Selfbuilt's Flashlight Reviews

Extensive comparative analyses of modern LED flashlights

My goal is to provide objective testing results, in a readable form, to let you decide what flashlight best fits your needs. My reviews are posted on candlepowerforums, to facilitate ongoing discussions with the user community.

My flashlights are expensive to feed with all the runtime tests I perform, so I gratefully accept donations to my Paypal battery fund.

Flashlight Resources See my Testing Methods for further resources


Video overviews of each of my flashlights, plus additional background primers.

ANSI FL-1 Standard

Overview of the ANSI/NEMA standard for flashlight testing (FL-1).

Lumen Estimation Method

My lightbox design, and how I have calibrated it for estimated lumens.

Outdoor Beamshots

Overview of all my recent outdoor 100-yard beamshots.

Rescue dog at work

About the Author

Selfbuilt icon It's a fair question - what's up with all these reviews?

I didn't set out to become some sort of flashlight reviewer or blogger. It really just came about because a number of personal interests of mine happened to be well aligned.

To start, I have long-standing interest in emerging/evolving portable lighting technology. I have long carried a small pocket flashlight of some sort, and have been amazed by the rapid change in technology over the last decade - especially the last few years. It is no surprise that my reviews have focused almost exclusively on modern LED flashlights.

As you can probably guess from my reviews, I have a research background. Along with that, I have a personal interest in quantitative methods, and enjoy doing comparative analysis and testing. Integral to this is communication - findings ways to clearly present findings in a way that people find clear and useful. I realize that my reviews may seem a little over-whelming now, so please check out my FAQ and Testing Methods pages for more info on what everything means.

A related third point is truth in advertising. With any rapidly changing field, there is a tendency for manufacturer claims to leap ahead of actual performance/capabilities. Even with newer testing standards, it is very difficult to compare makes and models across manufacturers. You really need comparative testing data collected under the same conditions, in the same manner, for all lights. This is what I see as one of the main value drivers of my reviews.

But I certainly didn't set out to do full product reviews initially - my original goal was simply comparative output/runtime assessments of my lights (as explained on the Runtimes section of my Testing Methods page). But people seemed to like to have more context around the lights I was testing, so I started adding additional background, photos of the lights, beamshots, etc, etc. Eventually, manufacturers start sending me lights to test, so that I could compare their performance to other lights I had done. Eventually, this snow-balled over time into my current (rather extensive) review format.

While my goal is the objective measurement of flashlight performance, I try to craft my reviews so that they are relevant to people of different backgrounds and needs. Like most people, my portable lighting needs were actually fairly limited initially - mainly for walking the dog at night (or trying to avoid stepping on the cats in the dark). But once you carry a flashlight on your person all the time, you realize how incredibly useful it is for all sorts things. Of course, if you are reading these pages, then you've probably already figured that out. :)

I hope you enjoy the site!

Unfortunately, my flashlights are expensive to feed with all the runtime tests I perform. I don't accept any payment for any of my flashlight reviews, but I will gratefully accept donations to my Paypal battery fund. Your contributions will go toward helping defray the costs of creating all my detailed reviews.

Thanks for your contribution!