It seems like most new flashlights that come out today are simply variations on flashlights that already exist, but every once a while, something a bit new and novel comes across my desk. I simply must try them all. Today, I'll share some information about my newest monster flashlight, keychain light, and headlamp.
Monster Flashlight: Fenix LR35R
This flashlight is such a powerhouse! I was in love with my TK35 and thought it was the greatest thing ever, then the TK35UE came along, and that was the greatest ever. I've tried many other flashlights, but I've always appreciated the dual-battery, compact size of the TK35. Now the LR35R comes along with a much more powerful output in a significantly smaller package, and we have a winner.
The USB-C external charging port is great. I love that I don't have to take the flashlight apart and remove the batteries to charge them.
The power button is located on the side of the unit, which is not my preference.
It's much faster and more intuitive to be able to find an on/off button that's located on the tailpiece, so this is an unfortunate change.
Like all Fenix flashlights, it's built like a tank. It's significantly shorter than the TK35, which is convenient.
It looks like this was achieved by putting a bunch of LEDs at the front of the lens with very small reflectors instead of having a single LED with a huge recessed reflector. This makes for a wide, even light.
And of course, at 10,000 lumens, this light is insanely bright. I've included comparison images between the TK35 (860 lumens),TK35UE (3200 lumens), and the LR35R below. All of the flashlights are set to full brightness.
That's insanely bright, isn't it? This is even brighter than the Fenix TK72R, it comes in a much smaller package, and it's priced at $199.95 at Fenix Lighting. Nobody needs a flashlight this powerful, but still. 'Merica.
Keychain Powerhouse: Fenix EO3R
I've probably owned a dozen different keychain flashlights that I've picked up at conference booths, and they're all very cute and nice, but the 260-lumen Fenix E03R is in a category all on it's own.
This keychain light is way smaller and way brighter than I expected. I was expecting a flashlight that was approximately the size of the keyfob for my vehicle, but it's actually about half the size.
What a pleasant surprise. I've carried it around with me for a couple of months now, and I love having it handy. It beats the pants off of the built-in LED light on my phone.
I took a few photos to show how much brighter this is than the LED light on my phone, but it wasn't a fair comparison. It's in a completely different class of light. As a home inspector, I was turned on to the 258-lumen Fenix TK11 back around 2008 or so, and I thought it was the greatest thing ever, compared to the huge flashlights that I used to lug around.
I've moved on to bigger and better flashlights since then, but I still have my TK11, so I pulled it out of retirement to take some comparison images with the EO3R. This tiny little keychain light is brighter than what used to be my primary work light!
This would make for an awesome stocking stuffer or similar gift, and it charges with a USB-C port, which is perfect. This light sells for $26.95 at Fenix Lighting.
I tested a supposed 8,000-lumen headlamp from Amazon, which is described as a "COB Headlamp, ANNMECO 8000 Lumen Rechargeable Headlamp". It comes with three generic 18650 batteries, a USB charging cable, and a nice carrying case.
What's unique about this headlamp is the ability to run off of one, two, or three batteries. Adding more batteries simply increases the run time, but not the brightness.
The light is HUGE, which is a bit annoying. I can see myself bumping into a lot of stuff while wearing this.
I had a hard time believing that this was actually 8000-lumens, and I was right to be skeptical. I compared it to a couple of other headlamps in my collection. The first was a generic CREE $12 headlamp that I purchased on Amazon back in 2014 or so.
I can't find this one online any longer, but here's a similar-looking headlamp listed for $12.49 on Amazon today: GOFORWILD Headlamp.
To round this out, I also tested my 1,000-lumen Fenix HP25R headlamp, which is my go-to headlamp for everyday inspection use.
I started by testing these headlamps outside with the same camera settings that I used for the LR35R. For the COB headlamp, you'd think I forgot to remove the lens cap on my camera, as you couldn't see a thing.
The generic CREE headlamp was a little better. At least you could see something, but not much.
The Fenix performed the best, but not by a lot.
None of these headlamps worked well at this long range, so I did a shorter test.
I also took the headlamps inside for one more comparison.
Eight thousand lumens my butt. My keychain flashlight outperformed this thing. Seriously, this felt more like an 80-lumen light. I don't recommend buying this headlamp. Here are a couple of other comparison photos:
The Fenix really washed things out with its brightness, but it also has a smaller light with a wide, even spill, so I took a photo with that setting too.
If you're in the market for a headlamp, what should you buy? I love Fenix products, but there are some pretty impressive generic LED headlamps to be found on Amazon. They run off of the traditional 18650 batteries, you can find them for under $20, and the one I purchased six years ago is still working today.
As a home inspector, the only time I wear my headlamp is in attics and crawlspaces. I don't use it all day and I don't drop it repeatedly, so buying the cheap generic units has worked well enough for me.