What is the brightest budget light?

My wife picked it up at a Big Lots discount store. I replaced the 100W H4 bulb with a 55W bulb, its filament is aligned axially so it really THROWS.

its one of my brightest lights, even with the lower wattage lamp.

There are many good bright flashlight ,

TrustFire C8 3-mode High Power P7 900-Lumen LED Flashlight $36.54

TrustFire TR-650 4 Cree P4 3-Mode 650-Lumen LED Flashlight $40.99

TrustFire ST-50 LED Flashlight Black $79.99

TrustFire X2 SST-50 40-Mode 1300 Lumens LED Flashlight Black (3x18650) $128.99

you can have a look !

You could do a lot worse than the good old Ultrafire C3. Just the plain, poor quality aluminium one. When loaded with a 14500 they are crazy bright (and flaky but easy enough to sort out).


Avoid the multi-mode ones and avoid the Aurora equivalents like the plague - they are really flaky.

Dang the wife and i shop there sometimes and all i see are the plastic cheap lights that all stores carrry.

Yeah it was a one in a million thing... right place at the right time. My brother went to 4-5 different stores before he finally found one.

I have the Pro Favorite 20 million cp model (120watt bulb), the Etek HID(4300k bulb) and Brinkmann Max III with a 100watt bulb, although they are a lot of fun they are also a pain to carry around. I was really referring to flashlights not spotlights.

The tr-1200 still seems to be the best deal, the Trustfire st-50 looks real interesting, and at the moment I'm waiting to see what Shiningbeam puts out with the new MG RX-1 st-50 model.

Nice try, none of these come even near to 1000 lumens.

That 5xCree may be close.

Unfortunately, the problem with chinese vendors/suppliers that they push out hundreds of products, all with confusing branding, and nobody guarentees specs on anything. Could be good, could be bad, but if no one can tell, why put any effort into a good product?

It hardly cost anything, and if anything cost less, to stick with a few quality products. It's a poor mentality they have that they'll put out 100 items, and even if they can fool a few people to buy each one, they can make at least a couple thousand dollars. Of course, that may be the last couple dollars they''ll make, but hey, get rich quick. They have absolutely no real business sense. That's why companies in the west can make millions and billions, and they fight over crumbs.

This is far from the whole story. If I look around me, probably 80% of the manufactured items in this house, including the chair I am sitting on and the shoes I am wearing, were made in China. This is true for much of the planet. OK it may be Western firms that are creaming off all the profits - 500% markups appear to be the norm but who made them? One day the huge profit making stuff will also be done in China.

Except for the surgical tools that were all made in Pakistan. The expensive European branded ones are simply Pakistani ones with better chroming.

In the nineteenth century one of the bigger exports from the US to Europe (apart from raw materials where all the profit is in what is done with them) was affordable clocks. The clocks were made as cheaply as it is possible to make a clock mechanism but sold in huge amounts to European distributors who put the cheap and nasty mechanisms into cases and sold them at a huge markup. This is nothing new.

OK it may be Western firms that are creaming off all the profits - 500% markups appear to be the norm but who made them? One day the huge profit making stuff will also be done in China.

No, the story I tell is quite the whole one, especially for smaller podunk firms like the ones we deal with here. I talk about the mentality because I've seen and been told about it first hand by people who do business there. It's the disease which along with corruption is keeping the country down. It's small mindedness and greed: quick buck today at the expense of tomorrow is how people do business when they don't have proper business education/training.

There's a reason why the western firms are making all the money while the hard laborers in china make jack shit. One understands how to conduct big business properly and one doesn't. From the frustrations we deal with in our budget hobby, I think this should be quite clear.

For example, in business school, you're taught to market certain products in 3 tiers. For the same mass product with possible differentiators, you have the low end basic, often loss leader, model to bring in the customer's interest. Then you have the medium tier model which has all the standard features most people want for a reasonable increase, and that's what most people would buy because the former is purposely somewhat crippled. Finally what you need is the top deluxe version which is purposely not a good value, and while some people will always may more for the best model, the point is to help the majority of your customers justify and find the value in their purchase. Instead, you see from china dozens of complete randomly permutated models from the same make, even for the same kind of light.

