Here’s a Holiday flashlight guide for 2020! I hope 2020 has been a great year for you! It’s been a great gear year, that’s for certain. Notably we got a redesigned TorchLAB BOSS, with many advancements there. We also saw more widespread acceptance of USB-C charging, and emitters like the Samsung LH351d helped us have the best of many good aspects a flashlight can offer.
But should you buy any of the flashlights from 2020? Any good lights to gift this year? Read on!
Note that I don’t thrive on giving advice – I’d rather post all the data I can post and hope you can make an educated decision. But I know there’s a lot of information on the site, so it can be daunting to pick something. I hope this guide will help! And I welcome your input in the comments!
You Need a New Flashlight
Already Own All These, Right?
My long time readers will probably already have these bases covered with personal favorites. But if you’re new here or just passing through, you can see this as the first wave of recommendations.
If funds allow it, the TorchLAB BOSS is an excellent choice.
EDC backup (One is None)
No backup? Buy the Zebralight SC64w HI. You’ll note that the Zebralight below is the SC64c – but not actually. There’s a world famous modder on r/flashlight who puts Nichia 219b emitters in these, and that’s what I have here. I’d rank this one higher than the SC64w HI, but availability is much more limited. In any case, there’s nothing else out there like the Zebralight user interface! It offers so very much.
If you don’t already have a small thrower, I recommend the Convoy C8+ from MohrLumens.com. For just ~$20, it’s a great entry into the fun of throwers!
No big thrower? Start with the Thrunite TN42. It’s not even a newer light, but still so remarkable. Thrunite is a solid brand, and easily one of my favorites.
Wall of Light
The Lumintop FW21 Pro was my best built of the FW series lights, and blisters out an astonishing 10,000 lumens.
That’s about it for what you should already have. But what about flashlights “just because they bring me joy?” I have some ideas there, too!
Own Those? Buy These
TorchLAB BOSS 35 FT ($$$$$)
There is simply no other flashlight like the TorchLAB BOSS 35. I have been a fan for ages, and I have more than I should probably admit. The new FT (Forward Taper) is great, and offers new electronics (Lux-RC 371 v2.0 driver) and a new pocket clip (the “Speed Clip”). All of these make a package that can not be beat. Even if you have a BOSS RT, you should buy a BOSS FT. Yes, this is not an inexpensive light, but it’s still one that you should experience.
MechForce MechTorch Gen2 ($$$)
The generation 2 of this light answers every single complaint I had about the first version MechTorch. The new one is great, and so feature packed. The Gen2 only comes with the H17f driver, so you get massive programmability out of the box. It’s available in many colors, not just the flag version you see below.
Everyone needs to own multiple Convoy S2+ lights. These are a staple in any collection. They’re great as a beginner mod light, and they are in expensive. I own at least 4 of these, and one of my very favorites is a 2700K emitter edition (very warm), which is great for around the house at night use. I reviewed that light here.
Okluma DC0 ($$$)
But only the new DC0. I reviewed the first DC0 here and saw plenty of room for improvement. The new aluminum version answers most if not all of the complaints I had with the original, and looks to be an absolutely fantastic light. Also available in titanium.
Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 ($)
If you’re into the size and portability of the Okluma DC0 but not into the price (or lack of NiMH support) then the Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 is for you. The Tool AA 2.0 is available in aluminum and titanium just like the Okluma DC0, but has 1.5V cell support (primary alkaline, NiMH), and has a lighted tailswitch! I reviewed the Tool AA 2.0 here, and liked it enough to follow it up with a Nichia 219b 3000K modified version, which is my nightstand light!
RovyVon A23 ($)
I have thoroughly enjoyed RovyVon as a brand, and when I’m going out on a short jaunt, my reach-for is very often the aluminum Aurora A23 you see below. It just travels very well!
And grabbing the aluminum is despite having these two below, as well – brass (my favorite) and titanium (everyone else’s favorite).
Skilhunt H04 Mini from KillzoneFlashlights.com ($$)
I don’t have the Skilhunt H04 Mini yet but I have reviewed the 18650 variation and I’m very pleased with it. The Mini version looks to improve more than just size, so it’s definitely a worthy contender! Here’s the H04 RC, a very similar light.
