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OK, so it’s actually called the Black & Decker V-3 Million Power Series rechargeable spotlight. But after a good 10 months of carting this sucker out for late-night grilling, hooking up trailer hitches in the dark, and finding a lost hitch pin in deep grass, we just call it the “vampire light.” It’s incredibly bright. In fact, it’s so bright it has a trigger guard to keep you from blinding yourself.

Two six-vol 4.5 Ah batteries deliver juice to two twelve-volt 75W quartz halogen bulbs, turning night into day on your command. The shape of the flashlight’s pistol grip places the large light assembly and battery in a perfectly balanced position. So even though the whole assembly is pretty heavy, it’s surprisingly easy to swing around in one hand and point the light where you need it.

It’s easy to charge, too. The charger is built into the flashlight itself. Just pull back the rubber cover at the rear of the light assembly to expose a male two-prong 120V connector. Plug in a regular extension cord, connect the other end to the wall and you’re charging. At the base of the battery you’ll find a small indicator reminiscent of those on most modern power tool batteries. Press a button and LEDs light up to show the light’s remaining charge. And though we’ve never had need for it, the V-3 also includes a 12V DC accessory outlet — a “cigarette lighter” plug that you can use to charge your phone or drive other auto toys.

We haven’t dropped this particular light much, but it certainly feels durable — and has stood up to significant beating-about in the shop. The metal top handle feels firmly attached, and some parts of the light are rubberized, making it easier on your hand and much more likely to survive a fall.

But what made this a shop favorite over the last year is its brightness. This light is perfect for those times when you need a lot of light spread over a wide area — not just a little circle of light, but a miniature sun streaming forth. A great example: We often toss the vampire light into the truck when we’re towing at night. Once we lost a hitch pin somewhere near the trailer, but we had no idea where. Pointing this light around the general area turned up a flash of reflection — and the pin — after only a few minutes.

So should you buy one? If you never need anything bigger than a small hand flashlight, I’d say no. There are better lights out there for you (some of which are our favorites, too). But if you ever find yourself in a position where you want a big stand-mounted halogen light but need something portable, this is your light — especially considering that you can score your own for around $60.

But you can’t have mine. I’m grilling tonight.

V-3 Million Power Series Spotlight [Black & Decker]
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Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

5 Responses to Our Favorite Flashlights, No. 2: The Vampire Light

  1. Steve says:

    I don’t know about this specific one, but I bought a smaller version of this Black and Decker spotlight, and the battery life is completely unusable. It lasts for maybe 3 minutes. Maybe mine was just defective, but I doubt it coming from Black and Decker.

  2. Chuck Cage says:

    FWIW, the battery on this one lasts quite some time. Hell, I didn’t really expect it to last very long considering how bright the light is. But using it in one or two-minute-long bursts it lasted for a coupe of months of grilling the first time. Once I ran it for 10 minutes or so at a shot.

    That’s no really a “test,” in the strictest sense, but it’s done everything I’ve needed for what that’s worth.

  3. Jim K. says:

    I had an experience similar to Steve’s unfortunately. I bought a similar model B&D spotlight (again, not this exact one) and had no luck. The first one I bought was DOA out of the box. After exchanging that one for another, I found that it’d take a charge but last only about 2 minutes. After that I gave up on B&D and went with a Vector 20 million candlepower spot which I’ve been using ever since.

  4. cjd says:

    If you can track one down, the Vector HID Spotlight is the best for the price (around $50 shipped).

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-SLH100V-Intensity-Discharge/dp/B000T2HJOO

  5. fritz gorbach says:

    I also had a slightly smaller b&d, maybe 1 or 1.5 mil,and I had the same luck. Two to three minutes of runtime, then dead. Not even time enough to change a flat. I took it back and got a couple of 500,000 store brand from home depot for about 88 bucks each, and i’ve been quite happy with those, although I ve been considering for a while one of those big rechargeable Streamlight lanterns like you see on the firetrucks.

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