What’s your take on slim rechargeable flashlights that break from tradition?
Most pocketable or belt-carry flashlights are cylindrical, taking the shape of common batteries. But there’s a relatively new breed of slim flashlights that are built around modern rechargeable batteries.
Shown above is the Streamlight Wedge, a flashlight designed for EDC (everyday carry). The Streamlight Wedge delivers up to 300 lumens and is charged via USB-C port.
The Wedge also has a rather unique on/off toggle switch, as opposed to traditional pushbutton or rotary switches found on most other flashlights.
Olight has one too, the Arkfeld, which delivers 1000 lumens max brightness and also has a green laser pointer.
Personally, I’ve been a bit slow to appreciate the design, but I think the slim body style does present some benefits, at least for pocket or bag carry.
They’re not cheap, however. The Streamlight Wedge retails for around $85, and the Olight Arkfeld around $90 when it’s not on sale.
Streamlight offers two colors – black and desert tan, and Olight offers the Arkfeld in a range of colors and with 2 emitter color temperature options (neutral white, cool white).
There are others, but these are the two I’m immediately familiar with. Looking at Amazon, Nitecore has one, and there are others from brands I’m not familiar with.
You might find it interesting that this style of flashlight still would have been possible before modern pouch-style Li-ion batteries.
Some of Sony’s music players – such as their MiniDisc recorder/players – were extremely compact and fit these strange-shaped NiMH batteries, which were about the same size and shape as a couple of sticks of gum.
I don’t believe Sony makes these batteries anymore, and don’t know of any modern devices that use them, although replacement options are still available in online marketplaces.
This isn’t the type of battery powering these modern-styled flashlights, but the Sony “gumstick” battery was neat late-20th century tech.
So – slim-style rechargeable flashlights – are they hot or not? The price is a bit high – would you be more open-minded if they were more affordable?
I like the arkfield idea. I can’t make myself but one but I like the idea. The batteries can hold a charge for quite a while now. And it lasts longer that some one cell lipo tube devices
If I got an arkfield I’d get the laser pointer one. They make one that the 9ther mode is a uv light. I thought about that for a moment. But I’d use the pointer more
Not fondled one but in general I feel it should carry better. And even shirt pocketable.
mine wouldn’t charge after the first use
As a means of making higher-power lights more pocketable? Makes sense to me.
18650-sized lights are about as big as I can tolerate in my pocket (and that’s a bit much) – but if the battery is flat, I imagine a larger cell would still be comfortable.
I can’t do 18650 lights in my pocket. But I’m a small guy. Anything over AAA size, it’s just too big… With that said, I would liken these flat lights to a pocket knife, which I don’t mind so long as it comes with a clip.
It’s pretty hard to beat a $20 Streamlight in a pouch on your belt if that’s acceptable attire in your application. Too much coin for me to even remotely consider. Good idea for sure.
I’ve been on the fence for a wedge for about a year now. I still haven’t bought one, because I’ve never really been able to make myself carry a flashlight on a daily basis. I usually stash one in my briefcase and call it a day.
There’s something off-putting about the Arkfeld. The laser part is nice, but I do not like the bump, the clip design, or the lines of it in general.
I could never consistently carry a light in my pocket until I bought the wedge. Definitely a game changer
The way I see it… There’s a size and shape of light for every possible need. If slim-packing a flashlight is a need, then it’s good to at least try making them to see if they solve any problems. No one truly knows when a perfect use case can be better served with an upgrade to something even closer to the need… So, if it is tried, and it fails to serve? We won’t see them much in a few years. If they become a new standard, we’ll see tons more variants.
Either way, we, the tool users, win out when companies do these kinds of change-ups. DeWALT rarely pays any attention to the 8V Max line, but I bought the batteries, the original 680 Gyro Screwdriver, and the accompanying Flashlight… and I have no regrets beyond DeWALT paying so much attention to all the rest of the systems they have. The 8V Max could use some XR type Batteries, some minor upgrades to other kinds of Lights, maybe some light duty cordless glue gun or soldering iron applications? The point is they tried out the lineup, and it wasn’t as widely adopted as one would hope. Same goes for these flat flashlights from the high-end EDC makers. They’re trying something new! They deserve some attention for it.
