The Holy Grail of Flashlights
Posted by Best Light on
1000 lumens sounds like a lot of light and it is for those who are just getting into high powered flashlights. But what happens when you need more? More lumens, more throw; you want the darkness to not only fear Chuck Norris but to also fear you. You even want lighthouses to question their purpose. This is where lights that I like to call "The Holy Grail" come into play. We're talking about 3,500+ lumens and 600+ meters of throw that makes you giddy every time you turn it on.
Starting with the more wallet friendly lights, we have the Jetbeam T6, Fenix TK75, and the Nitecore TM16. These three make great search and rescue lights, lighting up large fields to check on/for animals, or just for showing off to your friends who think Maglites are awesome. Although they do have some bulk to them, these lights are quite compact when considering what they offer in terms of brightness and throw. All three have separate power & mode buttons and run off of four button-top 18650 batteries.
Kicking off with the T6, this guy offers the highest output of the group with 4,350 lumens coming from Cree's latest emitters, the XP-L HD (High Density). It also has the most throw of the three with 750 meters. It's not a huge improvement in output and throw vs the other two but it would still be noticeable when comparing side by side. If you're looking for the most lumens per dollar, this light is it. Although it only has 4 modes, they're nicely spaced to provide a good output for multiple settings. Also included is a shoulder strap for easy carrying.
The TK75 has only 4000 lumens and 650 meters of throw. The mode spacing is fairly similar and also includes a strap for easy carrying. What makes the TK75 stand out though is the optional extended runtime kit that you can get for this light. With this kit, you can double or triple your runtime. The most kits you can add onto the TK75 are 2, for a total of 12 batteries. That's ok though, since too many kits would start making it look like a bazooka. This definitely gives it the advantage if runtime is really important. The TK75 is also tripod mountable if you need a work light.
The TM16 also has 4000 lumens and is rated for 700m. After talking with some flashaholic buddies of mine about these 3 lights, the only real advantage the TM16 has is its User Interface. While all three lights have a power button for On/Off and a mode button to cycle through modes, the TM16 has intuitive shortcuts from Off that allow you to get into Ultra-low output and Turbo. This makes it super convenient when you don't recall what mode you had it in last and don't want to blind yourself when used in close quarters. Easily turn on Ultra-low and increase the output as needed. For those that are die-hard runtime fans regardless of output, the TM16's Ultra-low mode is only 5 lumens, which is the lowest output offered by all of the three lights. The T6's lowest mode is 30 lumens and the TK75's lowest is 35 lumens, so the TM16's 5 lumen low mode is incredibly lower in comparison. Because of this, the TM16 will offer almost 22 days of continuous light which is nearly double of what the others offer. Ultra-low light is better than no light. This light also has 5 mode instead which more options is better.
If money isn't a limitation, then lets move on into the more impressive lights that stand out from the pack. Some include more throw, awesome UIs, and/or built-in charging and custom battery packs. The built-in charging eliminates the need to buy batteries and chargers to power the light. Lights with built-in charging also makes them ideal for traveling & camping since all you have to bring is its USB cable to charge the light and not have to lug around a large charger as well.
Starting with the TM16GT, this light uses XP-L HI (High Intensity) emitters which were designed for improved throw. So while this light only offers 3,600 lumens, it has a staggering 1,000 meters of throw due to it's tighter hotspot. In every other aspect it's similar to the TM16 with its 5 modes and its 5 lumens Ultra-Low mode. The 300 additional meters of throw though is what really makes it stand out from the pack and even gives dedicated throwers (single LED w/ large reflector) a run for their money.
Next is Klarus's RS80 which is quite a unique light and has too many eye catching features not to be included. It's so unique that it was actually featured in the record breaking box office hit, 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1'. What makes it unique though is its tall box-like shape hosting 3 separate LEDs, all featuring their own mid-sized reflector. These qualities give this light 3,450 lumens of output and 800m of throw. Out of all the lights talked about here, Klarus is the one brand pushing the LEDs to the limit to achieve maximum performance. The best part about this light is the User Interface and the 9 brightness levels. Its UI features a step-up and step-down button so you can increase and decrease brightness at any moment. Add that with the 9 brightness levels and you have the perfect light to handle any situation, including a 9 lumen low mode that gives you 18 days of runtime. The light is designed with an ergonomic handle for comfort but it does include a shoulder strap for prolonged activities.
Now if you're looking for one of the top dogs in this category then Fenix's RC40 is your guy. This beast's 6000 lumen output and 730m of throw will make the jaws of everyone around you drop. While not the furthest throwing light of the group, this light definitely has the highest output and will have the brightest spill. The 6 LEDs outputting 1000 lumens each will also create a large hotspot making nothing able to hide from it. The light only offers 5 modes that are near the brighter side, but you'll be fine with the mode spacing if a variety of low modes isn't one of your desires. The tailcap features a battery, a charging port, and a USB out to recharge your phone or tablet on a trip. This light also comes with a shoulder strap for easy carrying.
Whether you're looking for something more budget friendly or looking for the best of the best, you can count on all of these lights to turn night into day and make your significant other question why you need something this extreme. Just think about how you plan on using a light this bright and I'm sure you'll be able choose the best light for your needs from the group. Some of these lights have built-in batteries and charging but for those that don't, make sure you pick up some high capacity cells and a charger your portable lighthouse.
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