Quality of Budget Lights

I was totally convinced that I would get the Crelant 7g5 v2 for my birthday, but after seeing this forum, I'm having second thoughts. I don't really care about durability from dropping a light, I just about never do that. I'm wondering what the durability over a year or two for these lights is. I haven't really heard anything bad necessarily about lights by fandyfire and other cheap deal extreme type flashlights. but no ones really commented on durability. Especially with one, the dry!

I'd also like to request one more thing, with long term durability in mind, what's a good thrower that can throw at least 150 yards, using an xml? Also, it needs to use 18650's, with space for protected ones that is. I'd like to keep it under $80 please too. I'm thinking a real deep reflector also. I'm leaning more towards a x2 18650

I would say a Solarforce L2 with a MF UF drop in or a XinTD C8, both are good quality.

Although the XinTD C8 is sold out, I sent a mail about a week ago and he said it will be about 2 weeks until he has more in stock. That should be about a week from now.

I cant really comment on the Crelant 7G5-V2, its the first time I have seen one after reading this.

Welcome to BLF, sintro. I think that durability over time is something that is going to be kinda hard to quantify because most BLFers have a lot of lights and no single light gets used day in and day out. As for myself, most of what gets carried daily is either some type of Solarforce or a modified Romisen from Shiningbeam. Can't go wrong with either, imho. Whatever light is on me gets used six or so times a day and they occasionally get dropped on a hard surface, but I wouldn't say I'm torture testing them by any means.

And while I almost never carry it anymore, the only flashlight that ever crapped out on me was my Surefire E2D. The switch went south, but was replaced, no questions asked, by the good folks at Surefire.

I guess my point is that anything can break, but I think that if the light doesn't have a failure in the first few weeks of use, then it isn't that likely to ever fail.

For sure, this Pelican has stood the test of time.

Hope that helped.

Welcome to the gang, Sintro!!

Really, like cone said, if it doesn't fail in the first few weeks it isn't likely to fail. Even if it does the most likely part to fail is the mechanical stuff like the switch. Even the most expensive lights have switches fail on them. The only difference between the budget lights and the expensive CPF lights is the warranty. You pay 3-5 times more than the torch is worth just to get a warranty where they usually only cover the cost of the part and make you pay shipping and sometimes even labor. Really? A replacement switch costs $1.5 and is simple to replace. If a driver dies I know how to solder and can replace a driver. Even if you can't replace a driver yourself, you are still WAY ahead of the game to just buy another budget light.

Get yourself the Crelant 7G5 v2 and if you really feel the need to spend $250 or more go and get yourself a quality soldering station and learn how to use it well. It will open up a whole new world of flashlight mods. You will still have a lot of money left over so grab a good hobby charger as well...and a DMM too. You will still have some cash left over so go and get yourself a couple more lights for EDC use.

About half my Ultrafire and trustfire lights needed some kind of repair out of box. Once thats done they have been very reliable. Romisen, solarforce, and Akoray have been spot on 100% reliable both out of box and long term.

I have my first MXDL incoming so we'll see how that works. Thats a brand that hasn't gotten much praise and has been around longer than most clone-fires... maybe theres a reason for that.

Good luck in your search and welcome to BLF!!

The difference in quality is there, some budget lights are really built cheap, while some budget lights are built so nicely, that you won't call it a budget light build. IMO, you need to find a good budget light and as many have said, most come with problems out of the box due to quality control and assembly, but once repaired, should do pretty well.

But also consider too, a budget light isn't built to be fool proof, its built to a price, and this usually means its not threadlocked and can be opened up and critical parts such as switches and drivers/emitters usually have the potential to be changed pretty easily, and with parts that can be obtained through similar sources. Higher end lights are often locked together to stop it falling apart by itself (and having users complain about "poor quality"), but this also means its harder to crack open and repair. Take a look at my V10R Ti, it was never built to be opened up... And all I wanted to do was change the led to a neutral tint.

Buying a light with a warranty does increase your chances of having a light that will work out of the box because it undergoes higher quality control (most of the time your hope), and should last longer with ideally better design and manufacturing tolerances. However with due care, maintenance and some all round know-how, there is every reason to believe that as long as you pick one of the better budget lights, it absolutely has the potential to last many many years of service.

