Newbie - Advice Please - Best Value High Lumen Torches (Search and Rescue)

Hi Guys/Gals/Others,

I have recently joined a Search and Rescue Team in the UK and am looking at cost effective torches and the internet is plagued by low cost torches with mixed reviews and fake claims.
I am looking for something that will illuminate bushes and woods brightly to find people in them but also able to flood a whole field for short periods when necessary.

I recently just bought a “TrustFire 3600 Lumen T62 Tactical Torch 18650 Powerful LED Flashlight Ultra Throw Light XHP70 CW IPX8” and have yet to be out in the woods and put it to the test but I like how it came with an extension to make it a 3 cell. It was an Amazon lightning sale so got it half price. £30 instead of £60 with batteries.

I was looking for the most lumens for under £60 / $80 which then led me to the Sofirn BLF SP36 on Alibaba and then subsequently to this group. I was also comparing the SP36 with the Sofirn SP70 XHP70.2.

If you were in my shoes, with new batteries of both size, what would you reccomend to accompany my TrustFire 3600 out looking for vulnerable missing persons.

All responses gatefully appreciated.

It's nice to see you, ryhar1983!

If you are going to want distance, and be able to flood a field (sometimes) then a zoomie I would suggest is the ideal light for you. These zoom from a ‘spot’ to a wide ‘flood’ by moving the head.
Other lights are going to to a bit of each(not a spot, not a flood), or are polar opposites, so to speak. (spot or flood)
I’m not a zoomie expert, but I’m sure someone will help you out.
I did find this LINK one the other day (it’s new and not sure anyone on here has had one) it’s a bit of a beast, and may be too big! Aslo, you say search and rescue, does it need to be waterproof? (proper water proof, not a ‘claim’)

I would recommend the convoy L6 or BLF Q8. These both are very bright and have balanced beams (not too wide or too narrow).

Edit: I guess the T62 you bought is close to the convoy L6 I mentioned, if the T62 specs are close to accurate.

Zooming lights are just not bright enough in my opinion. Too inefficient light collection.

I might recommend the Astrolux Ft03 SST40

Thanks for your suggestion and reply.
I am not on the water search team so no intention of going in or near water so I would say no, just rain, not submerged.
That loks more like it’s aimed as a weapon and torch is secondary. Juse one battery cell isn’t ideal really,
A zoomie is an option and had a cheap one form ebay that malfunctioned. An unbranded CHinese 70.2 - 2 cell 26500 torch that was ok first time use but then failed second time and had a zoom adjust that wasnt too bad.

As The Trustfire will run Trustfire 3600 almost 2 hours at top brightness at 3600lm then I am happy to run that one at middle brightness level for 10 hours and pump up to max just when needed.

So yeah, I either need something that will flood better that will give me super brightness (I Want more than 3600! :stuck_out_tongue: ) or adjust/zoom or just compliment the Trustfire and offer something different. I have a couple of small CREE torches for lower light close up scenarios. But looking for someone hiding in trees, bushes or laying in fields has to be priority.

Great flood and throw combo beam
Haikelite MT40 (CW)

MT40 - That looks like a good shout at first glance.
Banggood Discount makes it a reasonable price too.

Question is the 5000K or 6500K. I think from what I can tell higher the K, the whiter the light? I feel like whiter/bluer look better than more natural light. But then I am not experienced in this field. Any thoughts or suggestions please? thanks

Try my newest toy
eagletac SX25L3

Check out the C8 style lights, especially those that take 21700. Plan on taking spare 18650 in a waterproof case if you prefer. I’m having great fun with the Yootoo SD3. I have the 5000K Philips version. $14.99 here. I paid $7 for a quality 21700, looks like they are €6-9 at NKON. Convoy has the C8, C8+ and M21 series that are similar, and the L series for more expensive throwers.

In general, LEDs with small dies like the Osram w1/w2, SST-20, or domeless/dedomed like the XP-L HI or dedomed XHP70.2 produce more intense hot spots and less spill. Larger die LEDs will produce more spill, and more efficient ones produce more light for given power input. Of course, the optics (reflector, lens, or TIR) also have a big effect. A deeper reflector narrows the beam, a more shallow one (in general) produces a more floodly beam.

There’s a forum post with a spreadsheet containing the best budget throwers. Unfortunately, I don’t have it bookmarked and can’t find it. Can someone provide the link?

This thread has some great screenshots of “money is no object, throw is everything” flashlights. Sadly, most of those flashlights are out of your budget.

