Review: KD C8 CREE XML T6 1000 Lumen 5-Mode LED Flashlight (1*18650) SKU: S009844

I just received the KD C8 CREE XML T6 1000 Lumen 5-Mode light.

Its quite a good buy at $18.38 and I'm honestly blown away by it. It completely smokes all my other 1 x 18650 MC-E/P7 lights in overall output and throw. I have one P7 light that has brighter close range spill due to its shallow medium OP reflector, but not nearly the range or overall light output of the the KD C8 XML.

I almost bought a P60 XML dropin (like many others here did), but I personally don't like the way the P60 host overheats after about 1.6A draw for continuous duty use (and that’s with strips of foil carefully wrapped around the dropin to fill the gap in the head). I was pleasantly surprised that the KD C8 came with thoughtful inherent design considerations for heat dissipation while pulling heavily on its 18650 cell. The LED is mounted on a 16mm Star. The star is then glued into a machined recess on a threaded aluminum pill. The pill is drilled and tapped to allow the star to be screwed to the pill, but the XML die is said to be very efficient at transferring heat without the need of screwing it down. In this case, thermal adhesive seems to do the trick on its own. The recess has a plastic centering ring that snaps into place, and centers the LED star while protecting the bottom of the reflector from making contact with the LED’s +/- solder connections. Most other lights use a crappy sticky round donut shaped piece of thin cardboard material to accomplish this. With the plastic ring removed, the star mounting recess in the pill can handle star mounts up to 19.8mm in diameter without modification. The tail end of the pill is where the driver is soldered in place. There is a spring soldered to the bottom of the driver to contact the positive end of the battery in typical fashion. The pill then screws tightly into the head, which is superior in its ability to transfer heat when compared to most other similar lights that have the pill screw into the flashlight tube instead of the head. This allows the largest immediate surface area of the light to heat up first and dissipate the most amount of heat, instead of relying on the tube for the same purpose.

The aluminum reflector surface is a very light orange peal (VLOP) finish and of better than average quality.

I took out all my other similar 18650 lights and experimented with different reflectors and discovered that the smooth (SMO) thrower reflector from one of my Lunapower MRV’s was a direct drop-in. This worked out to be a worthy trade from one of my modded MRV’s, where I had swapped out the XRE for an XPG. The XPG mod in the MRV light definitely prefers the KD C8 reflector for the mega floody close in work of the XPG. The SMO reflector swap into the KD C8 XM-L does make for a few rings while shinning on a whitewall but increases the center hotspot brightness quite noticeably. I'm not at all concerned since this light will only be used outdoors where rings will disappear in actual use.

Tailcap Readings at 4.20v

High - 2.98A! Hopefully all lights of this model will do just as well.

Medium – 1.10A

Low – .12A

Strobe – *

SOS – *

My example of the KD C8 is a photon blaster with a well matched driver. One minute after initial turn-on, the current draw settled down to around 2.8A. I haven't tried to test this light for battery run time and will rely on others for those numbers who are better equipped than I to provide that information. Besides I don’t care... I always carry several spare 18650’s when I'm in the outback.


Well built and well finished.

Near perfect soldering connections. Amazing that a monkey didn't assemble this one!

Appears to be the usual HAII type finish that we see on better cheap Chinese lights.

Well thought out lego design, where all parts of the light are easily disassembled for inspection and modding. The tailcap and bezel ring from the MRV are fully interchangeable, as are the reflectors, with the bezel rings being identical on both.

Typical thread quality with no binding or cross threading, although not quite as good as the MRV.

Better than average quality medium-deep reflector with light OP to balance throw and spill while providing a near perfect beam.

Average quality and sized single o-rings where they need to be.

Bronze spring loaded button pin contact inside the tailcap to contact the battery negative pole. It would be better if the button pin were chrome plated but it seems adequate in doing its job of transferring current.

Easily modable for future upgrades.

Superior heat sinking in a light of this size and weight while driven @3A

Mode memory that works every time and remembers the last mode after its turned off.

No battery or lens rattle when shaken vigorously.

Typical better quality lanyard seen on 18650 Chinese lights... identical to the Lunapower MRV.

Nice white tint that lacks a cold or bluish hue.


VERY dirty tube threads upon delivery. Not a big deal to clean, and the grease did its job while machining the threads and making them a clean smooth cut.

Clicky boot cover protrudes about 1.5 mm so this light can not tail stand. A different cover or adjusting/trimming the current one will probably rectify this if its important to you.

LED not perfectly aligned before it was glued. Strange that they screwed this up since it has a plastic ring to center it. Its not to bad and hardly impacts the beam quality on a whitewall, even with the SMO reflector upgrade. I’ll probably leave it as is for now because I don’t feel like desoldering the the star to remount it. Besides, it will be replaced soon enough... read below.

IMO, the host is not quite as good looking as the MRV, but now I don’t have to mod an MRV to have a light like this.

I just took this light outside to test it against an XR-E R2 modded Lunapower MRV with SMO reflector and AR glass UCL lens upgrade, driven hard - pulling 1.60A at the tail with a fresh 4.20V 18650. The test range is a city alleyway behind my house about 200M in length. Although subjective, and I don’t have a camera that does well in capturing beam shots, this light gives a pumped up XR-E a run for its money in throw. But the XM-L has a MASSIVE hotspot and tons of spill that brightly lights the walls of the alleyway down the entire length of the corridor. The XR-E has some mild spill with a small bright hotspot at the end of the corridor. The hotspot size of the XM-L is at least 10 times larger and appears just as bright. A UCL lens would add more lumens to the KD C8. I would need complete darkness and a longer test range to find out which one has the ultimate throw distance. On the whitewall, the XML gets blotted out by the XRE but the XRE also has a much bluer tint and smaller hotspot. I ordered 3 of these 16mm XM-L’s so I can experiment with dedoming the LED to increase lux/throw. They are $8.70 each when purchasing 3 or more. I've decided to give KD more of a chance than I have in the past, not just for the price break but because they answer my emails within 24 hours and show a genuine concern in keeping a customer happy. On one transaction, they forgot to issue a PayPal refund. I complained and they issued the refund right away and extended their apologies with an email. Time in shipping from port to the US was 9 calendar days in transit... which beats the living crap out of DX’s awful 30-60 day wait.

