2018 November 5    Tools

Introduction


There are all kinds of LED lighting gadgets out there, including some pretty good headlamps.

Sometimes you just want a traditionally styled flashlight for all-around use.

This is a quick mini-review of the Craftsman 700-lumen LED flashlight.



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In This Article


Batteries

Pricing

The Good

The Bad

The Worst

Overall / Conclusion


Batteries


Takes six AA batteries.  They were included with the test unit that I got.


Shown with the included batteries.


The batteries fit inside a holder that seems to engage positively.  So, that part of the electrical path seems pretty reliable.  Some thought went into the design.


Table of Contents


Pricing


It's a $20 to $35 flashlight.  Made in China.

Now, though, it might be discontinued.  More about that later.


Table of Contents


The Good


The flashlight is made of aluminum.  The build quality seems quite solid, much finer than some of the cheaper aluminum flashlights out there.  The battery cap and the knurling are a nice, grayish, anodized aluminum.



The overall size and balance of this flashlight are very good, especially if you're looking for a traditional style.

And, of course, it says "CRAFTSMAN" on it. 

Finally, the bright mode is powerful and illuminates for quite a distance.


Table of Contents


The Bad


This light has a blinking or flashing mode. 

It uses a single button to cycle through all three modes (bright, dim, and blinker). 

This has become almost unavoidable on flashlights today.  Many corporate types seem to think that because a new technology exists, it has to be implemented.  Can't we have a flashlight that's just on or off? 

With this flashlight you can't skip past a mode;  you have to cycle through it. 

It takes six presses of the button to get back to the same mode.  Or, five presses to get it ready for that mode next time.

Yes, some people want their flashlight to have a blinking mode.  Many do not.  For chores, repair work, and that sort of thing, blinkers and multi-modes waste time and add frustration.  We want a light that's either fully off or fully on, immediately.  That's why I like the Makita.  It just works.


Table of Contents


The Worst


As I was completing this review, this flashlight dropped off Amazon for the most part.  Halfway through writing this review, I checked and it was still for sale on Amazon at $21.99.  Within hours-- literally-- there are maybe only two sellers still selling it on there.  The price went up considerably.  It looks like somehow, by some ridiculous chance, I picked exactly the flashlight that was getting discontinued. 

It was also on sale at the local home center.  I wonder if they were trying to clear it out of inventory? 

This is not a perfect flashlight, but it's pretty OK.  However, now it's a moot point. 

A lot of companies today shuffle their products around and change designs too quickly.  I hope Craftsman isn't going to start doing this before they've even got their brand re-established.  If they make a comparable flashlight, let's hope they can at least keep the better design elements from this one.


Table of Contents


Overall / Conclusion


It's not a bad flashlight.  Multi-mode switches are problematic, though.  This ruins many an otherwise-good flashlight. 

A total of 6 presses to get back to the same mode!  My Makita flashlight requires only two:  "off", then "on" again. 

To have service life comparable to that, the switch on the Craftsman would have to last for three times the number of cycles.  Unlikely on a $30 unit. 

I think if I had it to do over again, I would just get a couple of these single-mode flashlights.  Also, perhaps consider a decent headlamp, which draws less current (runs on AAA batteries). 

For something that has to stand by itself while you work, however, I'd get this Makita flashlight.  You'd also need a battery and charger for it, but I think it's very much worth it.  (Full review here).  Makita is also still making that light and the whole line of LXT tools.



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