Is it possible for a flashlight to make you say “Holy sh*t!”? I didn’t really think one would ever make me react that way, but that was before I tried out two tiny but powerful LED lights from Fenix.
Sure, it’s easy to make a flashlight bright if you’re packing it with loads of battery power like the Stanley Spotlight or the 511 Tactical we’ve reviewed before. But what’s amazing about these Fenix lights is they seem to have altered a few scientific laws in their favor by cranking out an amazing amount of juice from just one AAA or two AA rechargeable batteries.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that if you shined one of these—even the AAA one—in someone’s eyes they’d be seeing spots for an hour. You could shine one of these on something 100 meters away and light it up. I’m not geeky enough to know what all the technical specs mean, but if you are, the LD20 I tried goes from 5 to 180 lumens depending on which level you have it set on. From what I’ve seen, 180 lumens is “light up the forest” strength.
The tiny EO5 is smaller than my pinky and uses just one AAA battery. Despite that, it cranks out 27 lumens, which is plenty for finding your way to the squat toilet in Nepal. With a flashlight this small, there’s no question of whether you can fit it in your pack, rather where you’ll put it so it doesn’t get lost.
Fenix is not just making the most of the battery power in terms of light, however. It’s also all about efficiency, electrically engineering the components to be bright for a long time, not just for a flash. In my tests I’ve been running both lights frequently for two months and have yet to recharge the batteries. This includes a bout of my daughter and her friends playing “flashlight tag” for a couple hours straight on the roof deck. Officially the E05 will run almost three hours before you need to recharge your batteries. In everyday travel terms, that’s months. The larger E21 will go for two hours and 15 minutes at the high setting, 11 hours on the low setting. The LD20 will go from 2 hours to 100. On top of that, they’re waterproof and they’ll last longer than you will probably. These are tough-as-nails lights made from aircraft aluminum, not painted plastic. There’s a limited lifetime warranty.
See the full line, from these compact ones to gargantuan spotlights, at FenixLighting.com. The tiny E05 is currently going for around $20, the E21 for $35 to $48, the LD20 for around $60. Check prices at the links below.