This page is all about B.S.
lighting products that people should beware of.
YOUR INPUT IS WELCOME! If you
have had a problem with an obviously (and I mean blatently
obviously) fake product or deceptive advertising, I'll add
it to the page (it may be edited slightly for content). Please
provide proof if you can, in the form of pictures, etc.
Let's keep everyone informed!
18, 2007: Ever wonder how well those chemical lightsticks
fare compared to flashlights? Very Poorly. I cracked them,
gave two hard shakes and immediately put them on the recording
meter sensor and started recording. Less than 5 seconds between
pop and the start of recording.
February 1: Fake Surefire U2 flashlights have been
reported! These are copied in appearance, but not function,
right down to the actual Surefire logo and serial number.
BEWARE! If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Also, be very wary of Ebay sales and non-Surefire-authorized
internet dealers. If you get one in your hands you'll find
it only has 2 levels of output and the selector ring does
not work. More info can be found at this
CandlePowerForums thread. I would hate to have someone
pay $200+ on Ebay only to find that they received a $20 copy.
July 17: A reader has alerted me to something I probably
should have mentioned before.
SHAKELIGHTS: Shakelights are getting big play on TV commercials
lately, especially with the start of hurricane season. A couple
of warnings about them:
- If they have been sitting around for a long time without
being used, you'll have to shake the snot out of them to
get any glimmer of light at all. Expect 2-3 minutes CONTINUOUS
- Once charged up enough to use, in one (1) minute they
will lose 50-75% of their light output. Unless you plan
on shaking them for 20-30 seconds after each minute, get
used to working in dim light.
- The 2 quick shakes you see them do on the commercial to
get fantastically bright light is an utter LIE unless the
light is fully charged already. You can bet the one the
actor is using is fully charged just before they do the
two quick shakes.
- The amount of physical effort needed to produce light
from shakelights precludes using them for true "survival"
situations where conservation of energy is very important.
- The motion required to shake them up and give them a charge
is very similar to... ummm... how do I put this delicately...
a male of our species giving himself pleasure, if-you-know-what-I-mean...
This usually results in odd looks and/or chuckles and crude
comments from strangers if you try out the light in the
If you still want a shakelight, get the Nightstar brand.
They are the best of the bunch and use high quality components
unlike almost all the others. They dim the slowest and charge
up the quickest. Shakelights do have their merits and will
provide light without any power source except for human muscle.
CRANKLIGHTS: Most of these $10-$20 crank powered lights are,
frankly, utter junk. They accumulate the energy from cranking
in a small 2032 lithium-ion rechargeable coin cell. That's
fine, but they are not regulated to prevent the coin cell
from being over charged or over discharged, which is exceptionally
easy to do. Either of these actions permanently damages the
lithium-ion cell to the point where it will hold almost no
charge or a very brief charge. In order to say, you will likely
get one good use out of any of them and the're through.
If you still want a cranklight, get the Freeplay brand. They
use 3 AA NiMH cells to store the power from cranking and can
be charged from a wall outlet if external power is available.
They almost always cost more than $20 unless on clearance
somewhere, are larger than the junk cranklights, and are fairly
hefty. The Freeplay lights are very good quality and do not
have any of the problems that the cheapie cranklights have.
May 16: Another case of overblown Wattage statements
on eBay from Dave W...
Hello, I have been a fairly avid reader of your site for
a while now ... I was wondering if this light I found on
ebay (link to "9 Watt" light sale removed)
is as big of a joke as I think it is. Now, granted, I haven't
been to Lumileds website yet so I don't know for certain,
but I do believe that they don't have anything that could
handle 9 Watts of electricity. There is a plethora of lights
on ebay that claim higher than 5 Watts of power. I wish
there was some way that I could keep people from being duped
by that kind of lie (unless I myself am wrong).
No, you're not wrong. There are no 7 Watt, 8 Watt, or 9 Watt
lights out there that use a single Luxeon LED. They don't
exist yet, folks. Period. The eBay vendors are using "creative
marketing" (lies) to try to get you to buy their product.
Folks, please don't fall for it and do not buy these lights.
They may not be junk, but they are not what they claim to
April 07: Oh - here's a good one! From reader Phill
C. who bought one of those "8 Watt" LED lights from
an E-Bay vendor for about $25.00:
Which one do you think is the 8 watt luxeon? Right side's
the one sold to me. 90+ lumens huh? Left side 1.2
watt Element flashlight made by ALLIED INTERNATIONAL
and uses a 1.25 watt luxeon III emitter www.lumileds.com
30 -35 lumens.
Well, I think we can say with a fairly high degree of confidence
that the "8 Watt" light on the right isn't quite
living up to its name. This seems especially true since none
of the LED manufacturers are currently making 8 Watt LEDs,
at least not that I am aware of. Thanks Phil!
Mar 31: I managed to visit three of the big flea markets
near Tampa - Big Top, Olsmart, and WagonWheel. There were
fake shakelights everywhere (ran on two 2016 coincells and
nothing about them was magnetic) as well as the fake squeeze
lights (like the one I got at Metrolina Expo.) Let the buyer
Feb 25: Just returned from the Metrolina C&E GunShow
and let me tell you; Charles H. (see below) is right! I saw
three vendors selling "Shake Lights" (or more appropriately
named "Fake Lights") for 5 to 10 bucks each. Two
of the vendor's lights didn't even have capacitors and the
"magnet" inside wasn't magnetic at all. The third
did have a capacitor and a magnet, but when I shook the light
with it turned on, there was no difference in output. ALL
of them had two coin cell batteries hidden inside. So basically
what you were buying was a cheap version of a Photon
Light with a really big handle and non-replaceable batteries.
I talked to one vendor who admitted he new that there were
batteries inside and that it wasn't magnetic, but he said
"That's why I didn't put anything on the sign about it
being a shake light - just the name". It was called the
I did pick up one of those squeeze handle pump lights with
two LEDs and it appears through the dark plastic case to have
a capacitor for energy storage ($5.00). Well, I just opened
it up and yup, there are two coin cell batteries cleverly
hidden inside a green plastic cup inside. The good news is
that the little generator really does power the LEDs when
the switch is "off" and you squeeze the handle -
but when the switch is "on", you are running the
light with the non-replaceable non-rechargeable batteries.
Add to that the fact that is says right on the package "No
Batteries No Bulbs". MORE CRAP!
Out of the package. ------------- Hmmm...
Two coin cell batteries hidden in a plastic
cup, that's what!
Feb 02 : FRAUD ALERT! An important message for SHAKELIGHT
buyers from reader Charles H.:
On Saturday the 29th, I went to the local
flea market. I picked up what was advertised as "shake
rechargeable flashlights" for a rather cheap price
of $5. When I got it home I placed it near my magnetic compass
and there was no response. What was actually inside was
a fake coil connected to nothing and a fake iron slug for
a so-called magnet. The single white LED was powered in
reality by two CR2032 lithium coins through a small drop
resistor. Not wanting this to be a total loss, I extracted
the innards (made of cheap and very brittly plastic) and
kept the LED and batteries. So to the buyer beware!
Of the shakelights, I'd recommend the NightStar
brand - you can even get them at Target now. Charles' message
shows the value of sticking with well known and proven brands!