If they put a noncontact voltage tester in there I would surely get one
Interesting, but put off a bit by the new switching systems some of these have. I carry a flashlight for emergencies, and like a big button I can smash easily when I need a lot of light, and a simple system for lower light. I have this on some of my torches – the shape of these new ones doesn’t bother me, but the functionality of the switching gives me pause – I don’t want 300lumens in m face when I need 10, and I really don’t want 10 lumens when I need 300.
I have no quarrel with these, but for my use, emitters are important. I’m no longer in the market for any light less than 90 cri.
I’ve never been a fan of fixed batteries. That’s planned obsolescence in the worst way – at some point, the battery will fail and now you have an expensive brick.
As for form factor, meh. If they were cheaper, I might play with one for grins and giggles to try.
Same. I have 3 requirements that I won’t deviate from :
1. Industry standard batteries
2. Usb-c charging
3. High CRI
Olight is completely eliminated by #2 and 3. A shame as they have a huge variety of form factors (and colors. I’m admittedly a sucker for orange)
I agree to an extent.
I have a few olights that are the old standard battery types. However I do have three of the proprietary battery types. I really like the perun headlamps.
Power tools don’t have industry-standard batteries and they fail and become bricks all the time! I get it, they aren’t the tool but when you have a shelf of dead $300 M18 12ah batteries it still hurts. They are a tool, they will all break or die eventually. I’ve broken more Surefires than Olights so far.
CRI shouldn’t matter in a pocket light. Honestly really in any “flashlight” it doesn’t really matter. It does start to matter more in the work light category. Olight has begun releasing a lot of their lights in either a warm or cool white led, which personally is much more pleasing than the CRI being high.
Once you have a few of the cords and bases where it matters, the charging becomes the easiest and best thing about them.
I picked up the Arkfeld (not “Arkfield” BTW) when Olight had it on sale a few weeks back for $60. I’ve been impressed so far, but wish it was still a little slimmer. I don’t like the bump at the back end that allows enough space for the circular charging port. I’d rather have USB C, although I suppose that port will wear out faster than the magnetic one.
Id wager the cable is where you’ll see the failure first, and at least USBC cables aren’t going anywhere. I think Olight is on their 3rd non-cross-compatible magnetic charging system?
USB-C ports pretty robust, tho if it’s gonna be dirty/wet magnetic get a solid leg up.
Thanks – fixed. I somehow convinced myself it was Arkfield.
I thought it was “Arkfield” as well right up until I took it out of the box and saw “Arkfeld” written on it! The best solution is for Olight just to rename it! 😂
AA/14500 headlamp/angle lights is still superior for EDC light imo, just for going hands free either by clipping onto clothing, or mounting in a head strap.
I’ve never owned or even used one of these lights but based on the photos I like the Wedge a lot, it looks like it would be a fantastic EDC light. It carries like a pocketknife and the design and position of the thumb switch looks like it would be very ergonomic. For a basic pocket flashlight I’d much rather have that kind of switch compared to some kind of multi-mode design or membrane switch. 300 Lumens isn’t top tier these days but in my opinion it’s plenty for a pocket flashlight.
It’s hard to beat most of the $20-30 single battery lights from any reliable brand for work EDC. I’ve only worked with one guy who carried around these kinds of extra powerful lights and it was so obnoxious being blinded by an overpowered light in my periphery every time he was trying to “be helpful”
Plus dropping an $85 light from height would ruin my day, to say the least.
I have had a wedge for about a year as my daily pocket carry and love it. I find that the long thin form factor stays put in pocket better. I had previously used a streamlight micro and an olight sr1 and getting up and down from my desk job they would both pop out of my pocket and onto the floor frequently.
David Vande Berg
I was with you until the price! No thanks.
The Wedge is 300 lumens continuous but also has a burst mode of 1000 lumens for 35 seconds. I’ve been carrying one since they were released; the flat form factor rides well in the pocket. Have yet to try the Arkfeld but it’s on the list. Unfortunately it’s a long list…So many flashlights, so little time. 😉
It’s hard to tell from the pictures here, but looking at the website these aren’t actually any smaller or lighter than a regular old AAA-style EDC flashlight. The streamlight is 5.5″ long, .6″ thick, and weighs 3.3 oz. That’s about the same length and thickness as a Pelican 1920, but also wider and heavier. Nowhere near as pocketable as a single-AAA flashlight that I usually carry.
Personally I don’t need or want 300 lumens in an everyday carry flashlight. I also have zero interest in plugging in yet another device every night, my phone is annoying enough.