Here are two similar questions -

best under $50 thrower

best under $100 thrower

Color temperature is a preference, but I would go with 5000K. In my experience a neutral white like this allows for the most contrast and easy object identification especially outside where there’s lots of green and brown. With cooler white there is not enough red and with warmer light there is a red tint to everything.

Sofirn C8F is pretty good with throw and flood balance. Its also having a bigger battery for longer run times all together in a small package.

Throw, Convoy L2, or light cannon, Convoy L6.

Both the above can take a pair of 26650s for max runtime. They’re more conventional, plunger-type lights.

Sofirn C8F-21700. Nice compromise of output with triple emitters, and a 21700 for good hand-feel and runtime.

BLF Q8. Big donk, hella bright, goes forever with 4 cells, great CT/tint, decent throw with lots of flood.

Sofirn SF36, triple emitter, triple cells, built-in charging.

Depends on what you’re looking for…

Thrunite Cat6. Firstly is a good mix of brightness, 750m throw, and 1750 lumens. It is also pocketable, comes with the battery, and holster, and has built in USB charging. It also doesn’t overheat like virtually any super high lumen light. It’s also from a quality brand. I have many lights, this is one I’d be taking out for S&R. If I were to take a second light I’d prob take the TN40, it’s kind of like 4 Cat6s. You can get it a battery pack, i believe, or with 4 18650s.

From my subjective experiences, tint depends upon the terrain. Yes, tree bark and bushes are easier to identify with neutral white (nw). And you see a little farther in fog, rain and especially snow because there is less reflection. For the same reason you see farther if something is behind a break in dense brush that would be bright with cool white. Generally neutral white around 5000K is my choice. But sometimes the cool white 6500K sees farther because it lights up objects at a greater distance like across a clearing. If the object is a bit too far for the neutral white, the cool white can make it visible. So sometimes I carry both.

this is a great reply. 6500K allows you to get more lumens out of the LED but it may sometimes be worst than having a 3000K light when it is raining/snowing/foggy. See the picture here :

If you were to aim at something far away from your shoulder, the blueish length of the beam would prevent you from seeing what you’re lighting up. This phenomenom is reduced the more you drop the color temperature.To me, 4000-5000K is about the perfect color temperature to see things up far.

This is why car headlights are now blueish but the fog headlights are still much whiter or even yellow.

Also, I don’t think you should be going for as many lumens as possible. if you get a thrower, the hotspot may be way too bright to be usable in close distances but the lower modes won’t have enough spill for you to see a large area.
I think that XHP50.2 / XHP70.2 are the perfect LEDs for the job. I would go with a FT03 with one of these LEDs if I were you. Maybe a Haikelite MT40 with SST-40 could do the job fine too

check this comparison : ASTROLUX FT03 - XHP50.2 - 4300 lumens - 735m - USB-C - YouTube

Not so sure this is true.

For batteries for your trustfire …

Since it appears to use multiple 18650 in SERIES, you should get PROTECTED batteries

Make sure to only use the same set of MATCHED cells in the light, charge em up at the same time, mark em with permanent marker, and occasionally check em with a DMM to make sure the voltages are close

As to what other light you want …

The only i would say is that you want SOLID reliabilty in adverse conditions, if the light doesnt work then someone LIFE might be screwed

Also although light might look cheaper initially, the REAL warranty (not the useless ship to china paper warranty) matters

For example when fenix is bough from an authorized dealer (not amazon), it has a 5 year local warranty … you are guaranteed a working light for 5 years …

Remember that alot of folks here can tell you about output and features, but about use in demanding environments over YEARS … perhaps not so much

I would ask a few CAVERS (or other such folks) what they would us :wink:

I don’t think warranty is that important. It sometimes takes month for an RMA to be processed depending on where you bought it leaving you with nothing else for months.

As a volunteer first aid responder, I always prefer redundancy over anything else : I always have 2 lights on me and at least one more in my bag along with spare batteries. Warranty won’t help you the time your light randomly broke at the worst time. Sure a 5+ year warranty light may be tested in harsher conditions but it may fail at any time for no apparent reason.

Well if you have the famous astrolux dispute issues with a light for SAR, then you wont have any warranty after the first month or so …

Fenix in north america is fairly fast from authorized dealers, especially if you bought it from REI/MEC which have a walk in exchange

As i said ask around about reliability from constant users in demanding environments

Not lights that sit on the shelf till they get dusted off for walking the dog :wink: