Flashlight technology has come a long way in the past couple of decades. Gone are the days when Maglites ruled the flashlight world (although with the right mods Maglites are awesome lights). Modern LED flashlights can push out more lumens more efficiently than the incandescent flashlights you played with growing up.
In my opinion, Fenix makes the best LED flashlights today. Fenix lights are extremely reliable, their build quality is second-to-none, and their power is simply amazing. What’s more, Fenix has a huge selection of flashlights, with different options in terms of size, battery type, and switch placement. With so many options, you’re bound to find a Fenix light that suits your needs. Below are a few of my personal best Fenix flashlights.
The Fenix TK35 Flashlight
The Fenix TK35 is my “desert island” flashlight. It’s the flashlight that I think is the best all-around, multipurpose light available. For this reason, it’s the light that I always keep in my truck. I can’t tell you how many times it’s come in handy while I’m camping, at the beach at night, or when the power goes out.
What makes the TK35 so great? First, it’s compact (only 164mm long and 256 grams without batteries) yet extremely powerful (over 800 lumens on turbo). Since it’s not too big or heavy, it’s perfect for walking your dog at night and it won’t be cumbersome in your camping gear. On the low and medium settings, the batteries will last a very long time. The beam is a nice mix of flood and throw; I can pretty much light up small side streets at night if I want to. And like all Fenix lights in the TK series, it’s ruggedly designed and water resistant so you don’t have to worry about dropping it in a puddle or using it in the rain.
The downside to this light is that it requires four CR123A lithium batteries or two rechargeable 18650 Li-ion batteries. Neither of these battery types is commonly available, and the CR123As are expensive. Opting for the rechargeable 18650s will be easier on your wallet in the long run, but be careful when buying them since there are a lot of cheap brands that are prone to overheating or exploding when improperly charged. I bought my TK35 bundled with 18650s and a charger, but I later switched to CR123As after learning about the dangers of rechargeable Li-ion batteries. Still, the battery life is so long on the TK35 the cost is not really an issue.
The Fenix TK75 Flashlight
There’s nothing subtle about the Fenix TK75. Simply put, it’s a beast. On turbo it will put out a mind-blowing 2600 lumens. Check out this demonstration video showing the TK75 lighting up objects from 175 yards away:
The TK75 enjoys the same waterproofing and rugged design as the TK35, so it’s perfect for outdoor activities like camping. While it’s only 185mm long, it’s significantly bigger in diameter than the TK35, and it weighs 510 grams without batteries. This makes it less practical as an everyday-use light, and you will notice its weight more while it’s in your pack.
Another downside to the TK75 is that it requires four rechargeable 18650 Li-ion batteries. Unlike the TK35, the safer CR123A lithium batteries are not an option. Also, while the TK35 gets about 23 hours of use on the medium setting, the TK75 only gets 12 hours. This makes it a poor choice for a light while overnighting outdoors unless you make sure to bring spares.
With all that said, when you need maximum power, nothing beats the TK75 in my view. As you can see in the video above, the throw is absolutely amazing on it, but it still has good flood capabilities to light up large outdoor spaces.
The Fenix PD32
Fenix’s PD series of flashlights focuses on smaller, compact, lightweight, yet rugged lights that put out amazing brightness for their size. These are the lights you keep as a spare in the glove compartment of your car in case you break down on the side of the road.
The Fenix PD32 is the most powerful of the PD series. At 127mm in length and weighing just 65 grams without batteries, it is capable of putting out 340 lumens on turbo. For its small size it also has decent battery life—2.5 hours on turbo and 16.5 hours on medium.
For batteries on the PD32, you have a choice of one rechargeable 18650 Li-ion or two CR123A lithium batteries.
These Fenix lights may not be for everyone, but in my opinion they are the best Fenix has to offer right now. There are many features I did not have the space to go over; for instance, each of the lights above has a strobe and an SOS feature. If none of these lights seems like it’s the right on for you, I suggest you browse Fenix’s complete catalog. I am definitely biased towards the lithium and Li-ion lights, but if you want a flashlight that uses standard batteries, check out the Fenix TK41, which uses AA batteries and puts out 860 lumens on turbo. Fenix also has a line of rechargeable flashlights, like the 3500 (!!!) lumens RC40 light.
I don’t mean to bash other light manufacturers. Surefire and Streamlight manufacture some good lights. There are smaller companies who put out amazing lights as well. But no company is consistently as awesome as Fenix in my experience.
Main image courtesy of Gadget_Guru.