I remember having a stand for my old Motorola flip phone, just drop it in & it charged.
Yes, we can spend extra on sketchy wireless charging, but today everything needs a dang plug and two hands.
I have a similar charging stand for my iPhone. It’s L- shaped and just sits on my knight stand. You just set the phone upright and it charges. The great thing about these is that when you go to grab it, you don’t have to unplug a cable. Worth the $20.
About the flashlights……… I like the flat style shown here but prefer a tail switch for edc.
Someone gifted me an Arkfeld about a month ago. I was not impressed with the idea but after using it for about a month, it is fantastic. I usually carry it in my pocket and it is very comfortable. The battery lasts forever. And the best part, it doesn’t roll when I put it down. Like someone mentioned above, wish it was slightly thinner but a great first version.
I am first off a headlamp user – love having my hand free and the light is always in my field of view. I also like wide area lighting like a quality underhood light setup when working on the car.
I rarely have need for a pocket flashlight but I used to carry one when I was doing hangar work. partly out of peer pressure and partly from occasional use.
Today I have less need of one and I have 3 headlamps at home. All use standard batteries but the other day I got one with a rechargeable setup. it’s a coast something. anyway brighter, runs longer, charges easy. Reason I got it – friend of mine had one last time we worked on his race car and where my batteries died as I didn’t put fresh in – I had to go find aaa to put in it. His ran and could be recharged off his phone if need be.
That sort of sold me on the new age rechargeable. His light was 2 years old then. I suspect with some light care mine will last 7 or more before the battery degrades – you know like my power tool batteries. (I have a 10 year old dewalt 20V that still works). SO I’m less worried about them than I was and it’s not actually more convenient.
I do agree the light with a standard usb c connection would be better and there are a few of those and I’d consider them. I like the dual function of the arkfeld and I like the look of it better – but I’m open to some others.
I’m a happy owner of the olight Arkfeld w/UV emitter. Love that it is thin, only slight thicker than my EDC ZT. Much more comfortable to carry. However I seem to have misplaced it and will likely need to order another…
Will stay with round as the hand seems to naturally grip round objects by the contour of the hand itself. Can you imagine having square handgrips on a motorcycle? Will also add my vote to what some other commenters have mentioned being a standardized battery like the 18650 and also the 14500 which I have a recent flashlight addition to my collection.
The flat shaped is optimized for carrying in your pocket. The round shape is optimized for grip. Which is more important depends entirely on the application.
I think the flat shape is great if someone wants a flashlight they’ll be carrying a lot but using very little–EDC for the average person. Same idea as the shape of a cigarette lighter or a key fob remote–it’s very comfortable to pocket. But there are absolutely other tools for different jobs. When function becomes more important than pocket convenience you’ve got headlamps, magnetic or clamp-on worklamps, tripod or lantern type, larger handheld lights, etc.
I was all excited when I saw the image of what I thought was a knife and a flashlight in one!!! Yes they make cheap junk ones on eBay but Im looking for top tier kit. I am willing to cough up some serious cash if the likes of bench made and sure fire or insert your favorite high end knife/flashlight manufacturer made an integrated product. Give me 300 or 1,000 lumens for 3hr/1hr in a 3” tactical knife size form factor and I’ll cough up $600 or more. We’re getting close but I just don’t think the lights can get that small yet.
Alas it’s just a flat flashlight. I typically have EDC’ed a 2 x AAA torch. I’ve used a Prion II from four sevens, then a night core titanium now an Alloy-x from Princeton tec. I’m OK with a proprietary battery as long as you can use AA or AAA in an emergency.
For me these flat lights seem to be about the same size as a double AAA form factor that I’m used to with similar performance. I am not sure on weight but I’d guess heavier than 2x AAA, no standard disposable battery back up option and the cost kill it for me. But I’m glad flashlight companies are still trying to innovate.
Now that being said if this flat form factor was on par with performance of some of the high-end 18650 powered lights, throwing out crazy lumens, this flat form factor is definitely better than cylindrical 18650 or larger cylinders. I’d still like to see an industry standard pouch style battery.
If we were all familiar/experienced with box-shaped lights, and someone came out with cylindrical bodies, would I feel differently?
No. The different shape is interesting, but doesn’t move the needle for me.