Updated: I have since converted back to the light orange peel reflectors (LOP) in the pair of KD C8's that I have mounted to my bicycle handlebars. The LOP reflectors provide a lot more spill beam than the smooth reflectors. Due to the overwhelming spot beam, I would develop tunnel vision after an hour of high speed ridding with the smooth reflectors and also found it difficult to see into tight turns. I rarely use both flashlights simultaneously because a single light provides more light than I normally need. The second light is there for redundancy due to the long ranges I travel, but both do get ran simultaneously on very long straight-aways.

KD has changes their site links and several C8's exist. Of the lower priced duplicates, these seem to be the current offerings as of 11/29/11:

KD C8 CREE XML T6 1000 Lumen 5-Mode LED Flashlight (1*18650) - smoother reflector

KD C8 CREE XML T6 1000 Lumen 3-Mode LED Flashlight (1*18650) - smoother reflector

KD C8 CREE XML T6 1000 Lumen 5-Mode LED Flashlight (1*18650) - light orange peel (textured) reflector

Very good review!

2,98Amps on HIGH, that will be an insane output!!!

Beamshots please! (medium-long distance ones please)

Nice review Flashpilot. We need some pics

Sorry, I tried to take some pics but they came out blurry. I go through cameras at the rate of about 1 per year since I'm rather hard on them - so i don't buy anything I'm not afraid to crack, flatten, crush, lose, drop or dunk in water. Even with a tripod, my cam doesn't have a manual balance mode so it would be useless in comparing other beam shots. Please don't ask again or I'll have to spend even more money because you guys keep making me buy junk that I don't need!... damn you all! LOL :D

Great review, thanks a lot. I were thinking of buying the P60 XML flashlight but if this one is this good, there is no need to look for another. I guess I'll order one next week.

Thank you for this FlashPilot. I orderd this C8 the first day it was availible, but my location is to far away of the big travel routes. I usually get my stuff much later. Thanks to your rewiew, I know I made a good choice, but the waiting becomes a bit harder now. However, when it arrives, I will be able to compare it to my 5xR2 drop-in from DX and hopefully I can also convince my good old Cybershot T-9 to produce some useable beam shots.

Very nice review FlashPilot! Sticky'd and Frontpage'd. That really is a smoking deal for a light with such a new emitter.

Too bad it was not 28usd as i would have snatched it rightaway. Got the next best thing the "skyray" XM-L for 25USD. Not trying to be cheap but if customs see anything above 22€ my expenses almost double (they make up nonexisting expenses and services along with taxes, just taxes alone are 20%). The postal service also charge up another 5€. Damn bastards.

Nice work, Flash. It's always good to read about a budget light that exceeds expectations, and nicer to actually have one in your hands, so Congratulations!

There is a "drop shipping" option (or a sku you can add to cart) on KD. They usually show the total much less and send as a gift when drop shipping is used. DX puts a sticker on the logo too. I don't knwo how KD does it.

Very good review,This host look like the MTE F15's , is the reflector deeper ? mine is 36 mm wide 21 mm deep.

I agree with KD performance, all my orders, six in this days were shipped very fast.

Since the reflector is interchangeable with the MRV one, I imagine it is the same size. My MRV reflectors are 41.something millimetres in diameter and 32.5 or thereabouts mm deep.

Many thanks, one more reason to stick with the RC-G2 xm-l, 24mm X 21mm

Does this light give more or less spill angle than the P60 hosts? Looks like the deep reflector is more for throw and less spill coverage.

Wow thanks for the review! i've been waiting for reviews on these lights :) Do you think I could use a body tube from my trustfire tr-1200 as a 2x18650 extension?

Since my well driven TR-1200 is still my brightest light (and the brightest Ive seen to date, accept for SST-90 variants) I think you might want to consider a different light for comparison. My TR-1200 is an early example with a great driver and really hammers out the photons. To bad they screwed up the current offerings with a bad driver. Do you have any single P7/MC-E lights to compare?

Thanks for the kind words guys. You're all going to like this new light, and it was done correctly the first time.

Don might be spot on because the bezel screws down tightly (and completely) when the MRV reflector is installed. With a ruler, I measured 31mm tall x 41mm wide on the stock KD C8 XML. My micrometer was lent out this morning so I cant get precise measurements.

Sorry, I didn't want to compare. I was just wondering whether or not I could use the body tube from my tr-1200 on this KD xm-l light to make it a 2x18650 light for longer run time, rather than spend an extra $8 to get the KD xm-l light with that 2x18650 body :)

If I were to compare this xml light i'd be curious how it stood up against my Romisen RC-T6 and my skyray with the xpg-r5 drop-in :)

I don't have an XML P60 to compare and that might not matter. Of the P60's that I do have, the KD C8 XML has a greater spill angle because the reflector is not as obstructed by the bezel ring (or protrusion in front of the lens) as are on P60 lights. Then again, most of my fixed lights (thrower or not) have more spill angle than the P60 variants.