Home Depot has a somewhat overwhelming number of LED flashlights in their holiday tool gift center display area.
As you could probably see from my Home Depot Holiday Gift Center Tool Deals Haul, I bought a wide variety of lights to test out, including some of the super cheap ones I’ve been so critical of in the past.
It’s taking me longer than anticipated to work through everything, but so far there are 3 certainties:
1) Maglite is always a safe bet. While I might not like every model, their quality and customer service has earned my favor.
2) Husky LED flashlights are usually safe bets. They sent a few over, and I bought a couple from the holiday display section. They’re inexpensive without being cheaply made – from what I can tell.
3) I’ve had great experiences with Coast LED flashlights.
I own a few D-cell Maglites and love them dearly. I quickly dismissed the idea of using C-cell batteries, but I couldn’t help myself from buying one of these combo packs anyways.
The last time I kept a Maglite in the car, it leaked. Maglite has an agreement where they’ll replace the flashlight if brand-name batteries leak, but I didn’t feel like paying to ship it back to them. So I cleaned it up, and it’s still working perfectly. I just don’t keep it in the car anymore.
In the car, I keep a Rayovac LED flashlight from a previous Home Depot holiday season, loaded with Energizer Lithium batteries.
Duracell flashlights? Okay, I bought these too. Will report back as soon as I can.
The Ryobi LED flashlight looked better in person than in its product images, so I nearly bought 2. But let’s see how well this 1 flashlight holds up.
There are several Husky LED flashlights on display, plus several combinations of lights. I bought enough of the combos that I think I have one of every flashlight style.
The 165-lumen light looked basic, but decent, and the penlights are priced really low.
No, I won’t be benching my FourSevens Preon 2 anytime soon. But at $5 each, these Husky penlights are a strong value.
Buy Now(165 Lumens Flashlight)
Buy Now(Penlights 2-Pack)
These combo packs give you a good sampling.
My father would LOVE these lights for when he takes the dog out for a walk. Well, maybe the 500 lumen light, the 1000 lumen one looks too large.
Buy Now(500 Lumens)
Buy Now(1000 Lumens)
Hmm. What’s in the display doesn’t seem to match up with the sign, but they did have these combo packs somewhere.
I picked up one of these combos before finding the larger combo that has one of each.
Buy Now(90 Lumens Flashlight with Penlight)
Buy Now(165 Lumens Flashlight with Penlight)
Coast flashlights are all pretty decent, but I haven’t tried these out yet.
It frustrates me that the brightness is the primary selling factor, but they’re just catering to how people shop. The same goes for all the brands of flashlights in the gift center display area.
I bought a pack of these LED glowstick packs. As for the marker band, maybe if they had different colors, other than red.
Buy Now(Glow Sticks 4-Pack)
Buy Now(LED Marker Band)
Defiant is Home Depot’s “cheaper than Husky” flashlight brand.
I don’t have any trust in the brand, but I bought a few of these flashlights to either start building that trust, or to cement my hesitation towards cheap LED flashlights.
Don’t look at the lumens, look at the form factor.
Here are some Defiant combo packs.
The mini cable penlight looks like it could be good. Probably no competition for my Streamlight, but it’s hard to argue with the price.
2 penlights for $6? I’d consider these disposable.
850 lumens for $13.
It’s hard to imagine how these could be made bright, cheap, and durable.
These metallic flashlights look real cheap, but I picked up a pack to see if I’m being unfairly judgemental.
8 LED flashlights for $10. These are going to be throwaways, but maybe they’re not that bad? If they are, maybe I can use the housings for my own contraptions.
Atomic Beam Tactical Flashlight by Atomic Beam USA.
If I rolled my eyes any harder, they’d fall out.
The Defiant LED lantern looked interesting, but…
The “don’t look into the light” warning had me hesitant.
Yes, never look straight into any high powered LED light source. But if these are THAT bright, they might not be very good lanterns.
Koko the Talking Ape
I know you didn’t buy it, but did that Nite Ize Red Marker Band look like it can be attached to a bike helmet?
It’s hard to say. How would you attach it? Hot glue?
The NiteIze Marker band is like the old slap stick, wrapping around your arm. It has a grommet on one end that could be tiewrapped but it would just be one side.
I use them when walking my dogs at night on my arm or leg – There is a similar item from NiteIze-A red collar for the dog that is either solid or flashes.
Nite Ize makes something called the “helmet marker plus” but it had some poor reviews for weak attachment straps. There seems to be quite a few rechargeable red led rear bike helmet lights on Amazon for under $15 that look like they would perform a lot better. MTBR.com and roadbikereviews get more serious with their annual bike lights shootout review.
