Dog walkers Torch / Flashlight review

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My ideal dog walking torch
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Traditional torch bulb
Having purchased numerous torches over the years, and never been satisfied with the brightness of the light, or the width of the beam for general searching - I decided to investigate a bit and bought some cheap torches on line

14 LED torch unit
The modern torch uses LEDs, and there are numerous torches that now boast multiple LED's in the head of the torch. But the output of the multi LED units is still rather poor. 
But following a chat one dark evening with a lady who had borrowed her father's bike headlamp, I became aware of CREE LED lights.

CREE are bright LED's. And the higher the letter of the LED then the more efficient and brighter the bulb is. That is to say that a T is more efficient and brighter than a Q or R LED. The U2 is the latest LED at the time of writing this in January 2013

I have to express thanks to Jim for his advice on these CREE LED's. Jim has a very useful bicycle lights blog and an eBay shop 

Whilst one torch listed here is rated at 1800 lumens, I find that too bright for the normal day to day picking up after the dog. I have powered these torches of the standard AA and AAA batteries, but the CREE type torches will take the longer batteries - and allegedly produce a brighter light.

LED torch tail button
Most of these torches have the power button on the cap of the torch. Push the button fully in to turn the torch on or off. But gently touch the button to cycle to the next mode

The modern torches have a number of light modes.
5 modes = Full power, Medium power, Low Power, Pulsing full power, and Flashing SOS (3 short, 3 long, 3 short)

4 AAA battery holder
My only comment on the modern torches are
1) The necessity to cycle through various modes to get back to the mode of light required. When one turns the light off and on again then the torch has cycled to the next mode.
2) The failure to design torches with flat sides to stop the torch from rolling when placed on a surface.
3) The failure to design more torches to take 4 AAA batteries so that the batteries last longer, and so that it is easier to recharge batteries in value chargers that only charge in pairs. Torches that run on 3 AAA batteries are not helpful to people with value chargers.
I've been really impressed with the 18650 battery, and how long one lasts before even considering having to recharge it.

The review slide show below shows a number of images. The test of the review is to see;
  1. How much of the shed is illuminated when the torch is shone into the corner of the garden. 
  2. If the second fence can be seen. 
  3. If the hedge at the back of the field can be seen. 
The diameter of the 1800 Lumen torch glass is 5.5 cm, and gives a good wide light - whilst giving a good centre beam for highlighting specific items. It also gives a good throw of light (distance). But the 55 mm torch is difficult to get in your pocket. A 40 mm torch is far better

Below is an explanation of the tests - but scroll further down to see the slide show of the various torches reviewed

My ideal Dog walker's torch

Emitter Type: Cree XM-L LED T6 or U2
Light colour: White
LED Quantity: 1
Battery configuration: 18650 
Switch type: button - on side
Mode: 100% - 66%
Brightness: 1400 lumens
Material: Aluminium
Lens: Coated Glass Lens
Reflector: Aluminium
Size: 150 mm x 40  mm
Shape: flat sided to stop roll
Red flashing side LED
Side COB light

Square edges stop the torch from rolling on any surface
Compare 18650 to AA batteries
Wide lens gives a good spread of light with a CREE bulb
Fins help to cool the LED unit

Cob side light and flashing red marker light
Intelligent side button better than end button

Torch review viewing information

Daylight view of the torch review test area
Night-time view of torch review test area
Dog walkers torch test
Dog walkers torch test
Dog walkers torch test
Dog walkers torch review
Review of torches for dog walks review CREE LED torch

Slide show of torches reviewed

New - We now do torch video reviews as well

A good small light for keeping in the car

A good emergency light and FM radio