Ultrafire needs to stick to one general purpose medium size (18650?) cree light, the "best" but distinguished design (eg 504b with a twist in style), with maybe the lowest bin and no modes for cheap light, a good bin with modes for the one everyone buys, and a quad-die or xp-g with programmable modes for best model, and make all 3 with consistent quality. If you need to introduce a new model, don't just throw it up on the DX site; you need to announce the new big thing (2011 models!) and even build up a sense of anticipation at regular intervals. Then people aren't confused which one to get and why does the one I get differ from what my friend got last week, etc. While we addicts will buy all the variants, most normal people won't and that's where the money is.

From DX's persepective, they need to apply this pressure to the supplier instead of getting dragged along by them, but of course they won't because they feel the few pennies they make selling a few extra models on their site to some small time third-world buyer is totally worth it. Narrow minded thinking is what limits their business, and ironically we see dozens of copy-cats of exactly what they do WRONG. They have absolutely no business discipline and that's why they'll easily get crushed by any western company if they ever find some market segment that's making real money.

Again, a lot of good business practice is counterintuitive to those without the education, and usually the ones we see are the overly greedy type (the ones who made the mistake of going the other way tend to get squeezed out by the time they get to us in the west). What I'm saying is more constructive criticism than bashing, but of course they don't listen because they're idiots so I guess it might as well be bashing.

I found it!


Thanks for the laugh mate. Made my day.

adjective they use for LED lights is "superbright" in my eyes. They use it litterally for any crappy 5mm LED light. I hate it.

Well they are, as long as you are comparing them to 9 glow-worms shoved in the same housing. The glow worms where I used to live in Zambia looked just like low powered green LEDs in the dark. :)

It's the purple that makes it brightest. Sort of like red for cars.

Varapower 2000 has powerful light

I am selling the MTE 1,000 lumen M3-2I with the CREE XM-L diode that have been insanely bright! These are at www.mte-usa.com or www.gregmcgeeengineering.com . You can use the discount code "PRACTICAL" for 10% off bringing it to 80something dollars and add "upgrade me to priority shipping at no additional cost" to get priority at first class price.

Now...if you want budget, you can go buy an SST-50 diode and hack a $8 dollar walmart 6v camping lamp (they also have a 4 dollar version) with the big reflector, kluge it in there and make an 18650 battery pack to give the diode about 6 amps and you will have a 1200 lumen Frankenstein light... I got the diodes from Luminus as engineering samples but you budget guys can probably figure out where to buy them retail but you have to make sure they are real Luminus diodes. You guys want to see pictures of my half built kluge or wait till its done??? I have 3 18650 batteries in there in parallel now and I think that is sufficient... The short tests I have done indicate it will work. One problem is I haven't really heat sunk the diode and the Luminus, and most high powered LEDs, get dimmer as they get hotter so to keep it bright you need to keep it cool. That said, I have a peltier effect CPU cooler I was going to kluge into there as well. You can get the peltier plates off ebay for a buck (search on peltier plate) but have to thermally epoxy a heat sink (and a fan if you are daring) to the hot side of the peltier plate and control the current going into the plate. If you can keep the LED cool you can literally run the light on high mode for as long as the batteries have life...

If you guys want I'll try to glue the peltier plate in mine too or make a subsequent version...

So, even though I sell kick ass flashlights at www.gregmcgeeengineering.com I am still budget at heart...

If you are really daring you can try the sst-90 diode and more batteries.

I am not liable if anyone gets hurt trying to make this light, and it is for design discussion only, so if you try it at home you are doing so at your own risk. Always remember to use safety goggles if you dremel the reflector on the walmart light and use adequate ventilation with epoxies and adhesives.


Greg McGee



It's sad that it is a little bit difficult to find budget lighting that actually works well. I mean, how much does it really cost to create lighting? Well, I could not answer that for sure. But it would be nice if somebody would start posting links to really good light models.

Well, this is a pretty old thread so there are tons of new lights out there and it sort of depends on what price you consider budget. The Jetbeam BC40 is a tad over $60, is rock solid and puts out 800 OTF lumens. My Xtar R01 only cost me $44 and puts out around 500 lumens OTF and seems built quite well. The Xeno E03 is only $30, is built incredibly solid and puts out around 450 lumens OTF on 14500. You can also buy one of the solarforce hosts and an XM-L drop-in for well under $40 to give you in the 500-600 lumen OTF range. These are among the most reliable of the more budget priced lights that give high output. There are other cheaper lights that are as bright or brighter but there is some question on how reliable or consistent they are from sample to sample.

Sure looks like this one takes the cake:

But I don't like the size or the styling personally. I would say that a good P60 host with the Manafont 3-mode XM-L dropin is the best for me. Some have measured close to 900 lumens with it!