I think you can mess around and stay on the too cheap side and miss some quality lights .People who continually buy off ebay I think do themselves a disservice .Conversely there are those who still want or feel the need to not take much of a chance at all and spend probably more than they should to hopefully avoid problems ..this is the thin fine line I think budget light forums helps you tread .Sometimes the harder part is to know what voices to listen to . I'd say staying with better vendors right off the bat until you get your feet wet might be sound advice as they tend to only carry and sell lights that they are either having made or like themselves . Brian at Shiningbeam http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/the-113/***NEW***-Romisen-RC-dsh-T601-II/Detail or Ric at chinaquality goods or international outdoor . Also latching onto another member who seems to be interested in the same type lights as you and shadowing them somewhat .I know there were a few members I always watched what they were buying and found that almost anything they bought was a good idea ..

I'd say the 80$ number is exceedingly high ....I'm looking at most lights as being under 30 with just a few over 30$

What Boaz said is good advice; if/when you find someone with lights in their collection that you like, buy what they buy a few times until you discover what is important to you.

It has taken me a year-and-a-half to find out that tint matters to me. Most normal people could probably figure it out sooner.


Welcome to the monkey house, sintro!

Welcome sintro

The XinTD C8 is now available. :)

in the outside pocket of my county comm generation 5 bail out bag (which goes just about everywhere with me) sits a jetbeam BC-40, neural tint.

this light has been beaten, and dropped and sunk in feet of murky river water and just seems to keep working. i bought another one during one of the deals just to have another one on hand for emergencies.

its not my brightest light (hello, skyray king in neutral) but in blizzard/tornado/firefight situations it would be my first grab.

that said, the light that gets the MOST use is a shiningbeam S-mini. (the XP-G is better, i have recently found the green tint of the XM-L in this light quite annoying). i work nights in a hospital environment and my light is in constant use. the low on the S-mini is low enough to check rooms at night without waking patients, but the high is pretty impressive.

i have recently switched it out and am trialling the shiningbeam caveman in the same setting, an even lower low for checking pupils, two AA batteries for better run times, AA batteries available at work (and everywhere).

at first i found it underpowered having been spoiled by my skyray king and my L2P powered by the P-60 drop-in from intl-outdoor. but those are for fun and show, in a real setting the caveman gets the work done, you never change the batteries, and (like all shiningbeam lights in my experience) it can take a shot without flinching.

Some good thoughts here about quality control in general, particularly Chinese manufacture, but comparing what's been happening lately in the USA to that:


Well, that hits kind of close to home since I'm a civil engineer. The article is kind of all over the place. Making a curb straight is an entirely different matter from a ferry or a pontoon bridge or airliner. I have heard that in China you can get whatever level of quality you're willing to pay for. Companies like Apple want serious quality and have no room for error, and China makes them happy. They can build an iPod and they can build an Ultrafire. It just depends on what you want to pay (Jetbeams are made in China too).

I don't think quality has gotten any worse. Cars today are absolutley fantastic. Some things are definitely worse, but are also a lot cheaper. Refrigerators used to last forever, but now they don't (I blame the addition of icemakers which have introduced all kinds of problems). Today's refrigerators are much more efficient though. My new refrigerator paid for itself in 5 years just in electricity savings over the 1980 model it replaced that was still working fine.

I think the bridges we are building today are fantastic. The ones we were building 50 years ago were built a lot cheaper and are falling apart. But in 1950 they had no idea of the traffic volumes and truck weights that would be coming. And there are problems with constrained budgets. You only get what you pay for. In my state the trucking industry has pushed for increases in allowable weight limits. The lawmakers ask the people who design and maintain the bridges, who say no way. And then it passes anyway. You can't pass laws that override the laws of physics, but they are trying. And now we have even more bridges to replace.

China built the equivalent of our interstate system in about 10 years. It took us 50. Anything put together that quickly is going to have problems, but given the volume of what China has built, it is a wonder we don't hear about more problems.

