Review: Trustfire F20 Cree Q5-WC 5-Mode 1xAA

Trustfire F20

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★


Battery: Single AA or 14500
Switch: Reverse Clicky (GITD)
Modes: 5 (mode memory)
LED Type: "Cree Q5-WC"
Lens: Coated Glass
Tailstands: Yes
Price Payed: $13.99 (Currently $13.06)


  • Three useful modes
  • Great runtime on low
  • Good build quality
  • Great price
  • Bright, smooth beam
  • Attractive tailstanding design
  • Glow-in-the-dark switch


  • Required initial cleaning and tightening to work correctly
  • Last mode remembered only after several minutes
  • Worthless SOS flashing mode

Features / Value: ★★★

The Trustfire F20 is one of several flashlights that copy the famous Akoray K-106 body style. For me, this is a good thing, since in my opinion this body style is the most practical and appealing of all designs. The Trustfire F20 and its identical twin, the Akoray K-106 5-mode are offered as cheaper alternatives to the more expensive $19.00 Akoray K-106 3-mode programmable flashlight. At its recently reduced price of $13.06 at DealExtreme, the Trustfire F20 probably represents the best value of all Chinese AA flashlights. It claims to have a Cree Q5-WC emitter, which I tend to doubt, but whatever they put in it produces very good runtime and light quality. The slight "orange peel" style reflector greatly improves the beam quality. It also features 5-mode circuitry, of which I find the low and high modes most useful. I could definitely do without the SOS feature, it is a gimmick at best. It also features mode memory, albeit with a caveat. The mode memory only makes the light turn on in the same mode after being turned off for several minutes. If it is turned off and on again within a few minutes, it goes to the next mode. The mode order is as follows: High > Medium > Low > Strobe > SOS. The Trustfire F20 also has a glow-in-the-dark tailswitch and O-rings, including the O-ring in the bezel. This results in a very slick afterglow effect when the light is turned off. It eschews a lanyard in favor of a pocket clip, which I personally find very useful. The clip prevents it from rolling and at the same time allows a lanyard to be attached to the clip if so desired. Thus, a lanyard attached to the clip does not hinder it from tailstanding unlike many other designs that have a lanyard hole right at the end of the tailcap. The lens is supposedly made of coated glass, which I have no reason to contest. All in all, it's a very attractive package at a great price. Five stars on this category.

Build Quality: ★★☆

Initially after receiving this light I would have given it one star followed by a seething denouncement of its terrible build quality. This is because when I first inserted the battery it immediately started to flicker and change modes all by itself just by tapping it or shaking it. I couldn't pick up the light or walk with it without it changing modes on me. I was thinking about tossing it right then and there, but I decided first of all to clean it. I didn't expect any results, because to my eye it really didn't look dirty. But I unscrewed the head and quickly wiped down all the surfaces I could reach with a dry cotton swab and some toilet paper. I reinserted the battery and... voila, it has functioned flawlessly ever since. Not a single flicker or unwanted mode change. So make sure to always clean your lights if they arrive malfunctioning. There are a lot of complaints on the DealExtreme pages about this sort of problem with the Trustfire F20 and its Akoray twin, and I suspect that the vast majority can be chalked up to manufacturing grime that causes a bad connection. After this initial hurdle, the quality of the Trustfire F20 is very good, as I have come to expect from this body style. The threads on the head seem a bit less smooth and positive than my Uniquefire AA-S1 and Akoray K-106 3-mode, but this could be due to the fact that I wiped off all the lubricant on the threads. My eyes can detect a little bit of lint behind the lens, but it doesn't affect performance in any way. A minute examination of the body reveals no major flaws. I can only detect a few very faint scratches or nicks, especially on the wire clip, but only a perfectionist would notice them. The wire clip is a bit cheap compared with the one on my Akoray K-106. The switch feels nice, and it is more pliant than the one in my Akoray K-106, making it easier to click with a large thumb. Yet, it is nicely recessed to avoid accidental clicks and to allow perfect tailstanding. There are O-rings everywhere, even between the glass lens and the bezel. I recently discovered that this body style does disassemble right at the end of the tail, although it is more difficult to unscrew there because of the wire clip. A slight annoyance is the high-pitched whine that it emits at about the same frequency as an old television. This flashlight produces the most pronounced whine of all the flashlights I have. However, some might not even be able to hear this frequency. As mentioned earlier, this flashlight advertised mode memory, but it kicks in far too late. If you turn it off and on again within a few minutes it will go the next mode. But after that time period it does seem to reliably remember the last mode. So for the price, I think that most buyers would be very pleased with the build quality of the Trustfire F20. For the initial snafu and the minor flaws, I'm giving it 4/5 stars.

Update: After writing this paragraph, the light started to change modes on its own again. But I realized that the light module, which threads into the head and seats against the O-ring and the lens, was actually so loose that it was making a "clunk" sound when I shook it lightly. So I found a 0.5mm mechanical pencil with a metal sleeve in the point and stuck it in the miniscule dimple that is provided on the inside of the light module to turn it, and I got it nice and snug now. Now I'm walking around with the light and shaking it and bumping it and it really does seem to be fixed. I guess I can still give this 4/5 stars if it only requires tightening the light module to get a reliable light.

