Rant & Rave

Really, life is most enjoyable when I can bitch about something. YellTongue OutLaughing

"Budget lights" are crap. I mean really, they are terrible. Why do we send billions of dollars annually to China for all types of junk that never really satisfies? Poorly constructed, with inferior materials, backed by a "no warranty" policy and a 1 month lead time for shipping! Are we stupid?


You can't beat their free shipping, but who is paying for that shipping? Someone has to and it's not the sellers. Is it the Chinese government? Is that why sellers have an allotment each month? Is that why most all of this stuff comes in bags? Someone is paying for their free shipping and I bet it's not the sellers themselves! If it wasn't for manipulation, China would not be.... Never mind....

I've really been thinking about this, since I started doing the Maglite mod. Maglites, $ value & quality, have to be the best host around for modding (in the US). Ok, they are expensive, or are they? Usually (in the USA) one can find one for $15 to $20 (incan). Well that SAiK I bought was $15 and it was Junk! I swear the Chinese will never learn to make a good thread on a light. They just aren't capable of doing it!

The Mag has a finish so tough that I can Solder a ring on it and not hurt the finish! I can't do that with the Cheap lights from China. Those finishes come off just like paint (they might be paint). They sure aren't quality.

I have bought a couple of the Chinese junk lights too (two of them in 4 years to be exact). I'm just as guilty. I can't find a source for most of this stuff in the states and if I could, it would be 3 times the price (or would it?). Lately I have been buying my emitters from Mouser & Element14 (Newark) and they were just as budget as buying from China, with a 3 day delivery time. I wish someone in the US could start selling the reflectors and other parts, in the US. I would buy, just to have the fast shipping. I do buy boards here, since Illumination Supply and Shiningbeam are selling in the US.

I think I am close to that point once again, where I just ride off into the sunset again and leave the frustration of receiving poor quality, damaged and inferior "budget lights" to others. I think I got my "dose of budget" for a couple more years now, with that SAiK and I will probably do one more Shorty Maglite before hanging it up for a couple more years and going back to another hobby, or go back to gaming on the PC again. I get bored with it all so easily...Frown

Carry On

I sometimes wonder if we(the US govt) is responsible for how they get such low rates on shipping to the US. They pay pennies on the dollar for what it cost to ship here vs what it cost for us to ship over there.

The problem is that you are going for the bottom of the barrel. If you spend $30-50 on a (EDIT: known and tested) Chinese light you are going to have a hard time matching it with a Mag build of the same price.

Well at one end of the spectrum you have the CCC (cheap Chinese crap) and at the other end you have Mac


You want nice mods, Mac is the way to go.

You have my budget, CCC is the way to go.

BTW, I've been more disappointed in Chinese knives than I have in Chinese flashlights.

Just got a Ganzo that is a poorly done knockoff of a Gerber Paraframe. It's OK, but not a great knife.

Yeah if you like spending a fortune, waiting forever, and getting ZERO communication from the builder.

This a very high quality built flashlight from China http://elemlampa.blog.hu/2011/12/19/sunwayman_t20cs

I've done both routes - buy budget lights (KD, DX, DD, etc) and have modded several mags (see my sig line). The mag mods are rewarding and I completely agree with Old Lumens that you can't beat the US made quality. Problem is, the variety of hosts is severely limited. I've done 2D, 3D, 2C mods (cut downs and the like) and have been very satisfied, but I just can't stay away from the onslaught of new designs coming out of China.

If you do your homework (read reviews, etc) you can manage to find some pretty decent budget lights. But if you are expecting top quality, it's definitely hit or miss (usually miss). And quality definitely goes down with price.

Just my $.02 worth.

What I don't understand is this. Cree is an American company, Maglite is an American company, why in the world doesn't Maglite put together a light with a current generation Cree Led? Maglite is always behind with the led. The build quality is good, but they put the old Led's in, why?

I feel your pain....

Not just flashlights, almost every manufactured item is now from China, even known US name brands. I don't have a problem with that per se, but quality is hit or miss and that is what I find frustrating. I am just old enough to remember when 'Made in Japan' had a negative connotation here in the US. It seems that is coming around again (replace Japan with China), but it is becoming increasingly hard to find an alternative.

I am a dedicated cyclist and have been for over 20 years. The same thing is true with bikes. My last one was a made in USA titanium frame. I have almost 30,000 miles on it and it is like new. Now almost every manufactured frame is carbon fiber and comes from China. US custom frames are now becoming niche items.

I love Maglites as much or more than the next guy but when you are talking about their outstanding quality are you referring to the only "Maglite" I know of with the plastic reflectors and the "guaranteed to scratch if you just look at them" plastic lenses? Or is there another "Maglite" that I am unaware of?

My "CCC" ***fires all have state-of-the-art emitters, pretty nice threading and great aluminum reflectors and glass lenses. My Apex GT01 has outstanding build quality and machining and a nicer finish than any Mag I own (lots).

This is the BLF, people like Chinese lights here...Ive just ordered a Tank007 E09 for $10.something shipped. I hope its nice...

I pretty much agree with the OP. Here in the UK "Made In China" is almost a byword for crap, and has been for more years than I can remember. There was a school joke when I was a kid. "Q: How do you know Santa Claus is Chinese? A: Because all my presents have "Made In Hong Kong" written on them!"