I read a good book about building the transcontinental railroad in the US in the 1870's. They just threw down whatever would work. It was so incredibly expensive to get the crews and equipment to the construction sites. But once they had a rail line, the cost of moving those materials was a tiny fraction of what it cost before (they shipped rails and engines from the East to California across Panama; there wasn't even a canal yet). So they would build something that would work and then fix it later. Meanwhile they had basically no revenue until they could finish the whole thing. The faster they could drive the golden spike, the sooner they could start paying off their loans. So sometimes quality isn't worth it. Sometimes it is.

Most of the decent lights should last for many years as the LED, drivers, and body are quite durable. The only issue I can see is wear and tear on components like the O-rings and switches. I originally bought my first couple of "quality" lights (Quark series) with the premise that I could easily replace tailcaps and O-rings as they wear. But I've always been partial to clicky rather than twisty lights, so I now have a Lumintop ED20 (T5 neutral white) which is a very nice light and cost much less than the Quarks shipped to my door. My only complaint with the ED20 is the Low output is driven by PWM rather than current regulated. It's high enough at 800Hz that it's not bothersome in general use, but it is noticable when used near a fan or running water, and the runtime is not as good using PWM. And it has a memory which I don't want as I prefer my "outdoors" lights (camping, hiking, geocaching, etc.) to always start on a lower setting of no more than 5-8 lumens OTF to maintain nightvision.

So I'm still on the hunt for my ideal light which may be a Solarforce L2P P60 host with a suitable P60 dropin module. The L2P has replaceable bezels, tailcaps, etc. To change emitters as they improve, one can simply get a new dropin and keep the same host. I prefer using 18650 rechargeables as they have lots of juice for long runtimes, a good overall size for me, and a single cell so no need to worry about mismatching. My only problem is finding a dropin that is fully current regulated (no PWM), 3 modes Low>Med>High, no memory, neutral white emitter, OP reflector, etc. I found one that is close, but not exact, so I'm still looking. Cost of the host and dropin should be about $50 plus shipping, so not too bad for a custom light.


Could you give us a link to this drop-in?

Not really, it's from one of the posters here (E1320) who makes dropins. A close one that might do what you want except it starts in High, is the EDC+ X60L. I contacted them about one that starts in Low and they say there isn't enough demand for that driver sequence, so it's a "no" for now. What I want is a dropin that starts in Low at about 4-5 lumens or 1% output, then click up to Med at 10% or 40-50 lumens, then High. It's not easy to find...

Hey there...

Sometimes users here get their lights and take them apart, subject them to rigorous runtime tests, and then use them before shelving them a while and doing the same with other lights. So, as stated, it isn't always easy to get longevity tests around here. But I have been around these parts for about a year and came from buying name-brand lights. My collection has gone from 27 lights to over 50 and I am never tempted to abandon the vendors I use (well, in most cases). In fact, I've sold the lights you read about here at work and everyone there has been happy. One Engineer I sold a Q5 3xAAA to had a broken battery tray. That's it.

The difference between name-brands and budgeters will be machining quality, not much more. Out of the 50+ I've ordered, I had maybe 4 duds spanning some super cheap lights. And these were all used for months. My first XM-L was the Manafont C8. As with just about all my other XM-Ls, they are still shining. Don't get spooked with failures reported here and there. And when you tend to go for upper quality, I don't know why but things tend not to work out that way. lol And the DRY has had superb reviews. The good thing about here is that you tend to get thorough reviews with those lights that quit.

What you demand from an XM-L is totally not hard at all to meet. I would strongly recommend the Trustfire X8. It uses 2 x 18650s (use protected Sonys or other good name brand battery) and you will get regulated output with performance that will not disappoint. Perfect mix of flood and throw and the output is well into the 900 lumen range. Only light I have that is brighter is the Sky Ray King. Crelant I don't have, but it's supposed to be great quality and is highly talked about here. I wouldn't worry in the least.

And one more thing; as one can tell on Amazon and other places by just looking, something that motivates many reviews is when people want to b!tch about a bad experience rather than rationally evaluate the purchase experience overall. I have bought despite bad or mediocre reviews and have had the best of luck. The reality is that buying anything, especially online, can come with some disappointment. But that can be made right.

If you are willing to spend $80, why not spend $90 and get a Fenix TK35?

There is always the Clone Tk35 for $38, but if you want reliability and are that close in price. I'd say the TK is your huckleberry.