I’ve been carrying the Wedge for about 6 months and love it. The only change I’d like to see would be to shorten it by about an inch, as some jeans have back pockets that aren’t as deep as others and it gets pushed out when sitting down. The charge seems to last forever, I honestly can’t remember the last time I had to charge it. When I’m wearing a pair of pants with shorter rear pockets I carry the Streamlight 1L-1AA.
I’ve had a Zebralight on my hip for over a decade so it’s not like I’m new to flashlights, but they lost me at fixed battery and a proprietary charging port.
I would consider one of these as when I lay on the ground to check under my vehicle I can definitely feel my round flashlight pressing uncomfortably into my leg among other occasions.
I personally think. If it’s round it should take normal aaa,aa,c,d batteries.
If it can’t take normal batteries. Make it what ever shape that makes sense.
Cylinders make sense due to strength. If there’s other shapes that are just as strong and make sense, by all means, go for it.
Manufacturers keep pushing up the lumen count. Past 400 lumen on an edc makes very little sense. Your just going to blind and mess up the night vision of the people with you.
But, I am a simple man. On and off is all I need.
As someone who has spent too much on LED lights in the past decade….
….I think it’s great these designs are out there. Would I use the above two? Nope. Not my thing. But variety and competition benefits the consumer. And your use case may be different than my use case.
My #1 daily carry light? Zebralight SC64le. Why? It has that premium quality fit and finish (it better be at $80 w/o charger or battery), even if it lacks some quality of life upgrades newer lights from other vendors. It uses a unprotected, flat top 18650. The UI, although easy to learn, is a bit much to the casual user. It’s one of those lights that makes you go “ooh, that’s nice”.
My go-to light for “I don’t care what happens to it”? Wurkkos FC11. For $20 w/ battery, it’s analogous in performance to the above-mentioned SC64le — but at a MUCH lower price. And it has quality of life upgrades — built in USB-C charging port, magnetic tailcap. It’s not as fun to use as the Zebralight, but if I drop it/lose it, it’s easier to stomach a $20 loss. Uses off-the-shelf protected button top 18650. I keep a FC11 on my nightstand, in the door pocket of my car, on the freezer door in my basement, etc. Cheap enough to leave a handful sitting around. The UI is straightforward but not as friendly as it could be.
My go-to light for keeping next to the door at home? Wurkkos DL31 (noticing a trend here?). This is a juicy 3800 lumens, easy to operate magnetic rotating switch (no push button UI that needs a dang flowchart to figure out!), and it has a great length for carrying around. At just $40 with batteries, it’s enough brightness to light things up without being too big or bulky. And it uses off the shelf protected button-top 18650s. It’s a light I could give to an arthritic grandma, and she could use it without issue.
Like most things, it depends. If you have a need for a daily flashlight and you can reliably recharge it, then this looks awesome. If you “might” need a light and just want one on your keychain, I think the coin style led lights are the way to go. If it’s for emergencies, I think keeping batteries separate and installing when needed is a good plan and form factor is less of a concern.
I much prefer the design of the controls on the streamlight, although I am still not sure I’d be committed to getting one of these. Nitecore the TINI 2 and TIP2 which appeal to me more as they’re still slim, but trade the long narrow design for a shorter wider one.
Batteries are smaller than these longer ones, but they make up for it by being noticeably less expensive.
Nebo Slim+ simply the best flashlight ever made
I carry the Arkfeld as kind of my daily carry if I’m not planning on needing a light. Ok, I own 3 technically and about 10 other O-Light units. It’s great, they are all mostly great. Everyone bashes the magnetic charging thing but once you have a couple it’s not even a thought. Have the 4-way base where I place my keys so I come home and toss it on there. No cords, no ports to uncover, no phone plugged into the cord, it’s SO easy. It holds a couple of others that I might grab depending on the situation and it’s so easy to grab and go. Got a base and charger on the nightstand. Same thing, just sits there ready to go, no fumbling to unplug it in the middle of the night, just grab and go. Can I easily replace the battery? No, I can’t, but I honestly don’t really care. If they die in a couple of years I’ll order new ones. I’ve never had a single problem with them. Anyone that is really against them really should just try it out for a while, it’s what I did and I’m very happy them
I just picked up a NEBO Slim Mini since I was looking for something super low profile. 250 lumens, USB-C rechargeable, magnetic base, and a pocket clip. The light being at a right angle to the body takes a little getting used to, but for the $15 price I am super happy with it. It’s so slim at 0.325″ that I forget it’s in my pocket.