Malkoff E2XT ($$$)
Manker MC13 ($$)
The Manker MC13 is part of the Muscle Combo (which I recommend anyway). By itself, the MC13 (top, pictured below) is a great Flat White thrower. Bonus is that the shorty (18350) tube fits this light, too! Manker put a very nice user interface in this thrower, too.
Acebeam E10 ($$)
Buy the Acebeam E10. Despite having an unusual cell (23650), the cell is included, and the light is very fun! I remarked recently that Acebeam is a favorite brand of mine, and I stand by that! The E10 is capable, as well as some other lights Thrunite makes that fit other categories, too!
Acebeam T27 ($$$)
While I haven’t had the Acebeam T27, I do have the Acebeam L17. I love the L17. I also love Acebeam. An while the L17 and T27 aren’t all that similar, I trust that it’s a solid light. You can buy the Acebeam TT27 at killzoneflashlights.com.
Olight Warrior X Pro
You might be surprised that I’m recommending the almost-always cool white Olight. But this one is a rare exception. The Olight Warrior X Pro is available in neutral white, and still performs great! I reviewed it here. Get yours here.
You Want a Flashlight To Give Away
If Lithium Ion Cells are Ok
Convoy S2+ ($)
Like I said in my review, everyone needs to own this light. I’d buy it from MohrLumens.com because shipping is from the USA, but stock is sometimes limited. Pick a warmer emitter (from 2700K to 4500K), and include the matching 18350 (“shorty”) body in your purchase.
Olight Warrior Mini ($$)
This light gets a mention, because it’s a great gift light. The Olight community is massive, and you sort of automatically buy in with their lights. Gateway lights, if you will. The Warrior Mini is my choice here because it’s highly pocketable, includes a cell (actually a complete package – everything you’ll need), and is available in many colorways. I reviewed the Olight Warrior Mini Camo here and the Olight Warrior Mini Spring 2 edition here. These are available on OlightStore.com.
If You Prefer to Give Alkaline (or rechargeable)
Or just don’t want a removable cell. You may know not to trust just everyone with lithium ion cells, and some people may just not have a charger. There are plenty of reasons to stick with lights that either have built in cells, or use non-lithium ion cells. Here are a few good choices.
RovyVon A23/A24/A29 ($)
Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 ($)
Yes, it makes the list twice. The Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 is perfect for a gift light. First, it’s a great light. Secondly, if it causes someone to get interested in flashlights, then they can already have the lithium ion option! With a 14500 cell, they’ll have a bonus of a lighted tailswitch. Available on amazon.
Just for the Fun of It
BLF or Sofirn Q8 ($$)
The BLF Q8 or Sofirn Q8 is as close as I’ll come to a can light recommendation. I swapped in some Samsung LH351d emitters into one of my Q8’s years ago, and while it’s now perfect (of course), I could not tell you the last time it was used. These are fun, but not terribly useful. The Sofirn Q8 is still available on amazon.
YLP Gryphon G180 ($$)
If you really must add a can light, a medium compromise I’ll consider for a can style light is the YLP Gryphon G180. This light uses just three 18650 cells, and has a nice neutral white temperature, and sports very good sustained output. Also there’s a battery carrier, which I prefer over having cells pressed directly against the positive contact.
Sofirn LT1 ($$)
Basically a can style light but a lantern is the Sofirn LT1. Also runs Andúril and also is loved by the community. If you need a lantern, this one is a great choice! It’s available on amazon too.
Weltool W4 ($$$)
I love throw as much as the next flashlighter, but I would much rather have the throw produced by a light with a Flat White emitter. Flat whites are extraordinarily useful, but LEPs are so very specific. Unless you’re lighting a shore from a boat 500m off the coast then… your money is probably better spent elsewhere. However if you’re convinced that you really need a LEP (and trust me I get it), I can say that the Weltool W4 is quite well built, and performs extraordinarily.
I hope this has been a helpful post! It brings to light that there are a few lights I should put on my Christmas list – namely the Sofirn LT1 and the Acebeam T27.
I wish you the best in your search for a new light, or the search for the best gift to give!