Battery Life: ★★☆

A major selling point of the Trustfire F20 lies in its 5-modes, of which I personally use mainly the lowest setting. The lowest setting is very low, possibly even lower than my programmable 3-mode Akoray K-106. Consequentially, the runtime is very good on a regular alkaline. I started my first test with a very cheap, lightweight Eveready alkaline at about 11:00 PM, and found it still producing fairly bright light at 8:00 AM the next morning. Then I left and came back at 1:00 PM to find that it had shut off. I would estimate that it probably shut off around noon, which would mean almost 13 hours of usable light on a very junky alkaline cell. I did another test with a higher quality but still cheap Rayovac alkaline, and am pleased to report that it is still running brightly after 18 hours. The regulation seems excellent with this flashlight, the output curve is very flat. It keeps running rather brightly for a long time and then suddenly shuts off. Even then, if you let the battery sit awhile, it will once again produce good light for quite a while. It is probably one of the best currently available choices amongst the Chinese AA budget lights for long runtime. It is still bested by the name brands, which claim runtime of several days or even a week. Even so, this earns a very respectable 4/5 stars, and honorable mention for being one of the most efficient lights in my collection.

Light Output: ★★★★★

The light output of the Trustfire F20 is perfect. The color is warm and neutral, the hotspot is surrounded by a very smooth, uniform aura that is largely free of distracting shadows. The slightly "orange peel" textured reflector probably helps the beam quality a lot. The high mode is very bright, apparently beating the Akoray K-106 in brightness and approaching the output of my Tank007 TK-566-5, which is currently my brightest light. It is very useful for indoor tasks on low or for illuminating distant objects at night on high. The color is more warm and neutral than my Akoray K-106, which does have a Cree Q5-WC, so I suspect the Trustfire F20 has something different. At any rate, I like it a lot. Five stars here.

Summary: ★★★★★

Well, after a very rocky start, I really do like the Trustfire F20. For its great runtime, beautiful bright beam, and practical design, this light earns a very prestigious average score of five stars when rounded up from 4.5. I highly recommend it for both flashophiles and beginners alike. Just be prepared with a mechanical pencil and some toilet paper.

Do you own the Trustfire F20? If so, please give it your own star rating!

Great review Mr. Admin......lights with high and low modes are always a good thing, to save battery longevity of the light output.

When I've tried such things they usually end up bent beyond usefulness. Straightened paper clips are my tool of choice for such jobs - or some of the many assorted watchmakers' forceps I own.

It's that even the paperclip was too thick, those little slots are ridiculously narrow. I would estimate them at 0.7mm in width.

That's when working in a hospital has its uses. Sharp forceps aren't hard to find. Actually my local purveyor of overpriced electronics has a pretty good stock of such things - the UK's equivalent of Radio Shack,

That's funny, those SS medical grade forceps costs about 10 or 20 times as much as the flashlight itself! ;-)

Not when you get them unfinished from Pakistan where most of them are actually made. The big names (nearly all German) all buy in Pakistani stuff, made where they make the firearms, and polish and hard chrome them with a 10000% markup - at least in Europe. May be different in the Americas.

If I were to get them out of stores here, they would cost very silly money indeed. But decent tools are almost always worth the money - at least as long as you are going to use them. I still use a pair of very sharp dissecting scissors (in the kitchen) that I got 25 years ago.

Anybody tried a 14500 in this F20?


Should be fine. Probably like most of the others of this ilk, it'll be direct drive till some of the voltage has bled off. Which means it'll b very, very bright and will probably get hot quickly.

And what about the instant kill of the driver (in less than a second)?

Many reports of that at DX forums

That's what RMA is for.

I've never had that happen to me on lights advertised as 14500 capable. Others have though. I'd guess that most AA lights are marginal on 14500 and poor tolerances in the components make the difference between life and death. Some of them seem to have died on alkalines....

I just now tried a 14500 in my F20 and it works just fine. I have an Akoray K-106 5 mode (which is Akoray's version of the F20) and it does not work with a 14500 anymore but at least it still works with regular nimh and alkaline aa's.

Tx for the info fishinfool!

Anytime fran. Smile

Hi guys!

I installed a 14500 on my F20. Result: POOOFFFF

In less than 1 second, fried driver! Now doesnt work on any type of battery (not 14500, not alkalines/ni-mh)

Why they dont correct specifications?

Sorry to hear that fran. I put a freshly charged 14500 in my F20 just now and everything is working just fine. It's been running on high for about 10 minutes now and is still ok.

Hi guys!


Dealextreme accepts to send me a FREE replacement of the TF F20. Hurra!!!! Impressive service, at least with me, as always.

2 months after purchase, 2 months of usage and they accept to send another F20 without having to send the defective back to HK.

Now ,sites as lightake and focalprice, please get this example of RMA policy and customer service/support!

You said it!!!! Did you get it LT, FP and others!

I got my F20 today. First, I put a NiMH in and it worked fine, then I tested it with a 14500. No problems, nice bright light. I put the NiMH back in, turned it on and nothing happened. The driver will now work with 14500s only. That’s doubleplusungood, as I intended to give the torch to someone who really shouldn’t be handling Li-Ions.
I’ve opened a ticket with DX’s customer support, let’s see how they handle this issue.

Hmmm ok, thanks for the update Tido. Looks like I should modify my original post where it says it is 14500 compatible. It obviously isn't.