What’s a Decent and Inexpensive ZOOM Light for Everyday Chores??

Hey all.

Since the sk68/98 aren’t thought much of these days I think I’ll try some other lights. I know zoom lights don’t get much respect or likes, but I like them for the small chores I use them for.

I have 2 zoom lights that get used pretty often. One is an sk68 and the other is some light I picked up off of Amazon years ago that was about $9 or so. It takes the 18650 cell. The sk68 is used most often to find stuff in dark places around the house. It’s a perfect light for that and I like that it takes AA batteries. The other zoom light is used when I take my dog out for walks and to do his business at night.
When I need a serious light, I grab my Convoy C8, I think that’s the model. That’s as serious as I have. I want to get a better thrower after I get a couple replacements for tge sk68/98 lights.

So, if you all don’t mind would you please list some lights under $20 that would be great replacements for the lights I have now. I would like one to be an AA or multiple AA cell light. I don’t mind with the other what cells it requires.

What zoom lights would you suggest for everyday use??

Thank you all for your help. I appreciate you taking time to help me.

I’m not sure if “decent” and “inexpensive” correlate when it comes to zoomies.

My favorite zoomie is the ThorFire TA13.

Unfortunately, it's powered by one 18650, and it's been discontinued and I can't find anywhere that sells it...

The zoomie is pretty compact, though, which is what I wanted.


I think if you look for 18650 zoomies, you'll find something nicer than something powered by an AA or multiple AAA cells.

There's a big thread about zoomies that hasn't been updated much lately, but I think just about all of the recommendations are for lithium-ion cell powered flashlights.


Here's the thread:


IF you are looking for decent & truly cheap, try the ones linked below.

Two of them for $6.49 with Vipon Coupon.


Convoy Z1


Sofirn S11C. It’s a LEDLenser-type zommie, so it doesn’t focus into The Bat Signal, but it’s cheap, lightweight, and pretty good. Get a few. Once you get one, you’ll want more. You’ll thank me later. Pretty sure it has onboard usb charging, too. (Things start to blur after a while…)

Also, I got my Cometas at <20bux each, but the only comparable one is the JaxMan Z1. Nicer optix.

And who says the ’68/’98 don’t get much love? Okay, “quality” in newer ones can be true crap, but I got a couple when they were really good. Driver was a POS, nothing but a 3-pin µC and parallelled chip-resistors, so I threw in a 1-mode 1A or 1.4A driver. 20mm, not the usual 17mm. Toss in a nice emitter like a ’351 or ’219B, and you’re set.

I’ll second the Sofirn S11C. I think that you can still get the flashlight with battery for $10 from Amazon by asking for a code from this post, LINK. It has a built-in USB-C charge port, good emitter, magnetic tail cap, lanyard, and a basic UI. I purchased one for my dad a while back, and I’ll definitely be purchasing more for other family members.

Zoomies are such a huge compromise, they are simply not worth it. This is my opinion.

I recommend against this. Early on I listened to advices to buy a few…and I used 2 only in one case, where the first light broke. Because why would I? I already have more flashlights than hands. :wink:
So “buy a few” is a recommendation that might work well for some, but it’s not universal.

I am fan of the On The Road zoomable flashlights:
i3 - 16340 battery (“REVIEW”: On The Road i3 (2018/2019) - 16340 - Zoomable - 620 Lumens [Pic Heavy] - [***MODDED XPL-HI***])
Z821 - 18650 battery (“REVIEW”: On The Road Z821 - Zoomable – 1x18650 – 940 lumens [Pic Heavy])
i5 - 18650 and USB-C reachargeable (“Unboxing Video + Written Review”: On The Road i5 - Zoomable – 1x18650 – 1100 lumens – USB-C Charging)

I generally keep my zommies (love that word!) in widest-flood anyway, for a stage-light type even blanket of light. And that’s when they’re most efficient, ie, catch the most light, with the lens practically sitting atop the LED.

Rarely if ever do any actual “zooming”. But it can come in handy.

Similarly here, flood is the preferred mode. But I actually zoom them from time to time.
And aspheric flooaders (which includes aspheric zoomies) are the best flooders that I ever used. Compromises? I’d rather compromise waterproofing and thermals than beam quality.

There are 26mm aspherics that(with a spacer) will fit a D26 drop-in light.

I got one kit (crappy lens; doesn’t focus at all) with a spacer so you can adjust it to a tight spot, at least in theory. Just do the opposite and raise (via a solid spacer) the LED to right next to the lens.

So it’s essentially a sealed light just as if it used a reflector.

Goggled an old order from Illumn. It’s an Ahorton kit, separate lens and spacer.

Seems discontinued? No clicky link for the parts, and goggling it on the illumn site returned nothing.

Oh well.

I’d go for the S11C. It’s been my go-to light for some time and never been disappointed in performance or build quality. The LH351D is my preferred emitter for an all-around flooder and the high CRI is a bonus. Also has the simplest UI (intuitive). It doesn’t have the typical aspheric lens that converges the die when zoomed in.

In short, it delivers light in the cupboards (wide) and in the engine bay (narrow). It just works and for about $10 w/ quality battery – hard to beat in the budget.

Now if you take non-zoomie fans’ opinions, this light is not on their list, ’cause they have a predisposition against zoomies.

In response to LB to getting a few, after my 1st was pleased enough (Neutral White and type C On-Board-Charging) got a 2nd one for the car. But come last X-mas, got 5 more for gifts. Not everyone is all enthusiastic about flashlights and this muggle light just fits the bill.

Sure it’s a compromise but to carry about as everyday use, it checks all my boxes. So this year I might order some D25L headlights. Same construction (Boruit) and emitter in NW. My friends aren’t into open-air activities and this flooder will be fine for close work

Imagine a good light for the price of the battery…

Sadly there hasn’t been much new in the way of inexpensive budget zoomies over the last few years other than the S11C.

I still periodically browse Ebay and Amazon doing searches for them, but the selection is largely the same as it was 5 years ago. A few minor new body styles, but other than that it looks like almost nothing has changed.

I totally agree. I have about a dozen LED Lenser. Not to mention, Home Depot specials. Great lights. I still would prefer standard non zoom.


Do a search for BLF here and read the discussion threads, there are some glitches to watch out for.

But it’s a decent zoom-capable LED holder and battery case, and quite easy to swap in your choice of a better emitter.

I got 1 of these Zeusray,decent made but assembly is cheap as others zoomies.
Plastic Press fit components,pwm with lower mode too bright (boring)
all for 15$…
Would like a zoom light side switch with ramp and firefly mode,smaller