Need recommendation for my first general purpose 18650 flashlight (Zanflare F1, Eagle Eye X6R, Convoy C8)

Hello people,

For the last few days I’m struggling to make decision between the following flashlights:

  • Zanflare F1
  • Eagle Eye X6R
  • Eagle Eye X2R
  • Convoy C8 XML2
  • Feel free to recommend something else

My budget is around $30 and I would need 2 18650 batteries, so around ~$45 in total.
I would like to hav eon-board charging option since I don’t have dedicated battery charger yet.
For the batteries I’m thinking about (ok choice?)

If you have a C8 on your list. Take a look at this one. A bit over budget but really worth it. No built in charging but I have a few single cell chargers laying around. I could send you one.,searchweb201602_2_10152_10065_10151_10344_10068_10130_5722815_10324_10342_10547_10325_10343_10546_10340_5722915_10548_10341_10545_5722615_10696_10084_10083_10618_10307_5722715_5711215_10059_308_100031_10103_10624_10623_10622_5711315_5722515_10621_10620-5711315,searchweb201603_36,ppcSwitch_2_ppcChannel&algo_expid=d6c7830b-665a-4fd3-9a41-38a5f2fd25e0-0&algo_pvid=d6c7830b-665a-4fd3-9a41-38a5f2fd25e0&priceBeautifyAB=0

@rhymeguy if you need a good all around light, I would recommend this Kaidomain C8:

Quite the nice and good light. Quite powerful and has a good UI.

No USB charging though.

The Thorefire C8S has an XML2 led.

In this post Archive topic - Banggood & Fin17 there is a code for the kit that includes a battery and charger.

Everything you need for $19.99.

It’s almost identicle to the Convoy C8 you mentioned in your original post.

I second the Sofirn C8F. It made all my other C8 flashlights obsolete.

I understand the tempation to go that route, but honestly I would advise against it. Don’t limit yourself by looking only at lights that have on-board charging. My advice would be to purchase a dedicated charger to have better visibility/control over the charging process and better charging. Some of these on-board chargers don’t charge the cells fully or charge very slowly - OK to use as a last resort, but probably not the best to use as a primary charging method.

Is the output really 2580 lm? Has anyone been able to verify this? And if so, how long does it stay at that level before stepping down?

Also the batteries you linked will work fine in any of the lights you listed.

However you might consider a cell with a high discharge capacity. Not essential for the lights you mentioned. But perhaps a light you get in the future could use the extra amperage delivery.

The Sofirn C8F (others have recommended) would require a high drain cell. The Samsung 30Q would fit the bill. Isn’t too expensive.

@Pete78743, you are right. It doesn’t reach 2580 lumens.

In fact, it reaches 2800 lumens at 30 secs with an appropriate cell:

For a beginner though, I would not recommend a C8F. A FET light is not really appropriate, as brightness drops as the cells voltage goes down. A constant high, but not extreme, light output is what it really needed.

As I stated before, the Kaidomain C8.2 would be the best bet between power, and runtime. A Samsung 30Q would be your best bet:

Kaidomain C8.2:

As usual, I’m gonna ask first before anything else… whaddya gonna do with it?

Grubble through dark basements/attics? Walk the dog at night? Spot owls in trees? Etc. Ie, close-in work where you want something floody, or farther-out spotting where you’d want a thrower?

For a general purpose light, I’d recommend the Zanflare F1 or the Nitefox UT20, both of which have built-in charging, aren’t overly high-strung and will let you use even laptop pulls (as I often do), and are nice easy to carry tubelights.

I got 4-5 F1s, and just got a UT20. I’m really impressed with both as far as build-quality.

The F1 never comes as a kit, so you’ll have to buy a separate cell for it. You can, if you’re willing to wait, pick up a F1 for 20bux on a flash sale if/when GB offers it, else it’ll be priced something obscenely higher if not (like, double, 40bux).

The UT20 can be had through Amazon for 23bux currently without a cell. They (Nitefox) have a decent 2600mAH cell with protection and built-in charger(!!), too, for 10bux. That’s actually cheaper than getting the kit (light + regular cell). The cell’s pretty good, ’though it’s 5A max drain, and clocked in over spec (something like 2610mAH for a 2600mAH-rating). The light doesn’t draw more’n 3A or so, so it’s plenty.

For a “starter kit” of an 18650 light, either one of these is perfect.

If you’re not emotionally attached to a built-in charger, there are so many other lights out there, but they’d of course require a separate charger. Get a LiitoKala 100 or 202 and be done with it. Under 10bux for sure.

And look, later on, you can get bigger, beefier, even almighty chargers (seriously!).

But as far as 18650 lights, the S2+ is an old standby, and you can substitute TIR lenses from spot to flood. Or use it as-is with its reflector. Thorfire and Sofirn also have a nice assortment. My SF31WW (yes, warm-white!) is a keeper, albeit discontinued. Then there are those lights that take drop-in modules.

While the C8 is highly regarded, especially the C8F, C8s in general are throwers, not suited too well for close-in work. Certainly not for, say, lighting up the ground in front of you on a dark trail. You’d be blinded by the small but intense hotspot, whereas the spill will be almost useless after you’re so blinded. Best to get a nice flooder, like an S2+ with a 60° TIR lens swapped in.

Like I said, it depends what you wanna do with it.

If you want us to help you break a tie between tube lights and larger-headed, thrower lights, you might want to give us more information about your version of general purpose use.

Without that info, I’m going to suggest a tube light, since they fit more pockets than a C8, or X2R.