The trouble is, these days we have so little choice. Sure, Maglites and a few other marque products are still made in the west but for the past decade or longer, I've watched in frustration as one top brand after another transfer production to China, and the quality threshold just doesn't seem capable of surviving the relocation. Everything, from clothing to powertools, is now just so obviously built down to price rather than up to spec, and what really angers me is that even if you're happy to pay more for quality, you so often just can't buy it anywhere.

I'm not bashing the Chinese here, or being jingoistic, just speaking from personal experience. But.. All that said, I've been pleasantly surprised by most of the torches (all budget, all Chinese) that I've bought so far. Longevity of working life has yet to be proven, but I can honestly say that the better one's don't seem noticeably inferior to my Maglites.

BetweenRides said above that "Made In Japan" used to have bad connotations in the US. Maybe the same was true here in the UK also, but I don't remember this (too young ). What I do know is that for a very long time over here, Japanese made products have had the very highest reputation for quality, from cars to camera gear, and I can't help wondering if, slowly but surely, the Chinese might not also be gradually raising their game. I hope so anyway, because almost everything seems to be made there, and no-one is sicker of cheaply made junk that I am..

well there are a ton of Chinese light manufacturers that produce amazing lights..fenix, sunwayman, solarforce, etc etc..yes some cheap lights are of bad quality, but so are the 10$ lights at walmart and home depot..like it has been said in this thread my maglight has a plastic lens and reflector..so the quality is not very good IMO..that and they just don't push technology like other companies do..evolve or die man..and they're not evolving fast enough..

I like the Chinese made lights that I have, sure, but..... the reason I have them is because you can't get a Maglite with the latest brightest Led in it. I would pay $49.95 for a 3D cell Maglite with a Cree XM-L Led in it. They just are not in existence, so to China I go.

@ pounder (re Maglites): "..that and they just don't push technology like other companies do..evolve or die man..and they're not evolving fast enough.."

Agreed, and I for one can't understand why they're not doing so. With so many guys here at BLF able to "mod-a-mag" you'd think it would be comparitively straightforward for Mag Instruments to do the same thing on industrial scale. Maglites no doubt still have a loyal following, but I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that so many people still don't seem to have discovered high output LED lights. I read somewhere that the company are struggling to survive; they need to raise the bar, it's a mystery why they haven't. Surely it can't be production costs?

I get the frustration of the OP but I disagree with some of the points. I do get tired of the frustrating aspects of dealing with the current Chinese dealers but it is more or less expected given the prices.
When I buy from China my mindset and expectations are not the same as when I buy from a U.S. dealer.
If you want to spend $60 for a flashlight you will get a good one where ever it’s made (including China).
If you like to mod flashlights you aren’t likely to mod a $60 flashlight. The whole hobby of modding lights is because of the Chinese lights.
I don’t get the attraction for Maglite however. Who buys 2D flashlights these days. Maglite makes nothing that I want. It’s a dinosaur of a company as far as I can tell.
I basically use Zebralight headlamps, P60 type lights and bright single AAA lights with one or two single AAs thrown in for good measure. Maglite isn’t even in the running for anything I’m interested in. I’ve never even owned one.
I’m old enough to remember when “Made In Japan” was mainly seen on cheap products. Now my car is made in Japan and it’s the one the I’ve had the least problems with by far.
It’s a manufacturing learning or “life experience” curve as far as I can tell. First you make T-shirt and eventually you are making high quality products.
Japan can’t make flashlights that are any better than those made in China if you keep the price the same.
It’s frustrating but that’s the “price” we pay for having the option of purchasing inexpensive products.
All countries sign postal service agreements so the U.S. has nothing to do with the low postal prices in China. Chinese manufacturers do pay for shipping but those prices are low in China.
You’ll notice there are more and more companies in the U.S. that offer “free” shipping and sometimes there’s no threshold dollar limit to be met first.
It’s just included in the price directly or most of that companies advertising budget is just used to subsidize shipping.

Maglite 2D (incan) here ~40$+ (LED 3D 65$).

A ton of other, better lights can be bought with this amount of money, if you happen to have Visa / Paypal and you are able to do search with Google and read at least something in english.

For 15-20 I kinda understand getting a Maglite.

Maglite, love them or hate them. China, love it or hate it. I'm probably the worst when it comes to buying from overseas. I've lost 3 good jobs in the last 15 years, to closures due to China. I don't like to buy from China, but sometimes I feel forced to because the US does not make anything. Well we can't compete any more, just like many nations. We fail as a nation, because we got too expensive and besides you can't compete with slave labor, no way to win against that. Just like Mexico, can't beat the labor costs. + No regulations about pollution, chemicals, etc. Hell most plating has left the US because we regulated it to where there is no reason to try. Cheaper to do it in China and ship it back. I would love to see the US get some guts and slap tarrifs on all incoming goods, so that they were $1 more than anything we make here. It would hurt, but in the end, it just might save us. It's all another Rant.Sealed

I haven't bought more than 3 or 4 chinese made lights and so far every one was poorly made and looked strange. I like the sleek Maglite style. I don't like the funky shapes on most of the Chinese stuff. Looks medieval, like a knight of the round table should be wearing one.

Everyone has an opinion and it's good to see what people think. It's something to give an opinion on, although it's just talk really. Just a way to pass the time and stir up the pot...

my xeno e03 and xtar d06 are much higher quality than any maglite I've seen...

and they should be at 2 - 4x the cost.

(edit) in fact, so are my ultrafires and trustfires, and they didn't cost more. the only junky lights I've have that were made in china were purchased locally.

the only reason they make junky stuff in china is because 'we' buy it.

money rules