, and I love it.

I’m thinking I’d like to carry that one, without a battery, in my car all the time. I normally have 2 or 3 18650’s with me, and I don’t leave them in the car because Texas heat and batteries don’t sound like a good mix. I wouldn’t need the flashlight regularly, and when I do, I can load a battery easy enough.

I’m also interested in getting at least one more flashlight, maybe two, to keep in the house. I see that a lot of flashlights are much, much more expensive than the one I got. What do you get for the extra money? What makes them so much better?

The one thing I notice that I dislike is the way it goes through the multiple modes. It would be nice if there were two switches. One for “on/off” and one to set the mode. I’m unlikely to ever need the flashing mode, and I’d prefer it to always come on in “high” mode.

I’m interested in suggestions on what light I should get next. I want one more designed for a single 18650, and I’m considering something that uses multiple 18650’s, like this one :

One thing that worries me about a light that uses multiple batteries is this : Do those batteries need to be matched sets, always used together? I don’t want to dedicate four batteries just for that light, and my normal use requires one at a time, so I’d be loading four various 18650’s into it. (Efest 2000 mah button top.) I’ll link the batteries I’m using.

So, what advice do you have for me?

There are plenty of good single cell flashlights around. Just decide which features you want, long run time, high brightness, throw, flood, color rendition, etc. and I'm sure there'll be plenty of suggestions.

Without blinkies.

Hi, Baldr…

Being that you are a newbie, you’ll find yourself easily wow-ed by higher-grade emitters. We are were when the first XM-L T6 (what you are now using) first came out. It made a huge breakthru because before then, brightness in LEDs just wasn’t affordable. Now, it is too affordable with all sorts of “deals” online through various sellers (more on that in a minute).

Carrying a light in your vehicle shouldn’t be difficult. The two best batteries for long-term storage and occasional use are CR123 Primaries (not rechargeable) and nimh AA/AAAs. And although they will discharge in time, a cheap 18650 should do the trick, so long as you keep the battery out of the sun and charged perhaps at least once…maybe a year? I’ve had cells completely discharge in two years, which is why I say that.

You have to ask yourself what you will be using your lights for. What you have is an example of an EDC (every day carry) light for general up-close tasks. What would your other tasks entail? Many lights sport great reach (or throw), in which case I’d recommend Amanda’s Maxtoch lights, which are not only cheaper than mainline brands, but are about or close to as good in build quality. Clarify your purpose and I can give specific recommendations.

As far as namebrand lights go, what you get for all that extra money is better machining, electronics, modes, a warranty, and quality control. Stay in this game long enough and you’ll get ticked at how often you order something and it doesn’t resemble what you ordered of the same kind before, doesn’t have the same function, or they used the wrong driver, etc. The only budget brands I will touch now are: Convoy, XINTD, and Maxtoch, as well as a few other offerings by companies I’ve come to know won’t screw me. Not kidding—there is a reason people shell out the extra money for better offerings. My recent Olight purchase (SR51) reminded me of that all too well.

The Chinese often have NO IDEA what they are selling or building, seriously. One batch of torches may not work; one may be really right, but not have matching tints; the next batch may use a weaker “next mode memory” driver where you have to cycle through all those modes to turn the light off! It has taken me a while, but I’ve gotten away from that. Instead, I go with reviewed recommendations from this community and your level of satisfaction will stand ready to be good.

Bad modes are a trademark of cheap lights. Keep experimenting and you’ll find that the lower modes have a “fuzzing”, what we call pulse width modulation (PWM) and is what you get when your light lacks a decent driver.

Right off the bat, I can suggest a number of lights where a separate button controls the modes (see below).

I wouldn’t recommend these Securitylings as the build quality and reliability are suspect at best. You may get lucky with a good one, but probably not. I’d recommend this for multi-celled budget flooders…

For single-celled lights, I’d recommend…

http://wallbuys.com/Product/YEZL-Y3-Type-A-CREE-XM-L2-T6-1100LM-4-Mode-Memory-White-LED-Flashlight-Black-1x26650—12115 (HAS TWO BUTTONS AND MODE MEMORY)

Here is the thing with li-ion batteries; ideally, you need to make sure they are charged and topped off to about the same voltage. Get a digital multimeter and compare. That’s not essential, but with cheaper lights, it should be considered so. The same regulatory safeguards aren’t in place to help prevent a fire (or worse, an explosion!) as with the big-name lights (like Olight, which I’d recommend, btw). You pay more, you get more; tis’ a life lesson!

I like the batteries you selected, though I’d go for a higher capacity (like 2600 or above). Efest has done me right. NEVER go with an unknown or cheap battery as most are recycled laptop batteries and can be downright dangerous. Can’t stress that enough, really. Always use protecteds, especially when in a series (back-to-back). This should be considered fundamental. I just bought a bunch of Keeppowers from Banggood and I’d recommend them…

Oh, and uh, welcome!


Flashlights are far more addictive than smoking.

Howdy and Welcome to BLF.

I also found my way here via e-cigs. I had a bunch of extra batteries and wanted something to do with them. Now a couple hundred flashlights later I’m hooked on flashlights worse than e-cigs. I’m still vaping I just don’t buy much vaping equipment anymore.

Thanks to everyone that replied. I do appreciate it.

I was just worried about heat if it’s in the car all the time. You live in Austin, so if you tell me that the heat won’t be a major issue, then I’ll try keeping one in the glove box. I don’t mind doing a battery swap a couple of times a year, and I don’t really even care if that slowly kills the battery, as long as it’s not going to cause a battery to leak or explode or die in a month. I know that sitting in the house, where the temp isn’t an issue, an 18650 will keep a charge for a long time.

I appreciate all the advice from you and others. I’m going to do a fair bit of reading before I place an order. I don’t expect to get into this as a hobby the way many do, but I do want to get several good flashlights, and I’d like to get ones I’m happy with the first time, and not end up wasting a lot of money along the way.

So I’m not the only one. :slight_smile: Once I bought a Provari, I pretty much quit buying vape gear except for replacement atomizers and fresh juice. But I already had several 18650’s, and got more, and at some point I thought “I have all these sitting around, I always have several in fresh-charged state, I have more of them than I need, I should get a good flashlight.” I’m starting to see how the flashlight thing could get a bit addicting. I don’t think I’ll get hooked, but I do think I’ll end up with several flashlights which are much better than anything I’ve had before.

I go camping a bit, plus normal around the house stuff where a flashlight helps. I’d like one in the car because you never know when you’ll have a flat or mechanical issue, or where something else comes up where a light would help. And while it isn’t a regular thing, from time to time I help a friend out who does some PI/Security work, and a good flashlight will come in handy. He uses maglites with 3 D cells, and the tiny little flashlight I bought blows his away. My entry-cost into these is much lower than it would be for him, since I already have a bunch of batteries and an xtar vp1 charger, and he doesn’t have any of that. He may already be aware of these. I haven’t seen him since I got mine.

Again, thanks to everyone for the advice!

this week its WF502B next week it will be btu shocker and TK75

well it was for me anyhow :bigsmile:

Quality machining, quality ar glass lens, high current switch, HAIII anodizing, quality driver. In a word, quality goes into an expensive light. Don’t really care myself and have a 502b I carry around myself. It does have a customized driver/led pill.

It goes without saying that high cost doesn’t always equal high quality. It sounds like you’re heading in the right direction by listening to the people on here so you should do fine. Welcome to BLF.