Whats the difference between a budget and expensive flashlight?

I had to soften the edges of every Emisar light I bought and the D18 was a bit obnoxious with all the extra ridges in the battery compartment. It was scratching the battery wrappers badly. The D4v1 had a bad thread (chipped anodizing)

Only one of the Convoys needed softening and it was basically the beta version.

the difference between a budget and an expensive flashlight is love.
you better love your expensive flashlight, since it will last forever.

Maglites included.

Many replies

I expect no warranty on a Chinese light. So i guess that is a big difference.

The build quality is an interesting thought, i seem to recall Omten switches being used which is good. The circuitry has been torn down for most lights.
That said i tend to buy well reviewed lights so perhaps i am getting the best of the Chinese lights and not the average or below average stuff.

Nicer packaging is nice but not worth much money to Bort.
Local retailers is a good point.

Drivers is an interesting one, until the XHP chips all drivers were simply linear but had to be upgraded to run a 6V chip off a 3.7V battery

Surefire having contracts is great but that doesn’t mean they have to raise the price for individual sales.

More R&D costs - If they are spending lots on R&D thats strange, there are BLFers doing stupendous work for next to nothing. They should hire those members and pay them big bucks.

Higher production costs - Most are made in China

Quality checks - This is some labour cost.

More marketing costs - Probably though i am not interested in paying for it.

I have wondered if our lights are made of a good metal and if they are using the same anodizing as the big boys. I am reminded of an old BLF post from many years ago saying that the metal our lights are made of is not the high end stuff used in other applications. I can’t remember the exact post.

As for member participation in light design that is supremely awesome, though i am interested in the light itself, not whether a BLFer contributed to it. Not to say contributions are not good, we have some amazingly talented members who have improved this hobby immensely, from feature suggestions to pushiness the envelope mods to software programming.

Interesting. My sample size is small so your perspective is very appreciated.

Yikes. So the quality control is poor, they are just building whatever then shipping it out the door.

I wonder what a GCMS would say about the black substance

Glad to hear they are incredible about it and that your not stuck holding the bag.

Thats much better quality control, though one would wish it was zero.

The more you pay, the better the advertising budget is which leads to a better distribution network. Often but not always does more money equate directly to higher quality.

The differences can be subtle or obvious. Like Fenix, Acebeam, Cyansky, Thrunite, even on some of Thrunites cheaper lights, you still get premium finishes with excellent quality. You also get things like fully regulated drivers (boost, buck, or both), and you also get quality control amd testing…Cyansky, Fenix, Imalent, Acebeam, and Olight all test their lights for accurate runtime, output, and I say trustworthy IP ratings. Don’t forget warranties…limited lifetime is common for those. You also get bundled accessories, which some budget brands leave out. I test a lot of lights and I can tell when one is expensive vs budget pretty easily, but there are times when it’s not so obvious (like with Convoy). Then you have enthusiast brands like Lumintop, Thorfire, amd Sofirn that sacrifice quality steps like chamfering, and some fine finishing steps to cut costs.

I own tons of high end lights mostly from my cpf days. I still browse there occasionally but I feel like some of them, especially fenix are behind the times when speaking about innovation.
Since coming here I really love budget lights and for the most part will be sticking to them. I was surprised to hear someone displeased with emisar. This is now probably my favorite brand. I got the ds18 and was so pleased with the build quality and the functionality that I immediately purchased a second one with the osram leds. Hank is very engaging with his customer base (unlike fenix) which was a breath of fresh air for me. I also like astrolux a lot as well. And convoys are perfect for modding. Jmho.

You’re right about that. Fenix doesn’t innovate nearly to the point that pure enthuiast brands do. They listen to the consumer and make lights or improve them to fit a need or add some new features or LED. Astrolux, Emisar, Nightwatch, Lumintop, Sofirn, Convoy, all listen to the consumer. They are able to make a nice light at a good price to boot!

Without technical knowledge you will buy everything what you see in advertisement.

My question is what is the higher quality?
Better metal, stronger ano, better driver components, better heatsinking, switches that last more clicks and so forth.

Established brands typically like tried and true, pushing the envelope on their terms and not necessarily as far as it will go because businesses are conservative and careful when they get big. Don’t want to drop the golden goose accidentally.

I don’t respond well to advertising, to me its about the specs and the performance. And the quality, if something is amazing but will fail in 6 months from its poor design then its not for me.

I typically read reviews and look for test data before buying a light. That said Bort is not an average person.

The most expensive lights I’ve bought were made by CPF’ers, and had no advertising at all except for sale threads on CPF, and no marketing other than same.

The moment all the flashlight nerds took ramping and high unregulated turbo modes over efficiency, was the same moment everyone made a multi emitter with flashing aux LEDs etc

About tree fiddy

There are several differences. Yes quality but that’s too obvious.

When Fenix designs a light, they put thought into the design. The light has a purpose. It has certain feature set that appeals to different groups of people. Also, although I cant prove it, I am sure Fenix gets dibs and pays for better emitters.

The Chinese light companies don’t do any of this. They just build cheap, high lumen lights. Some are great some suck. If you buys a broken light, you are SOL.

Then there are some what I call cross over brands like Emisar that are Chinese but by all means are excellent quality.

I have cheap and and expensive lights. I appreciate both. I have my upper and lower limits. I don’t buy anything less then Convoy, and on the high end, its Fenix, Klarus, Nitecore, Armytek.

I refuse to spend $300 on an HDS systems (even though I do want one.)

I agree to a point. As we know Convoy has stepped up a lot to bring us better drivers over the years, and is including Biscotti-ish cc drivers and buck drivers for cheap. I’m reviewing Thrunite lights with boost/buck drivers for under $80 US. Some Fenix lights have buck or CC drivers for around $60 US also. Yes, those drivers are still more expensive than fet or linear regulators, but are coming down in price. The driver is only one part of the whole light. You can have a great driver but a garbage host, terrible UI, etc.

Oh, another important one for sure. That would be the cash!!

Um, what country do you think Fenix lights are from? :slight_smile:

I have not thought of Fenix as an expensive light, though the ones I’ve bought have been well made. Expensive=HDS, McLux, Cool Fall, that sort of thing.

What I meant by Chinese lights is all the crap BG sells. Good catch though.

Budget lights are inconsistent across brands and even individual models on the quality control, U/I, warranty and customer support.
I have some great Sofirns, Skilhunts, Wurkkos and Convoys. I also have a few that make me wonder if the manufacturer farmed the work out to another company that didn’t understand what quality control, ergonomics or pride in workmanship was.
On the expensive side, my Surefire, Olight, Zebralight and HDS lights just seem manufactured to a higher standard, generally have consistent U/Is across the brand, and superb customer support, especially from HDS. However, they tend to be conservative designs that focus on pushing reliability instead of the technical boundaries.
We are spoiled that we have access to both.

Yes, correct statement. So very true. This is what makes this topic a bit complex. Also, some budget manufacturers break into the higher cost market. Astrolux and Lumintop were in the not high cost market, and then entered the large size, higher cost market.

Also, the financial resource spectrum is exponentially vast. The range from $1, $5, $10, $50, $100, $500, $1000, $5000 covers many iterations of "One mans' budget is another mans' costly."

This is what I meant by a cross over brand. A budget manufacturer that figured out how to make an awesome light on a whole new level but still budget price. IMHO, this is what Emisar did.