In this post I will compare all of my speedlight light modifiers. I plan to use it as a quick reference sheet available from any online device (I think being able to pull this up on my phone could be handy). You can find links to get specifications or purchase these modifiers on my photo gear page.
At the end of April I received an unexpected brown box on my front doorstep. A quick glance told me it was from Amazon.com so I assumed it was for my neighbor who does sales from home and frequently receives packages. Upon closer inspection I determined it was for me. Curious. The note inside said “I want to see a write-up on this baby! Crazy bright, light, and cheap. And it runs on AA (not Lithium)[.]”
Wow! A fan of the site had sent me a product to review. Nifty! As an aside, if you guys ever want to send me stuff to review, I’m almost certainly open to it. Just make sure to pack the item in question in hundred dollar bills so it arrives in pristine condition.
As usual, the quick review comes first. Thumbs way up! This is easily the best full-sized flashlight I’ve ever used. I cannot speak to the longevity of the bulb (which cannot be replaced) but my guess is that it will have a long useful life. If you don’t mind paying $20 and want an excellent general utility light, strongly consider this flashlight.
Let’s start off with the most important aspect and answer your biggest question. Yes, this flashlight is almost certainly bright enough to meet your needs. It will light up a hallway or a medium size room. It will hurt your eyes if you look directly into it.
I’ll compare this flashlight to three other workhorses I’ve had for a long time now.
Any of the other LED flashlights tested did a fine job illuminating the subject, but the Cyber Light really picked out the detail even in dark corners of a room. This will be my go-to flashlight when I’ve dropped something small or am checking out a wall cavity through a tiny hole.
If we want to be a little more scientific about it we can judge them by lumen values. Now, I know enough to know that everyone measures lumens differently but you’ll see such a wide variation in the numbers below that you can begin to appreciate how bright the Cyber Light is.
Everready Economy: 11 lumens – 1 incandescent bulb
Petzl Tactikka: 26 lumens – 3 LED bulbs
Harbor Freight: ?? lumens – 9 LED bulbs – about the same light level as the Petzl Tactikka
Cyber Light: 180 lumens – 1 high flux LED bulb
60W Standard Incandescent Bulb: 600-890 lumens
The Everready Economy is bright enough for emergency lighting. The Tactikka and the Harbor Freight give good general illumination that you can read by. The Cyber Light is much brighter – easily two to three times brighter than the other LED flashlights but it is still noticeably dimmer than a regular old 60W bulb.
Someone thought out the details on this flashlight. No, it doesn’t have the super high end appearance of a machined aluminum masterpiece but the fit and finish are excellent and it has a laundry list of nice features:
- Squared-off body shape helps prevent rolling
- Heavy duty on/off click switch seems built to last a long time
- Well engineered battery compartment should keep light functional even with heavy abuse
- High contrast bright color scheme makes light easy to find in dim lighting
- Sealed body (including sealed switch) makes light weatherproof
- Comfortable to hold – nice shape, non-slip grip, good weight distribution
- Rubberized head with deep bezel helps protect front from impact damage
- Apparently very rugged – claims to survive 8ft drop – standard is 3ft
- Nylon lanyard – great if you are working in an attic or other easy-to-drop-and-lose location
- Uses readily available and inexpensive AA batteries (four)
- Styling looks slightly dated. Let’s face it, this styling was cool when “cyber light” was still a hip name.
- Faux parting lines will collect gunk
- Actual parting lines could have a better fit. Not bad but would look more finished if improved.
- Better battery compartment object language – not obvious that it twists open
- Battery orientation icons are tiny, hard to find and almost impossible to read
The flashlight is extremely lightweight for one of its size and power. It would be easy to hold for a long time. If tucked in a pocket, it would not pull your pants down. Sadly, other flashlights have not been as kind and have pants me in the past.
To give you some numbers, I weighed each fully loaded with batteries on a digital kitchen scale.
Everready Economy: 12-1/4 oz
Petzl Tactikka: 2-5/8 oz
Harbor Freight: 1-7/8 oz
Cyber Light: 6-3/4 oz
60W Standard Incandescent Bulb: 1 oz
The numbers don’t lie. If you are used to a standard weight for a standard-size flashlight, you’re in for a surprise. The Cyber Light weighs a little more than half the Everready Economy.
The battery life is quite acceptable. The claim is a five hour burn time. That is a long time to continuously use a flashlight. I think the average occasional user will be as likely to replace the batteries due to battery shelf life issues as they are to the power consumption of the flashlight.
At five hours, the Cyber Light matches the burn time of the Everready Economy and is many, many times brighter and lighter weight. Of course many of the lower-powered LED flashlights boast many more hours of burn time. The Petzl for example says that it will last 120 hours. I think the useful life is much shorter than that, with the light level really starting to drop after maybe 10 hours of use.
I did my own five hour test. Here is what I found:
Start: Lighting up entire interior of a small closet
Hour one: Head is warm. No noticeable difference in light level.
Hour two: Same
Hour three: Light is dimmer but still bright
Hour four: Noticeably dimmer but still much brighter than the Petzl headlamp. Head no longer warm.
Hour five: Slightly dimmer. Still brighter than the Petzl by a bit.
So at five hours the flashlight was much dimmer but still very useable. I did not test it until it was dead but am expecting several more hours of life from the initial set of batteries.
For a flashlight in this performance class, it seems reasonably priced. However, $20 is a lot to pay for a flashlight in my opinion.
Everready Economy: $2 (does not include two D batteries)
Petzl Tactikka: $40
Harbor Freight: Free
Cyber Light: $20
60W Standard Incandescent Bulb: $0.25
The winner in the best-bang-for-the-buck category is clearly the Harbor Freight freebee.
Do I think the Dorcy Cyber Light is a good product? Yes. Do I think it is a good value? Yes. Would I buy one for myself? Maybe…
This flashlight is well made and appears to be designed for a long rugged life. It should be cheap to operate and, if the high flux LED holds up as well as a standard LED, the flashlight will probably get lost or replaced before it loses its usefulness. Unlike standard bulbs, LED’s dim slowly. So it is somewhat a matter of opinion when their useful life is over.
If I could only have one flashlight out of this group it would easily be the Petzl. Even though you look like a goob wearing it, it is the most versatile of the bunch. Next I would add the Cyber Light for its ability to really light up an area.
On a side note: Don’t dismiss the Harbor Freight flashlight. They will put coupons in the mail from time to time for a free one without any purchase. They are small and bright and the construction is pretty good. We have one in the house and one in each of our cars.