The X2R and Convoy S9 (side switch) are both nice USB rechargable 18650 tube lights. Of the two, the S9 is a little more compact, thanks in large part to the side switch.

The Zanflare F1 is nice too. It is brighter than either the X2R or the S9, but it is also somewhat larger.

I’m not going to steer you away from a USB rechargeable light. The X2R, S9, F1 and probably the X6R, all do a good job of recharging, and it’s convenient in your first 18650 general purpose light, even if you also have a proper charger. When you end up getting more lights, or you decide you need extra batteries, you can get a separate charger.

Almost forgot… how long are you willing to wait to get your light? Anyplace overseas, like GB, FT, BG, AX, etc., you’ll be waiting several weeks to over a month, at minimum. If you want it faster, you need Amazon. They won’t be as good pricewise (like I said, 40bux regular price for an F1 there, vs maybe as low as half that from GB if you’re willing to wait for a flash-sale).

In this case, and I don’t want to sound like a shill for Nitefox or anything, but the UT20 (light-only) and the cell with built-in charger will be all you need to get started. It’s a decent cell as-is, and it works well with the ’20.

One alternative I forgot to mention is the Thorfire TK18 kit. The light, charger, and Thorfire cell (pretty good) can be had from BG, but dunno if the codes are still good for it. Check the threads to see if so. I’m not even going to guess what the prices would be, but the group-buy or whatever for the ’18 was a damned good price. Got my kit long ago, but am still waiting for my light-only.

In general, Thorfire and Sofirn have good cells in their kits, so I wouldn’t be afraid of using those cells, and would recommend them without hesitation. Other no-name Mystery Cells can be crappy rewraps pulled from recycling bins that are 1-2 charges away from going supernova. I’d give away those cells to someone I hate.

I keep hearing people say that, but I don’t get it. It’s marginally longer, it’s a bit heavier (because it’s built like a tank, and not the 007 kind), but I don’t see it as “bigger” the way lots of people seem to make it a dealbreaker.

But to me, the S9 is just anæmic, dunno why all the hype. Don’t see the appeal at all. I’d rather stick to the old workhorses of the S2, S2+, S3, S5, etc.

Another one is the Klarus ST10. Review here: [Review]Klarus ST10 (1100 Lumens, USB Rechargeable, 18650) Video available

Smaller/lighter than the Zanflare F1 and from a more reputable brand. Comes with a 2600mah battery included.

You will have to look for a coupon but I believe you can get it in or close to your price range with one.

I second and third the Sofirn C8F suggestion. It has a nice amount of flood lighting but still throws pretty dang far. I’ve been walking my dog at night with mine and running it on medium you’re getting way more light than you would from a flashlight from a department store. The runtime is really not bad at all. You don’t have to walk around with it on turbo or high all the time. I use mine on low most often and it’s still brighter than my other regular flashlights. Low or med will give you plenty of run time. I couldn’t be happier with mine.

I agree, “general purpose” means very different thing to different people and getting the use sorted out is really the first step that needs to be taken. Also, personally I wouldn’t consider single-emitter C8 to be general purpose.

Hi rhymeguy,

I’m new on this forum, and don’t have the knowledge and experience of all these fine people who have taken time to give you great advice.
…but recently I had to start, just like you, wanting to buy something good on a budget. So I have learned a great deal from my experience.
My first mistake was buying cheap batteries…Don’t! - for a few dollars more I could have bought a well known brand.

I agree with some of the others who have said don’t go for a rechargeable flashlight because you are limiting your options.
I bought my first charger secondhand at less than a quarter of the price and it had hardly been used. Works very well.

If your overall budget is $45 including batteries, I would buy a LiitoKala 202 charger or similar, as Lightbringer advised, currently $7.99 at Banggood.
Batteries like Samsung 30Q - currently $11.59 at Banggood (for 2). (You can actually get 4 for $18.69 using coupon code on this forum.)
That leaves you with about $25 for the flashlight.
I first bought a Convoy C8 and they currently start at $15.99 on Banggood. (various prices for different options)
There is a general coupon code “4BLF” which will take another 9% off flashlights as well.
I liked the Convoy so much that I bought a second one. It suits me for taking dogs for walks at night and finding them in the bushes and trees.

If you don’t want the Convoy, the $25 will be very close to getting you one of the other flashlights recommended on this post.
You might just need to spend a few dollars more.
Look at some of the posts on this forum with discount coupons, flash sales etc. including M4D M4X’s website.

Be prepared with batteries and charger, because once you become a flashlight junkie, you’re going to need them!

I like the Sofirn SF36 (NW) and 36W (WW) as a general purpose/utility light. Slightly larger than the typical tube light, but smaller than a C8. I don’t see any crazy deals on it at the moment, but the NW version with battery and charger is just under $20 on Amazon with the current 20% off coupon. Really pleased with tint on the XP-L V6, similar to the BLF Q8.

Or you could save yourself a lot of money and cut to the chase . An 14500/AA in your pocket and a BLF Q8 for a blaster. These are the two lights I find myself using daily. The C8F comes in third.

NItecore TIP on the keyring, Sofirn SF14 in the pocket, BLF A6 in the car, BLF Q8 on the nightstand, and an L2 or C8 as a searchlight/thrower.

Skilhunt H03 for headlamp flood, Xanes D25 for a more throwy runner/biker, and Boruit RJ-02 for the toolbox.

That’s my needs met, the rest are/were for fun and to try things out until I found what worked best.

I wouldn’t want to be without the TIP, A6, Q8, and H03, or have to choose between them.

Still plenty of lights I would like to have, but none will really fill a need.