I bought the $9.97 flashlight two-pack as an under $10 Secret Santa Gift. I actually was looking for a scissors promotion that was similarly priced – but they didn’t have it on display.
As noted, your 4sevens light is better than anything Home Depot sells.
With that said, the Mag-Lite ML25 C cells are solidly built, relatively small for that size cell and seem brighter than the advertised 170+ lumens.
Conversely, the 850 claimed lumens from the Defiant is probably not measured out the front (OTF) ANSI lumens. These feel cheaply made, no surprise for the price.
Another deal worth looking for from last year is a two pack of mini mag pro AA flashlights putting out 270+ lumens for $23-25.
For more C and D cell options, the Mag-lite ML-50 (2xC, 490 lumens, $34) and the ML-300 (3xD, 625 lumens, $40) are worth checking on to see if there is a holiday price drop.
The limited capacity of AAA cells makes those lights unappealing to me.
For reference, my EDC light is an 18650 powered Zebralight SC600 which is about the same form factor as a 3AAA but with much better performance and runtime.
As for battery options, all alkaline seem to leak over time, although Energizer claims to have a leak proof series with a warranty to repair or replace a device damaged by their batteries. Still, you might consider some low self discharge (LSD) NiMH rechargeable batteries like the Sanyo Eneloop for AAs or Tenergy Centura for C or D. If you aren’t interested in rechargeables, another option is the ten year lithium batteries but I’m not sure if those are available in C or D.
“Defiant” is also the brand name HD has almost all of their outdoor LED lighting under. The guy working in the lighting aisle didn’t seem to have much confidence in them when I was shopping for some outdoor lights. Ended up going with a basic fixture recommended by the electrician we were using (conveniently ran into while shopping) that cost about a 1/3 of many Defiant fixtures.
Could always use some inexpensive flashlights- hoping to see some of your thoughts before they sell out.
I bought a Defiant branded head light that was labeled as “unbreakable” at 150 lumens with a middle support head band and water resistant for $15 it seemed like a pretty solid light. I have used it a couple times, its pretty good. Sometimes i have to work in the dark AND in the rain….
Regarding the “Maglite has an agreement where they’ll replace the flashlight if brand-name batteries leak”, I was skeptical of this claim since I’ve Maglites for decades and have never heard of the company ever replacing a unit because of battery leakage.
Rather, as stated on Maglite’s website, they refer to making a claim with the battery manufacturer:
“Mag Instrument does not warrant against battery leakage. If the flashlight has been damaged by leakage of batteries, do not return the flashlight to Mag but determine what brand of battery caused the damage and follow the battery manufacturer’s instructions about how to make a damage claim.”
That must be new.
This is exactly what they told me back in May 2007 when this all happened:
“Unfortunately we do not warranty battery leakage however if the cells that leaked were Duracell, Eveready or Ray-o-vac, we will repair or replace it for you at no charge since we carry a contract with these 3-battery companies. If it is not one of these brands, then we would charge 12.00 plus tax for a ‘C’ and ‘D’ Maglite and 8.00 plus tax for the Mini-Maglites.”
It looks like they might have changed their policy on November 11, 2014 since that’s the date on the “So if my flashlight is damaged by a battery leak, what should I do?” FAQ topic with links to those same battery manufacturers. Some of the links now go to outdated pages, but it’s easy enough to find the warranty info on the Duracell/Energizer/Rayovac sites.
I’d guess Maglite’s contract with those companies expired and they didn’t renew it.
Maybe people abused the program too much?
I’ve been getting Larry C worklights at my local plumbing & electrical supply house for under $7. 140 lumens broadcast, not beam, light. Great for work. Magnetic swiveling clip. High quality construction. I also got a Big Larry w/belt clip (400 lumen version) for under $17. So I’ll not be buying any of this plethora of offerings.
I’ve bought those small Defiant (3 AAA) lights in the past- almost every single one of them had battery leakage from the included batteries.
They were actually fairly bright and decent single-switch lights. I’m assuming that the issue was the battery and not some sort of circuit issue with the light. So if you get those I would recommend only using quality batteries.
That’s not surprising. I figured that the included batteries were the cheapest possible battery-like cylinders they could buy.
Bought the Husky unbreakable flashlight for Hubby
AMAZING value and quality.
Staff was super helpful as well at HD.
I bought the 300 lumen flood headlamp by Coast. Seems to have nice, even coverage. Bright mode is very bright. I have mostly used it on the lower settings. The beam is fixed, and there is no blink mode.
My old headlamp has blink mode, which I find completely useless on a headlamp.
Another nice feature about this Coast headlamp: it came preloaded with Duracell batteries.